On January 18, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, The Episcopal Church will launch “From Many, One: Conversations Across Difference,” a campaign urging Episcopalians and their neighbors to engage in the spiritual practice of listening and sharing in honest conversation across the many differences that separate us, starting with four simple questions:
- What do you love?
- What have you lost?
- Where does it hurt?
- What do you dream?
Inspired by the Latin phrase on the U.S. seal – E Pluribus (“from many”) Unum (“one”) – the campaign is designed to offer a faithful perspective and time-tested practice for knitting deeply divided communities into a diverse, more perfect union. In a cultural moment shadowed by pandemic, fractious politics, and deep division within families, communities, and nations, Episcopalians can hold up simple yet powerful ways to celebrate difference, listen with deep curiosity, and promote healing.
“I have never been more profoundly aware of the need for passionate and practical commitment to the way of unselfish, sacrificial love that Jesus taught,” Presiding Bishop Michael Curry said. “Conversations with others across difference is not just a nice thing to do. It is a spiritual practice of love in action. It’s how we reknit the fabric of our democracy and the human family of God.”
“From Many, One” is designed to be simple and transformative. It aims to foster individual people talking to other individuals, and also includes avenues for small groups and congregations to join. Participants are encouraged to follow these steps:
- Learn about The Four Questions and related wisdom at iam.ec/frommany, which goes live January 11.
- Watch videos of people modeling The Four Questions.
- Sign up and set a conversations goal.
- Have the conversation(s).
- Pray for your conversation partner(s).
- Contribute to the “From Many, One” story space with insights, video/audio highlights, a poem, prayer, or image inspired by your conversation(s).
- Join the Easter campaign celebration that will feature a special online worship and sharing time.
“We hope people understand this is only scratching the surface of the practice and learning that we’re called toward,” said the Rev. Melanie Mullen, the Church’s Director of Reconciliation, Justice, and Creation Care, one of the departments that collaborated to shape the campaign. “Our goal is to point people toward partner efforts that meet you where you are: for more simple conversation, further learning, deeper reckoning and/or action. More than that, we hope people see this as part of a lifelong commitment to creating Beloved Community.”