Today is Juneteenth. It has largely been celebrated within the Black community to commemorate June 19, 1865, the day that enslaved people in Texas learned of the Emancipation Proclamation, which had been written nearly 2 and a half years earlier and declared the end of slavery. The day also acknowledges the anniversary of the Tulsa, Oklahoma massacre that destroyed Tulsa’s “Black Wall Street” on May 31 through June 1, 1921. In a matter of 18 hours, homes and businesses of Black Americans were destroyed, and hundreds of people lost their lives.
Today, I am grateful that the nation (likely the world) has finally taken notice, lest we forget these significant incidents in our American history.
I am also grateful today that there is growing awareness of the harmful impact of systemic racism, police brutality, and white supremacy that have plagued our nation for more than 400 years, now laid bare by the inequalities and health disparities of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a nation and Church, we have much work to do, but I believe that together we will be able to do it as we hold true to our core Christian beliefs and values.
Many have asked what they can do; how they might get involved. We have now added a section on the homepage of our website with the names of books (including some for children), articles, organizations, and upcoming events that you may be interested in. Click here to visit this webpage.
It is difficult to believe, but on July 1, I will enter my 10th year as pastor of Park Avenue UMC. A lot has happened over this time, but I have never been prouder to serve along with you nor more grateful for the possibilities that lie ahead for us. We are richly blessed by our diversity, generosity, commitment to loving God, neighbor, and one another, and the values that bind us together.
I am your pastor. I love you. And I welcome every opportunity to serve and care for you. If you have any questions or would like to chat about these matters or any others, do not hesitate to reach out. I am available for you as always.
Grace and peace,