A Five-Step Process
Our consultants, JaNay Queen and Marc Brimhall-Vargas, have created a five-step program as a continuation of Harriet Lewis' work, in accordance with the strategic plan pulled together over by the Vestry during 2008 and 2009:
Step One: Identifying who we are and where we are in diversity awareness
Last November, Paul and Kenn, assisted by the R&R co-chairs, convened a focus group of 20 St. Mark's members representative of our parish in age, race, gender and length of time with St. Mark's, to meet with JaNay and Marc. In this informal discussion led by JaNay and Marc, the group identified key factors and points of conflict in our experience with issues of race. JaNay and Marc drew on this discussion to design a parish-wide "diversity awareness" survey that addresses concerns voiced during that discussion.
Step Two: Diversity Awareness Survey
This step is in process now. All parishioners are invited/requested to take the survey, easily accessible on the St. Mark's website and in hard copy in the racks inside the Nave entrances. The survey, completely confidential, invites responses to questions of personal feelings regarding race and perceptions of the parish's experience and comfort with diversity, particularly racial diversity. We hope to receive a majority of responses by January 31st to give JaNay and Marc time to prepare for the next step.
Step Three: Parish-wide dinner meeting
Paul, Kenn, Peter, Jack and Penny will host a gathering, set for Wednesday, February 10, at which JaNay and Marc will present the survey findings and invite discussion. They will describe the fourth step, parish wide participation in a three week mini-course "One World", to be given in February and March, designed to facilitate dialogue about race.
Step Four: "One-World" mini-course
The mini-course is a three-part, structured conversation led by JaNay and Marc, designed to move participants to a deeper level of dialogue and exploration of personal experience as they relate to diversity and multicultural awareness inside and outside St. Mark's community. We will be posting information shortly about these sessions, which will take place during February and March.
Step Five: Assessments of results
Following the mini-course, JaNay and Marc will design a reassessment survey to evaluate changes resulting from the prior steps, and will make recommendations for future work to continue the dialogue.
This will complete the contract with the consultants. However, should the experience prove useful and identify a clear need for additional work, we may seek to re-engage them for an additional effort.