Home / Justice / Racial Justice

In the wake of George Floyd's murder in 2020 and the subsequent racial awakening in America, and as part of Saint Mark's continual work towards racial justice for all, Saint Mark's and the Diocese of Olympia have recommitted to rooting out racism within ourselves and the church at large. This page serves to share the work of Saint Mark's to address racism within the cathedral and within ourselves, as well as the cathedral's work towards change and justice for every human being, especially BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and other marginalized communities.

Recent and Ongoing Actions

GROUP MEETS TUESDAYS, 6:30–8:30 P.M.., BEGINNING SEPTEMBER 12, 2023, AND ENDING JUNE 4, 2024, in Leffler House or online via Zoom. Capacity is limited; registration is required.

UPDATE: This first iteration of Sacred Ground at Saint Mark's is now at capacity, but stay tuned for additional offerings in 2024. 

Everyone in the Saint Mark's Cathedral community is invited to consider participating in Sacred Ground, an intense, small-group learning cohort which will meet over thirteen sessions, September 12 through June 4 at 6:30–8:30 p.m. on the second floor of Leffler House (hybrid option available). Capacity is limited, so if you feel called to be part of a Sacred Ground circle, please register as early as possible using the form here or below. The series is built around a powerful online curriculum of documentary films and readings that focus on Indigenous, Black, Latino, and Asian/Pacific American histories as they intersect with European American histories. Check out much more introductory material here.

Sacred Ground is part of Becoming Beloved Community, The Episcopal Church’s long-term commitment to racial healing, reconciliation, and justice in our personal lives, our ministries, and our society. This series is open to all, and especially designed to help white people talk with other white people.  Participants are invited to peel away the layers that have contributed to the challenges and divides of the present day.

SATURDAY, JUNE 3, 2023, 9 A.M.–2:30 P.M., in person in Bloedel Hall and online via Zoom; registration required. 

Mothered by God: Divine Feminine and the Black Madonna is an all-day workshop with Dr. Christena Cleveland. The Divine is not limited to one gender or race, but for many people the dominant image of God they’ve experienced is that of a white male. Such a poverty of metaphor limits not only our understanding of the Holy One who overflows all human categories but also reinforces white supremacy and patriarchy. Join Dr. Christena Cleveland as she explores the Divine Feminine, especially in the context of her 400-mile walking pilgrimage across central France in search of ancient Black Madonna statues.

Cost: $65 (for both online and in-person participants). Scholarships available. Includes a light lunch and snacks for those participating in person. Registration required.

Book Study with The Rev. Canon Carla Robinson

In preparation for Dr. Cleveland’s workshop, The Rev. Canon Carla Robinson will offer a two-part Cathedral Commons series about Cleveland’s book God is a Black Woman  on Wednesday, May 10 and Wednesday, May 24. Free event, offered in person and online via Zoom. All are welcome. Learn more here.

Saint Mark’s is excited to present Cathedral Conversations About Race, a new podcast series from Saint Mark's Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle. In this series, hosts Cara Peterson and Michael Perera speak with the BIPOC members of the cathedral about their respective faith journeys, and their experiences of being a BIPOC person in our community. Periodically, Cara and Michael will interview the clergy of the cathedral, to get their reactions on the stories they've heard, and what this means for the cathedral's work of anti-racism. Learn more here.

Projecting Justice at Saint Mark's: From May 25–June 8, 2021, the Saint Mark’s cathedral building became a public monument as names of citizens killed by police were projected onto the façade of the cathedral, in letters over three feet high. In this extraordinarily public way, Saint Mark's used its most visible asset—the cathedral building itself—to “say their names” in order to spark discussions and move towards meaningful change in our own community and region. Learn more here.

On April 27, 2021, the Vestry of Saint Mark's adopted three Mutual Ministry Goals: Creation Care and Carbon Reduction; Restorative Justice and Systemic Change; and Innovative and Intergenerational Community.

Mutual Ministry Goal: Restorative Justice and Systematic Change

Drawing on our scriptural enjoinder to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God, we will renew our commitment to seek and serve Christ in all persons, working toward restorative justice and the dignity of every human being while lamenting and working to change those systemic evils—in the church and the world—that corrupt and destroy the creatures of God.

Read the full Mutual Ministry Goals here, adopted April 27, 2021.

In December of 2020, Saint Mark’s announced that The Rev. Canon Walter Brownridge would serve as Theologian-in-Residence for 2021, during which he will preach periodically, teach, consult with ministry leaders, staff and vestry, with a special focus on the cathedral’s efforts to address systemic racism.

Read more about The Rev. Canon Brownridge here.

Read Dean Thomason's May 2020 message to the community regarding racism and violence, here: Racial Violence and God’s Call to a “New Normal.”

­­Anti-Racism Learning Resources

The list of anti-racism resources, references, and recommendations compiled by the cathedral community in the summer of 2020 can now be found here.

The Community of Saint Mark's is encouraged to register for Dismantling Racism Training from the Absalom Jones Episcopal Center for Racial Healing. Learn more here. Trainings are available by Zoom. Participants outside of the Diocese of Atlanta are asked to pay a $50 fee. Note that training times are EST.

Diocesan Updates

Saint Mark's Cathedral celebrates the appointment of The Rev. Canon Carla Robinson as Canon for Multicultural Ministries & Community Transformation by the Diocese of Olympia. Canon Robinson has longstanding ties to this community; she was raised up for ordination in the Episcopal Church by Saint Mark's, and was ordained in this space in 2009.

At the 2020 Diocesan Convention, the Diocese of Olympia voted overwhelmingly to sign on to A Covenant to Root Out Racism, put forth initially by the Rt. Rev. Deon Johnson, Episcopal Bishop of Missouri. Read Bishop Rickel's statement and see the complete text from 12/20/2020 here.

Click here to read the plans and priorities for anti-racism work from the Diocese of Olympia, as of July 2020. Click here to read an August 2020 update from The Rev. Canon Arienne Davison, Canon to Ordinary, with more detailed plans for a commitment to anti-racist work in the Diocese of Olympia over the next several years.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 12, 2023, 6:45–8:15 P.M., in person in Bloedel Hall or online via Zoom; registration required. Optional community dinner at 6 p.m. ($6/child; $8/adult; $25/max. family).

In 2021, the Episcopal Church released its Racial Justice Audit documenting the experience of race, racism, and racial identity within church leadership. At the Diocese of Olympia's Diocesan Convention last fall, a task force presented its findings and proposed ways we in this diocese might engage this important work. This forum is designed as part of that work. All cathedral members are encouraged to register to attend, and members from other churches are most welcome also. This is an opportunity to listen, learn and engage in conversation with others as we seek to understand and work towards racial justice in our communities, guided by five questions developed by the Task Force. Contact Canon Carla Robinson for more information.

Racial Audit of the Episcopal Church:

Video Events and Presentations

On May 22, 2019, The Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers, author of Radical Welcome and the Presiding Bishop's Canon for Evangelism, Reconciliation and Stewardship, visited the Diocese of Olympia and gave a presentation at Saint Mark's Cathedral titled "Becoming Beloved Community."
Gospel Work: An Introduction to Anti-Racism work in the diocese of Olympia.
Click here to learn about the series of online presentations and discussion titled Taking Up Our Responsibility for Racial Justice. Although this series is now concluded, you may view video and materials from the class. The opening plenery, above, was streamed July 1, 2020.
Saint Mark’s Theologian-in-Residence, The Rev. Canon Walter Brownridge, gives an introduction to acclaimed African-American religious leader and theologian Howard Thurman’s legacy. Canon Brownridge’s presentation led off an invitation to read for Lent Thurman’s foundational work Jesus and the Disinherited, exploring the Gospel as a manual of resistance for the poor and disenfranchised. This introductory presentation was offered Sunday, January 28, 2021. Learn more here.
The Seattle Clergy Moment of Lament & Prayer for Racial Justice was livestreamed Friday, June 5, 2020, at 12 noon.

Racial Justice Updates and Events

Restorative Justice Council Meeting, May 2024
with No Comments

SUNDAY, MAY 19, 3:30–5 P.M., online via Zoom only All members of the community of Saint Mark’s are encouraged to attend the next gathering of the Restorative Justice Council. Informed by the Saint Mark’s Statement of Lament and Commitment to Action, and guided by the cathedral’s 2024 Strategic Plan, the Restorative Justice Council strives to lead the Saint Mark’s community to actively pursue justice through spiritual practice and action and live out our Baptismal Covenant, “to seek and serve Christ in all persons.” Join using … Read More

Restorative Justice Council Meeting
with No Comments

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 3-4:30 P.M., on Zoom only The next meeting of Saint Mark’s Restorative Justice Council will be held on Zoom Sunday, November 26, 3-4:30 p.m. Focus areas will include: immigrants/refugees, Duwamish relations, homelessness and hunger ministries, racial justice, and election support/voter registration. All are welcome to join and participate as we plot our course for justice ministries at Saint Mark’s in this new era. Join using this Zoom link.

Womanist Midrash & Biblical Interpretation with The Rev. Wil Gafney, Ph.D.
with 4 Comments

UPDATED WITH VIDEO SATURDAY, DECEMBER 2, 9 A.M.–12 P.M., in person in Bloedel Hall and online via Zoom. Registration required for either option. Womanist Biblical scholar and renowned author of A Women’s Lectionary for the Whole Church, The Rev. Wil Gafney, Ph.D. will lead a seminar on Womanist Midrash, exploring the complexity of scripture and importance of translation as she interprets the Hebrew Biblical tradition of women prophets and leaders. Fee: $65 (for both online and in-person participants). Partial scholarships … Read More

A Reflection on Justice Work as Spiritual Practice
with No Comments

  Justice Work as Spiritual Practice: Remarks on the Connection between Spiritual Life, Restorative Justice, and Hope Presented by The Rev. Canon Jennifer King Daugherty at the Restorative Justice Retreat, Saturday, September 9, 2023 As we begin our retreat today, let’s explore the context of our justice work – the water we swim in. The suffering and injustice active in the world is on full display. Climate change, weather refugees, and the impact on all of creation is real and … Read More

Restorative Justice at Saint Mark’s: Next Steps in a New Era
with 2 Comments

Photo by Billy Joe Miller, billyjoemiller.com, used with permission. UPDATED WITH PHOTOS AND LINKS SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 9 A.M.–2:30 P.M., Bloedel Hall (note changed location!), registration required All are welcome to join in this important conversation as we plot a course for the cathedral community’s efforts in restorative justice. Guided by an abiding commitment to be in relationship with…—rather than simply supplying needs for…—we seek to heal what is broken, restore what is lost, and foster the possibility of transformation … Read More

Sacred Ground: Fall 2023/Spring 2024
with No Comments

UPDATE 8/17: Registration for this first iteration of Sacred Ground at Saint Mark’s is now at capacity, and the waiting list is now also closed. There will be additional Sacred Ground circles forming in 2024. Contact Canon Barrie with questions: wbarrie@saintmarks.org GROUP MEETS TUESDAYS, 6:30–8:30 P.M.., BEGINNING SEPTEMBER 12, 2023, AND ENDING JUNE 4, 2024, in Leffler House or online via Zoom. Capacity is limited; registration is required. A Film- and Readings-Based Dialogue Series on Race and Faith Everyone in … Read More

Juneteenth 2023 Liturgy & Potluck BBQ
with No Comments

UPDATED DETAILS SATURDAY, JUNE 17, 12 P.M. The Black/African American Circle invites you to a special Juneteenth liturgy and potluck BBQ! The worship service will feature poetry, as well as African American spirituals by Sound of the NW Choir and drumming from Gansango African Music and Dance. The Rev. Malcolm McLaurin will be preaching and The Rev. Canon Carla Robinson will be presiding. Big thanks for the vision and ministry of The Rev. Beverly Tasy, the liturgist! A special offering … Read More

Mothered by God: Divine Feminine and the Black Madonna
with No Comments

Book Study with The Rev. Canon Carla Robinson In preparation for Dr. Cleveland’s workshop, The Rev. Canon Carla Robinson offered a two-part discussion about Cleveland’s book God is a Black Woman  on Wednesday, May 10 and Wednesday, May 24. Free event, offered in person and online via Zoom. Complete video of Parts 1 & 2 are now available here. UPDATED WITH VIDEO A Saturday Workshop with Christena Cleveland, Ph.D. SATURDAY, JUNE 3, 2023, 9 A.M.–2:30 P.M., in person in Bloedel … Read More

Dr. Christena Cleveland and the Black Madonnas: The Pilgrimage of a Womanist Theologian
with 6 Comments

UPDATED WITH VIDEO OF PARTS 1 & 2 TWO WEDNESDAYS, MAY 10 & 24, 2023, 6:45–8:15 P.M., in person in Bloedel Hall and online via Zoom. Optional community dinner at 6 p.m. ($6/child; $8/adult; $25/max. family). The Rev. Canon Carla Robinson will lead a discussion of the book God Is a Black Woman by Dr. Christena Cleveland, as seen through the lens of pilgrimage. The book itself came out of her journey to see the Black Madonnas of France. In this series … Read More

Exploring Racial Justice in the Episcopal Church
with No Comments

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 12, 2023, 6:45–8:15 P.M., in person in Bloedel Hall or online via Zoom; registration required. Optional community dinner at 6 p.m. ($6/child; $8/adult; $25/max. family). Facilitated by Vinh Do and The Rev. Canon Carla Robinson. Hosted by Saint Mark’s Cathedral; open to all in the Diocese of Olympia and beyond. In 2021, the Episcopal Church released its Racial Justice Audit documenting the experience of race, racism, and racial identity within church leadership. At the Diocese of Olympia’s Diocesan … Read More

Dean’s Message on Police Violence and Our Response, January 28, 2023
with No Comments

Read Saint Mark’s Statement of Lament and Commitment to Action. Read Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s Statement on the Death of Tyre Nichols. A Message from Dean Thomason Police Violence in Memphis and Our Response Dear friends, “On my honor, I will never betray my integrity, my character or the public trust. I will always have the courage to hold myself and others accountable for our actions. I will always maintain the highest ethical standards and uphold the values of my community, and … Read More

Book Study—The Church Cracked Open: Disruption, Decline, and New Hope for the Beloved Community
with No Comments

UPDATE: Wendy and Eliacin have prepared the following list of links and references: Resources for going deeper into the topics of this book study [pdf] FOUR SUNDAYS, BEGINNING MAY 15, 12:30–2 P.M., in Bloedel Hall and via Zoom, registration required Join Canon Rosario-Cruz for a book study of The Church Cracked Open: Disruption, Decline, and New Hope for the Beloved Community by The Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers. This book looks in an honest and hopeful way at the history of … Read More

Guest Preacher April 3, 2022: Indigenous Missioner of the Episcopal Church, The Rev. Dr. Bradley S. Hauff
with No Comments

UPDATED WITH VIDEO SUNDAY, APRIL 3, at the 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. services Special “Friends Talking” Forum, 10:10 a.m. in Bloedel Hall, or via Zoom It is our delight to welcome The Rev. Dr. Bradley S. Hauff as Guest Preacher April 3. In 2018 he was called to serve as Episcopal Church Missioner for Indigenous Ministries, a member of the Presiding Bishop’s staff. In his role, Hauff is responsible for enabling and empowering Indigenous peoples and their respective communities … Read More

Following Jesus to a New Counter-Cultural, Post-Pandemic Normal
with 2 Comments

UPDATED WITH VIDEO SATURDAY, JANUARY 15, 2022, 9:30 A.M.–3 P.M., in person in Bloedel Hall OR online via Zoom A Saturday gathering led by Bishop Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows The year 2022 is already being called “the year of all things,” as the world attempts to catch up on two years of pandemic postponements. But Jesus, ever attentive to the present moment, calls us to liberation from the tyranny of being overcommitted and offers us the invitation to rest, heal, and be … Read More

Saint Mark’s at the 2022 Seattle MLK Jr. Day Rally & March
with No Comments

UPDATED WITH TRANSPORTATION INFORMATION MONDAY, JANUARY 17, 2022, 11 a.m. Rally; 12:30 p.m. March Starts At the Garfield High School Front Parking Lot on 23rd Grab your walking shoes and join us at the 2022 MLK Jr Rally and March in Seattle on Monday, January 17. This year will mark the 39th year of the event honoring Dr. King’s legacy. Due to COVID, Garfield High School is CLOSED. There will be porta-potties (including an accessible unit), so please plan accordingly. Please … Read More

Sanctuary Update, December 2021
with No Comments

UPDATED WITH VIDEO PRESS CONFERENCE AND RALLEY: MONDAY, DECEMBER 20, 12 P.M. Today we were able to share the good news that Jaime’s case has been reopened, which means he will have his day in court to consider whether he might be granted a path to remain in this country with his family. This is a step toward a just outcome, and while the legal proceedings will unfold over the next several months, and may take more than a year, this … Read More

Special Parish Forum—Statement of Lament and Commitment to Action
with No Comments

UPDATED WITH VIDEO WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 6:30-8 P.M. Hybrid gathering: in Bloedel Hall and via Zoom (registration requested for either option so we can plan accordingly) Earlier this year the Vestry unanimously adopted the Statement of Lament and Commitment to Action as a guide for our important work as individuals and community as we strive for justice and peace and respect for every human being. It is a substantial document with a broad range of statements leading to actionable ways … Read More

Friends Talking: Pastor Carey Anderson
with No Comments

UPDATED WITH VIDEO The conversation between Pastor Anderson and Dean Thomason may be seen below. You can watch Pastor Anderson’s sermon in the video of the service here. Audio of his sermon will be available here, as well as a printed text when it is available. SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 21 Guest Sermon: 9 A.M. &11 A.M. EUCHARISTS “Friends Talking” Forum with Pastor Anderson in Conversation with Dean Steve: 10:10–10:50 A.M., Bloedel Hall Longtime pastor of First AME Church The Rev. Dr. … Read More

1 2 3