How should the white Church’s participation in chattel slavery change what we believe about Holy Communion?
The Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops has called white supremacy the most present sin in Western culture today. From Manifest Destiny to owning slaves, from opposing Civil Rights to continuing to hoard wealth from stolen land and stolen people, the Church continues to live in broken communion. Yet Jesus requires communion with neighbor to be in communion with him.
How then could or should we understand our sacramental life in the midst of such brokenness? Our longing to be joined to the life of our Savior challenges us to ask, “how does our history of white supremacy affect what we believe and what we teach about Holy Eucharist?”
Together, using our shared history, our common present, and our Eucharistic practice in conversation with Womanist pedagogy (of the Rev. Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon) and the work of Black theologians (including the Rev. Dr. Chanequa Walker Barnes), we will:
- Build a short-term learning community to claim our freedom and exercise our authority to explore our sacramental faith.
- Reflect theologically on Holy Eucharist in light of the white Church’s historic participation in chattel slavery and ongoing participation in white supremacy.
- Plan-for strategic actions as next faithful steps in our lifelong work of undoing white supremacy and its ongoing effects in our church.