Honrando el pasado, presente y futuro de Juneteenth

Honrando el pasado, presente y futuro de Juneteenth

Honrando el pasado, presente y futuro de Juneteenth
Juneteenth conmemora la liberación de afroamericanos de la esclavitud el 19 de junio de 1865 en la Bahía Galveston, en Texas. A pesar de que la Proclamación de Independencia había ocurrido dos años antes, no todos los afroamericanos esclavos habían sido liberados en territorio de la Confederación. Se necesitó alrededor de 2000 soldados de la Unión para marchar hacia la Bahía de Galveston, en Texas y anunciar que todas las personas esclavizadas en Texas eran liberadas de la esclavitud por decreto ejecutivo. A partir de ese momento, las pesonas que habían sido esclavizadas comenzaron a recordar ese día como Juneteenth. La historia de Juneteenth nos invita a considerar cómo la libertad es una lucha constante y una práctica de compartir las “buenas nuevas”.

El domingo 18 de junio, el Ministerio de Justicia Racial en Silver Spring, “Wade in the Water”, realizó un forum sobre el Juneteenth con propósito educativo. Los presentadores fueron Gabby Whitehurst, del Comité Diocesano de Reparaciones, y Keith Allen, quien creció en la Bahía Galveston, Texas, celebrando el Juneeteenth.

Keith compartió la historia de Harrison Barrett (1845-1917), quien nació como esclavo y recibió la noticia de su libertad en junio de 1865 en Texas. Después de su emancipación, él buscó a los miembros de su familia y encontró a todos excepto a su hermana. En 1889, Barrett compró la parcela de tierra más grande que una persona esclavizada tuvo en el condado Harris, en Texas. En 1947 se construyó una escuela en ese lugar y fue nombrada en su honor. Puedes saber más sobre la historia de Harrison Barrett aquí.

Grace Silver Spring Juneteenth 2023
Grace Silver Spring Juneteenth 2023

Gabby Whitehurst hizo una presentación sobre Juneteenth y le pidió a la audiencia que reflexionara sobre el feriado y su papel en este momento de cambios. Whitehurst evocó el blues, la memoria y el alma para ayudar a los miembros de la Iglesia Grace a procesar la historia de manera constructiva. Whitehurst compartió una cita del estudioso literario afroamericano Ralph Ellison, relacionada con nuestra historia desafiante y compleja en los Estados Unidos. La cita dice: “El blues es un impulso para mantener vivos los detalles y episodios dolorosos de una experiencia brutal en nuestra conciencia adolorida, para apuntar a su engranaje y trascenderlo, no a través de una filosofía de la consolación, sino sacando de él su lirismo tragicómico.

Después del forum, la Iglesia Grace tuvo su servicio de adoración usando un himnario y con la participación de un coro afromaricano. El Misionero para la Equidad y la Justicia, Rudy Logan, predicó sobre Mateo 9:35-10:8 en el contexto del Juneteenth. Rudy compartió que el Juneteenth nos invita a un recordatorio contante, al amor anónimo, a vivir abiertamente nuestro discipulado y mostrarle a todos lo que se ha cosechado. Al concluir el servicio, la Iglesia Grace, de Silver Spring compartió con San Mateo, en Hyattsville una distribución de comida.

Church of the Epiphany, en DC, también tuvo una celebración de Juneteenth a través de la presentación del saxofonista Irvin Peterson y el organista David Houston, quienes tocaron música de Leo Sowerby, Paule Maurice, Duke Ellington, Jimmy Dorsey, entre otros. Pueden encotnrar un video de la presentación de Irvin Peterson y David Houston en la Iglesia Epiphany al final de este escrito, en la sección de recursos. La celebración también incluye la presentación del bailarín litúrgico P.J. Green-Young a partir de “Sounds of Blackness: Sunup to Sundown” (“Sonidos de la Negritud: del amanecer al atardecer”) y “The Drum” (“El Tambor”). Los poetas C. Etta Powersand y Angie Whitehurst leyeron sus creaciones tituladas respectivamente “1863” y “Juneteenth.”
Epiphany Juneteenth 2023
Epiphany Juneteenth 2023

Las parroquias en la Diócesis Episcopal de Washington nos recuerdan que Juneteenth no es solo un momento para celebrar, sino también es un proceso continuo de memoria y viaje por las realidades de la libertad. Pedimos a Dios que podamos honrar en nuestro trabajo de justicia y en todos nuestros ministerios a aquellos a quienes se les negó la libertad y la justicia. Contacta al Misionero para la Equidad y la Justicia, Rudy Logan si estás interesado en compartir sobre la celebración de Juneteenth en tu parroquia, o si estás interesado en celebrar el Juneteenth en el futuro.

Contacto: Rudy Logan, Missioner for Equity and Justice

Honoring the Past, Present and Future on Juneteenth

Honoring the Past, Present and Future on Juneteenth

Honoring the Past, Present and Future on Juneteenth
Juneteenth commemorates the liberation of African Americans from enslavement on June 19, 1865 in Galveston Bay, Texas. Despite the Emancipation Proclamation taking effect two years prior, not all enslaved African Americans in Confederate territory were freed. It required around 2,000 Union soldiers to march into Galveston Bay, Texas and announce that all enslaved persons in Texas were to be freed from enslavement by executive decree. Subsequently, the formerly enslaved people memorialized the day as Juneteenth. The story of Juneteenth invites us to consider how freedom is a constant struggle and practice of sharing the “good news.”

On Sunday, June 18, Grace, Silver Spring’s Racial Justice Ministry–Wade in the Water–conducted an educational forum on Juneteenth. Speakers were Gabby Whitehurst of the Diocesan Committee on Reparations, and Keith Allen, who grew up in Galveston Bay, Texas, celebrating Juneeteenth.

Keith shared the story of Harrison Barrett (1845-1917), who was born enslaved and received the news of his freedom in June 1865 in Texas. Following his emancipation, he searched for his family members and discovered all except for his sister. In 1889, Barrett purchased the largest settlement of land to be acquired by a formerly enslaved person in Harris County, Texas. In 1947, a school was built on the settlement and named in his honor. You can learn more about Harrison Barrett’s story here.

Grace Silver Spring Juneteenth 2023
Grace Silver Spring Juneteenth 2023
Gabby Whitehurst presented on Juneteenth and prompted audience members to reflect on the holiday in light of the changing times. Whitehurst evoked the blues, memory, and soul to help members of Grace process history constructively. Whitehurst shared a quote from African American literary scholar Ralph Ellison, in consideration of our challenging and complex history in the U.S. that reads, “The blues is an impulse to keep the painful details and episodes of a brutal experience alive in one’s aching consciousness, to finger its jagged grain, and to transcend it, not by the consolations of philosophy but by squeezing from it a near-tragic, near-comic lyricism.”

Following the forum, Grace conducted their worship service using the African American hymnal and following the lead of an African American choir. Missioner for Equity and Justice, Rudy Logan, preached over Matthew 9:35-10:8 in the context of Juneteenth. Rudy shared that Juneteenth invites us into constant remembrance, anonymous love, and living out our discipleship to bring about a harvest for all to experience. Following the service, Grace, Silver Spring partnered with St. Matteo, Hyattsville, to facilitate a food distribution.

The Church of the Epiphany, DC also held a Juneteenth celebration, hosting saxophonist Irvin Peterson and organist David Houston, who performed music of Leo Sowerby, Paule Maurice, Duke Ellington, Jimmy Dorsey, among others. You can find the video of Irvin Peterson and David Houston’s performance at Epiphany below in the resources section. The celebration also included performances by liturgical dancer P.J. Green-Young, drawing on “Sounds of Blackness: Sunup to Sundown” and “The Drum”, and poets C. Etta Powersand Angie Whitehurst, who performed their respective works titled, “1863” and “Juneteenth.”

Epiphany Juneteenth 2023
Epiphany Juneteenth 2023

Parishes across the Episcopal Diocese of Washington remind us that Juneteenth isn’t just a moment of celebration but an ongoing process of remembering and journeying for the realities of freedom. May we honor those denied freedom and delayed justice in our justice work and all ministries. Contact Missioner for Equity and Justice, Rudy Logan if you are interested in sharing about your parish’s Juneeteenth celebration, or have interest in holding Juneteenth celebrations going forward.

Contact: Rudy Logan, Missioner for Equity and Justice

Juneteenth and Kickoff to Summer Celebration

Juneteenth and Kickoff to Summer Celebration

St. George’s is hosting a celebration of Juneteenth and a kickoff to summer. There will be games, arts and crafts, prizes, a DC Fire Truck on site, and a DC MPD police car on site. Mike’s music will join us leading toddlers in song. We will also have DC Library with Juneteenth Education and stories. There will also be someone leading seniors in stretching and light exercise. Food includes hotdogs, chips, popsicles, and popcorn. All are welcome. Please join us.

Free Tickets June 17: Sixth & I Concert for the Human Family Celebrating Rotary, Juneteenth, Pride Month

Free Tickets June 17: Sixth & I Concert for the Human Family Celebrating Rotary, Juneteenth, Pride Month

Get Free tickets to the Concert for the Human Family (CFHF) of the US Episcopal Church in the “Faith In Peace” Concert from 7:30-10pm Saturday, June 17, 2023 in the spectacular Sixth & I Synagogue in Washington, DC. The “Shared Values” theme led by Rotary clubs from the Washington, DC and Maryland area will celebrate Juneteenth and Pride Month.

Register for tickets

Coupon Code for Free Tickets: belovedcommunity

To Stay in One’s Life

To Stay in One’s Life

“What are you doing here, Elijah?” He answered, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.” Then the Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus.”
1 Kings 19:13-16

Jesus and his disciples arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. As he stepped out on land, a man of the city who had demons met him. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he did not live in a house but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he fell down before him and shouted at the top of his voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? . . . The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him.
Luke 8:26-39

It is good to be in worship with you, friends of St. George’s. It has been too long since I was last with you, and much has happened in your lives in the past two years, about which I know only a portion.
Before I begin, I invite you to take a few deep breaths and allow yourself to acknowledge all you are holding in your heart right now. Together may we open ourselves to the Spirit of God in our midst.

Knowing how much they mean to you, I’d like to name some of what is our collective awareness. June, of course, is Pride Month, which has its origins, as many of you know, in the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. In response to the New York City police raiding a gay bar, its patrons and others on the city took to the streets and protested for days. That marked the beginning of what was the then called the “Gay Liberation Movement.” The first Gay Pride parade was on the one year anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, and in the 50 years since, it has has evolved into a month of events across the country and the world, attracting millions. Pride is a celebration of identity, community, and the struggle for a rightful place in society.

Today is June 19th, or Juneteenth as the holiday is known, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Juneteenth originated in Galveston, Texas in 1865, when on this day news of the freeing of enslaved people finally reached Texas–two years after President Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation. From Texas, the observance of June 19th has spread across the United States and beyond. It acknowledges the journey and achievement of African Americans from the horrific period of sanctioned enslavement to the pinnacle of human endeavors. It, too, is a story of pride, resilience, and determination.

Today is also Father’s Day, which has its origins in a number of local efforts to commemorate fathers, including one in the town of Fairmont, West Virginia in the 1870s. There a woman named Grace Golden Clayton suggested to the Methodist minister in town that they hold services to honor the fathers who had been killed in a deadly mine explosion that took the lives of 361 men. After Mother’s Day was officially recognized as a holiday in 1914, momentum slowly grew for fathers to have a day of their own, which finally happened in 1972. For some reason, there was a lot of resistance to the idea of a Father’s Day celebration, so it, too, has a history of struggle!

And there’s more. Last Saturday, prior to the Pride parade, there was the second “March for Our Lives Rally” in Washington, organized by students from across the country who have survived mass shootings in their schools, as we are reeling yet again from such episodes in a school, grocery store, on city streets, and now, this week, in an Episcopal Church outside Birmingham, Alabama.
And just yesterday, thousands of people gathered in Washington under the banner of the Poor People’s Campaign to highlight the issues that disproportionately affect those living in poverty. It was among the most racially and generationally diverse gatherings I’ve been a part of, and while a wide range of issues motivated people to turn out–rising health care costs, environmental degradation, lack of affordable housing and childcare, racial inequity–there was a universal call for reform and change in the political status quo.

So here we are, amid celebrations of identity and relationships, family and community; and ongoing struggle, protest, and calls for change. And as I pondered all this, and held you in my hearts in preparation for today, two questions from today’s biblical texts caught my attention.

The first question is from the story of Elijah the prophet who sought to escape from the perils facing him in the relative security of a cave, in which God asked him twice, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
The second question is from the gospel text in which a man possessed by many demons asked Jesus, “What have you to do with me, Jesus of Nazareth?”
These are important questions for us to wrestle with, too. The first has to do with our life purpose and how we spend our energies: What are we doing here? The second asks what, if anything, does Jesus of Nazareth have to do with us?

In these stories, the answer to the second question varies: God showed up for Elijah in sheer silence. Jesus showed up for the man possessed by demons in the midst of noise and chaos. The message to us is that God, or Jesus, can show up anywhere, that there isn’t any place we can go, as the psalmist once said, where God is not already present.

And in response to the first question–what are you doing here?–both men were told to return to their lives. God sent Elijah back to Damascus where danger lay. Jesus told the man he healed to return home.
Perhaps this is God’s word to you, too, to stay in your life. Own it as the grace and gift that it is, that you are. Dare to believe and to trust that you don’t have to go anywhere for God to show up, for Jesus to be present. God is with you and for you, no matter where you are. As a loving person said to me at a particularly vulnerable time in my young adult life, “You are a unique expression of God’s creative genius.” She told me to repeat that mantra every morning as I looked in the mirror, and I now say the same to you. “You are a unique expression of God’s creative genius.”

Your life is your life. Your gifts are your gifts. Your struggles are your struggles. Your graces and sins are yours; as are your history and heritage. Your unique and as yet unrealized potential is yours, along with all that in this moment may be paving the way for you or blocking that way. You may wish for another path, another set of gifts and challenges, even, as I have on more than one occasion, for another life. But this is it. This is your life. And with your unique place on earth at this moment in time comes great blessing and great responsibility–not to be perfect, not to be someone else, but to live well the one life you have been given. “We should not feel embarrassed by our difficulties,” says the Swiss philosopher Alain de Botton, “only by our failure to grow anything beautiful from them.”

Last week I had the honor of giving the commencement address for the high school graduating class of National Cathedral School. At the beginning of the school year, the class had chosen for its theme the word limitless, and much of their end of year celebrations included rightful celebrations of each student’s accomplishments and experience of surpassing limitations.

Of course I wanted to celebrate with them and affirm their capacity to meet challenges and overcome limitations–and I did. But I also wanted to say something about a more humbling reality that I knew even in their young and relatively privileged lives they knew about, which is when the limit prevails, be it in the form of a goal we will never reach or when our path has been blocked by something outside of our control. It could be an illness–ours or someone else’s–an accident, or a tragedy of epic proportions such as what we have experienced in the last two years, or a conflict that we cannot resolve or a problem that we cannot fix.

This is when, I told them, God shows up and takes initiative, assuring us we are not alone and that there is more at work in our lives than what we make happen on our own. Sometimes God does this by filling in the gap between what’s needed and what we have to offer, much like Jesus did in the story of the loaves and fish, when he took his disciples’ inadequate offering and made it a meal of extravagant abundance. In this way, Jesus encourages us to offer what we have, even when we know it’s not enough, because by grace, our offering becomes the raw material to produce what is needed.

Other times, however, when we reach our limit or are faced with something we cannot fix or change, God doesn’t show up to make up the difference. Rather–and this is harder–God helps us grow large enough inside to take in the thing we cannot change and make it a part of our lives without being consumed or entirely defined by it. It’s there, and it’s part of us, but it isn’t all of us. That is experiencing limitlessness in a very different way.

I leave you with this word of encouragement. In all that is happening around and within you, trust that God wants you to live your life and embrace it as the gift that it is. Remember that you are a gift, a unique expression of God’s creative genius. Tell yourself that every day until you believe it.

And what does Jesus have to do with you? Absolutely everything. There’s no place in your life where he is not. He’s there with you in the silence and chaos and everything in between.

Lean on him when you need to rest; draw from his strength when you need to show up and trust that he’s already there, and be grateful when you offer what you can. From the gift that is your life, Jesus can make miracles happen.

Amen.