Black Lives Matter. Period. No ifs, no ands, no buts.
As a faith community, The Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto celebrates the full diversity of God’s creation and names the failure to do so… a sin.
As a Human Rights committed organization we unequivocally support those addressing systemic racism in our society and seek to address barriers to full inclusion.
We commend and encourage those seeking justice through protests, activism, and education and stand in solidarity with them. For we too dream of a world where there is equality, that can only come through addressing systemic racism in all institutions, including our own.
Under the leadership of Senior Pastor Emeritus Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes MCC Toronto began “The Healing Racism Initiative” in 2016 in response to rising racial tensions within the congregation and wider LGBTQ2+ after the largely queer led Black Lives Matter Movement stopped the Toronto Pride Parade.
Since 2016, The Healing Racism Initiative has held several day-long anti-racism workshops which have brought dozens of congregants and community members together with topics including, “Recognizing Privilege”, “Creating Safe Spaces for People of Colour to Share” and “White People Educating White People About Race”.
The work of addressing systemic racism continues with our recent book study in February 2020 on David Seitz’s “House of Prayer for All People: Contesting Citizenship in a Queer Church” a book specifically written on race relations at MCC Toronto.
In 2019 we engaged in indigenous issues with Kairos’ “Blanket Exercise”, a sermon series on the “7 Sacred Teachings” and continue to acknowledge the traditional territories on which we gather.
We annually acknowledge Black History Month and for the first time in 2020 celebrated Asian Heritage Month. We will continue to engage resources to educate and address systemic racism, anti-black racism, and seek to de-colonize in all we do…. Using an anti-oppressive framework and regularly asking “what barriers are there to full inclusion” in our hiring processes, in church programs, and in worship. We seek to build representation and visible diversity in our Board of Governors and public-facing programs without relying on tokenism.
BUT…We must also confess that there is still much work we need to do, individually and collectively, because racism is SYSTEMIC.
The religious tradition of confession is to own our shortcomings and commit to doing better and being better. We will continue to confess and try again until we get it right and achieve authentic equality which will only come through equity.
While the work of MCC Toronto’s Healing Racism Initiative has lost some steam, we recognize the work must continue. If you are interested in joining and re-energizing our Healing Racism Initiative please talk to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime we encourage congregants and community members to educate themselves on the lived realities of racialized and indigenous Canadians and minority communities globally, to join protests in their communities following COVID-19 safety protocols. And to remember, as one of the songs often sung at our 7 p.m. Inspiration Service says, “None of us are free, until all of us are free.”
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