Beloved Community: Commission for Racial Reconciliation

Join the Beloved Community mailing list here.

To contact the Beloved Community Commission you can email us at You may also contact the Co-Chairs directly:

Dr. Bill Gittens (
Rev. Monna Mayhall (

To live out our Baptismal covenant; “to seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbors as ourselves and to strive for justice and peace among all people, respecting the dignity of every human being.”

The Beloved Community Commission was established by the Bishop of Tennessee as a Task Force in the summer of 2016 and became a Commission late in the inaugural year of 2017.  A professionally facilitated discernment process was conducted in 2017  through which the following mission statement was developed.

To this end, the commission strives to:

  • Work toward full inclusivity, both racially and ethnically, of the staff of the Diocese, elected lay and clergy leaders, clergy and bishops,
  • Take the necessary steps in the healing of the wounds of our Church, it’s members and our communities,
  • Educate members about the effects of racism on people of color and white people and to convey the understanding that racism hurts everyone.

For further insight into the issues involved in race and reconciliation, click on the links below for lists of different media and actions taken within our diocese and around The Episcopal Church.  Check back here often as  new resources will be added frequently.

You can donate to Episcopal HBCUs here.
(Historically Black Colleges and Universities)

Click here for information on Beloved Community Resources.

This service can be viewed on the Christ Church Cathedral YouTube page the entire month of February 2021. We encourage individuals, small groups and congregations to utilize the recording, including the preaching by The Rt Rev. Phoebe Roaf, in gatherings and worship.  

Vote Faithfully – Important Guidance from The Beloved Community

It is a Christian obligation to vote, and more than that, it is the church’s responsibility to help get souls to the polls.” – Presiding Bishop Michael Curry

Bishop’s Introduction to the Letter from the Beloved Community, September, 2020:

The tradition of Christian political thought is a long one, with deep roots extending back to the New Testament, and beyond that to ancient Israel. As Christians, we aim for the heavenly Jerusalem, while at the same time we remain citizens of an earthly republic.

A persistent theme in Christian reflection on politics is the value of community and connection. The practical application of those values in the present day is the exercise of the voting franchise. With the privileges of citizenship come responsibilities, not least of all the vote.

I commend to you this letter from our Diocesan Beloved Community, encouraging members of our diocese, and their neighbors, to be active in this process. I am grateful to all of you for your attention, and for your action.

— The Rt. Rev’d John Bauerschmidt, Bishop of Tennessee

View the letter from the Beloved Community for congregations here.

What Did Jesus Do?” – A Word to the Church from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry on the November 2020 Presidential Election (Video from Sept. 16, 2020)

View The Beloved Community’s Voting Guide here.

In a democracy, voting rights are fundamental to the dignity of every citizen, and the free practice of that right is necessary for the establishment of justice. We have an obligation through our Baptismal Covenant to “strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being.”

There is a Primary Election coming up on August 6. Candidates on the ballot include individuals vying for their party’s nomination for United States Senate and House of Representatives, Tennessee Senate and House of Representatives, and a variety of local and municipal offices.The COVID-19 pandemic presents unique challenges to voting safely. Voting by mail (absentee voting) is the safest option.

“Pursuant to the June 4, 2020 order of the Davidson County Chancery Court, if you are a registered voter and do not wish to vote in person due to the COVID-19 situation, you are eligible to request an absentee ballot by mail.”

– Tennessee Secretary of State. Complete information about absentee voting (voting by mail) in Tennessee is at the Secretary of State’s website

Basically, there are two steps to Absentee Voting:
    1) Contact the Election Commission in your county to request the absentee ballot. You may print a request form from the website or simply provide the required information on a piece of paper and mail or fax it back to the Commission. Since it is a primary election, you must indicate which ballot you want – Republican, Democrat, or County General Only. The deadline for requesting an absentee ballot is July 31. However, given the time it takes to mail it back and forth, we strongly advise you to request your ballot as soon as possible.

    2) When your ballot arrives in the mail, complete it per the attached instructions and mail it back to the Election Commission in the envelope provided. Your completed ballot must be received via US postal mail by 7:00pm on August 6 in order to be counted.

Please know that the focus of this article is on voting by mail. You may also vote in person on Early Voting days and on Election Day, August 6. We will provide guidance about that in a future article.If you would like to take a deeper dive into this issue, the National Church provides a toolkit called Vote Faithfully.

Questions and concerns may be directed to Sally Carlson-Bancroft at, Member, Voting Subcommittee, The Beloved Community: The Commission for Racial Reconciliation.

Election Commission websites for the most populous counties encompassed by the Diocese:
Davidson County
Williamson County
Rutherford County
Montgomery County

Upcoming Events

Walk in Love 2021 – Monday April 19, 2021
There will be two Zoom gatherings, one at noon and one at 7pm.A map and reflection guide will be available for individuals or small groups who would like to take the historic walk from North Nashville to the Courthouse. Resources for learning and prayerful meditation will be included on the Beloved Community Commission’s website. 
Resources and Zoom links will be available closer to the date. 

Community Organizing Webinar – November 8, 2020 at 3pm “Harnessing Our Faith Communities for Social Transformation” . To register, email

Workshop – “Becoming a Catalyst for Racial Justice, Healing and Reconciliation” (Five Week Small Group Program)
Fall 2020 Schedule: 9am-12pm, 9/12, 9/26, 10/10, 10/24, 11/7.
Registration closes 8/29.


Participants must commit to attend all five sessions in their entirety. We will take up to 15 participants; we require at least seven participants to run the program. Please note that these cohorts will be virtual, so you will need a strong wifi connection, an uninterrupted space, and a device that has both audio and video capabilities. Please direct any questions to Sara Eccleston, chair of the Training and Education.Subcommittee:

Litany– Z. Alexander Looby
for use on April 19, 2020 – the 60th Anniversary of the bombing of Z. Alexander Looby’s home and the Walk in Love

Article – Z. Alexander Looby
Written by members of the EDTN Beloved Community Commission

Feast of Absalom Jones
Christ Church Cathedral
6:00 p.m., February 16, 2020

Walk in Love Multi-Faith Pilgrimage
April 13-19, 2020 – CANCELLED

Resources and Initiatives from The Episcopal Church

From the Trinity Institute of Trinity Church Wall Street in New York City:

From the Diocese of Atlanta:

Recommended Books

Click on the links below to learn more from the books the Beloved Community recommends.

New Book Recommendations for 2020:

Oluo, Ijeoma
So You Want to Talk About Race

Kendi, Ibram
How to Be an Antiracist

Taylor, Barbara Brown
Learning to Walk in the Dark

Douglas, Kelly Brown
Stand Your Ground

Tisby, Jemar
The Color of Compromise

Authors and Book Titles   

The Bible: NRSV
Akbar, Na’Im   
Chains and Images of Psychological Slavery

Alexander, Michelle
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in an Age of Color Blindness

Allen, Theodore W.
The Invention of the White Race

Anderson, Carol
White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Racial Divide

Blackmon, Douglas A.
Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to WWII

Bonilla-Silva, Eduardo
Racism Without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Inequality in America

Butler, Paul
Choke Hold: Policing Black Men

Coates, Ta-Nehisi
Between the World and Me

Cone, James H.
The Cross and the Lynching Tree

Curry, Michael B.
Crazy Christians : A Call to Follow Jesus

DeGruy, Joy
Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America Coping of Enduring Injury and Healing

Dyson, Michael Eric
Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America

Halberstam, David
The Children

Hamilton, Adam
Making Sense of the Bible: Rediscovering the Power of Scripture Today and When Christians Get it Wrong

Harvey, Jennifer
Dear White Christians

Hill, Daniel
White Awake : An Honest Look At What It Means To Be White

Irving, Debby
Waking Up White

Kendi, Ibram X.
Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas

Lowery, Wesley
They Can’t Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America’s Racial Justice Movement

McNeil, Brenda Salter
Roadmap to Reconciliation

Meeks, Catherine
Living Into God’s Dream: Dismantling Racism in America

Morris, Monique W.
Black Stats: African Americans by the numbers in the 21st century

Morrison, Toni

Painter, Nell Irvin
The History of White People

Picot, Jodi
Small Great Things

Rothstein, Richard
The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America

Shaper, Donna
40 Day Journey with Howard Thurman

Sharfstein, Daniel
The Invisible Line: A Secret History of Race in America

Stevenson, Bryan
Just Mercy

Tatum, Beverly Daniel
Why are all the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?:  And Other Conversations About Race 

Thurman, Howard
Jesus and the Disinherited

Tochluk, Shelly
Witnessing Whiteness: The Need to Talk about Race and How to Do It

Tutu, Desmond and Mpho
Made for Goodness  and The Book of Forgiving: The Fourfold Path of Healing Ourselves and Our World

Vance, J.D.
Hillbilly Elegy

Wallis, Jim
America’s Original Sin

Washington, James M. (ed.)
A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings of Martin Luther King

Whitehead, Colson
The Underground Railroad

Wilkerson, Isabel
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration

Wise, Jim
White Like Me

Recommended Articles

Click on any of the links below to read the articles recommended by the Beloved Community.

“Q&A: Union of Black Episcopalians President Annette Buchanan”
An interview with the President of the Union of Black Episcopalians by Mary Frances Schjonberg in Episcopal News Service (© October 9, 2017).

Why I stopped talking about Racial Reconciliation and Started Talking about White Supremacy From (© August 23, 2017).

 Church rebukes white supremacy but can’t ignore white privilege
Faith in America column by David Waters about how churches need to continue to address the issues of racism in USA Today Network Tennessee (© August 20, 2017).

“How to talk to your children about Charlottesville events”
Article about the value of helping children to cope with the news of the violence in Charlottesville and its aftermath by Megan Boehnke in USA Today Network Tennessee (© August 20, 2017).

What I Told My White Friend When He Asked For My Black Opinion On White Privilege
Lori Lakin Hutcherson, Contributor for (© July 18, 2016).

Tennessee Episcopalians Add To Growing Efforts To Honor Lynching Victims
Article about the June 7, 2017 memorial service for lynching victims at Fisk University and St. Anselm’s Episcopal Church in Nashville by David Paulsen in Episcopal News Service (© June 28, 2017).

Tennessee Weighs Whether To Form A Commission — Or Not — To Examine Brutality of Jim Crow
By Chas Sisk of Nashville Public Radio (© June 21, 2017)

A Resolution Condemning White Supremacy Causes Chaos at the Southern Baptist Convention In-depth article about the evangelical denomination’s difficulty in dealing with the issue of white supremacy among its member churches by Emma Green in The Atlantic Magazine (© June 14, 2017).

Willie Lynch Letter: The Making of a Slave
From News.  This speech was said to have been delivered by Willie Lynch on the bank of the James River in the colony of Virginia in 1712.  Lynch was a British slave owner in the West Indies. He was invited to the colony of Virginia in 1712 to teach his methods to slave owners there.  (© May 22, 2009).

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
Essay excerpted from Working Paper 189, by Peggy McIntosh, “White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming To See Correspondences through Work in Women’s Studies” (© 1988). Reprinted from Winter 1990 issue of Independent School.  Peggy McIntosh is associate director of the Wellesley College Center for Research on Women. The working paper contains a longer list of privileges.

We All Have Baggage

Myths About Slavery

Bitter Harvest–Slavery Isn’t History, and We’re Reaping it’s Fruit by Kimberly French

Movies, TV Shows and Online Videos

Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man
In this video, Emmanuel Acho takes on all the questions, large and small, insensitive and taboo, many white Americans are afraid to ask―yet which all Americans need the answers to, now more than ever. You can view the entire series HERE.

Here I Am, Send Me: The Story of Jonathon Daniels
This award winning documentary explores the life of modern Christian martyr, Jonathon Daniels, who gave his life bravely defending a young woman in Alabama during the civil rights era.

Just Mercy
Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton and written by Destin Daniel Cretton and Andrew Lanham (©2019)
‘Just Mercy’ shadows world-renowned civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson as he recounts his experiences and details the case of a condemned death row prisoner whom he fought to free

The Central Park Five
Documentary by Ken Burns, David McMahon & Sarah Burns (© 2012) telling the story of the five black and Latino teenagers from Harlem who were wrongly convicted of raping a white woman jogger in New York City’s Central Park in 1989

Directed by Ava DuVernay and written by Spencer Averick & Ava DuVernay (© 2016).
An in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation’s history of racial inequality.

Dark Girls
Directors/Producers D. Channsin Berry and Bill Duke (© 2013)
Documentary exploring the deep-seated biases and attitudes about skin color — particularly dark skinned women, outside of and within the Black American culture.

White Like Me
Directed by Scott Morris and written by Jeremy Earp & Scott Morris (© 2013).
Exploration of race and racism in the US from a white person’s perspective of whiteness and white privilege.

Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North
Produced, directed and written by Kathrine Brown (© 2008).
History finally gets rewritten as descendants of the largest slave-trading family in early America face their past, and present, as they explore their violent heritage across oceans and continents.

Banished: How Whites Drove Blacks Out of Town in America
Directed by Marco Williams (© 2007).
A look at three U.S. cities, which were part of many communities that violently forced African American families to flee in post-reconstruction America.

Directed by Ava DuVernay and written by Paul Webb(© 2014).
A chronicle of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965.

RACE: The Power of An Illusion – How the Racial Wealth Gap Was Created
Produced by Larry Adelman (Executive Producer) and Christine Herbes-Sommers, Tracy Strain, Llewellyn Smith (Episode Producers).
Documentary series that questions the very idea of race as innate biology, suggesting that a belief in inborn racial difference is no more sound than believing that the sun revolves around the earth.  Some episodes available via free online streaming, rental from Vimeo and DVD purchase.  Online Facilitator Guide also available.

“The Lunch Date”
YouTube video published by SpringboardSchools showing a “study of perceptions.”

“Dr. Joy DeGruy-Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome” and “Post traumatic Slave Syndrome (Part 4)”
A series of YouTube video presentations by Dr. Joy DeGruy Leary (© 2016 and 2017), based on her 2005 book, Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing (PTSS).

“Strange Fruit – The Story Behind the “Song of the Century”
YouTube video released at the 75th anniversary of the classic Billie Holiday song “Strange Fruit.” (© 2008).

“Terror Lynching in America – Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror”
Narrated animated video portraying the “Enduring Impact of Racial Terror Lynchings in America” from the Equal Justice Initiative by Bryan Stevenson and illustrated by Molly Crabapple (© 2016)