Center for Reconciliation News

The Center for Reconciliation, a ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island, is pleased to announce the appointment of Marco A. McWilliams as Associate Director of Education and Training.

McWilliams is an educator and public scholar of African-American history. He is a Mississippi born activist, educator, and is the founding organizer and former deputy director of the Providence Africana Reading Collective (PARC). Marco is also a founding director of the Black Studies program at DARE, and an organizer with Behind the Walls, DARE’s prison abolition committee. He is the founder of the Providence Black Studies Freedom School, a free political education project focused on providing theoretically grounded and engaged historical instruction for members of Providence’s diverse communities.

Marco is a Program Associate at the Swearer Center where he has served as a Junior Fellow and Practitioner-in-Residence since 2017. He also has a background in community organizing, anti-racism training and workshop facilitation. Currently a core faculty member at College Unbound, he is a member of the Mayor’s African-American Ambassador’s Group, and is a Mayoral appointee to the Special Committee for the Review of Commemorative Works in Providence.

Marco is a graduate of Rhode Island College where he majored in African Studies, and is a Master’s Degree candidate at Brown University, in the Department of American Studies. His field of study is African-American History, mid -19th & 20th Century Black Radical Organizing Traditions. Marco brings his strong background in training and education and a true passion for the work of the Center.

Response from the Center for Reconciliation

The Center for Reconciliation celebrates the lives of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd in all their fullness, beauty, and complexity, along with all those murdered by white supremacy. We deeply grieve their loss, and we deeply grieve the insidious persistence of racism and racial violence throughout the fabric of American law, culture, and society. We cannot bring them back from the dead and restore them to their families and friends, but we can raise our voices.
With this in mind, we call for a lived, present-day commitment to full equality, justice, and love for everyone, including advocacy for the passage and implementation of anti-racist policies and laws. With full equality, justice, and love, we believe, will come true reconciliation of the human family. To create that world, we must peacefully transform this one, and we stand proudly and immovably alongside all those working to do so.

CFR Unveils new Black History Walking Tour

The Center for Reconciliation (CFR) has introduced a new Black history self-led walking tour on the east side of Providence. The tour has 14 stops between the Cathedral of St. John and India Point Park.

Traci Picard, new CFR program & research associate, helped design the tour and participated in announcing its availability in late January at an event featured in the Providence Journal.

The CFR created the new tour in partnership with the Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau, and support from Rhode Island Historical Society and Stages of Freedom. To access the self-guided walking tour map, click here . To learn more or request a group tour, go to the CFR website,

Fighting Bias and Hate

Bias is a human condition, and American history is rife with prejudice against groups and individuals because of their race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or other characteristics. As a nation, we’ve made a lot of progress, but stereotyping and unequal treatment persist.

When bias motivates an unlawful act, it is considered a hate crime. Most hate crimes are inspired by race and religion, but hate today wears many faces. Bias incidents (eruptions of hate where no crime is committed) also tear communities apart and can escalate into actual crimes.

Since 2010, law enforcement agencies have reported an average of about 6,000 hate crime incidents per year to the FBI. But government studies show that the real number is far higher — an estimated 260,000 per year. Many hate crimes never get reported, in large part because the victims are reluctant to go to the police. In addition, many law enforcement agencies are not fully trained to recognize or investigate hate crimes, and many simply do not collect or report hate crime data to the FBI.

The good news is, all over the country people are fighting hate, standing up to promote tolerance and inclusion. More often than not, when hate flares up, good people rise up against it — often in greater numbers and with stronger voices.

This guide sets out 10 principles for fighting hate in your community.

DOWNLOAD Ten Ways to Fight Hate
36 pg. guide by the Southern Poverty Law Center

If you’re reading this post, you probably want to “do something” about hate. You are not alone. Questions like these arrive daily at the Southern Poverty Law Center. When a hate crime occurs or a hate group rallies, good people often feel helpless. We encourage you to act, for the following reasons:

1. Hate is an open attack on tolerance and acceptance.

It must be countered with acts of goodness. Sitting home with your virtue does no good. In the face of hate, silence is deadly. Apathy will be interpreted as acceptance — by the perpetrators, the public, and — worse — the victims. If left unchallenged, hate persists and grows.

2. Hate is an attack on a community’s health.

Hate tears society along racial, ethnic, gender, and religious lines. The U.S. Department of Justice warns that hate crimes, more than any other crime, can trigger community conflict, civil disturbances, and even riots. For all their “patriotic” rhetoric, hate groups and their imitators are really trying to divide us; their views are fundamentally anti-democratic. True patriots fight hate.

3. Hate escalates.

Take seriously the smallest hint of hate — even what appears to be simple name-calling. The Department of Justice again has a warning: Slurs often escalate to harassment, harassment to threats, and threats to physical violence. Don’t wait to fight hate.

DOWNLOAD Ten Ways to Fight Hate

Center for Reconciliation


The Center for Reconciliation fosters interracial reconciliation through programs that educate, inspire and engage. We envision a time when people of all races are reconciled to one another.

To learn more, go to the CFR website:

The Center for Reconciliation is based at the Cathedral of St. John, where they share space with three partner groups: Church Beyond the Walls (, Rhode Island for Community and Justice ( and the diocese’s new Young Adult Ministries Office.

The Center for Reconciliation is a place where people can experience and participate in the work of reconciliation. The CFR hosts performances, lectures and educational experiences where people can be transformed and learn how to become reconcilers. We are developing exhibits that explore the intersection of faith and the slave trade in Rhode Island and New England. A traveling exhibit of six panels is now available on loan along with a presenter; a permanent exhibit is being developed for the lower hall of the Cathedral.

While the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island is taking the lead in organizing the Center for Reconciliation, this project will be an effort that engages the city, state and even partners from around the nation. Several of our area colleges and universities are already finding multiple ways to join this effort as are a wide range of organizations.

You can help!

  • Share names of people and organizations you think would be interested in this vision.
  • Tell us about programs you’d like to see as part of the Center for Reconciliation
  • Help us identify donors, foundations and granting agencies who can help fund this
  • Contribute your gift or volunteer to help one of the program teams

To send us suggestions, to volunteer, to help or to sign up to receive updates about this project sign up for the Center’s E-Newsletter.

Consider making a gift to the Center for Reconciliation. Gifts can be made online or mailed to:

The Center for Reconciliation
c/o The Diocese of Rhode Island
275 North Main Street, Providence, RI 02903

Becoming Beloved Community

As the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement, we dream and work to foster Beloved Communities where all people may experience dignity and abundant life and see themselves and others as beloved children of God. The Becoming Beloved Community Vision Document and accompanying resources help us to understand and take up the long-term commitments necessary to form loving, liberating and life-giving relationships with each other. Together, we are growing as reconcilers, justice-makers, and healers in the name of Christ.

Becoming Beloved Community represents not so much a set of programs as a journey, a set of interrelated commitments around which Episcopalians may organize our many efforts to respond to racial injustice and grow a community of reconcilers, justice-makers, and healers.

The labyrinth may be an even more useful image for engaging the vision. On the road toward reconciliation and healing, we move around corners and double back into quadrants we have visited before, each time discovering new revelation and challenge. There is no single path for every person or even every Episcopalian. People will draw on different resources and experiences and come to diverse answers to similar questions. At the same time, we hope you find it energizing to take up this common spiritual practice of walking and reflection. Transformation may run deeper and broader if/when we pool our wisdom and resources as the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement.


Telling the Truth
  • Who are we?
  • What things have we done and left undone regarding racial justice and healing?
Proclaiming the Dream
  • How can we publicly acknowledge things done and left undone?
  • What does Beloved Community look like in this place?
  • What behaviors and commitments will foster reconciliation, justice, and healing?
Practicing the Way of Love
  • How will we grow as reconcilers, healers, and justice-bearers?
  • How will we actively grow relationship across dividing walls and seek Christ in the other?
Repairing the Breach
  • What institutions and systems are broken?
  • How will we participate in repair, restoration, and healing of people, institutions, and systems?


DOWNLOAD resources:

Becoming_Beloved_Community_Summary – 2 pg. overview

Becoming Beloved Community…Where You Are — 8 pg. resource for individuals, congregations & communities seeking racial healing, reconciliation and justice

becoming_beloved_community_vision — 23 pg. outline of the vision and program

Beloved_Community_Advent_Resource_2018 — 10 pg Advent Resource




Beloved Community StorySharing Guide

In StorySharing, we tell our own stories and welcome other’s stories of what matters most. Through StorySharing, you will articulate the many ways you have experienced God’s presence and the many ways you experience your own life, your racial and cultural identity, and the differences God has planted throughout all of creation.

You will begin to find language to share what is true and holy and hopeful and challenging and loving with those you encounter in your everyday life. And you will learn about creating hospitable, respectful, generous space for others to do the same.

All this talk may sound evangelistic. Well, that’s because evangelism is what disciples do. Evangelism is simply the spiritual practice that allows us to seek, name, and celebrate the loving presence of Jesus in our lives, and to invite the people around us to grow their own relationships with God. We share the love of God we have found in Jesus not to fill our pews or to make the parish budget. We share the love of God so that we may become agents of good news and reconciliation in our churches, communities, and in the world. That is what StorySharing is all about.

This Guidebook includes several designs for StorySharing, all of which you can customize to your unique ministry context:

1. Exploratory: Coffee Hour, Bible study, meetings

2. Formation Series for youth & adults: Four to six sessions of 90 minutes each

3. Mini-Retreat: 3-5 hour session

4. Way of Life: Tools for integrating StorySharing into ministry and personal life


Download Beloved_Community_StorySharing_Guidebook
40 page reproducible guidebook