becoming-beloved-communityBecoming Beloved Community (BBC)

Mission of the Becoming Beloved Community Committee

The Reverend Melissa Hays-Smith’s (DOD 9.16.2022) diaconate ministry focused on social justice, and specifically through establishing the national church’s Becoming Beloved Community. Under her leadership, the Racial Reconciliation Circle was planted to begin our journey of becoming a beloved community. In 2021, Christ Church established a formal committee of the Vestry, indicating the long-term commitment of Christ Church Roanoke to Becoming Beloved Community. It represents not so much a set of programs, but more a journey of responding to racial and social injustice as a community of reconcilers, justice-makers, and healers, following the example of Christ Jesus. It is a way of being a church in the world, not simply a social outreach of the church.

The image offered by The Episcopal Church for Becoming Beloved Community is that of a labyrinth with four identified quadrants that also relate to our Baptismal Covenant. These proclamations align with our Baptismal Covenant intentionally to show the way Christ intended us to live. They are:

    1. Truth-Telling about Our Churches and Race – Will you persevere in resisting evil, and whenever you fall into sin, repent, and return to the Lord?
    2. Repairing the Breach in Institutions and Society – Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?
    3. Proclaiming the Dream of Beloved Community – Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ?
    4. Practicing the Way of Love in the Pattern of Jesus – Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?

Using the labyrinth as the visual guide for the journey, our Christ Church Family has been encouraged to start individual journeys somewhere along the labyrinth’s four quadrants. But just like a labyrinth walk, this journey moves around corners and doubles back into quadrants we have visited before, and each time we discover new revelations and challenges. There is no single path for every person. People will draw on different resources and experiences and come to diverse answers to similar questions.

Beginning the summer of 2021, we met to plan opportunities for study, action, and “unlearning” about race and community. The steering team, made up of Melissa Hays-Smith, Virginia Sweet, and Kristin Tadlock-Bell, brought together an inter-generational committee, including Boo Pack, Charlie Osterhoudt, Austin White, Jonah Barge, Patricia Cope-Levy, Mary Atwell, and Diane McGuire. Jan Therien began coordinating a Christ Church response to the needs of Afghan Refugees coming to the Roanoke community.

Since then, we have been very active in 3 main areas of social justice – racial reconciliation, refugee resettlement, and LGBTQIA+ support. Learn more about each group’s work in the parish and the community below. To see our past public events, check out the BBC Playlist on YouTube.

 

Our Becoming Beloved Community Sub-Groups

Learn more about the work our committees are doing to experience others’ truths, promote justice and reconciliation, and to heal ourselves and our community.

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 Racial Reconciliation Circle

Afghan Resettlement Ministry

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LGBTQIA+ Support