Our study focuses on Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward. We are discussing the second half of the book. Contact Pastor Joanna via email for the Zoom Link. Newcomers are invited to join us on Tuesdays at 12:30 pm. Jesmyn Ward, two-time National Book Award winner and author of Sing, Unburied, Sing, delivers a gritty but tender novel about family and poverty in the days leading up to Hurricane Katrina.
Barrie Shepherd Advent Book
“I’d like you to know of my new collection of poems for Advent-Christmas 2020.
The title is, A Poetic Pandemic Christmas Pudding and I describe it as,
A plump and spicy concoction of words, phrases and images to evoke
the many flavors and aromas of the yuletide feast. A blessed Advent to one
and all”. ~Barrie Shepherd
Someone who has loved being connected to our ZOOM services and is acquainted with his work, has gifted us 30 copies of this book.
Please email or call Dorothy Gelb, firstname.lastname@example.org or 610-618-6266, to reserve your signed copy.
We are starting a new book, The Cross and the Lynching Tree by James Cone, a former professor at Union Theological Seminary and a Black Liberation Theologian. Newcomers are invited to join us via Zoom on Tuesdays at 12:30 pm starting with Chapter 1 on Nov. 24. Contact Pastor Joanna via email for the Zoom Link. email@example.com
The cross and the lynching tree are the two most emotionally charged symbols in the history of the African American community. In this powerful new work, theologian James H. Cone explores these symbols and their interconnection in the history and souls of black folk. Both the cross and the lynching tree represent the worst in human beings and at the same time a thirst for life that refuses to let the worst determine our final meaning. While the lynching tree symbolized white power and black death, the cross symbolizes divine power and black life God overcoming the power of sin and death. For African Americans, the image of Jesus, hung on a tree to die, powerfully grounded their faith that God was with them, even in the suffering of the lynching era.
The Adult Education ministry team met recently to plan our fall programs. Please note a change: the class on Paul’s letters has been moved to the new year, beginning January 2021. We have planned the following interesting opportunities for spiritual growth:
• What’s So Amazing About Grace This popular video series from Philip Yancy helps us move from an understanding of religion that is too often guilt-based to develop a faith full of grace, forgiveness and abundant love. It will meet 6:30-8:00 Wednesdays, Oct 21- Dec 16.
• The Case for Christmas Our Advent study is from a book by Lee Strobel, and poses an intriguing four week exploration of the Christmas story. The class will meet Sunday evenings Nov 29 – Dec 20.
• Adult Bible Study Until we are able to meet in the Ministry Center, we are uncertain when and how the Adult Bible class will meet. This class studies the scripture text of the Sunday sermon
The Reading Race group meets on Tuesdays from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. on Zoom. Call the church office for Zoom login information.
Tuesday, Sept. 15, at 12:30 p.m. on zoom Chapters 14 and 15 of How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram Kendi
Tuesday, Sept. 22, at 12:30 p.m. on zoom Chapters 16 and 17 of How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram Kendi
Tuesday, Sept. 29, at 12:30 p.m. on zoom Chapter 18 of How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram Kendi
On Tuesday, October 6 and October 13 — no Reading Race meeting
Please order our next book, the novel, Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. Please read the novel during our break.
Tuesday, Oct. 20, at 12:30 p.m. on zoom Discuss the novel Homegoing
Tuesday, Oct. 27, at 12:30 p.m. on zoom Discuss the novel Homegoing
One Small Step
It’s easy to get discouraged about change. I’m talking about the kind of change that we yearn for – change from the discord around us, change from the violence that frightens us, change from the hatreds so openly expressed, change from the negativism that hangs over our heads. We know these things are not of God and that God must be grieving the pervasive waywardness that we see every day.
It’s easy to be discouraged. I thought that race relations were improving. I thought that civil rights and integration would naturally bring us together as country, like I learned growing up, a “melting pot.” I thought that electing a Black president was a sign that America’s racial divisions were behind us. But now we know that’s not true. We have a lot of work to do, and prayer.
I know that some of us are tired of hearing about race, but the truth is, we have a lot of work to do, and prayer.
The Presbyterian Church (USA) has put together a helpful study guide for congregations to do this work. It is called Facing Racism: A Vision of Intercultural Community. Our Adult Education Ministry is offering this course. Pastor Joanna and I will lead the teaching sessions and members of the adult ed ministry team will facilitate the conversations. What we appreciate about this course is that it combines good biblical insight with excellent discussion questions. We learn from each other. This class is a safe place to share.
We begin with the Bible. We explore the Bible’s teachings about Creation and the Image of God, and what the Bible says about diversity and justice. Then we will think about what Jesus teaches us about being in community together. We will examine our own mission statement of SPC to hear what we have said about what kind of community we believe God wants us to be. What do the church’s confessions tell us about how the church addresses culture? As we face the daunting problem of race in America, what might we do as a community of faith? Could we, perhaps, take one small step for change?
I encourage you to participate. The class will meet from 6:30-8:00 on Wednesdays, Sept 9 – Oct 14. It is likely we will begin meeting through Zoom, and a link will be provided. To help us prepare, please sign up by contacting Ilona at the Church Office: 457-6811; firstname.lastname@example.org.
What does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8
Take care. Be kind. Walk humbly,
Wednesdays, 6:30 – 8:00 pm, Oct. 21 – Dec. 16
What’s So Amazing About Grace – This popular video series from Philip Yancy helps us move from an understanding of religion that is too often guilt-based to develop a faith full of grace, forgiveness and abundant love.
Sunday Evenings, Nov. 29 – Dec. 20
The Case for Christmas – Our Advent study is from a book by Lee Strobel, and poses an intriguing four week exploration of the Christmas story.
- Wednesdays, Oct. 21 – Dec. 16
- Facing Racism: A Vision of Intercultural Community – For this contemporary study, pastors,Ann Jahnes and Joanna Hipp will use scripture, church confessions and history, as well as current issues. The curriculum is produced by the Presbyterian Church (USA) to deepen congregational understanding and to foster candid conversation. It is likely we will begin meeting through Zoom, and a link will be provided.
Adult Bible Study Until we are able to meet in the Ministry Center, we are uncertain when and how the Adult Bible class will meet. This class studies the scripture text of the Sunday sermon.
At this time wounds of racial discord and misunderstanding in our country are raw. How can we truly lay a foundation for a better day in America? Is there a rainbow on the horizon of a new day? We continue to care, pray, and hope. We can also keep listening and learning. Our suggested readings and video will help you on the journey of racial inequity understanding. Contact the church office if you need a link to the Zoom meeting for this discussion.
Read: https://debbyirving.com/how-racism-damages-us-as-white-people/, How Racism Damages Us as White People, by Aaron Wilson-Ahlstrom
Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYyvbgINZkQ, How to overcome our biases? Walk boldly toward them, TED Talk by Vernā Myers, encourages work vigorously to counter balance bias by connecting with and learning about and from the groups we fear. (19 minutes)
It is difficult to know how to respond to the current racial turmoil in our country, yet it is important to be aware of the complexity of issues. That is why our church is committing the month of July to “Racial Equity Understanding.” Our E-blasts during the week will include links to activities, articles, videos, audio clips and observations.
These brief activities will help deepen our community connections and understanding. Each day there will be choices for ways of engagement. We recommend keeping a journal to reflect personal observations. Journaling is an important part of this work to reflect on what you are learning and how you are feeling. Keeping a journal will help you track what you have read, seen, thought, etc. Another reason for keeping a journal is that we will be gathering via Zoom on July 15 at 6:30 pm to discuss what we have read, seen, heard and learned so far. We want to remember our thoughts, learning and feelings in order to share them with one another. All are invited to this conversation. Church members have been sent login information. Others who are interested in participating can call the church office for login information – (910) 457-6811. Our hope is that this initiative is easily doable for everyone, and will assist our entire congregation to listen to different voices. We hope you will join us.
The resources we draw from come from the work of Dr. Eddie Moore Jr. In 1996, Dr. Eddie Moore started America & MOORE, LLC to provide comprehensive diversity and leadership training and workshops.
“Caught Up In God,” by Willie James Jennings in The Christian Century.
Test Your Awareness