Holding The Torch

Dylan Novacek June 18, 2020

Voices from the Clergy March, Part 1
Written By Dylan Novacek, Content Specialist

“What inspires me is Beacon’s approach to creating these homes. We’re here to claim the truth that housing is one of the pieces that allows for equality to happen. Beacon holds the torch!”

Following the murder of George Floyd, our Twin Cities community gathered for demonstrations of mourning and protest. Members of Beacon’s collaborative joined in a clergy march, led by members of the Black community. T. Michael Rock of Robbinsdale Parkway UCC joined to show his support.

“My call to ministry is to work for our community and help those who are marginalized. In my faith tradition we promise love, support, and care. This is from our Baptismal Covenant in our welcome to new folks to the community. This is a covenant promise that extends to our neighbors as well.”

For T. Michael, home is safety, refuge, and a place to find solidarity. He points out that for many, home extends to the streets we walk. As he took a pensive pause, T. Michael considered the weight that has been placed on the Black community.

“We need to give that support to those outside our walls,” he said. “Police violence, the lack of access to good schools and safe homes. We need to create a system where all our neighbors feel a shared sense of love, support, and care.”

Through recognizing the vast inequities caused by a history of systemic racism, Beacon aims to dismantle these systems to see that all people have a home. As a collaborating congregation, those at Robbinsdale Parkway UCC understand how the gift of stable housing can benefit everyone.

“Over the last few weeks, I’ve reflected on why I do this work. I’ve realized it’s about healing and hospitality,” T. Michael shared as he looks back on his experience working with Beacon’s shelter program.

“People don’t realize the need. As we welcome shelter families into our congregation, we need to remind ourselves that these families aren’t a simple outlier. The lack of housing is real, and we need to wake up to that fact.”

Serving on the team to develop family supportive housing in North Minneapolis, T. Michael looks to help Beacon grow our reach to support families who face housing inequities.

“In North Minneapolis we see a lack of housing stability. It is a hardship that some people can’t afford to live anywhere else.”

It takes $12 million over three years fund Beacon’s mission. We are urged forward by the painful knowledge that systemic racism causes housing disparities. Through the support of our funders, volunteers, and collaborating congregations we can double down to change harmful polices and create homes for all our neighbors.

Peacefully marching with his community members and engaging in conversations about how we can do better has been inspiring for T. Michael as well as our Beacon community at large. These are undoubtedly very hard times. But together we endure and move forward.

“We are collectively in mourning. Not just for George Floyd, but for the massive amounts of needless death in this world,” he takes another emotional pause. “Literally walking together through this grief helps us heal. Moving in support and solidarity with leadership from our Black community members has been a standout moment.”

It takes a collaborative of powerful faith communities to work together to help fulfill our shared Beacon mission. Through leaders like T. Michael showing up to voice their support for dismantling unjust systems, we grow in our vision that all people have a home.

“More housing is key,” T. Michael exclaims, feeling empowered by the work our collaborative has done. “I am called by my faith to support all people. When there is stable housing, everyone in our community feels the promise of love, support, and care.”

Raise your voice for home! Click here to learn how you can support our Beacon vision. Follow us for part two as we continue to share insights and stories from the clergy march. Read our official statement on George Floyd here.