The Ministry of Racial Diversity (MRD)

Mission:

The Ministry of Racial Diversity at St. Barnabas Church seeks to expunge racism from the lives of people within our church and community and to promote diversity, and equality utilizing Christian faith, personal witness, dialogue and education.

Who we are:

As the Ministry of Racial Diversity celebrates its 13th anniversary at St. Barnabas it has intentionally engaged several primary goals, which are to:
• Follow Diocese of New Jersey’s 20 Year Vision as a guide toward inclusion and respect for all
• Promote and encourage diversity training and educational opportunities for vestry members and the congregation
• Deepen our cross-racial multi-cultural relationships within the church and community

In our journey to cultivate a respectful community environment as demonstrated by the range of activities planned, supported and sponsored over the years, we have participated in diversity training; conferences; diocese sponsored activities; current events, videos and book discussions; group luncheons/dinners; and inclusive celebrations of our friendships and our common Christian values.

To strengthen our commitment within the church community and advocate for a truly anti-racism community, MRD members have organized, planned or been involved with several enterprising activities. Some of these are highlighted here as examples:

Planning February 2019 presentation of “Sweet Georgia Brown: Impact, Courage, Sacrifice and Will” documentary for the church community. The film is directed and produced by Somerset, NJ resident, Lawrence E. Walker, who will facilitate a discussion following the viewing
• Organized a bus tour to visit the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC for the church community
• Lead effort to develop the St. Barnabas Cookbook, Cooking with Grace, that consist of favorite family recipes of parishioners
• Organize a group tour of the Liberty Science Exhibit: Race: Are We So Different, in Jersey City; and Lunch at a Portuguese Restaurant in Newark, NJ
• Hosted local Historian, James Shackleford, to share his findings of burial sites of former slaves in South Brunswick and Franklin Townships in New Jersey
• Hosted Anti-Racism training in the church and supported Anti-Racism training provided by the Diocese of New Jersey and the Crossroads organization
• Plan annual International Sunday celebrations with emphasis on valuing different cultures
• Plan annual International Dinners, where six different food stations are offered, representing a sampling of American, African, Asian, Caribbean, European, and Spanish food
• Recognizes Black History month in newsletter or similar; honors Absalom Jones, the first Episcopal African American Priest; and pays respect to all U.S. Military Veterans at St. Barnabas within their respective time frame
• Organized several Friendship February activities
o Encourages Parish members to invite another member or family of a different cultural background into their home or other for conversation, refreshments, movie or similar inexpensive activity
• Held discussions of videos, documentaries, current news and conferences, on such topics as Implicit Bias; Robert Kennedy’s talk on the death of Martin Luther King; The Right Reverent William H. Stokes, Diocese of New Jersey’s statement on the shootings in Orlando, Florida; the video, RACE: The Difference Between Us (Part I) & The Story We Tell (Part II) by the California Newsreel; and the movie: 12 Angry Men.
• Small group celebrations are usually planned to follow the Christmas Holidays for fellowship in either the church or a private home
• Meetings are generally conducted monthly and are open to all St. Barnabas parishioners

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