Leaders from the Northern Province of the Moravian Church met with Dr. Catherine Meeks, executive director of the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing, in Atlanta, Georgia, as part of a January pilgrimage to Montgomery, Alabama.
The journey was the result of an inquiry from February 2019, when the Northern Province of the Moravian Church was discerning how to make progress in anti-racism training for their clergy. They turned to their full communion partner The Episcopal Church for assistance. The Rev. Dr. Betsy Miller, President of the Provincial Elders Conference, reached out to the Rev. Canon Maria Tjeltveit, co-chair of the Moravian-Episcopal Coordinating Committee, to ask who might help.
Of the pilgrimage, the Rev. Dr. Betsy Miller writes:
Leaders from the Moravian Church Northern Province journeyed to Montgomery, Alabama on a pilgrimage toward racial justice and healing that called us toward a lifetime of dismantling the sin that is racism. This trip, designed as a field-test of a much larger pilgrimage, included members of the Racial Justice Team, the Provincial Elders’ Conference, and the bishops of the Northern Province. We were guided on our pilgrimage through the wisdom and grace of Dr. Catherine Meeks, Executive Director of the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing and the trainer for the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. Her insights and invitation for deep inner personal work were humbling and inspiring. We also learned from the Rev. Dr. Frank Crouch, Dean of Moravian Theological Seminary, about the Moravian story of slavery and race. Our week included the important, but difficult tour of the Equal Justice Museum and Memorial, and other sites in Montgomery.
This trip was the prelude to a similar pilgrimage that all clergy of the Moravian Church Northern Province will be invited to join in September 2020.
We are indebted to our siblings of The Episcopal Church in securing the presence of Dr. Catherine Meeks. Without their guidance, we would have missed the rich wisdom and gift that she brought to our incredible journey.
As Episcopalians observe the feast of Absalom Jones, the first African American priest in the Episcopal Church (February 13), and the feast of Cyril and Methodius, missionaries to Moravia and the spiritual ancestors of the Moravian Church (February 14), The Episcopal Church also celebrates its relationship with its Moravian brothers and sisters; working together to build the Beloved Community.