Racial Justice Group Leaders: Dick Swaisgood, Manda Schoen

Staff Liaison: Pastor Lara Forbes

Meetings: First and Third Tuesdays, 7:00 pm

At the August 2020 Congregation Council meeting, the Council approved formation of a Racial Justice Group and authorized it to research and make recommendations to the Council on how Saint Andrew’s can address racial justice issues and specifically Black lives and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Did You Know…..

That you can sign a pledge to fight racism?
You can join others in the ELCA to pledge to do whatever you can to end racism in our community, church, country and our world. “As church we are called to confess the sin of racism, condemn the ideology of white supremacy, and strive for racial justice and peace. Beyond statements and prayers, we are called to also act and respond to injustices.” Go to https://www.elca.org/racialjusticepledge to learn more and sign the pledge.

That a local TV program examines race, social justice, and racial inequality in the Pacific Northwest? If you are seeking information on how these issues are affecting our local communities, this is an excellent place to start. Hosted by local anchor Joyce Taylor, “Facing Race” airs Sundays at 9:30 p.m. on KING 5. The previous episodes are available on KING 5’s YouTube channel

Purpose Statement (November 2020):

George Floyd’s killing in May and the demonstrations that followed were a tipping point that make it clear that there are class divisions in our society that clearly benefit white people and relegate Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) to second class status. Our continued silence in the face of clear evidence of that division puts into question if we are living up to our mission statement “Growing together in Christ to love and serve all people.” The Racial Justice Group was created to investigate the ways we are falling short of and facilitate action toward racial equity as we strive to make our mission and values principles we truly live by. We believe doing this important work will have far-reaching benefits by helping us better understand and navigate our differences.

Goals:

  • Form a standing Racial Justice Committee
  • Recommend specific actions for the congregation to take
  • Provide educational opportunities to increase our understanding of our increasingly diverse neighbors
  • Work with existing committees and staff to incorporate racial equity work into all aspects of ministry

Guiding Questions:

  • Who are we welcoming and inviting in to our congregational life?
    • How might we be unintentionally excluding people or groups?
    • What unconscious messages do we send about who belongs and who doesn’t?
    • Who is doing the welcoming and inviting? How can we create or reinforce the attitude that this is everyone’s responsibility?
    • Do we assume visitors are familiar with our worship style? How can we make it more navigable for those who are not?
  • Do we understand the Black Lives Matter movement and how it ties into our mission and values?
    • What assumptions do we currently hold about Black Lives Matter? Can they be verified or disproven?
    • Are we more curious or defensive about the concept of white privilege? How can we move toward curiosity rather than defensiveness when addressing the inequities caused by white privilege?
  • Does our congregation reflect the world around us?
    • Are we willing to change to serve our neighbors? Are we willing to embrace the discomfort and vulnerability that come with change and growth?
    • Can we live in to our mission and values without change?
    • What does it mean for us to serve our neighbors in Bellevue, Washington?

 

Current Opportunities

November 2020:
The group is working to develop a Visioning Document and a resource list.

 

If you have questions or wish to join the group, please contact either Dick Swaisgood or Manda Schoen.