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Dear friends,
You have all blessed Brave and I with the opportunity to retreat for a few days as we recharge our physical, mental and spiritual batteries for our common work together. But even sitting on this far away beach, I am reminded that our work never ends, or even takes a break.  I have, along with all of you, been greatly disturbed by the images of a few of our local youth displaying very poor judgment this past weekend.  Living in a community that has been so intentional in its quest for diversity and inclusivity, and being part of the Episcopal Church that seeks the same, it is sometimes easy for us to lose sight of the fact that racism, intolerance, and bigotry in all its forms are still an ever present reality in our society.  
As a baptismal people, as a community that is rooted and grounded in the theology that through the waters of baptism, we have been washed clean and made into something new, we promise to seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbor as ourselves, and to strive for justice and peace among all people, respecting the dignity of every human being, regardless of race, or gender, or ethnicity, or identity, or even religion.  The events from this weekend remind us that we have inherited a society deeply scarred by, and imbedded in, the sin of racism, and that we all, to some degree or another, are complacent in various forms of institutional racism, whether through our social organizations, employment, schools, and even our church. The difficult work we have as a community of faith is to continue seeking opportunities to proclaim love more loudly than the voices of hate can try to influence our society.  We need to continue having these difficult conversations, particularly with our youth, lest we forget the horrid past we strive to leave behind as we attempt to live into a more diverse and just society. 
As I look around St. John’s, I am acutely aware that our community does not reflect the wonderful diversity of our villages.  It is my hope that as we continue to grow and transform together, this too will change. We will be beginning a time of discernment in the next few months, when we will be visioning our future ministry and work as community together, and part of this work will necessarily require us to confront how we interact with all our neighbors.  These are Spirit filled times, full of opportunity, even in the face of such obstacles.   
As part of our ongoing efforts to confront racism in all its forms, The Diocese of Chicago is offering two opportunities to participate in Understanding & Analyzing Systemic Racism trainings on July 25-27 and October 17-19.  More information can be found on the Diocesan website by clicking here.  In light of this week’s events, I invite you to register to participate in one of these learning opportunities.  Let us continue to pray for our community, and especially for our young people.  And let us never forget our baptismal promises to love, and to love big, and to love everyone!
May we continue to live into the resurrection of new life!
Fr. Jeremy
Copyright © 2019 The Episcopal Church of St. John the Evangelist, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
P.O. Box 25
Flossmoor, IL 60422
(708) 798-4150

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Episcopal Church of St. John the Evangelist · 2640 Park Dr · P O Box 25 · Flossmoor, IL 60422-1228 · USA

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