Engaging Racial Justice at Christ Church

Rev. Cliff WarnerCliffNotes, Communications, Coronavirus

Dear Christ Church,

The sorrow and pain of racial injustice, social unrest in our cities, and Covid-19 remain at the forefront of our minds as we go into this weekend. Sunday’s service will reflect this reality as we bring our whole lives, with all of our concerns, before our Father in lament. Christ Church, let’s all come together this Sunday with a united voice and cry out to God from the depths of our concern, a Pentecostal cry: “Come Holy Spirit and blow through this land.”

Resources on Race. This week’s Enews offers many resources from Christ Church’s engagement with racial injustice in particular, and more general reflections on multi-ethnicity, immigration, and our prayerful responses. Some of the resources also represent responses from our broader Anglican family. There’s a lot here, more than can be digested in a day, but my hope is that you will work your way through these over the next week or so.

We are suffering, and so are so many people around us. How do we walk through this, and companion others through suffering? Christine Warner shares here what she has learned about how to hold suffering, companion others through it, and encounter Jesus.

AMEN held a Night of Prayer and Lament (scroll down to the recording) last week, focused on the suffering of people of color due to both police brutality and the disproportionate impact of Covid-19. AMEN stands for the Anglican Multi-Ethnic Network. Christ Church also hosted a citywide prayer vigil on our property, led by Christian Community Development Association last Wednesday night. A local news channel covered the story here.

A sermon at Christ Church by Joe Ho, from Ephesians 2:11-22, on the gospel that reconciles all people for a multi-ethnic Church.

A presentation for Christ Church on “Race, History, and Policy in East Austin,” by Jennifer, Ashton, and Virginia Cumberbatch. This was part of our learning and listening, as we moved into the downtown Eastside.

A commissioned report, Meeting Medina, to learn about the history of our property and its neighborhood, the dynamic relationship between race and gentrification, and the neighborhood’s assets that can serve its flourishing. This report is framed in terms of asset-based community development, which has a personal connection for me.

Before coming to Christ Church as Rector, I founded Ciudad Nueva, a community development organization a few blocks from the Mexican border, in downtown El Paso. They continue strong, fifteen years later, doing excellent gospel work, seeking the shalom of the city and empowering at-risk families. A new ministry, Abara, was spun out of Ciudad Nueva in recent years to cultivate opportunities for understanding, serving, and loving across divides through education, encounters, and response. Christ Church began, just before the pandemic, taking groups to the border to learn about the migration of peoples, their needs and trials, and how the church can respond.

Letters from me last week, Anglican clergy and lay leaders nationwide, and Bishop Todd (with several other bishops) will give you a sense of how Anglican leadership has been responding to this moment, from the local to national level.

Again, please join us and invite others for this Sunday’s live stream as we unite in one voice, crying out to God for his kingdom to come, in Austin / the U.S. / on earth, as in heaven.

Peace,

Cliff+

P.S. Two other resources to keep listening and learning: I recently read and heartily recommend The Color of Compromise: the Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism by Jemar Tisby! I also commend to you the ministry of Be the Bridge, whom you’ve heard us promote at Christ Church as they seek to form new multi-ethnic discussion groups. Even spending some time at their website (go to their “Resources” section) can be formative.