Mission and goals of the commission
The mission and goals of the Commission are “to promote greater understanding, training and practice of dismantling racism and furthering reconciliation and justice, both by laity and clergy within the Church.”
“Reconciliation is the spiritual practice of seeking loving, liberating and life-giving relationship with God and one another, and striving to heal and transform injustice and brokenness in ourselves, our communities, institutions and society.”
(from The Episcopal Church’s Racial Reconciliation Team)
Matthew Lincoln (chair), Heather Armstrong, Ursuline Bankhead, Erin Betz-Shank, Ellen Brauza, Martha Chambers, Michelle Cray, Joseph Croskey, Ann Dutton, Stacey Fussell, Helen Harper, Robert Harvey, Lisa Layman, Diana Leiker, Denise Merriweather, Leann McConchie, Sara Nesbitt, Hal Payne, Laura Peretic, John Ranney, Kim Rossi, Rose Sconiers, Faith Stewart, Ann Tillman, Thomas Tripp, Susan Woods
The Diocese of Western New York’s Commission to Dismantle Racism and Discrimination was reborn in September 2018 when the Very Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas, dean of Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological Seminary, visited the diocese to meet with the commission and give a public lecture.
“She presented fascinating information on the origins of racism in this country and on the particular ways segregation remains a significant issue in Buffalo, and she challenged us with her call that it isn’t up to Black people to explain racism to white people,” Canon Cathy Dempesy-Sims said. “Rather, it is up to white people to make the effort to listen and learn from others on how to bridge the divide that leads to the indiscriminate murders of Black people in this country.”
In the spring of 2019, the Bishop James Theodore Holly Chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians (UBE), which includes several commission members, hosted the UBE’s Northeast Regional Conference in Niagara Falls. The weekend event included conversations based on Becoming Beloved Community, the Episcopal Church’s vision document on racial reconciliation, which includes the four quadrants of the Becoming Beloved Community labyrinth: telling the truth, repairing the breach, proclaiming the dream, and practicing the way of love. The conversations were designed to help shape the action plan of the commission. Read a summary of the conversations.
To learn more about the commission and its work, email:
The Rev. Matt Lincoln, chair
The Honorable Rose Sconiers, first vice chair