Process: A Truth and Reparations Reflection

May 28, 2024 | Stories from the Diocese

By the Rev. Colleen Schiefelbein, Task Force Co-Chair

A task force implies a group of people gathered to address an issue, and people who apply to be on task forces are often doers. Within the Church, however, a task force is also a ministry. Like watching a house being built where it seems that nothing happens for ages and then it’s done, the Truth and Reparations Task Force has spent the last two years deepening our understanding of reparations, reconciliation, and each other. From the outside, it may seem like nothing is happening, but we are each greatly changed. We examined reparations from different perspectives, and our own thoughts and ideas have been challenged. We are each learning to see the world differently, how Jesus might have approached reparations, and maybe the most challenging aspect is learning to allow the Holy Spirit to guide us. God has kept us on God’s time through our constant need to process ideas and experiences. Reparation and racial justice are difficult ideals to embody. The more we learn and embody, the more we need to process our pain and its root causes and examine what mending or repairing might look like. We look forward to sharing our learnings and experiences with you, and we hope you will grow with us by starting a Reparative Justice Bible Study in your community.

A Prayer for Truth, Reparation, and Healing

Creator God

We stand before you with humble hearts, acknowledging the wrongs inflicted and justified by the Episcopal Church in Virginia. We confess the sins of silence, white supremacy and complicity in the systems that promoted chattel slavery and race-based oppression. We grieve the generational pain and suffering caused, the families torn apart, and the dreams dashed.

Forgive us, O Lord.

Wash away arrogance, complacency, despair, and indifference. Open our eyes to the truth of our past, the seizure of indigenous lands, and the continued legacy of race-based slavery in the present. Grant us the courage to face it head-on. Help us to sit with sorrow and guide us toward repentance. Lead us to do justice and to repair the harm that has been caused.

Strengthen us, O Lord.

Empower us to dismantle the structures of racism and oppression that still exist within our church and society. Guide us to engage in truthful dialogue and meaningful collaboration across racial lines. Grant us the resources and wisdom to address the legacy of slavery and oppression in concrete ways.

Guide us, O Lord.

Holy Spirit, work through us to build your beloved community where all people are valued and treated with dignity and respect. Let this be a time of healing and hope, a time of repentance and transformation. As beloved children of God, may we do justice and make repair.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.