St. James' Episcopal Church - Potomac 301-762-8040

Racial Justice Ministry

The St. James’ Racial Justice Committee, in response to a call for a racial justice initiative, is working to develop the vision and response of the St. James’ community to create a fair and just society, and to heal divisions, so that we may live in justice and peace.

Closing Prayers for Sacred Ground, During Lent

Each week in the Sacred Ground program, a participant volunteers a closing prayer. The following prayer was written  for our March 13 session. 


Closing Prayers for Sacred Ground, During Lent

By Sampson Annan


As we go through the Sacred Ground program, I feel like our hearts have been broken and we all mourn together. So, since we are in the season of repentance, let us call on our Father of all races and all tribes to have mercy on us.


For the times we have turned our eyes from systems of injustice, we repent.

For the times we’ve neglected to hear the cries of the oppressed, we repent.

For the times we have ignored the racism right in front of us, we repent.

For the ways the church has perpetuated the problem instead of being a part of the solution, we repent.

For the ways, we haven’t listened, we haven’t learned, we haven’t lamented, we repent.

God, open our eyes that we might see, open our ears that we might hear.

Where there is ignorance teach us, where there is bigotry and hate help us speak out.

Where there is fear, give us courage.

Keep us from turning or running. Strip away our comfort, or our numbness and break our hearts for what breaks Yours.

May we be a voice for the voiceless, light in the darkness and ultimately teach us to be like Jesus, to step down from our world and enter the world of others, to see people the way they see things, to share in their stories, to mourn with those who mourn.

Teach us to be like Jesus. Help us to step out of our own small kingdom and bring your Kingdom of love and justice to this world. Lord, have mercy on us.

We repent. Amen.

In 2020, and again in 2023, the Racial Justice Committee participated in the Diocesan Sacred Ground dialogue series: “…A sensitive, prayerful resource that creates space for difficult but respectful and transformative dialogue on race and racism. It invites participants to walk back through history in order to peel away the layers that brought us to today, reflecting on family histories and stories, as well as important narratives that shape the collective American story.” (From the link above.)

In 2021, the Racial Justice committee discerned a call to focus on two initiatives: engaging relationships, and sponsoring another session of Sacred Ground within the congregation. We look forward to the congregations’ participation as we move forward with next steps to work on racial justice issues within St. James’ and the broader community.

Commission members: Rev. Meredith Heffner, Rev. James Isaacs; Brad McCullough, Vestry liaison; Sampson Annan; Heather Hennis; Wendy Hicks; Doug Holy; Beda Jean-Francois; Tracy Lively; Susan Olson; Trish Powell; Susan Schuck; Linda and Ed Ellis; and Katherine Weaver, Chair.





Other Sources

Support these and other Black-owned restaurants in Montgomery County:

  • Beteseb Restaurant, Silver Spring
  • Black Lion Café, Rockville & Silver Spring
  • Roger Miller Restaurant, Silver Spring
  • Sheba Ethiopian Restaurant, Rockville
  • Island Pride, Rockville