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
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 available. Includes a light lunch and snacks for those participating in person. Register by submitting the form here.
This workshop is made possible through generous gifts in loving memory of Matthew Briggs.
Note: Dr. Gafney will also offer a guest sermon on Sunday, December 3, at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.
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.
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.
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.
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.