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  • Writer's pictureJared Cramer

St. John's Episcopal Church offers 'Sacred Ground' gatherings

Below is a September 1, 2019, article from the Grand Haven Tribune about our church's ministry.

A film-based dialogue on racial reconciliation is coming to the Tri-Cities, led by an area congregation but open to anyone in the community.

On Monday, Sept. 9, St. John’s Episcopal Church in Grand Haven will offer the first in a 10-part series, “Sacred Ground.” Produced by The Episcopal Church, the series includes film and readings-based dialogue on race, grounded in faith.

This series is open to all and is especially designed to help white people talk with other white people about race, racism, racial reconciliation and healing.

The 10-part 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. Participants will walk together through America’s history of race and racism, while weaving in the threads of family story, economic class, and political and regional identity.

“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. The commitment comes from the current presiding bishop, the Most Rev. Michael Curry, and his emphasis on the “Way of Love” – an emphasis on display at the most recent royal wedding, where Curry spoke powerfully about how love can transform our world.

“Sacred Ground” gathering participants will be invited to peel away the layers that have contributed to the challenges and divides of the present day – all while grounded in a call to faith, hope and love.

The dialogue series developer and author is Katrina Browne, producer and director of the documentary “Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North.” Browne is a lifelong Episcopalian who is dedicated to racial justice and healing. As a white woman, she is particularly concerned with the important work white people need to do in conversation with each other, as part of the larger project of “Becoming Beloved Community.”

The Rev. Dr. Jared C. Cramer is facilitating the gatherings at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 524 Washington Ave. The gatherings will begin at 5:30 p.m. and go to 8:30 p.m. on the second Monday of each month, beginning Sept. 9 and running until June 8, 2020.

There is no fee to participate in the “Sacred Ground” gathering. The documentary films and most of the readings will be free. However, participants will need to acquire or borrow two assigned books: “Waking Up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race” by Debby Irving and “Jesus and The Disinherited” by Howard Thurman. Participants are invited to bring $5 to offset the costs of dinner (which will alternate between various local options).

To participate in this experience, you may register online at

If you have any questions, contact the parish office at 616-842-6260 or Cramer at

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