In late August, 1619, some "20 and odd" enslaved Africans landed on the shores of the British colony of Virginia, near Point Pleasant. The New York Times Magazine has published a sweeping account of this fateful moment, The 1619 Project, that is essential reading for every citizen of this nation. Our shared history has important lessons for us, as we reflect on both the dream of America, and the lie that the dream was intended for all of us. Educators can get copies of curricular materials to help our young people understand this powerful moment in time, and how they can help realize the dream of democracy, available on the Pulitzer Center: The 1619 Project Curriculum.

It's our task, Middle family, to understand our history, so we can create a more perfect union. We are committed to dismantling the systems of racial oppression that plague our nation. We are determined to make anti-racism an ongoing spiritual practice. We are called to celebrate the gift of racial ethnic diversity, not only in our congregation, but as a way of life.

And so, this Sunday, Derrick Harkins will preach about these 400 years. There will be special music and a dance by Amethyst Rose, and our bells will toll for 400 years of inequality. You can talk about Derrick's sermon with him after worship. And on October 27, I'll lead us in the second in a series of Sundays marking these 400 years, and the incredible contributions of Africans in America.

As part of our calling to racial justice, three new small groups will start in the fall. The Reparations Collective will meet from 7-8:30p for four consecutive Tuesdays, beginning September 17. There will be a Voter Reform Action Group that will meet for the first time on Sunday, September 22 at 10:45a, and there will be a learning and listening group that will meet periodically. And, later this year, our congregation is going to read How to Be an Antiracist, by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi. Email Amanda if you are interested in any of these small groups.

The United States of America is an ambitious idea. The dream of democracy has not only been deferred, but it has all too often been a nightmare for African Americans. Our calling, with God's Spirit as breath in our lungs, is to make the Reign of God come on earth, to realize God's dream of a healed and whole world in which racial justice flows like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I'm down for God's Dream, you?


Resources and More

Sunday, August 25, 2019 | Worship Celebration
Slavery in North America: 400 Years

"In Plain Sight"
Derrick Harkins

"Fix Me, Jesus"
Amethyst Rose, dancer

Message for All Ages

"Lord, How Come Me Here"
Summer Choir
Alvin Crawford, soloist

The 1619 Project and associated images (c) The New York Times.