Diocesan House Participates in Dismantling Racism Training

PARRISH – Imagine in your mind’s eye a labyrinth. As you journey around corners and double back into areas you may have visited before, you find new meaning and challenges. Walking the labyrinth, an activity filled with reflection and discovery is the perfect metaphor for the experience had by Diocesan staff during their Dismantling Racism Training.

In December 2021, the diocese announced the approval of the Becoming Beloved Community/Anti-Racism Policy of the Diocese of Southwest Florida. This policy outlines a requirement for anti-racism training to be taken by all lay and ordained leadership in the diocese.

In early 2022, the Race & Reconciliation Committee for the diocese developed the Dismantling Racism Training, offering it on Zoom multiple times over the course of the year. The training includes an overview of The Episcopal Church’s rationale for addressing racial injustice, a history of racism in America, and brave group dialogue on topics including native lands, privilege, implicit bias, and the journey to Becoming a Beloved Community.

Breaking away from the screen, members of the Race & Reconciliation Committee visited Diocesan House on Friday, August 5 to hold an in-person training for the Bishop’s staff.

Working as a team and in small groups, the interactive training provided a safe space to share personal experiences and expand one’s understanding of topics that included native lands, key terms in the dialogue about racial reconciliation, European and American history in regard to the construct of “race,” and much more.

“We were fortunate to spend the day learning and listening as we reflected on how our Baptismal Covenant calls us to dismantle racism in all of its forms,” shared John Edgar, Director of Congregation Support. “The Race and Reconciliation Committee has developed a thoughtful training program that helps participants engage with this challenging material in a supportive setting. I am excited to see this work continue across the Diocese of Southwest Florida among our lay leaders and our clergy.”

Joined by the Rev. Dr. James Reho, Chair of the Race and Reconciliation Committee, Dismantling Racism trainers included Ayana Grady, the Hon. Jack Day, the Rev. Peter Lane, and Tania Wilkes.

The training provided a strong grounding in scripture and church tradition, guiding participants through the labyrinth of Telling the Truth, Proclaiming the Dream, Practicing the Way of Love, and Repairing the Breach. It concluded with an exercise where the staff envisioned what Becoming a Beloved Community looks like as Episcopalians and in the Diocese of Southwest Florida.

Pictured Above: (Back Row, Left to Right) Wendy Martucci, Mike Booher, the Rev. Canon Richard Norman, the Rev. Dr. Douglas Scharf, the Rev. Peter Lane, John Edgar, the Rev. Canon Chris Gray. (Front Row, Left to Right) Ayana Grady, Angie Ford, Carla Odell, the Hon. Jack Day, Tania Wilkes, and the Rev. Dr. James Reho. Photographed by Lindsey Nickel. Second Image: The Hon. Jack Day, Ayana Grady, the Rev. Dr. James Reho, Tania Wilkes, and the Rev. Peter Lane.