Last week I was blessed that I was able to attend a black clergy gathering in Winnipeg. (Colleagues of mine who organized the event gave me permission to attend.) More than twenty ministers, who are serving various communities of faith in the United Church across Canada, came together for this three day meeting. I was there only for the keynote speech and the Q&A in the morning. Rinaldo Walcott, director of the Women & Gender Studies Institute at the University of Toronto talked about how to decolonize our minds and ministries, and what it means to be free in the context of anti-black racism in the society and in the institution, we call United Church of Canada. One of the highlights of the gathering was a penal discussion at which some of the participants shared their personal experiences of racism within the church. The power of naming and truth-telling uncovered the hard truths that racism is not only alive in the church today, but also it affects the whole being, emotionally, spiritually and even physically. I can’t help but to think what I can do to dismantle the systemic evil, which dehumanizes and destructs my siblings of Christ. I found the answer I was looking for from the same gathering: how my colleagues in ministry fully accepted and recognized me as who I am, and how they embodied the spirit of joy in worship. Freedom, which can’t be given by the state or institution, was manifested in this gathered community, which
wholly embodied beauty and love.