The national “Becoming Beloved Community” newsletter recently included this column about Caroline Russell, a St. Paul’s, Brunswick parishioner until her death in December 2021, and her relationship with the Sacred Ground program.

Sometimes a transformation of the heart can be so complete that it is shocking even to the one being transformed. Caroline Russell, a parishioner at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Brunswick, Maine, experienced just such a transformation in the final years of her life, and the effects are now rippling far beyond the St. Paul’s community.

A profound commitment to serving those less fortunate than herself was a hallmark of Caroline’s life, and she served as a longstanding volunteer with several charitable organizations in the Brunswick area. However, she only became aware of the pervasiveness of racial injustice over the past few years. As was the case across the country, the murder of George Floyd spurred members of the St. Paul’s community to try to understand more about the history and impact of race and racism in the United States. The church convened three Sacred Ground circles, and Caroline felt called to join. She said, “I can’t say exactly why I joined; I suppose the Holy Spirit was telling me I had work to do.” Through this program, she gained a deeper understanding of race in this country and was able to connect this new knowledge with her own life story.

Read more here on The Episcopal Church’s Racial Reconciliation page.