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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

A Report from El Salvador by Elizabeth Hawkins
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WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 6:45–8:15 P.M, via Zoom  Community member Elizabeth Hawkins has been living and working in San Salvador since 2019. A former immigration attorney, she travelled to El Salvador to research the complex factors that lead people to attempt to emigrate to the United States. Learn more about Elizabeth below. Dean Thomason and Canon Rosario-Cruz will facilitate the discussion. Join using this Zoom link. Please note the the announcement in the printed leaflet incorrectly implied that this conversation would … Read More

A World-Premiere Commission for the O Antiphons Liturgy, 2021
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O Antiphons is a beloved annual liturgy of music and pageantry that marks the beginning of Advent —the season of longing, vigilance, and expectation in preparation for Christmas—which this year is offered Sunday, November 28, 2021, at 7 p.m.. The form of this liturgy that was invented here is now used in churches around the world. An exciting element of this year’s service will be the world premiere of a newly commissioned anthem, conceived and written expressly for the Saint … Read More

The Rev. Eliacín Rosario-Cruz called as Cathedral Canon
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A Message from Dean Thomason Dear friends, It is my great delight to share the exciting news that The Reverend Eliacín Rosario-Cruz has accepted the call to serve as Canon and Priest Associate at Saint Mark’s Cathedral. Eliacín (pronounced “ay-lee-uh-SEEN”) is no stranger to Saint Mark’s, having served as Adult Faith Formation Associate here 2005–2008, and he was ordained a priest in the cathedral in 2015. Since ordination he has served St. Luke’s~San Lucas Episcopal Church in Vancouver, WA, and, … Read More

Community Conversation on the Formation Consultant’s Report
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UPDATE: Community Forum on WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 6:30–8 p.m., via Zoom Community Conversation on the Formation Consultant’s Report In May and early June of this year, we held several Listening Groups with our Formation Consultant, Jamie Martin Currie, who captured a great deal of information and insights from these groups and the parish survey (which had more than 200 providing input). Thanks to all who participated. The report delivered in late June has a great deal of information and several … Read More

Special Parish Forum on the Statement of Lament and Commitment to Action
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UPDATE: This event has been rescheduled for November 17, 2021. Learn more and register here. WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2021, 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 … Read More

Canon Walter Brownridge presents: From Prisoners of Pandemic to Prisoners of Hope
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From Prisoners of Pandemic to Prisoners of Hope: A Day of Reflection on Being Church in our Emerging Reality SATURDAY, JULY 24, 9:30 A.M.–12 P.M., in-person in Bloedel Hall or virtually via Zoom. Register here or below.  led by The Rev. Canon Walter Brownridge, Saint Mark’s Theologian-in-Residence “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”  —Desmond Tutu The past 16 months have been traumatic for many of us, and on so many levels. … Read More

Mutual Ministry Goals Community Meetings
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An Invitation from Dean Thomason Dear friends, Come create our new way forward! Earlier this year the Vestry forged a key document—our Mutual Ministry Goals—which are designed to inform and guide our work as a community. These three goals center upon the work of justice, creation care, and intergenerational ministry as we plot a course of lifelong spiritual formation for every person in this cathedral community. They are intended to touch every aspect of our common life. So important are … Read More

Presiding Bishop, House of Deputies President issue statement on Indigenous boarding schools
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The Episcopal Church and Indigenous Residential Schools In the 19th and 20th centuries, Indigenous children across North America were stolen from their families and forced into institutions whose explicit goal was the complete eradication of Native culture, language, and identity—that is, cultural genocide. The Episcopal Church has been complicit in the creation and operation of some of these institutions. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and President of the House of Deputies Gay Clark Jennings have released this statement on this shameful … Read More

Juneteenth Service of Freedom & Healing, 2021
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Diocese of Olympia Circles of Color Present: Juneteenth Service of Freedom and Healing | Saturday, June 19, 2021, 12:30 p.m.  Service Leaflet Offertory donations support the Richard Younge Curates of Color Fund which was established to honor the ministry of the Rev. Richard Younge and to support the ongoing formation of newly ordained people of color in the Diocese of Olympia. Please write “Juneteenth” in the memo line. Give using: saintmarks.org/give or venmo.com/saintmarkscathedralseattle or mail a check to: 1245 10th Ave E, Seattle … Read More

An Introduction to Saint Mark’s Statement of Lament and Commitment to Action
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On May 25, 2021, the cathedral Vestry unanimously adopted a Statement of Lament and Commitment to Action, a revised and expanded statement of principals for this community. This document has been in the works for many months, and builds on the cathedral’s 2016 Statement, titled Renewing Our Covenant—which for many years has been posted on the church’s front doors—and A Covenant to Root Out Racism, created in Diocese of Missouri and adopted by the Diocese of Olympia at the 2020 … Read More

Dean’s Message on Land Acknowledgment
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Dean Thomason sent the following message to the community regarding the creation and intention behind the cathedral’s Land Acknowledgment. Much more information can be found at Saint Mark’s Land Acknowledgment page. A Message from Dean Thomason Dear friends, You may have noticed in recent months more occasions when we have begun our worship or meetings with a Land Acknowledgment: Saint Mark’s Cathedral acknowledges that we gather on the traditional land of the first people of Seattle, the Duwamish People, who … Read More

Projecting Justice at Saint Mark’s
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photo by Brian Smale UPDATE: The post below is about the May 2021 project addressing people killed by the police. To learn about the June 2023 project in support of trans lives and trans kids here.  Justice means they would still be alive today.  May 25 marks the anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, a watershed moment that has re-energized an ongoing nationwide movement and sparked an urgent conversation about the role of policing in our state. In Washington, … Read More

Racial Justice Audit and Webinars
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RACIAL JUSTICE AUDIT REPORT & RESOURCES NOW PUBLIC After two years and more than 1,300 surveys, the ground-breaking Racial Justice Audit of Episcopal Leadership is now available to the wider church and public. Conducted by the Mission Institute in partnership with The Episcopal Church’s Racial Reconciliation and Justice Team, the audit focused on two key questions: who makes up the leadership of the church; and what are their experiences of race and racism in their leadership roles?  The Mission Institute team mined the data for … Read More

Dismantling Racism Training from Absalom Jones Center (UPDATED)
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WEDNESDAY, MAY 12, 6:30 P.M., via Zoom UPDATE: Follow-up Conversation to Absalom Jones Center “Dismantling Racism” Training If you participated in a session of the day-long Absalom Jones Center’s “Dismantling Racism” program, come join in a follow-up conversation via Zoom with your fellow Saint Markians. Dean Thomason, Canon Daugherty, and Canon Ross have all taken the training and look forward to talking with others who participated at any point these past three months, to share about our thoughts, feelings, and … Read More

One Service for Turtle Island: A Liturgy for the Diocese of Olympia
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One Service for Turtle Island: A Liturgy for the Diocese of Olympia SUNDAY, APRIL 25, 11 A.M. 10:00 A.M. – Musical Prelude 11:00 A.M. – Liturgy Begins 12:30 A.M. – Town Hall Connect here. In the cosmology of North and South American peoples, Turtle Island is the geographic region covering Canada, United States, Central America, and South America. Join together online Sunday, April 25, at 11:00am to worship Jesus with Episcopalians from all over the Diocese of Olympia led by … Read More

UPDATED! Jesus and the Disinherited—Community Lenten Book Study
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Canon Walter Brownridge leads Q&A and concluding reflections  SUNDAY, APRIL 11, 12:30-2 P.M., via Zoom. Register at this link.    Introductory presentation by Canon Brownridge occurred SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 1-2 P.M., via Zoom. See video below.  Community discussion with small breakout groups occurred WEDNESDAY, MARCH 24, 6:30-8 P.M. Gather via Zoom on February 28 at 1 p.m. with Saint Mark’s Theologian-in-Residence, The Rev. Canon Walter Brownridge, for an introduction to acclaimed African-American religious leader and theologian Howard Thurman’s legacy (watch here … Read More

A Message from Dean Thomason—Hate Crimes Against Asian Americans
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Dean Thomason sent an email message to the community on Thursday morning, March 18, regarding hate crimes against Asian Americans—not just in Georgia, but also in our own city, our own neighborhoods, and our own community. Dear friends, The news out of Atlanta over the last 36 hours has been a swirl of tragedy, horror, and a distressing series of comments by police that seek to point anywhere but to the fact that these murders were racially motivated. Sex addiction, … Read More

Anti-Racism for Parents and Children
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During Black History Month, check out the resources and materials made available at The Conscious Kid, an education, research, and policy organization that promotes healthy racial identity development in youth. Here are some quick tips from them: Name and take action against white supremacy with kids as early and as often as possible. Support racial identity as part of healthy child development. It is important to name whiteness, and for white people to identify as “white” in ways that acknowledge … Read More

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