This past Saturday, at the end of the third week of Advent, December 19th, 2020, I was ordained to the transitional diaconate by Bishop Robert Wright at the Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta. It was a simple and beautiful service and I am so grateful for the movement of the Spirit in my life. I am grateful for all the encouragement and support from family and friends. I am excited about the future!

In Bishop Wright’s sermon there was a line towards the end that immediately imprinted itself on my soul, and I think I will carry it throughout my ministry. “Today you are being ordained in the wilderness, for the wilderness, at the behest of a wilderness God.”

The wilderness is a challenging place on the margins where people have stepped (or been pushed) outside of the established societal expectations and the status quo. That is exactly where God is. That is exactly where John was sent. In the midst of a pandemic, in an empty church, with little pomp and circumstance, that is where we were being ordained. That is where we are being called to serve. What a powerful vision.

Ordination to the Diaconate

In just three weeks I will be ordained in the The Diocese of Atlanta!

Almost 10 years ago I heard a call to become an Episcopal priest. Since then I have been praying, discerning, studying, and preparing and now on December 19, 2020 at 2:00pm Eastern I will be ordained to the transitional diaconate at the Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta. After working for a few months as a deacon, God willing and the people consenting, I will be ordained as priest after I graduate from seminary in May. You can join in the service online here: https://www.episcopalatlanta.org/event/ordination-to-the-transitional-diaconate-livestream-dec-19/.

I hope you will continue to keep me in your prayers as I continue to discern how God is calling me to serve the Church and the world. Thanks for your love and support!

¡En menos de un mes voy a ser ordenado en la Diócesis de Atlanta!

Hace casi 10 años que comencé a escuchar un llamado a ser sacerdote episcopal. Desde entonces he estado orando, discerniendo, estudiando y preparándome y ahora, el 19 de diciembre de 2020 a las 2:00 pm hora del Este, voy a ser ordenado al diaconado de transición en la Catedral de San Felipe en Atlanta. Después de trabajar unos meses como diácono, si Dios quiere y la gente consiente, voy a ordenado sacerdote después de graduarme del seminario en mayo.Se publicará una invitación formal, pero puede unirse al servicio en línea aquí: https://www.episcopalatlanta.org/event/ordination-to-the-transitional-diaconate-livestream-dec-19/.

Espero que continúen manteniéndome en sus oraciones mientras continúo discerniendo cómo Dios me está llamando a servir a la Iglesia y al mundo. Gracias por su amor y apoyo!

Healing Hymns

All this semester our seminary’s blog, Sowing Holy Questions, is featuring stories, poems, songs, and reflections from faculty and students on the work of racial healing. This week I had the opportunity to share a song I wrote for the blog inspired by the Christ Hymn in Philippians 2. I’ve posted a video version of the blog here and you can click the link above to read all the posts from the series.

A note to the white church: resources to build Trinitarian unity and diversity

As I mention in today’s sermon, much of the division we see in the world today comes at the hands of the Church, particularly that part of the Church whose members are white.

Slavery and segregation were both defended in large part by the white Church. Even today, we who carry white privilege have a difficult time seeing racism in ourselves and in the world around us. Some of us actively deny it. Others who see it in others can’t see it in ourselves. Having white privilege doesn’t mean we haven’t had challenges, but it does mean those challenges do not come from being part of a historically racially oppressed group of people. We do not carry the generational trauma inherited from those who were enslaved. We do not experience violence, prejudice, suspicion, or micro-aggressions in public spaces for not looking like most of those around us.

Some of us can’t read the paragraphs above without feeling angry and defensive. Our defensiveness is a sign of the need to practice repentance. The practice of repentance is not just for those we have harmed (though it is crucial if we mean to stop harming them), but it is also for the benefit of our own journey with Christ.

I want to offer a few resources to you that might help you work through your feelings of defensiveness and frustration and work towards repentance and justice. Please contact me if you need a dialogue partner to work through some of these. I’m not a person of color or an expert on racial justice but I may be able to help connect you with those who are. Another great idea is to start a book club with some friends to work through these resources.

If we answer the call of Christ to embody the work of the Trinity in our communities, to affirm unity and diversity in loving relationship, it is essential that we as white people do the work of reflection on our own experience of race and privilege and repent when we uncover the ways we have fallen short.

Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing
We are very fortunate in the Diocese of Atlanta to be the home of the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing directed by Dr. Catherine Meeks. This is an Episcopal community here in the Diocese of Atlanta which offers trainings and resources for the work of racial justice and healing. All church staff, leadership, and vestry are required to go through its training on Dismantling Racism, but all are welcome and are encouraged to participate in these trainings!

Explore the website: http://www.centerforracialhealing.org/ 

Dr. Catherine Meeks
Dr. Catherine Meeks, who directs the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing, is a powerful voice for racial healing and justice. Here are a few podcasts and videos from her:

Finding Brave Spaces, a YouTube Series by Dr. Meeks

A Brave Space with Dr. Meeks (A Podcast Series)

A Time of Lament: A Recent Service from St. Luke’s in Atlanta with Dr. Meeks and the Rev. Ed Bacon

A Discussion of Racial Healing from the Episcopal Youth Ministry in ATL Podcast

Key Books on White Privilege and the Work of Anti-Racism:

White Fragility: Why its So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism by Robin DeAngelo 
This book is extremely helpful for white people to reflect on what it means to be white in America, something we rarely think about.

How to Be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi
This book is wonderful about clearly defining terms, such as racism, anti-racism, colorism, etc. The major claim of the book is that nothing is ever neutral. It is either racist or anti-racist (either discriminatory/ oppressive or inclusionary/liberative).

me and white supremacy by Layla F. Saad
This is another book for white people to do the work of reflecting on their own racial identity and its role in society. This one, however, includes questions and journaling assingments. It’s a workbook! And it would be excellent to use in a book study with others (that’s what I’ll be doing this summer).

Martin Luther King Jr. on White Moderates

Martin Luther King Jr. has become less of a controversial figure today and is widely praised for his work of racial justice during the civil rights movement. Even then he had much to say to who he called the white moderates. Many of us might even classify ourselves that way today. We are politically moderates or centrists. Some of us may say we are progressives and actually moderates. In any case, here are two things (a letter and a speech) from MLK that give the white community a lot to think about.

Letter From a Birmingham Jail

The Other America

The Episcopal Church’s Exhaustive List of Resources for Addressing Racism