Becoming Beloved Community Task Force develops vision and call

The Episcopal Church’s Becoming Beloved Community vision frames a path for Episcopalians to address racial injustice and grow as a community of reconcilers, justice-makers and healers who share a passion for living into their calling from of God. This work is not only foundational to our baptismal covenant, but evidence of this call exists throughout the Bible. Consider Romans 12: 2: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

The post-general convention inaugural meeting of the Diocese of Southern Becoming Beloved Community Task Force opened August 4 with an opportunity for all those in attendance to share their visions of our journey toward Becoming Beloved Community. Members responded to a guiding question presented by the Rev. Canon Jane Gerdsen, Missioner for Fresh Expressions and Praxis Communities. Taking Jesus’ mandate and TEC’s vision into account, participants were asked: “What kind of Becoming Beloved Community are you are hoping to create? Individual responses to the question were documented and compiled to develop the task force’s vision and call:

Becoming Beloved Community requires that we heal the wounds by cleaning them…this means telling the truth – the truth of the history of our churches, communities and institutional racism, and by doing the work of truth and reconciliation. Becoming Beloved Communities are places of practice based in love and expressed through the cycle of listening-learning-practicing-growing. Becoming Beloved Community is nana’s house – a place where there are no mirrors that remind us where we have been assigned and a place where we can be authentic, where we belong and are loved. Becoming Beloved Community is a place where we are challenged to live into God’s image and we do this with God’s help. As we work to make the familiar strange, know that *circumstances may call on you to risk standing alone, risk even perhaps your career, religion, relationships, or stature. But when circumstances call on one to risk career, religion, relationships, stature, or life in favor of Christian principles, you and this country will be better for it. You can go elsewhere for a job, relationship, or stature, but you cannot go elsewhere for a soul.

(*Adapted from Jeff Flake’s 2018 Harvard Law School Commencement address)

Task Force members are available to help individuals and congregations develop their ideas about how to implement Becoming Beloved Community in their churches and communities. Contact one of the co-conveners for more information: Cherie Bridges Patrick, St. Matthew’s, Westerville ( or the Rev. Meribah Mansfield (

Becoming Beloved Community Task Force members:
Dianne Ebbs, The Rev. Maggie Foster, The Rev. Canon Jane Gerdsen, The Rev. Rick Incorvati, The Rev. Joanne Leiserson, Marty Lentz, The Rev. Meribah Mansfield, Miriam McKenney, Ariel Miller, The Rev. John Paddock, Cherie Bridges Patrick, The Rev. Canon Lee Anne Reat, Nadya Richardson, Debby Stokes

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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.