Refired for Justice

I’ve had plenty to write about these past six months but by the time I went to sit down at my laptop the energy and enthusiasm had waned. I’ve just passed my two year anniversary of retirement from employed work. I’ve been “refired” instead of “retired” and have focused on things that are important to me or give me joy:

Teaching, including a course I’ve developed for Seabury-Bexley’s Pathways for Baptismal Living that offers training in the requirements to be a licensed Lay Catechist in the Episcopal Church; mentoring an EfM group; and co-facilitating a youth confirmation class at my parish.

Learning. In the Spring of 2021 I joined others from my parish in taking the Sacred Ground curriculum offered by The Episcopal Church. A group of us have continued to meet via Zoom, reading books and exploring how we can make a difference in action and awareness regarding racism in our communities. We are in the preliminary stages of bring The Witness Stones Project to our town through a collaboration of interfaith partners.

My Family Tree

Genealogy has always an interest of mine; I have pretty much cataloged all my relatives from both the parents’ side and husband’s side. That’s a lot of generations going back to Anglo-Saxon areas of Europe: England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, and Scandinavia. And I’ve got my DNA now to prove it. Most of my (and John’s) ancestors either settled in the British colonies (now New England in the U.S.) in the 17th century.

Antiques are plentiful in our house, especially from John’s lineage. Think samplers, coin silver, portraits, furniture, pottery/china, watches, pocket knives, and jewelry. Lots of this is connected to our family history, which makes all these people really come alive. However, as many baby-boomers know, our adult children don’t want this stuff. In my “free” time I have been slowly selling off the treasures from past generations that has accumulated on eBay and Facebook Marketplace. Enough to keep me in Starbucks and new books for a while.

Community Engagement has led me down a path I never imagined. Working full time, I never had the time to volunteer on an ongoing basis in my city. Two years ago I began working at City Hall on election day that has turned into training others who work the polls. It has been an eye-opening experience of the democratic process.

Since January, I’ve been connecting the dots of my past with the present and future. In mentoring others in how to pass on faith to future generations with an emphasis on Baptismal Covenant language, I can see how issues of justice and racial reconciliation merge with my personal history and activities.

In the midst of all these conversations, reading, and attending virtual presentations while Hunkered down during the pandemic I’ve gained plenty of new knowledge by reading, attending virtual presentations, and participating in group conversations. (I was recently appointed to the Episcopal Church in Connecticut’s Task Force on Indigenous Peoples based on Resolution #4: Fostering Right Relationship: ECCT, Indigenous Episcopalians, and our Indigenous Neighbors and serve as convener of my parish’s Social Justice & Racial Healing group.) In a nutshell, I have learned that my paternal ancestors owned slaves in eastern Connecticut in the late 1700s. My husband’s shipbuilding ancestors of Newburyport, Massachusetts in the 1800s were mostly likely part of the triangle slave trade. Many of the antiques in our home were most likely obtained through wealth off the backs of others.

Stay tuned to how I blend all of the above in the coming weeks and months.

He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?

micah 6:8

Header photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash and “thread” photo by John Anvik on Unsplash

1 thought on “Refired for Justice

  1. In your searches, did you run across an Ely who was a muralist? She lived in or near Smithtown New York and painted medieval things mostly I believe. Her grandson’s name was Robin. He would be about my age. I too am trying to figure out what to save for children who are not ready for it yet and what I should sell because the memories of the people are only mine. I look forward to reading about more of your journey.

    Like

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