Black History Month – Resisting Invisibility

OscarsSoWhiteI haven’t paid a lot of attention to black history month over the years. I’ve seen the books highlighting prominent African American men and women on display at the library. I’ve noticed advertisements for special lectures or films. But I haven’t really engaged with these opportunities before.

I’m proud to say that the anti-racism committee at Good Shepherd is hosting a number of educational activities for the community beginning this month.

In a blog for the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Chicago, ELCA pastor Rev. Ronald S. Bonner Sr. writes that black history month is still significant. Many of us are familiar with the stories of at least a handful of black Americans. We can easily talk about Rev. Martin Luther King Jr or Frederick Douglass…or Oprah. But what about the contributions of Toussaint L’Ouverture (liberator of Haiti) or Ms. Ursula Burns (first African American woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company)?

He says that black history month is a “concretized and rooted effort from black people to resist being made invisible by a larger society that needs to maintain a cultural superiority and refuses to fully accept the wealth of contributions by Black Americans.”[i] Not sure if that’s still the case in 2016? Rev. Bonner encourages us to read the tweets from #OscarsSoWhite .

Put these dates on your calendar and tell your friends!

Wednesdays in Lent: Holden Evening Prayer with stories of the spirituals; soup supper at 6pm beginning February 17

  • February 10, 12:10pm and 7pm: Ash Wednesday
  • February 17, 7pm Holden Evening Prayer, “Swing Low Sweet Chariot,” Cassi Smith
  • February 24, 7pm Holden Evening Prayer, “Wade in the Water”/Harriet Tubman, Sue Cottrol
  • March 2, 7pm Holden Evening Prayer, “Steal Away”/Nat Turner, Andrea Ponsor
  • March 9, 7pm Holden Evening Prayer, “Go Down Moses,” Wasihun Gutema
  • March 16, 7pm Holden Evening Prayer, “There Is A Balm in Gilead,” Corinne Baker

Sunday, February 21, 9:45am: Guest Speaker Dr. Edna Medford, Chair of the History Department at Howard University and incoming President of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History speaks in our lounge

Sunday, February 21, afternoon: Join us opening weekend at the Potomac Yards theater to see the film “Race” about the life of Jesse Owens; time will be announced when available – we’ll be attending a matinee and gathering for those who would like to talk about it afterwards

Sunday, February 28, 7pmPub Theology at Bilbo Baggins, 208 Queen Street in Alexandria; topic for conversation will be “Racism and the church”

Saturday, March 19, time to be determined: Take a tour of the Alexandria black history museum, including special exhibits related to the PBS series “Mercy Street”; suitable for children in grade 4 and up

Sunday, March 13 at 9:45am and Sunday, March 20, 7pm: Book discussion of Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow, a work which has drawn attention to racial injustices in the United States penal system

Please join us! Make it a part of your Lenten discipline.

In Christ,
Pastor Jen



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