Dismantling Racism Training: A Reflection
by Tony Corey,
St. Timothy's Episcopal Church
April 21, 2023
In the 1999 movie “The Matrix,” Morpheus invites Neo to see the truth by picking the red pill. I'm reminded of that movie when I remember the early days of my journey with The Diocese of Missouri's Commission on Dismantling Racism. In early 2015 the Commission invited me to its 14-hour workshop. At that time, my wife Leslie and I were relatively new Episcopalians -- we had started attending St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Creve Coeur, where we continue to worship today. And I was totally unaware, asleep, ignorant, in denial about all aspects of race, racism, and oppression… a 67-year old, white man living in “the matrix.”
Enter the Commission and specifically that 2015 workshop held in Columbia, Missouri. Of the many valuable aspects (effective group formation, meaningful experiential exercises, definitions) of this training, here are the three that resonate the most for me:
- Episcopal Church values, our Baptismal Covenant, the Book of Common Prayer, our worship, our liturgy, and Scripture are the key tent pegs of this work for me. These build the foundation of the training.
- A second aspect for me is storytelling. I have learned the power of storytelling. And I am so grateful for the storytellers, especially and primarily people of color who have the grace and courage to teach me. Those stories are grafted to my heart. The workshop is full of storytelling.
- Third, the beauty and joy of being in community. Doing this work is hard, doing this without you is impossible. The community that forms during the two-day workshop is important to support the participants in the immediate work. For me it began my recognition of staying in community while doing this work.
The final segment of the workshop involves a deep exploration of what we do next. The new awareness coming from this training was so compelling for me that it was important to move the work of dismantling racism onto an intentional platform at St. Timothy’s. God blessed us with a rapid acceptance of this effort and thus formed a racial justice team that continues today. Thanks be to God.
The two-day workshop, the Commission on Dismantling Racism, the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri, and the Episcopal Church offer all of us an amazing opportunity to enter into this work. Please join us June 9 and10 for our next session.
Neo does take the red pill of truth, and falls into a deep sleep. When he awakens, he says, “My eyes hurt.” Morpheus replies, “That’s because you never used them before.” God waited patiently for me to open my eyes. And they hurt less and less everyday since… because of you.
Dismantling Racism Training
Friday, June 9 - Saturday, June 10, 2023
9 a.m. - 4 p.m. (both days)
St. Peter's Episcopal Church
110 N. Warson Woods
photo: Tony Corey leads an exercise during a Dismantling Racism Commission training event at Grace Episcopal Church in Kirkwood in October of 2019.