Covenant to Create Beloved Community

Every moment, we have a decision whether to create more inclusion, diversity, equity, and antiracism or less. The decision is in your hands. You are invited to covenant with God and others to: seek and build relationships, respect differences, examine perceptions, assume positive intent,  listen and engage for understanding, and grow in cultural humility. These six actions provide opportunities for us to journey together, grow in our capacity to love well, truly engage, honor, and respect the divine in one another, and to build Beloved Community with great intention. 

The work of building an inclusive, diverse, equitable, beloved community that promotes antiracism as a part of our discipleship is essential. These six actions are not partisan, but are a way for us to live out the Great Commission and Great Commandment of Jesus Christ. They are an invitation to daily practice the unconditional and powerful love of God.

Seeking and Building Relationships

As we seek authentic relationships with one another – especially across lines of difference – we must grow in our capacity to follow the Great Commandment: to love God and neighbor as Jesus did. We seek relationships not as a transaction for what we can give others and what they can give us – but as a mutually transformational opportunity. 

Respecting Different Forms of Expression

God created us uniquely different from one another and yet we have commonalities. Our differences must not divide us. The love of God and our baptismal vows unite us, across time, age, nationality, and ethnicity with all believers as we pledge (or reaffirm) “to accept the freedom and power God gives you (us) to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.” As we embrace these vows and accept the fullness of who we are, we can better respect the fullness of others. This respect is rooted in acknowledgment of equality, interrelatedness, and inestimable worth and an awareness that we do not understand or know all that we may need to know. 

Examining Our Own Assumptions

As we examine our own assumptions and perceptions so that we might avoid projecting our cultural values, biases and prejudices onto others, it is important that we recognize and affirm the image of God in one another. Our assessment and judgment of people who don’t look, think, move, or act like us can happen unintentionally and we must do all within our power to become aware of our biases, reduce them and do no harm. We must examine our own assumptions and perceptions and engage in bias-reducing actions to build healthy, intercultural relationships to truly honor each creation as worthy, equal, and sacred.

Assuming Positive Intent

God’s grace prepares, redeems, and continually restores us to be the people God has created to be within the common community that God aspires for all. This amazing grace (unmerited favor) is extended to all and we are called to extend this grace to one another in mutual trust and commitment. We assume positive intent as we move onto perfection because of who God is and in so doing can serve as channels of God’s grace to co-create the Beloved Community. 

Listening for Understanding

“Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion? Without a doubt, we may. Herein, all the children of God may unite, notwithstanding these smaller differences.” The practice of listening for understanding — with the understanding that agreement is optional — fosters a climate of faithful inquiry, grounded in an abiding respect for each person’s dignity. Beloved Community requires our whole and authentic selves to listen  and pay attention for understanding because agreement is optional. 

Exercising Cultural Humility

We are called to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God (cf. Micah 6:8). When performed holistically, this active, loving posture of humility compels us to dismantle systems of oppression — including racism — so that all may be free. This requires us to exercise cultural humility with an awareness that our world is just one model of reality. 

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As a faithful follower and beloved child of Jesus Christ, I affirm that I am created in the Image of God as a unique human being. I am a part of God's family. I am interrelated and connected to all of creation. I am not my own. I am a part of another. Together, we are spiritual beings created in the image of God and called to love one another as God loves us. Led by God’s Word and working to create a more just, inclusive, diverse, equitable beloved community that embodies antiracism and does no harm: 

I WILL Seek and Build Relationship because this is how Jesus lived on earth. 
I WILL Respect Different Forms of Expression understanding that I may not really know what is going on. 
I WILL Examine My Own Assumptions and Perceptions so that I might avoid projecting my cultural values onto others. 
I WILL Assume Positive Intent as we are all moving onto perfection. 
I WILL Listen for Understanding because agreement is optional. 
I WILL Exercise Cultural Humility understanding that the world in which I was born is just one model of reality.