Restorative Reparations – Prayer & Practices

Thanks to Richard Rohr and the CAC for inspiring this Great Idea with their week of reflections – from diverse authors – on God’s Restoring Justice.

This series of studies and practices might be shared intergenerational if you’ve got youth and adults interested in antiracism and restorative justice.

It is flexible to in-person, on-line, or hybrid gatherings.

An hour-long weekly event might flow as follows:

  • Ground in a brief silence
    • silence phones or ‘turn them in’
    • stretch
    • light a candle
    • find a posture of prayer and receptivity
    • sit in silence for three to five minutes
      • let go of distractions
      • set intention to be present
  • Share Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s Practice of Seeking Forgiveness
    • read the leading questions
    • pause for silent reflection
    • encourage journaling/drawing to process responses
    • read final two paragraphs as consolation
    • offer words of absolution if that seems appropriate – perhaps at least in the final week
  • Read the articles – one per week
    • process individually through journaling /drawing
    • discuss
      • What is being called out of you as an individual?
      • What is being called out of us as a congregation?
      • Do any clear action steps come to mind?
      • What vision of the future do you see these steps leading us toward?
        • as individuals
        • as a congregation
        • as a community
      • What intangible outcomes may result from taking these steps?
        • internal experiences of release from guilt
        • enhanced relationships with BIPOC communities and individuals, etc.
        • renewed life in congregation
        • ???
  • Close with gratitudes and hopes

Take the practice into the congregation and community:

  • create a community-based definition of reparations and restorative justice
  • reshape confession and forgiveness through the lens of this practice and participant input
  • invite individuals or small groups to dig into each author:
    • what was their context?
    • what were their spiritual practices?
    • how did their spiritual life support their justice work?
  • develop a structure so that what is learned informs systems and structures within the congregation:
    • decolonize worship
    • develop reparations-informed stewardship narratives
    • youth ministry through an antiracism lens
    • social justice with an eye to mutuality and partnering, rather than ‘doing for’ or ‘giving to’
  • explore broadening awareness and action into greater community:
    • who might allies and partners be?
    • where are opportunities to change local systems and policies?
  • where might reparations be made?
    • who is already offering reparations – what can be learned by those efforts?
    • what individuals or organizations should be recipients of financial reparations?
    • how might financial reparations be administered with generational effectiveness?
    • with whom can the congregation partner to create a reparations fund sufficient to make meaningful reparations?

Ground in spiritual practices of silence, listening, honesty, confession, and intention-setting and develop resilience for racial reparations.