Why Begin By Focusing on Race and Racial Reconciliation?

The journey toward Becoming Beloved Community requires a constant “striving towards” our commitment. That “striving for” will be accompanied by continually falling short of our efforts towards striving. During these times, frequent missteps, mistakes, tensions, confusion, conflict, and fear  will be encountered and can be leveraged for opportunities of learning and growth.

As a leadership team, our own collective understanding of Becoming Beloved Community is a dynamic and iterative process that requires continual on the ground and distanced perspectives. Our growing understanding of Becoming Beloved Community and it’s focus on race is summarized below:

Because race and its primary goals of separation and control is one of – if not the primary – commonalities that we all share, it offers a way for us to explore, engage in and practice the values and foundation of a Beloved Community. This commonality finds connection to everything – even Creation Care which is also part of the foundation of Becoming Beloved Community. Our fears and subsequent separation constantly pit us against the very things that make this world livable. Our fear even pits us against the very planet that sustains us. Within my entire being, I too dream of a Beloved Community that allows each of us to live into who we are created to be – to live into our full potential – to be liberated. Blocking the path of liberation for us all, simply put, is race – separation and control. Using the truth about race and racism as a lens to explore the Beloved Community sheds light on the reality that no one escapes from racial (or any other type of) oppression – not one of us. Each of us are deeply wounded and in one way or another are blocked from that liberation that I believe we all seek. 

Our work then, is not only to be in opposition to the endemic fear, hatred and mistrust that has been a part of everyday life, our work is primarily for us to live into a loving, liberating, and life-giving people engaged in the process of Becoming Beloved Community.

Note: This was shared with the Diocesan Council on June 22, 2019.

Cherie Bridges Patrick
Cherie Bridges Patrick, MSSW, LISW-S, is the founder and administrator of Paradox Cross-Cultural Consulting, Training and Empowerment, LLC (Paradox). True to its name, Paradox seeks to “make the familiar strange” by changing what we know and the ways we talk about race and racism through social change coaching, consulting and workshops. Ms. Patrick is an adjunct professor for the Simmons College School of Social Work online MSW program where she teaches The Dynamics of Racism and Oppression. Cherie is also a contract facilitator for the Ohio Child Welfare Training Program and facilitates full-day, continuing education trainings on racial inequity and working with refugees for social workers, clinicians, teachers, and administrators. Cherie is a member of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Westerville where she has facilitated Lenten reading groups around race-related issues and advises on their refugee engagement and support work. Additionally, she is a co-convener of The Becoming Beloved Community Task Force in the Diocese of Southern Ohio of The Episcopal Church, brought together to help congregations develop ways to heal from racial injustice and grow as a community of reconcilers. Cherie received a Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Tennessee, a Bachelor of Social Work from Capital University, and holds an Associate of Science Degree in Organizational Leadership from Franklin University. In July 2018 she completed her third year in the PhD program at Antioch University’s Graduate School of Leadership and Change where her academic focus is around the ways racism and resistance are (re)produced and maintained in everyday conversations. Cherie will receive her PhD in 2019.