Beloved Epworth Family,
As we come out of the long weekend commemorating the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and now face a tense week as we near the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, I am reflecting on King’s words about peace. He said, “If peace means accepting second-class citizenship, I don’t want it. If peace means keeping my mouth shut in the midst of injustice and evil, I don’t want it. If peace means being complacently adjusted to a deadening status quo, I don’t want peace. If peace means a willingness to be exploited economically, dominated politically, humiliated and segregated, I don’t want peace.” King advocated instead for a positive peace, in which we speak actively and act nonviolently for a just reality in which all have dignity, equity and sufficient resources to live with freedom.
The unrest in our nation is in part due to the reality that we do not live in a just society. There are many prayer vigils taking place right and through the end of tomorrow. On opportunity is today at 4pm through the National Council of Churches. You can register for that here. Our conference is also participating in a “Twitter Thunderclap” in which we are encouraged to tweet as persons of faith calling for a peaceful transfer of power and a continued pursuit of justice. Tag your tweets with #peacewithjustice.
I encourage you to take part in these actions and to also take a positive action through Epworth:
Join the anti-racism book group which is starting a new book tonight (Tuesday)
Participate with the Truth and Racial Reckoning group meeting tomorrow (Wednesday),
or come to the film series discussion group on Sunday mornings before worship.
Remember the words of the Psalmist,
“Let there be peace and justice throughout the land,
known on every mountain and hill.
May the king be fair to the poor.
May he help the helpless and give consequence those who hurt them.
May people always fear and respect you, God,
as long as the sun shines and the moon is in the sky." (Psalm 72:3-5)
I also want to let you know that our Do No Harm team continues to meet and assess how to keep our congregation safe while looking toward the opportunities to return to in-person gathering. While we do not anticipate the Epworth building will be open before March, we are working on a number of ways to observe Lent in our current paradigm. Remember that if you or someone you know are experiencing financial challenges due to COVID, the COVID relief fund is here for you. Just send an email with the need to firstname.lastname@example.org and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.
In the meantime, know that I am praying for you, and with you.
Beloved Epworth Community,
As a congregation, we have been attending to the work of racial justice with a more concerted focus since the murder of George Floyd last May. This Sunday, coinciding with Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend and continuing through the first part of Black History month, we begin a new series, "Why We Can’t Wait: Truth and Racial Reckoning." The first part of the title stems from a well-known speech of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the second part is the name of the Epworth group looking at our own particular history and responsibility as a congregation.
Alongside the series are multiple opportunities for education and engagement. The first is a media/film series. Each week, you are invited to watch a film or listen to a Martin Luther King sermon and then gather on Sundays at 9am on Zoom for discussion facilitated by me. This week we’ll be listening to King’s sermon Drum Major Instinct. Though you have likely heard King’s speech from the 1963 March on Washington that included the words, “I have a dream,” have you heard King preach a Sunday sermon? I encourage you to honor King’s legacy this weekend by hearing his voice from the pulpit as he was a civil rights organizer, pastor, preacher, theologian and prophet.
Other opportunities for education and engagement is a book discussion group beginning tonight (Tuesday) at 6:30 reading Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Anti Racist. Thank you to Sally Nasman and Carol Baumbauer for continuing to facilitate. Epworth Truth and Racial Reckoning group continues to meet every other Wednesday facilitated by Greg Downs and Michael Martin. An installation, curated by Dianne Rush Woods and Clark Kellogg is being planned for the Epworth grounds to be up during this series and beyond. Watch this column for more on how you can contribute to the installation. See below for all Zoom links and how to join.
I’m grateful for another deep dive into the integration of our faith and the call to address and make right systemic racism. Thank you to each of you for your courage to respond to the divine imperative that all persons are beloved children of God as we strive toward beloved community.
Grace and peace be with each of you,
OUR ANTI-RACIST WORK CONTNIUES
Anti-racist reading & media group - Tuesdays at 6:30pm
Beginning on January 19: we'll read Ibram X. Kendi's How to be an Antiracist. Each week we'll read a couple of chapters and discuss on zoom. All are welcome, regardless of prior participation in the anti-racism media group. Please contact: Carol Baumbauer or Sally Nasman with questions.
Film/media discussion series - Sundays at 9 a.m.
Each week, you are invited to watch a film or listen to a Martin Luther King sermon and then gather on Sundays at 9 a.m. on Zoom for discussion facilitated by Pastor Kristin. Though you have likely heard King’s speech from the 1963 March on Washington that included the words, “I have a dream,” have you heard King preach a Sunday sermon? I encourage you to honor King’s legacy this weekend by hearing his voice from the pulpit as he was a civil rights organizer, pastor, preacher, theologian and prophet.
January 17: Drum Major Instinct sermon by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
January 24: 13th - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krfcq5pF8u8
January 31: Black Power Mixtape, Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/Black-Power-Mixtape-Erykah-Badu/dp/B006LG7EEW (PG13 Option: Selma - https://www.amazon.com/Selma-David-Oyelowo/dp/B00S0X4HK8)
February 7: Fundi: the Ella Baker Story, Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/fundi/108925098
February 14: Whose Streets: Kanopy, Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/video/detail/B074QTGGN8/ (PG Option: Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: Hoopla)
Also watch on February 16 and 23: The Black Church: Two part-series premiering on your local PBS station, https://www.pbs.org/show/black-church/
Truth and Racial Reckoning - Epworth History Project - Every other Wednesday at 4 p.m.
Since late July, a group of Epworth members have met roughly every two weeks by zoom to discuss racial reparations, what the history of Epworth requires of us, and how we might build an anti-racist church. All who are interested should contact Michael Martin or Greg Downs .