GENERAL CONVENTION 2003


Work continues on the 'sin of racism'
By Richelle Thompson

[ENS] The work toward eradicating the sin of racism continues at the 74th General Convention.

Committee members of Social and Urban Affairs voted unanimously Wednesday to send to the House of Deputies an amended resolution A010, which calls on the church to continue anti-racism training and to reaffirm its ìhistoric commitment to eradicate racial injustice in the Church and in secular society.î

ìI believe this is the most important unfinished business our church has to deal with,íí said the Rev. Randy Dales of New Hampshire and a committee co-chair.

Committee members listened to the testimony Tuesday night of a dozen witnesses from throughout the church about the progress -- and failures -- of fighting racism.

ìItís important to keep this in front of the church,íí said Garfield Stuart, an alternate from the Diocese of Upper South Carolina. ìVery often, we still exist in denial, saying racism doesnít happen if we have one or two friends who are black or there are a couple of black families in our church. Most church leadership still hasnít participated [in the anti-racism training] and continues to find excuses not to.î

Several of the witnesses asked the committee to put more accountability into the resolution.

ìIíd like to see more teeth in the resolution,íí said Edward Cahill, an alternate from the Diocese of East Texas. ìRacism is still a major problem in the south -- and in the north.î

The anti-racism subcommittee responded with an amendment to the resolutionrequiring anti-racism training -- or a pledge to complete it within a year of appointment -- by all people seeking election or appointment to the several standing commissions, other committees of Executive Council, related boards and auxiliary organizations.

During the hearing, Jayne Oasin, the social justice officer on the Church Center staff, recommended all dioceses make anti-racism training a part of their diocesan canons. Some already have taken key steps to incorporate the training into the fabric of the diocese, such as requiring search committees to participate in anti-racism education.

ìAn anti-racism course is not a vaccination,î cautioned Betty Hart, the Province III Anti-Racism Coordinator. ìIt is an ongoing conversation in our lives."

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5/7/04 -j