Centennial Letter to Taylor Memorial UMC
Dear Pastor Jenkins and Members of the Taylor Memorial United Methodist Church,
Congratulations on 100 years of faithfulness, praising God, witnessing to the new life that can be found in Christ, and ministering to the real needs of God’s children in Oakland and beyond! We celebrate this momentous and joyous occasion with you, and are proud to stand with you as a United Methodist congregation in the East Bay, the Bay district and the California-Nevada annual conference.
Taylor Memorial has been a persevering witness through high times and challenging times. We are grateful to have had the opportunity to be a small part of your meals ministry in the past, to partake in district celebrations, potlucks and dinners held at Taylor, and to have served the wider conference and world in our shared mission and ministry. Taylor is known as a place where both body and soul are richly fed.
In the next 100 years, I pray that our congregations will find even more places of connection, collaboration and shared ministry. This fall, Epworth is engaged in a series entitled “Holy Conversations on Race, Racism and Racial Justice.” This series came out of the efforts of several groups in the church in direct response to the murder of George Floyd. The work includes a tribute through art on Hopkins Street to persons of color who lost their lives due to police violence; a group who has researched the history of Berkeley, North Berkeley and the Methodist Church as to own our particular responsibility with regard to racist institutions and structures that we are a part of; and multiple sermon series, book studies and discussion groups. The investigations into past and current realities with regard to race engender an even greater respect and appreciation that Taylor Memorial, an historic African American congregation, has been a place of wholeness and healing, led in the Methodist denomination, and thrived in the community.
We give thanks to God for Taylor Memorial! As we seek to repent and repair the past, we look forward to our shared future, knowing that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord!
Grace and peace,
Rev. Dr. Kristin Stoneking