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"Love one another" signs express congregation's commitment to racial justice

St. Luke and St. Mary's church buildings in Hope (left) and Belvidere (right).
John Webb
St. Luke and St. Mary's church buildings in Hope (left) and Belvidere (right).

The Episcopal Church of St. Luke and St. Mary, Hope and Belvidere has two new signs linking our commitment to racial justice and acting as disciples of Jesus. Designed by our resident artist, John Hovell, these "Love one another" signs hang at the front of our two church buildings in Hope and Belvidere. Parishioners have also ordered lawn signs of the same designs to display them in their front yards. One sign is placed for view by those floating down the nearby Delaware River.

In the weeks following the killing of George Floyd, a dozen church members met by ZOOM on Wednesday evenings in a "Circle around Racism" led by the Rev. Laurie Matarazzo, to learn more about racism and to open our minds and hearts to change. Learning together about white privilege, hurtfulness of monuments glorifying slavery and oppression, meaningful reparations and suppressed truth about lynching and terror has been transformative. The last three weeks, a parishioner has taken the lead to practice anti-racism guided by the 12 Steps. A few of our parishioners attended the protests early on.

We have a variety of experience that we bring to each other, with parishioners who grew up in the South, upper New York State and around New Jersey. We do want to learn, to let the learning change us, and to take action as we can. Somehow, it seems that being in the midst of a pandemic has made us able to focus our attention in a way we might not have been able to if life had been “normal.” We will continue this group and continue to look at different issues related to racial justice, equality, reparations and/or wherever the Spirit leads us. None of us is the same people we were before George Floyd was killed. All of us acknowledge we have a lot to learn.