Working Together for Racial Equity and Healing
Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free? … You shall be called the repairer of the breach.
Isaiah 58:6, 12
Dear saints,

2020 was a year of considerable challenge. All of our lives were upended by a devastating pandemic and the year ahead presages a difficult journey on our way to brighter times. I know this has been hard for many, yet as a church I believe we are called to more.

Following the events of last summer that saw our nation wrestle with profound questions with regards to race in America, I felt that we needed as a community to ask ourselves some foundational questions with regard to race, equity and healing here in Atlanta. To that end, the vestry commissioned a steering committee to discern over several months how our ministry as a church might meet the needs of our context. 

In this work we want to expand our circle of learning. We want to hear and learn from black leaders in Atlanta who will contribute to the steering committee’s work. We want to grow in relationships with communities we know less well. And in all of this we want to be open to changing who we are and how we see the city we all call home. 

The named objective of the steering committee is to directly inform both the ministry life of the parish and our discernment for the future of the block. It will meet over the coming months, remaining in communication with the vestry during that time, and will submit a final recommendation to the vestry in June of this year.
Meet the Steering Committee
The steering committee members were selected for their diverse representation of our parish and their professional and other interests in Atlanta:

  • Jason PaynePhysician and Assistant Professor at Morehouse School of Medicine
  • Natosha Reid RiceMinister for Public Life
  • Sydney ClelandChief of Staff, Office of State Representative Mary Margaret Oliver, and vestry member
  • Virginia SchenckVocal Artist and Jazz Performer 
  • Arturo LindsayArtist and Professor Emeritus and former Chair of the Department of Art & Art History at Spelman College
  • Sheffield HaleChief Executive of the Atlanta History Center 
  • Deaja DunbarStudent 
  • Sarah HillHistorian and Leader of The MICAH Project for Racial Healing
  • Jud GravesAttorney, Partner at Alston and Bird and former interim Dean of Emory Law
  • Comer YatesExecutive Director of the Atlanta Speech School
  • Nadia FountainVice President and Trust Officer at the Bank of America
  • Simon MainwaringRector
Guiding Principles

We commit to listen first: to one another, to a wider diversity of voices than we are accustomed to, to the Spirit of the living God moving in our hearts.

We commit to be open: to what we cannot yet see, to building on partnerships we already enjoy and forging new ones we have yet to discover.

We commit to change: to allow this discernment journey to shape us in new and unexpected ways, to be lovingly challenged, to become the new creations God calls us to be.
The Year Ahead
All Saints’ is a community grounded in hope, long-committed to the call to serve the welfare of the city of Atlanta. The year ahead offers us as a parish the opportunity to engage with one another in prayerful dialogue about how we might live more fully into that calling in the next chapter of our church’s life. We will be blessed by the voices of preachers, teachers, advocates, and artists from beyond as well as within our church community. 

We know that we can only do this work by listening well to one another. To help in the facilitation of that effort, the vestry and staff are undertaking a year of leadership development with VISIONS Inc., a group that works with churches and other organizations to help deepen awareness around issues of racial equity and healing, and equip leaders to assist others in doing that work for themselves. 
How You Can Be Involved
Over the coming weeks, we will seek to ask you as the parish when you have seen All Saints’ at its best through the years and what you have learned about who we are when we have tried to be a difference for good in the world. We want to learn from the past and identify the strengths and passions we might bring to this work for our future. We know that the needs for equity and healing are vast and complex in this city and of course beyond. Yet we also know that nothing is impossible with God and that when All Saints’ has heard the call we have responded to that call with grace and love and to great effect.

Over the course of the next six months, I invite us to engage in this work together. You can:

  • Share your vision, your passion, your concerns and your sense of the opportunities before us

  • Help connect us with other churches, non-profits and community organizations already engaged in the pursuit of equity and healing in Atlanta 

  • Pray for the work of the steering committee, our vestry and for the diverse community we know and love as All Saints’

I remain deeply thankful to God for the privilege of leading this church. I am confident in our future and that as we hear the Spirit call that we will have the strength and unity to follow.

The Rev. Dr. Simon J. Mainwaring