On his first day in the office at St Thomas’, Greenville, new Priest-in-Charge Rev. Dante A. Tavolaro had a phone call from the church’s Center for Reconciliation (CFR) liaison. “Let’s DO something,” was her message. The next day, Tavolaro proposed to the vestry that they seize the moment and begin educating the congregation about theracial divisions in our country. The vestry enthusiastically agreed.
St. Thomas’ is mapping out a series of educational opportunities to allow the people of the congregation to learn more about racial reconciliation and while privilege. They will be starting by reading James H. Cone’s “The Cross and the Lynching Tree” using the CFR’s curriculum. Tavolaro has made arrangements with Books on the Square in Providence to purchase a copy of the book for everyone who wants one.
In partnership with The Church of the Redeemer, St Thomas’ is considering a workshop on the topic of Implicit Bias. Redeemer has already begun doing reconciliation work in its community, and the hope is that a connection between the two churches will strengthen both their efforts.
It is not expected that everyone in the congregation will be eager to engage in this work, but Tavolaro believes that any reluctance is part of why the work is needed. He plans to reach out to all members of the congregation and hear all sides.
Ex-members, members of other congregations, members of no congregation are all welcome to learn about and engage with these difficult issues. If you are interested in the work at St Thomas’, contact Tavolaro (firstname.lastname@example.org), and if you are interested in learning more about the work at Redeemer, contact the Rev. Patrick Campbell (email@example.com).