Raleigh Mennonite continues to grow in its understanding of the bountiful love that God has for all of creation, in all of its diversity, as embodied in the example and teachings of Jesus Christ.
During the 2022-23 year we have endeavored to deepen our understanding of our role as a mostly white congregation, with the various racial histories and formation that we carry into this space. At the same time, we find hope and joy in striving together to create a welcoming, inclusive and “beloved community.”
The words and meaning behind the spiritual “There is a Balm in Gilead” have provided a guiding theme for the year. We are all wounded by racism and the division it continues to create between us, and the church should be a place to work at that repentance and healing.
AS A CONGREGATION, during the year we have:
- investigated how systems of white supremacy affect our church’s practices,
- built joy and relationships through a gospel choir and anti-racism camp,
- learned from anti-racist practices implemented at other churches, and
- partnered with St. Ambrose Episcopal Church.
We wanted to learn from churches who are intentionally and boldly anti-racist in their vision and practice. We visited multiple churches, participated in their worship services, and asked questions of their leadership.
- Quest Church, Seattle: Weekend of Oct. 2, 2022
- Several churches in Washington DC, Spring 2023
- Local churches, Fall 2022 and Spring 2023
MUSIC EXCHANGE WITH ST. AMBROSE
- During Lent we held a weekly exchange of songs that could be incorporated into our worship services.
- All who were interested visited St. Ambrose after our services were over. One week St. Ambrose shared a song, and the following week RMC shared a song, alternating each week.
- On May 14, we held a joint worship service at St. Ambrose, singing the songs we learned.
- You can view the service on St. Ambrose’s YouTube channel.
In Spring 2023, the community was invited to participate in an online panel discussion on the intersections of racial justice and queer justice. The recording of the discussion is available on YouTube.
In June 2023, together with Southeast Raleigh Table and St. Ambrose Episcopal, we held a weekend anti-racism camp for the children of these congregations and others in the community.
On June 12, several members of RMC’s anti-racism team shared aspects of the year’s exploration and initial thoughts on what we have learned. We will continue to process this year’s activities as a congregation and consider how best to incorporate aspects into our church life.
THROUGH this year-long process, we hope to discern the next steps that RMC will take on our anti-racism journey. We enter this project with questions and an evolving roadmap, but the destination is unclear. How will God speak to us this year?
The original outline for this year-long learning focus is also available as a two-page PDF.