Letters sent from Head of School Braxton Brady to ECS alumni and to the ECS community:
June 10, 2020
Dear ECS Alumni,
The present day events in our country have been heavy on my heart. I have been particularly grieved to hear accounts of some ECS alumni who are people of color who endured hurtful treatment while they were students at ECS. Racism in any form stands in direct opposition to our Christ-centered, biblically directed educational mission. As part of that, we believe that every person is created in God’s image and is worthy of love, honor and respect. ECS has zero tolerance for racism, and our leadership is committed to acting on the teachings of Christ on this subject.
Because our faith and our ministry are based on relationships, we have been reaching out individually to those who have felt marginalized based on their ethnicity and have been listening to their stories and engaging in gospel-centered conversations with them about their experiences.
As a start, some of the action points in our plan to enact lasting change for our school community include:
- Appointing the first African American on the ECS Board of Trustees. This process began last fall, and he will be installed at the annual transition board meeting next week.
- Since I have been Head of School for the past year-and-a-half, we have and will continue to actively seek out people of color to hire for administration, faculty and staff who are excellent professionals and have a heart for discipleship to better reflect the Church and world in which we live.
- ECS is changing parts of our History curriculum so that our students understand our nation’s history and challenges that remain today.
- With an intentional discipleship focus, our faculty and staff do an excellent job recognizing and ministering to those students who may be feeling marginalized for any reason and intervening on their behalf. We will continue training on this topic, particularly as it relates to issues that students of color face, as ongoing professional development.
- We have created an Office of Student Culture to ensure that student issues are known, heard and responded to in a gospel-centered manner. This office will also help lead our faculty professional development and growth in this critical area.
- We will continue to reiterate racial sensitivity training to our students as a part of expected student behavior.
As a discipleship-minded school, we will be constantly looking for other ways in which we can improve our approach to educating every student in our care. Alumni, we welcome your ideas by emailing us at email@example.com to further help us become a Christian school in which students of every race and ethnicity feel known and loved.
We ask for your prayers and support as we seek to bring the relevance of the gospel to students today. As always, we invite you back to campus to see for yourself the many changes that ECS has effected since you were a student here; yet our mission still remains the same: to provide the Christian family a Christ-centered, biblically directed education that challenges students to know the Lord Jesus Christ and to develop the vision and practice of excellence in academics, character, leadership and service to others.
In His Service,
Head of School
June 4, 2020
It's so unusual it's frightening.
You see right through the mess inside me.
And you call me out to pull me in.
You tell me I can start again.
And I don't need to keep on hiding.
I'm fully known and loved by You.
You won't let go no matter what I do.
And it's not one or the other.
It's hard truth and ridiculous grace.
To be known, fully known and loved by You.
I'm fully known and loved by You.
This song by Tauren Wells has been ministering to me the last few weeks, and I think it speaks to what I will prayerfully attempt to say about the current events happening in our country. I keep going back to one line: hard truth and ridiculous grace. The gospel of Jesus Christ is hard truth: We are more sinful than we know, and yet more loved than we can imagine. The gospel is also ridiculous grace: Despite our brokenness, Christ stood in our place. As I think and pray about this, I am constantly reminded that hard truth and ridiculous grace should be our response as believers.
The hard truth is that despite knowing that we are all created in the image of God, we do not treat others with the dignity and respect they deserve. The hard truth is that despite the clear call of Scripture to stand for those who are marginalized and oppressed, we do not seek justice and show compassion to those who are mistreated. The good news is that the ridiculous grace of Jesus Christ gives us an opportunity to change. If we are fully known and loved by God, why would we not want everyone in our country to be fully known and loved as well?
When I came to ECS two years ago, I wanted to focus on three rules: Do what’s right; leave it better than you found it; and take care of each other. I pray that as a response to the gospel that we are compelled to do what’s right, knowing that we will not be perfect. I pray that we are compelled to take care of each other within the walls of our school and in our great city. Most importantly, I pray that we can leave our school, city and country better than we found it.
Leaving it better than we found it lies in the opportunities we have every day as we work, serve and live. It means showing mercy, love and empathy as a response to the gospel. Doing what is right means committing to change when the media attention dies down. It means examining every area of our lives and pleading with God to expose those areas of sin in our life and begging God to change us from the inside out. I believe it is abundantly clear that Jesus teaches all of us to walk humbly, show mercy and love unconditionally.
We must, as a school, create a culture where racism, hate and discrimination have no place. We are committed to this each and every day. We may never be perfect, but we are striving to be better. We stand with all those feeling the pain and fear that comes from hatred. We are diligently working on ways to educate our team to better navigate this time and help focus on the change we all so dearly need.
We will grieve together, we will adapt together, and eventually we will thrive together. At the end of all this, we will take a long look in the mirror, and we won’t be able to lie to ourselves about how we acted. ECS has a mission that matters, and my prayer is that it will not be merely words on a wall but a call to live out hard truth and ridiculous grace.
In His Service,
Head of School