My name is Michael Ralph and I’m the rector of St. Luke’s Church in Granville. I’m happy to say that St. Luke’s has made Becoming Beloved Committee a focus for ministry during this program year. We began our journey as a parish during the summer. In the midst of all the racial unrest after the death of George Floyd, several of us began to gather on Monday evenings for a time of outdoor and socially distanced prayers for social justice and peace. But we wanted to go further in our discussions of social justice as we understood that action must accompany prayers. So we planned a parish event centered around the movie Just Mercy, a true story about Bryan Stevenson, a young Harvard-educated lawyer who moves to Alabama to work on behalf of poor clients who cannot afford proper legal representation. He soon becomes the lawyer for Walter McMillion, an African-American unjustly convicted of murder and placed on death row. We had a wonderful response to this program. Twenty-five parishioners participated in a zoom discussion about the movie. Out of those discussions came the clear message from St. Luke’s parishioners that we wanted to go still further in our discussion of racial and social justice.
Upon further discussions came our collective desire to engage with the Becoming Beloved Community initiative. I’m happy to say that we presented the initiative at our September vestry meeting and vestry voted unanimously to endorse BBC as a focus for ministry during the program year. I’m happy to say we have already begun the process here at St. Luke’s. Fifteen members of the church are currently enrolled in our offering of The Way of Love series and we are already receiving interest for the Sacred Ground series. I’m delighted that we have wonderful leadership for the BBC from members of our church. The Rev. Mary Raysa, the Rev. John Kaufman, Dr. Jimi James, and Dr. Mary Tuominen have thrown themselves into this important and holy work, something every parish priest loves to see. As we continue our journey, I’m especially pleased that so many other parishes in our diocese are fellow sojourners on the way. Thank you for welcoming us into your presence. I pray that our work together, in some small way, makes this world a better and more loving place.
With much love,
The Rev. Michael Ralph
St. Luke’s Church