This covenant was crafted by the Rt. Rev. Deon K. Johnson, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri. He wrote the document a few weeks after George Floyd was killed while in police custody in Minneapolis. Floyd’s death sparked outrage, protests, and calls for action to address systemic racism in our justice system.
“Everybody was issuing statements (including me), but I wanted to go beyond a statement. I was looking for concrete and tangible ways to transform the church,” Johnson said.
Using the language of the church, Johnson wrote a covenant instead of an agreement. “The laments acknowledge where we’ve fallen short in the past. Then we make a covenant to start again.”
Johnson and many of the covenant’s co-sponsors are bishops in the Episcopal Church, but the covenant is for all people of faith. “I hope the Church takes it seriously and engages in the covenant,” Johnson said. “I hope it can help us actually transform the Church into a place where white supremacy and racism have no home.”
The Rt. Rev. Deon K. Johnson was ordained the 11th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri on June 13, 2020. He was born on Barbados and has served in parishes in Michigan and Ohio. He now lives in St. Louis with his husband and their 8-year old son.