becoming-beloved-communityBecoming Beloved Community (BBC)

Mission of the Becoming Beloved Community Committee

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 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 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?

But just like a labyrinth walk, this journey for individuals and a church community moves around corners and doubles back into quadrants we have visited before, each time discovering new revelation and challenge. 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.

In the short time since our inception, we have

  • created a book list with books purchased for the library and available for checking out
  • conducted a book discussion for adults and youth separately using Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
  • sponsored two presentations
    • Isabel Thornton on “Affordable Housing for a More Just Community”
    • Joe Cobb on his research that led to “Honoring Their Breaths,” telling the history of City Farm, Old Lick and Coyner Springs cemeteries

both presentations are available on the church’s YouTube channel – Christ Episcopal Roanoke

  • participated in the cleanup project of Old Lick Cemetery
  • collaborated with Commonwealth Catholic Charities (CCC) to collect coats for Afghan refugee families newly resettled in Roanoke

Much work has been done and great work is ahead of us. Thanks be to God!