rev Claudia JiménezWhat’s happening with our goal of working to become an anti-racist congregation? The Racial Justice Advisory Council (RJAC) has been meeting twice a month since the board’s invitation to the congregation to work toward this goal. Our team members are Noah Hall, Eleanor Lane, Melissa Murphy, Ed Prestemon and Missy Read. I serve as staff liaison. Initially, we focused on identifying a tool to assess where we are as a congregation on the journey to becoming anti-racist, and to set a timeline for collecting feedback, organizing focus groups and providing a report with recommendations to the board. Whew! We also discussed the importance of having an external accountability partner with equity training and leadership experience to support the council’s work. As I interviewed possible partners, I learned a lot from our conversations. It became apparent that we were trying to rush into creating a timeline without laying the groundwork for the committee to do this work. Each person I spoke to emphasized the importance of the council doing their own work to develop a shared analysis of what we mean by anti-racism, multiculturalism, diversity and racial justice, and how these concepts relate to our goal of an anti-racist congregation. As a result of these conversations, our meetings now include grounding work as well as preparations for rolling out an assessment tool. We have also created a communication plan to keep you informed of our progress through the e-News, website, Facebook and worship during “The Work of the Congregation.” All of this will be launched with a congregational letter that will be shared in March. I am grateful and excited to be on this journey with such a committed team. As we prepare to transition to interim ministry, exploring what kind of congregation we want to be when we emerge from pandemic isolation will support the work of the interim minister we will welcome in August. Along the way, your feedback and questions are welcome.

Rev. Claudia Jiménez, Minister of Faith Development