MTR Provincial Resources Racial Justice and Healing Resources Synod

Report to the Synod of 2022 From: Moravian Team for Racial, Cultural and Ethnic Reconciliation

Report to the Synod of 2022 From: Moravian Team for Racial, Cultural and Ethnic Reconciliation

Mission, Purpose, and Values: The Moravian Team for Racial, Cultural and Ethnic Reconciliation (MTR) was reformed by the 2018 Synod to continue work regarding racial reconciliation, the elimination of institutional racism, and the fostering of diversity in churches of the Southern Province.

Responsibilities: per 2018 Synod Resolution 19: to “develop resources, materials, experiences and programs to assist congregations and the Province in engaging the tasks to which the Statement [on Racism and the Church] calls the church.”

Summary of Activities: (including positive resources or gifts identified in your work)

The MTR re-formed in 2018 under the leadership of the Right Reverend Carol Foltz. Sister Carol served until mid-2020; Sister Betsy Bombick then began serving as coordinator.

Members of the team (representing at least ten different congregations) serving in the past 4 years have included the following: Adreann Belle, Don Belle, Betsy Bombick, Greta Boyd, Evette Campbell, Frank Crouch, Carol Foltz, David Guthrie, John Jackman, Judy Knopf, Barbara Morris, Brenda Peoples, Angelica Regalado-Cieza, Neil Routh, Tina Spach, and Madi White. The Team has typically been meeting monthly. In Spring 2020, in response to the COVID pandemic, the Team switched to Zoom/online meetings, which has limited participation by some and allow participation by others. The Team is continuing to meet by Zoom.

Accomplishments:

  • 2018: Joint screening of the movie “A Class Divided” in cooperation with Old Salem; held at the St. Philips brick church.
  • 2019-2020: Development and distribution of a booklet “Continuing the Journey of Racial Reconciliation”, which includes the following:
    • Introduction
    • A Statement on Racism and the Church
    • Moravians and Slavery: a Brief Summary
    • Resolution 19 (Synod 2018): Continuing the Journey of Reconciliation o Resolution 24 (Synod 2006): Racial Reconciliation
  • 2020: Development of Resources on the Moravian Church Southern Provincial Website:
    • “Some Resources on Racism and Antiracism”
    • “Racism and Antiracism: Steps We Can Take”
    • “Continuing the Journey of Racial Reconciliation”
  • 2020: Leadership of Moravian Ministry Association meeting on our work
  • 2020: Sponsorship of the movie “Best of Enemies” followed by discussion at Trinity Moravian 2
  • 2021: APCE (Association of Partners in Christian Education) membership enabling access to Crossroads Antiracism video training—to be used by the MTR, and available for training throughout the Province (provincially and/or congregationally)
  • 2021: began quarterly meetings by Zoom with the Northern Province Racial Justice Team, and collaborated on interprovincial programs: the Advent Series, the Lenten Series, the Moravian Ministers’ retreat with David J. Hooker. Racism is a national problem that calls for joint interprovincial work on behalf of the church and the world.
  • 2021-2022: Establishment of a “Salem Walk” subgroup (Betsy Bombick, David Guthrie, John D Rights, Frank Crouch) which developed and implemented Salem Walk. Salem Walk is a two-hour opportunity to learn about the lives of three Black Moravians enslaved in Salem in the time between 1772-1861. The experience includes a “walking education,” discussion, and worship. Salem Walks were conducted in August and November 2021, and February and March 2022. Walks were also scheduled for April and May, and more are planned for later in the year. As of April 7, 2022, approximately 100 people, mostly Moravians, have participated.
  • 2021 ongoing: participation in the Episcopalian-Moravian Racial Justice Group (Neil Routh and Frank Crouch): a cooperative effort between the Moravian and Episcopal churches to develop resources to provide a three-part webinar series (coming in fall 2022) that explores a fuller picture of our churches’ complicity with and resistance to racism, slavery, and their legacies up to the Civil War, during the period of Reconstruction and Jim Crow, and into the present day.
  • 2022: drafted a letter that was finalized and sent by the Provincial Elders Conference regarding a news story on the local Winston-Salem / Wake Forest University WFDD radio station on enslavement by the Moravians in the Salem area
  • 2022: conducted program and participated in discussion with Rolling Hills Moravian Church, focused on antiracism efforts of the church (most specifically the Moravian church).
  • 2022: prepared and submitted two proposals for Synod 2022
    • Proclaiming the Gospel in Times of Controversy
    • Continuing the Journey of Reconciliation
  • 2022: Leadership of April Moravian Ministry Association Meeting

Individual MTR members also participated in related activities that were not organized by the MTR but were significantly related to our work:

  • Membership on the Hidden Town Advisory Committee, a community committee providing advisory support of the Old Salem, Inc “Hidden town” initiative, researching and publicizing the lives of African Americans in Salem
  • Leadership of online courses on antiracism, coordinated by the Board of Cooperative Ministries in Summer 2020: Study of the book Color of Compromise and a study titled “Okay, White People”.
  • Leading, developing and participating in programs and events that help our congregations, communities and the Southern Province understand our past and present witness, create connections across lines that divide us, promote healing, and lead to action for the sake of justice.

Future Direction and Opportunities

The MTR is planning the following:

  • Continue providing Salem Walks at least through the remainder of 2022
  • Produce and provide a series of videos of Southern Provincial Moravians talking about racism and antiracism
  • Conduct a retreat and antiracism training for the Team itself.
  • Provide more opportunities for antiracism education for Moravians—provincially and interprovincially—that will better equip us to respond to God’s call for justice
  • Regular updates to the website
  • Continued quarterly meetings and joint projects with the Northern Province’s Racial Justice Team
  • Work with a broader range of groups in the Province or the larger Moravian Church to address needs for racial, cultural and ethnic reconciliation