Our work related to racial reconciliation began a few years ago when we considered Jesus' command to "love your neighbor as yourself." As a parish, we asked "Who are our neighbors?" We are on the same city block as the county jail, courthouse, and the police department and many law offices surround us. Our neighbor is the criminal justice system. We explored ways to be good neighbors and quickly learned of the racial inequalities that plague our system of justice. As our Presiding Bishop and Diocesan Bishop have both urged congregations to engage in the work of Becoming the Beloved Community, we have come to see this work as part of the work that the Spirit has given us to do.
Mission Endowment Grant: St. Luke’s was awarded a grant from the Diocese of North Carolina to support the work of Becoming the Beloved Community. This is an initiative of The Episcopal Church to pursue and promote racial reconciliation. This grant will provide for work related to Becoming the Beloved Community in a city with a history of racial tensions. The grant has three components:
1) Truth-telling related to the histories of St. Luke’s and the closed historically African-American congregation of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church. We have contracted with a local historian to research the role of race and slavery in our parish's history.
2) A video documentary series in partnership with members of a partner AME-Zion congregation to capture stories by those who grew up in the Jim Crow era in Salisbury.
3) A weekend workshop for the community headlined by Bishop Will Willimon and Dr. Catherine Meeks of the Absalom Jones Center.