Racial Justice & Reconciliation
In faithfulness to the Gospel and our Baptismal Covenant, Trinity is committed to being an antiracist organization.
Trinity's Antiracism Task Force is in the process of examining both past and current racism at Trinity to determine how we can reorient our organization to live more fully into the Gospel and Baptismal Covenant.
Racial Justice Audit
In May 2021, the vestry – under the leadership the task force – contracted with the Mission Institute to conduct a Racial Justice Audit. Over the summer of 2021, nearly 400 parishioners participated in a survey, and in the fall, 18 members of Trinity's leadership participated in 30-45 minute interviews.
View the report generated by this audit below, and click to hear Dean Nathan's remarks.
Statement from the Trinity Vestry
As a religious institution, Trinity Cathedral, a member of the Episcopal Church in the United States, has much to repent of. We acknowledge that white privilege, an attitude of racial superiority, and the denial of true equal access to education, health care, housing, and jobs to nonwhite individuals, have perpetuated our sin and impaired individuals of color from full participation in the rights and life they deserve. We also acknowledge that the Cathedral stands on land previously under the stewardship of the Multnomah and Clackamas peoples.
Through the actions and negligences of our forebears, we have directly and indirectly benefited from participating in structural racism, and we have reinforced it on many levels. We have seen but failed to speak out or act in the face of redlining, mass incarceration, and repeated instances of police brutality at the local and national levels. We have failed to examine the implicit biases expressed in our music, liturgy, and ministry programming. Among our own congregation’s early leaders and prominent members were those whose public advocacy and participation in government helped set in place laws, policies, and practices that shaped Oregon’s troubled and troubling racial history. They argued in favor of slavery, supported exclusion laws, held membership in the Ku Klux Klan, and in various ways promoted discrimination. We have inherited this legacy.
We cannot forget our history, but we can work to ensure that our future is shaped by our values. We strive to follow Jesus of Nazareth, who began his teaching with these simple words, “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.” Of all these sins — “things known and unknown, things done and left undone” — we repent.
Drawing upon the language of the Book of Common Prayer (1979), we grieve and humbly repent of all that we have done and that which we have left undone. True repentance requires us to set aside our privilege, explore the impact of our sins, engage the demands of our historical moment, take responsibility for the harm we have caused, and, where possible, make amends.
In this posture of repentance, we return to the Core Values of Trinity Cathedral, adopted in 2008, to guide us as we strive for a more just community:
Respect: We will respect the dignity of every human being
Compassion: We will love our neighbor as ourselves
Integrity: We will proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ
Justice: We will strive for justice and peace among all people
Inclusion: We will seek and serve Christ in all persons
Stewardship: We will sustain the gift of joy and wonders in all Your works
With gratitude to the staff for the work they have initiated and will continue, the Vestry offers the following framework for action, praying for the power of the Holy Spirit to lead us, trusting in our values to guide us, and inviting the congregation to active participation in this vital work. This framework will guide us in developing an in-depth and dynamic strategic plan for living into our Baptismal Covenant. We make these commitments across our four dimensions of congregational life.
Culture: We commit to examining and reforming the ways in which systemic racism and implicit bias are embodied in our policies, practices, and congregational culture.
Campus: We commit to auditing our physical spaces to understand how the Cathedral campus “speaks” of who we have been and who we want to be, and we commit to making necessary changes.
Currency: We commit to intentional and deliberate investment in communities that have been underserved.
Continuity: We commit to identifying and raising up leadership that reflects the congregation we wish to become.
We pray that with God's help, we will be able to take up the profound justice work before us with humility, fortitude, and grace as full and willing participants in the continuing revelation of God's kingdom on earth.
Antiracism Task Force
Trinity’s Antiracism Task Force, chaired by Vestry members Alan Murray & Barbara Whitmore, was established in April 2021 in response to the Vestry's commitment to respond to our national & local reckoning with systemic & institutional racism.
Update January 2022:
This summer, the Antiracism Task Force enlisted the Mission Institute in conducting a racial justice audit for Trinity, which was launched in August 2021. A total of 432 individuals responded to the online survey, which was followed by in-depth interviews with fifteen parishioners and staff members.
The Mission Institute is in the midst of analyzing the quantitative and qualitative data collected in the survey and are expected to present the final report by end of March 2022. The Antiracism Task Force will then synthesize its work, along with the findings and recommendations from the Racial Justice audit.
We are looking forward to working with the entire congregation as we strive to Become the Beloved Community.
Alan Murray and Barbara Whitmore
Antiracism Task Force Co-Chairs
Update July 2021:
2020 was a year of reckoning for our country & our city. The pandemic, the rise of Christian Nationalism, and the murder of George Floyd exposed the sheer magnitude of systemic & structural racism in our country, leaving us with many unanswered questions of what it means to be a Christian, and how to respond as Episcopalians called “to strive for justice and peace among all people; to seek and serve Christ in all persons; to respect the dignity of every human being.”
The Trinity Vestry responded to that challenge with a renewed commitment to racial justice by issuing a statement of response in July 2020 (see above). In accordance with that statement, an Antiracism Task Force was established, convening its work in April 2021. Click to learn more about the task force's progress.
In August 2021, the congregation and cathedral leadership (lay and clergy) will be invited to participate in a Racial Justice Audit survey. We are working in partnership with the Mission Institute, which was instrumental in the Episcopal Church's recent churchwide Racial Justice Audit of the Episcopal Leadership.
Forum Series: Trinity's Racist History
The following is a three-part series presented by Vestry member & historian Kimberly Crouch, exploring the results of her research into our former vestrymen, clergy, and bishops whose legacy of racism requires our repentance.