Epiphany Blessing of Chalk

A part of church history is the custom of blessing homes at the New Year. A family would hold a short service of prayer to ask God’s blessing on their dwellings and on all who live, work with and visit them. In this way, we invite Jesus to be a “guest” in our home, a listener to each conversation, a guide for troubled times, and a blessing in times of thanksgiving.

“Chalking the door” or the door step may be used as a way to celebrate and literally “mark” the occasion. In the Old Testament the Israelites were told to mark their doors with the blood of the lamb on the night of the Passover to ensure that the angel of death would pass them by. Deuteronomy 6: 9 says that we shall “write [the words of God] on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, … and you shall write them on the door posts of your house and on your gates.”

Chalk is made of the substance of the earth and is used by teachers to instruct and by children to play. As the image of the chalk fades, we will remember the sign we have made and transfer it to our hearts and our habits.

Let us pray.
Loving God, bless this chalk which you have created, that it may be helpful to your people; and grant that through the invocation of your most Holy Name all those who with it write the names of your saints, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar, may receive health of body and protection of soul for all who dwell in the homes where this chalk is used, we make this prayer through Jesus the Christ. Amen.

Use this chalk with this prayer to mark and bless your home. Take blessed chalk and mark on the lintel of your front door 20 + C + M + B + 24 saying:

The three Wise Men, C Caspar, M Melchior, B and Balthasar followed the star of God’s Son who became human 20 two thousand 24 and twenty-four years ago. ++ May Christ bless our home ++ and remain with us throughout the new year. Amen.

A Personal Tribute to Emmett Till

In honor of his birthday on July 25

Emmett Till & Marvin Childress, self-portrait
photo of Emmett Till & Marvin Childress, self-portrait

Parishioner Marvin Childress was a friend and classmate of Emmett Till. On Sunday, July 23 at 9 am Marvin honored Emmett’s memory by sharing his memoires of Emmett, growing up on the South Side of Chicago in the 1950s, and his reflection on life and racism in Chicago today. You can listen to the 45 minute talk, including questions with this YouTube link A Personal Tribute to Emmett Till by Marvin Childress.

Reckoning and Reconciliation with our Indigenous Neighbors

A reading list

Recommended reading and resources for parish study groups and book clubs from the Peace & Justice Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago

Art by Rose Teyuthahukwa Malanik

The Red Nation: Indigenous Action to Save Our Earth (2021)

Notable Native People: 50 Indigenous leaders, Dreamers and Changemakers from the Past and Present by Adrienne Keene (2021)

Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance (2nd edition) by Edgar Villanueva (2021)

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teaching of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer 2013 (Study Guide available)

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (2014)

The Four Vision Quests of Jesus by Steven Charleston (2015)

Neither Wolf Nor Dog: On Forgotten Roads with an Indian Elder by Kent Nerburn

The Night Watchman a novel by Louise Erdrich (2020)

Seeing Red: Indigenous Land, American Expansion, and the Political Economy of Plunder North America by Micahel Johnson Witgen

Videos available from “Indigenous Ministries” on The Episcopal Church website: 1. “Native Voices: Speaking to the Church and the World” (37 min.) 2.“Doctrine of Discovery” (14 min.) 3. “Native Voices: A Response to the Episcopal Church’s History with Indian Boarding Schools” (1 hr. 33 min.)

National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition  

Article from Sojourners: “Will Christians atone for church boarding schools?”

Bexley-Seabury Course by Mary Crist:

Report calls church to address harms of white supremacy, colonial and imperial legacies; create $2 million healing coalition by David Paulsen

Critical Race Theory Conversation Follow up

Dear Friends:

Dr. Cooke (on-line), Dr. Westbrook, Ms. Yutzy, Mr. Moore

Thank you for attending our event held on Tuesday November 9th, titled “Critical Race Theory: How it Affects Me and Why it Matters. A conversation with three educators”.  

We are tremendously grateful to our panelists for sharing their expertise, passion, and experiences. They exceeded our expectations and provided us all a truly educational and enlightening 90 minutes. We have compiled a list of resources provided from the panelists and moderator to deepen our understanding of the topic Critical Race Theory.  Those resources are listed below and can also easily be accessed on our webpage: St. John’s Anti-racism Resource .

Thank you to our co-sponsors for their collaboration and commitment to learning.

All Saints: http://allsaintschicago.org, Church of the Ascension: http://ascensionchicago.org, and Church of the Atonement: http://atonementchicago.org

Blessings,

The St. John’s Antiracism Team

Co-Chairs: Anna Ware AnnawareSLP@gmail.com and Laura Singer laura.t.singer@gmail.com 

The Rev. Kara Wagner Sherer, Rector rector@stjohnschicago.com

Resources for further reading and discovery

Recommendations from Blanche B. Cook:

CAUGHT: Calculating the Moves of Power in our Midst, A TEDx talk at Wayne State University

Critical Race Theory: An Introduction, Second Edition by: Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic (2012)

Forward: The Jurisprudence of Reconstruction (California Law Review, Vol 82, No. 4 July 1994), by Angela Harris

Looking to the Bottom: Critical Legal Studies and Reparations, by Mari J. Matsuda

Handbook of Critical Race Theory in Education, by Marvin Lynn and Adrienne D. Dixson (2021)Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color, by Kimberle Crenshaw

Recommendations from Kyle Westbrook:

Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own, by Eddie S. Glaude Jr. (2020)

No Name in the Street, by James Baldwin

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

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander

A Nation by Design: Immigration Policy in the Fashioning of America, by Aristide Zolberg

Ghosts in the Schoolyard: Racism and School Closings on Chicago’s South Side, by Eve L. Ewing

Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow, by Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880, by W.E.B. Du Bois

Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago 1940-1960, by Arnold R. Hirsch

A Political Education: Black Politics and Education Reform in Chicago Since the 1960s, by Elizabeth Todd-Breland

Recommendations from Heather Yutzy:

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, by Robin DiAngelo (2018)

Caste, by Isabel Wilkerson  (2020)

You Are Your Best Thing: Vulnerability, Shame Resilience, and the Black Experience, by Tarana Burke and Brene Brown (2021)

The Cross and the Lynching Tree, by James H. Cone (2011)

Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation, by Kristin Kobes Du Mez  (2020) 

Code Switch Podcast From NPR

Recommendations from Duncan Moore:

The Warmth of Other Suns, by Isabel Wilkerson (2010)

Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates (2015)

How to Be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi (2019)

Recommendations from St. John’s members

An article from the New Republic about the November 2021 Virginia governor race

From the New Yorker The Void that Critical Race Theory was Created to Fill

From the New Yorker podcast The New Culture Wars over American History

An article about the slave auction controversy in Traverse City, Michigan

An article about the founder of Critical Race Theory, Derrick Bell

An article about how CRT became weaponized as a public issue

From The Episcopal Church Office of Racial Reconciliation

Let’s Talk CRT: Christian Race Theory By Stephanie Spellers

From the Chicago Public Library:

A reading list from Ibram X. Kendi from the Chicago Public Library

From the St. John’s Antiracism Team:

A video on why we do antiracism work: Can I get a Witness?

Our Antiracism Team Page:   https://www.stjohnschicago.com/?page_id=5268

A reading list of books by African-American writers: Reading to End Racism

A reading list of books on white supremacy:  Wrestling with White Supremacy

A reading list of books by Hispanic and Latinx authors:  Latinx Book Group

Critical Race Theory: How it Affects Me and Why it Matters.

A Conversation with three educators

Tuesday, November 9, 2021 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.

St. John’s Episcopal Church at 3857 N. Kostner Ave. Chicago, IL  60641 and on-line

Chicago Episcopal churches sponsor an event to educate members and the community to gain a general understanding of Critical Race Theory, explore why is it important to know about CRT, and how CRT affects our daily lives, especially in Chicago. Three educators will speak from their expertise and experience, with moderated questions from the audience. The featured speakers are Dr. Blanche Cook, JD, Associate Professor at the University of Kentucky Rosenberg College of Law; Dr. Kyle P. Westbrook, Executive Director of Partnership for College Completion; and Ms. Heather Yutzy, Principal of Haugen Elementary in Chicago.

About Dr. Blanche B. Cook
Dr. Cook is an Associate Professor at the University of Kentucky Rosenberg College of Law. She teaches Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Evidence, Race and the Law, Critical Race Theory, Critical Race Feminism, and a seminar on Sex Trafficking. She earned her bachelor of arts degree from Vassar College and her law degree at the University of Michigan. Before joining the Rosenberg College of Law, she served as an Assistant United States Attorney with the United States Department of Justice, where she specialized in large-scale drug and sex-trafficking prosecutions. Professor Cook has established herself as a leading expert on sex trafficking by problematizing the entire spectrum of sex-trafficking prosecutions and the commercialization and exploitation of vulnerable flesh. She is actively involved in shaping the emerging nationwide discourse on sex trafficking.

About Dr. Kyle P. Westbrook  
Dr. Westbrook is the founding executive director of Partnership for College Completion, a nonprofit that champions policies and practices focused on equity in higher education. Previously he was the Executive Director of Educational Policy under Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Executive Director of Magnet, Gifted, and IB Programs for Chicago Public Schools, Director of Secondary School Support for the University of Chicago, and a high school teacher for twelve years in Chicago. Dr. Westbrook received his Bachelor of Science and masters of science in Education from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, and his Ph. D in Educational Policy Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

About Ms. Heather Yutzy
Heather Yutzy is the principal of Haugan Elementary School in Albany Park. Although new at Haugan, she has 20 years of experience as a school principal and assistant principal. She is passionate about helping students and teachers to thrive, both academically and socially. Ms. Yutzy believes that the school and parents are most powerful when we work together as partners. Ms. Yutzy holds a B.A. degree in Elementary Education, and M.A. in Educational Administration and she worked as a teacher in CPS for nine years before becoming an administrator. She has now been an educational leader for 23 years.  She has worked as an instructional coach and consultant, and as an assistant principal and principal at several schools. Heather considers one of her key accomplishments as principal to be when her school twice achieved exemplary honors for social emotional learning.

This program is sponsored by four Chicago Episcopal Churches

All Saints: allsaintschicago.org
Church of the Ascension:
ascensionchicago.org
Church of the Atonement:
atonementchicago.org
St. John’s Episcopal Church: stjohnschicago.com