Dismantling Racism Task Force

Task Force Recommendations to the People of Christ Church

The Dismantling Racism Task Force (members listed at the bottom of this page) began its work in late July 2020 as the Racial Reconciliation Task Force. The Task Force soon changed its name after reflecting on the historically slow progress made under the reconciliation model. The current state of racial injustice in this country has amplified past and present problems and urgently calls us to engage in creating lasting solutions. Reconciliation remains a goal for healing and is part of a larger need, which is to examine, become educated, and to take action to dismantle systemic racism.

The context of our use of the word “racism” is not limited to individual biases, conscious and unconscious. Significantly, the context also incorporates the system in which public policies, institutional practices, cultural representation, and other norms work in various, often reinforcing, ways to perpetuate racial inequity. Our use of the term “systemic racism” encompasses dimensions of our history and culture that have allowed privilege associated with “whiteness” and disadvantages associated with “color” to endure and adapt over time. Systemic racism is not something that only a few people or institutions choose to practice; rather, it has been and remains an endemic feature of the social, economic, and political systems that shape all of our lives.

Over the past nine weeks, the Task Force has met and also consulted with additional groups, churches, institutions, and individuals with the goal of formulating a proposed approach for Christ Church to adopt in defining and initiating our vital work of dismantling systemic racism. Dismantling racism takes intentionality and perseverance. It is a life-long, sometimes messy process but is so critical as we seek to live more deeply into our Baptismal call and ministry: to respect the dignity of all people. Our hope is that this journey will be deeply compelling and transformative to us as individuals and communally as a congregation: that we will become a church even more infused with love than we are now.

We are so grateful to you, the many members of Christ Church, who have expressed interest in participating with us in this most important work, and we look forward to engaging with you as we move forward.

To view the original recommendations of the Dismantling Racism Task Force from October 2020, click here.

Christ Church’s Keynote Speakers Series
Continuing in April, 2021
Stay tuned for more information about a session with Sabrina Goode, director of Friends of Oberlin. Friends of Oberlin chronicles the development of Oberlin Village, an African American reconstruction settlement established in 1866, and its outstanding citizens. Despite their suffering from slavery, segregation, discrimination and gentrification, the residents of Oberlin Village established a strong community bond and always exhibited pride, purpose and prosperity. 

Eastertide Book Group for Women (via Zoom!)

April 15 from 7:30-8:45

April 22 from 7:30-8:45

April 29 from 7:30-8:34, featuring Sister Laura Swan, who will talk about Julian

Join The Rev. Mary Davila, Catherine Farley, and Katie Wood for this three part study of Matthew Fox’s new book about Julian of Norwich, who lived through the dreadful bubonic plague that killed close to 50% of Europeans. Being an anchoress, she ‘sheltered in place’ and developed a deep wisdom that she shared in her book, Showings, which was the first book in English by a woman. A theologian way ahead of her time, Julian develops an understanding of God as mother at the heart of nature’s goodness. To register, please contact The Rev.  Mary Davila.


Keynote Speakers: Christ Church is offering a series of keynote speeches in the fall and spring (via Zoom) that speak to the importance of the work of dismantling racism. We will also explore Christ Church’s own history around race, tracing back nearly 200 years. Contact: The Rev. Mary Davila.

Civic Engagement and Advocacy: The Environmental Justice team is focused on the proposed Downtown South development project in Raleigh to build understanding of all components of environmental justice, including storm water management, community preservation, and gentrification. The team seeks to build capacity within our congregation for evaluating development, growth and change in our community and advocating for just use of our environmental resources. Contact: The Rev. Mary Davila

Join us for an introduction to the current status of the Downtown South Project, specific to its potential impact on the Rochester Heights neighborhood. The orientation includes:

  • A recap of the history of St. Ambrose Episcopal Church, located in Rochester Heights. (Mary Ruffin Hanbury)
  • An overview of environmental justice (Doug Holbrook)
  • An overview of the Downtown South Project (Mary MacLean Asbill)
  • Ways to be involved (The Rev. Mary Davila)

To sign up for the orientation, or express interest in serving on this team, please contact The Rev. Mary Davila (mdavila@ccroal.org)

Small Diverse Groups through the Encouraging Place: The first two Dismantling Racism Conversation Groups are up and running and it is exciting to see connections being made, thoughts and feelings shared, and the groups already delving into some hard issues and having productive conversations around them.  The evening group is currently full, but please contact Kim Shirley if you are interested as we will continue to offer this opportunity and form additional small groups as people express interest.  The day time group has room for a few women if anyone is interested.  The day time group meets on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month from 11:00-12:30 by Zoom until it is safe to gather.

The Inner Work of Racial Justice: The Inner Work of Racial Justice Initiative meets monthly via Zoom and are reading the book of the same name by Rhonda Magee and trying out mindfulness practices included there.  Our next meeting is on March 22 from 7:00-8:00pm.    

Please know that all are welcome and that no prior experience in meditation or mindfulness practices is necessary in the least!    As stated on the cover flap of the book: “[T]he work of racial justice begins with ourselves.  When conflict and division are everyday realities, our instincts tell us to close ranks, to find the safety of our own tribe, and to blame others.  The practice of embodied mindfulness — paying attention to our thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations in an open, nonjudgmental way — increases our emotional resilience, helps us to recognize our unconscious bias, and gives us the space to become less reactive and to choose how we respond to injustice.”

If you are interested or have questions, please contact Stannie Brewer or Martha Mason. 

Racial Equity Institute Anti-Racism Trainings: Christ Church is hosting a Racial Equity Institute (REI) Phase I workshop April 23 & 24th via Zoom from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. both days. 

REI is an established organization that works to heighten awareness of the root causes of racial injustices reflected in American culture and institutions and has helped to formulate a common language approach to better support positive conversation and interaction as we pursue the hard work of social transformation and racial justice.

Twenty Christ Church parishioners took part in the January session of REI. The feedback was outstanding!

“The REI training helped me understand on a far deeper level both intellectually and emotionally just how prevalent racial injustice has been and still is in our country, and, most importantly, it has given me meaningful next steps in my life to do something about it.” Katie McKenzie 

“The REI training, enlightens, educates, and exposes very uncomfortable truths about the intentionality of the historical systemic racism in our country that continues to plague us all today, without any accusation, guilt, or blame.  It was intense and emotional, yet two of the most fruitful and insightful days of my life.” Will McElroy 

“The REI Training is excellent—highly informative and impactful.  The historical perspective presented opened my eyes to why racism has been so intractable.” The Rev. Jim Adams

REI’s Phase 1 training is designed to develop the capacity of participants to better understand racism in its institutional and structural forms. Moving away from a focus on personal bigotry and bias, this workshop presents a historical, cultural, and structural analysis of racism. With shared language and a clearer understanding of how institutions and systems are producing unjust and inequitable outcomes, participants should leave the training better equipped to begin to work for change. 

Please contact Steve Sartorio for more information, and/or you can sign up here: https://christchurchraleigh.wufoo.com/forms/q18jsrfa14zmw9b/

Scholarships are available. Please contact The Rev. Mary Davila for more information. mdavila@ccral.org

Below is REI’s mission statement, as well as a link to its website.

“REI is a Black-owned business comprised of a multiracial team of organizers and trainers who are committed to the work of anti-racism transformation. Our training and consulting programs are designed to help individuals, organizations, and communities grow their understanding and analysis of structural racism and its cultural and historic roots. With committed work, over time, we believe that organizations can develop the consciousness and tools necessary to challenge patterns of power and to grow equity.”


Dismantling Racism Task Force

Kim Shirley








The Rev. Mary Davila








Charlotte Wooten








PJ Connelly








Steven Sartorio








Martha Mason