Gloria Dei’s Racial Justice Committee periodically shares message about its work and opportunities for the Gloria Dei community to participate in work on racial justice. This message is from Mark Becker, a Racial Justice Committee member.
The Gloria Dei Little Library Project began Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022, with the delivery of Racial Justice books to the families of second grade Sunday School students at Gloria Dei. Over the next few months, the committee will give books to each student in Sunday School, paid for by the Racial Justice Committee with funds from the Gloria Dei 2020 Mission Grant.
Like a pebble thrown into a pond, we reach out with anti-racist/diverse literature to the children and families of Gloria Dei who then reach out to other children and families through Little Free Libraries in the neighborhoods of Saint Paul and surrounding areas. The books will focus on diverse ethnic groups, with the purpose of promoting family discussions that seek understanding and the awareness of history, culture, identity and race, and often on the concerns of those who have suffered from the challenges of racism in our country.
Our first book, distributed to 21 second grade students and their families, was chosen as one of the next steps of living into our Land Acknowledgement Statement. We recognize that Gloria Dei’s building is on sacred land for the Dakota people. Near the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers, called Bdote, this is the place of origin or creation, a holy land. The beautiful book, Greet The Dawn: The Lakota Way, is written and illustrated by S.D. Nelson, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Though not about Dakota people, the book also seems to celebrate the sacredness of each new day and speaks of singing to the Great Spirit. A central question sent with the book asks, “How do you think this is similar to or different from the way we talk about God and the Holy Spirit at church?” We pray that God uses the Gloria Dei Little Library Project in ways beyond those we might even imagine, both in the children and families of our church and eventually in the families of those who will find them in the Little Free Libraries of our neighborhoods.
Pictured: Some of the drivers for the Gloria Dei Little Library Project pose (briefly unmasked and outdoors) before going out with the first delivery. Drivers included Maria Conley, Amy and Dan Hendricksen, Steven Peterson, Carol Engel, Karen Lansing, Stephanie Lien Walseth, Deanna Thompson and Bruce Agneberg.