Dunsford United Church – Bulletin – Transcript Service – February 14, 2021
Black History Month
Kevin Fitzpatrick – Liturgy
Brenda Shield – Liturgical Music and Media
WELCOME AND CELEBRATIONS
In the name of a message of love and compassion in the world we know as Jesus Christ, we are guided by the Holy Spirit. God leads us here.
Wherever you are, God is with you, God is with me and God is in creation in all forms, everything good. God is where God needs to be.
We come and celebrate together, our milestones, our successes, anniversaries, birthdays, and God celebrates with us!
LIGHTING OF THE CANDLES
If you have a candle, I invite you to light it, or hold the light of God in your heart, knowing, that the light of God, burns brightly inside of you and glows and shines on those around you, when you are the hands and feet of God in the world.
We come today, knowing our Light has come, we light the Christ Candle, representing Christ in our lives, and that light that shines in our community. We take that light into our community and carry that light and do Gods work here as the light and the hands of God. And we carry our light out into the world, looking for other messages of love and light in the world, our neighbours, and the light shines brighter, to mend the world.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF THE LANDS
We acknowledge, honour and respect this land and the Anishnabeg/Mississauga peoples with whom Treaty 20, Williams treaty, was signed, on the lands where we are, and we acknowledge also and give thanks for the lands and people of treaties and unceded territories of all who are worshiping. It is up to all of us to live into truth, respect, reconciliation and right relations.
PRAYER OF APPROACH
God of love, peace, and unity,
we thank you for welcoming us all just as we are;
for making us equal as your children
from all corners of the earth;
and for giving us your blessings as your children;
and for making us belong.
We pray that you help us realize that we are
all made in your image, and we need to bring peace
to all your creation as one people who belong to you.
We ask all this through Christ our brother. Amen.
HYMN: “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling” VU #333 (Words: Charles Wesley)
Love divine, all loves excelling, joy of heaven to earth come down,
fix in us thy humble dwelling, all thy faithful mercies crown.
Jesus, thou art all compassion, pure, unbounded love thou art;
visit us with thy salvation, enter every trembling heart.
Loving God, we thank you for calling us to you,
from all corners of the world, to come home to belong.
We appreciate your love that embraces all of us.
We thank you that we are all one in you.
We thank you for your faithfulness and justice.
When we were aliens and foreigners you welcomed us.
We thank you for calling us to your ministry,
to live and do your work with the mind of Christ.
Remind us that we are here to fulfill your calling to serve.
Help all we do be done for love.
During this year’s Black History Month,
we want to draw closer to you
as we make a commitment
to go into the world as agents of your
justice, peace, and reconciliation.
Gracious God, we need your help
to do your work and fulfill this task you have given us.
We are proud to be part of the church that is serving you.
In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.
MINISTRY OF MUSIC: “The Rose” by Brenda Shield
WE HEAR GOD’S WORD
Luke 4:14-21 Living Bible
14 Then Jesus returned to Galilee, full of the Holy Spirit’s power. Soon he became well known throughout all that region 15 for his sermons in the synagogues; everyone praised him.
16 When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on Saturday, and stood up to read the Scriptures. 17 The book of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him, and he opened it to the place where it says:
18-19 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; he has appointed me to preach Good News to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted and to announce that captives shall be released and the blind shall see, that the downtrodden shall be freed from their oppressors, and that God is ready to give blessings to all who come to him.”[a]
20 He closed the book and handed it back to the attendant and sat down, while everyone in the synagogue gazed at him intently. 21 Then he added, “These Scriptures came true today!”
Mark 9:2-9 Living Bible
2 Six days later Jesus took Peter, James and John to the top of a mountain. No one else was there.
Suddenly his face began to shine with glory, 3 and his clothing became dazzling white, far more glorious than any earthly process could ever make it! 4 Then Elijah and Moses appeared and began talking with Jesus!
5 “Teacher, this is wonderful!” Peter exclaimed. “We will make three shelters here, one for each of you. . . . ”
6 He said this just to be talking, for he didn’t know what else to say and they were all terribly frightened.
7 But while he was still speaking these words, a cloud covered them, blotting out the sun, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”
8 Then suddenly they looked around and Moses and Elijah were gone, and only Jesus was with them.
9 As they descended the mountainside he told them never to mention what they had seen until after he had risen[a] from the dead.
HYMN: “Hymn to Freedom” by Oscar Peterson – In recognition of Canadian Black History
When every heart joins every heart and together yearns for liberty,
that’s when we’ll be free.
When every hand joins every hand and together moulds our destiny,
that’s when we’ll be free.
Any hour any day, the time soon will come when men will live in dignity,
that’s when we’ll be free.
When every man joins in our song and together singing harmony, that’s when we’ll be free.
MESSAGE: “Where is the Love?”
One day, during one of my classes of theological study, one of my classmates atEmmanuel College explained to us her parenting skills.
A mother of a 16-year-old boy and two other children under 5 years old, she balanced a family, a job and worked towards her doctorate.
I admired her determination to balance all these commitments, but most of us at Emmanuel all held similar priorities.
Then she started to tell us her biggest challenges with her teenage son, now starting to leave the house and meet up with friends.
She was afraid her son would get into trouble and so she had to give him some guidance and some advice to avoid trouble.
She told him not to follow white people too closely, and that he had to appear small, because he was a tall boy, she didn’t want him to appear too menacing to others.
She told him not to draw attention to himself, or cause a scene, no matter if what he did was not his fault.
She told him to obey the police and cooperate with everything they said.
Her biggest worry was that she would get a call, that her son had been arrested, or worst of all died.
Just because he was black.
She had faced racial discrimination and been the victim many times during her life, and even once inside Emmanuel College, when someone came off the street and addressed her in a derogatory comment about her skin colour.
As a person of colour, this was a situation she accepted dealing with, a too common of an occurrence that she had to put up with and learned that because of who she was, there was always the chance that she would face discrimination.
And she was preparing her children for facing similar circumstances in life as they grew up, probably the same way her parents prepared her for the racism she would face.
February is Black History month, and it is supposed to make us aware of the contributions that people of colour have made to society.
It is also to make us aware of the ongoing social issues and racial injustices that black people and people of colour face on a daily basis.
When we as Canadians think of racism towards people of colour, we look towards the civil rights movements in the United States and the struggle of African Americans to gain equal rights.
We think of the segregation that existed in many States and laws that were fought to be changed by those who were victimized by those laws.
Names such as Rosa Parks, who in 1955 refused to sit in the segregated section of the bus that was dedicated for blacks and chose to sit in the ‘whites only’ section of the bus.
We think of Martin Luther King Jr. who through non-violent protests, marches and gatherings gained the attention of media in the day as they struggled for recognition of the victimizations of Black Americans at the hands of white citizens who considered all people of colour second class citizens.
Black history in Canada was not something that was taught to me in school, unless I chose to specialize in studying that topic.
I didn’t learn about the transatlantic slave trade, that saw an estimated 12 million Africans, men, women and children, lured to the east coast of Africa and captured, and loaded onto ships by the colonizing empires of the British, French, Dutch and Spanish and taken and sold as property like work animals in the Americas to assist white colonizers there.
This practice of the capturing, buying and selling of people lasted from the late 1500’s until it was outlawed in the middle of the 19th century, with the British empire signing the proclamation of it’s illegal actions in 1834.
If you want to get some better knowledge of the transatlantic slave trade, the CBC produced a cooperative documentary called Enslaved that can be found on its website.
It documents the 12 million estimated men women and children taken from Africa to traded and sold, and also explores the estimated 2 million that were lost in the voyage to the Americas, abandoned in the ships as lost cargo by the crews because of bad weather, warfare at sea, and allowed to sink to the bottom of the oceans.
Canada has some ties to slavery, we know about the underground railroad, that operated during the Civil War in the United States that saw former slaves escape into Canada.
But it also has ties to slavery itself, being a British colony, slavery was prevalent in the early establishments in Lower and Upper Canada for 205 years, in the European colonization of the country until the Slavery Abolition Act took effect in 1834.
There are many prominent figures in Canadian history that are people of colour, that my history classes never taught me about.
Black people have been present in the land we call Canada since long before confederation. Multilinguist Mathieu da Costa, of partial African ancestry, is the first known Black person to arrive on this land. Da Costa is understood to have spoken Dutch, English, French, Portuguese, Mi’kmaq, and pidgin Basque, and because of his ability to learn new languages traveled with João Fernandes Lavrador, exploring Greenland and the north Atlantic coast of Canada as early as 1499. Additionally da Costa would voyage with Pierre Dugua de Mons and Samuel de Champlain.
The arrival of Olivier Le Jeune, an African boy from Madagascar, about 7 years old, in New France (modern-day Quebec). There is little known about Le Jeune, but he was educated by a Jesuit priest, Father Le Jeune, and upon baptism took the name Olivier after the colony’s head clerk Olivier Letardif. He would later take the priest’s surname. By the time Le Jeune died in May 1654, it is thought that his status had changed from slave to free domestic servant.
Marie-Joseph Angélique was an enslaved woman living in what is now called “Old Montreal” in New France (modern-day Quebec). She was convicted of setting fire to her slaveholder’s house and causing much of Old Montreal to burn in a chain reaction of events.
It has long been assumed that Angélique was guilty of the crime, but in more recent years historians have questioned her trial, suggesting that her conviction was based more on her reputation than on credible evidence. Angélique seems to have been viewed at the time as a rebellious “runaway slave”. Her story exposes the challenges that Blacks who longed to be free faced in the early days of Canada.
There are many stories of slavery connected to Canada, we need to make ourselves educated around the prevalence and history.
Canada had its own segregations. If we have handled a ten-dollar bill in the last year or so we will notice the replacement of John A. MacDonald with Viola Desmond, a Canadian civil rights activist of African descent who chose to sit in a ‘whites only’ section of a Nova Scotian theatre in 1946.
When asked to move, Desmond protested the segregation policy and degradation, being forcibly removed from the theatre, where she was injured in the process, and was arrested and spent 12 hours in jail. Desmond was charged for the offence under the law, which she fought in court, and her struggle carried on to spark the civil rights movement in Canada.
Segregation was prevalent in Canada, and it is something we don’t often hear about, unless we are the victim of that segregation, and we may think this is in our past, statistics show us that racism is prevalent in our society of Canada.
Black Canadians make on average about $32,000 a year, compared to the $48,000 a year earned by those who are not a visible minority.
When polled, there were 94 percent of Black Canadians who dreamed of pursuing a university degree, with only about 60 percent who thought it was possible.
Black Canadians are targeted for hate crimes more than any other racial group in Canada, and if we think this is coincidence, the last segregated school officially closed its doors in 1983.
There are many prominent black Canadians who have worked to rise above racism and segregation, to make a name for themselves and live out their dreams.
If you haven’t watched the video that Brenda provided, please watch Hymn to Freedom by famous Canadian composer and pianist Oscar Peterson, that highlights some of Black History in Canada.
I went outside our lectionary this week and purposely chose two gospel readings to focus on the Gospel message and how we as Christians should be following Jesus’ example as an inclusive prophet of all people.
Jesus reads the words of Isaiah, announcing he is one who has come to free all people from their oppressors, preaching to the poor, that the captives will be released.
This is Transfiguration Sunday, that speaks to the disciples finally seeing Jesus as who he was, God showed the purpose of Jesus’ ministry to those witness that day.
And the disciples were to use this knowledge to carry out Jesus’ teachings in word and action to those who would listen and follow.
Jesus was a Jewish man, in 1st century Judea. Jesus most likely had brown eyes, dark brown to black hair and olive-brown skin. Most portraits promote Jesus as a European man, long brown or blond hair, fair-skinned and blue eyes, and this is not an accurate representation of a Jewish middle eastern man, who Jesus was.
Jesus preached an inclusive love that God held for all peoples and creation, that we were to love our God and neighbour alike, and LOVE was the premise we lived every moment from, in our lives.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; he has appointed me to preach Good News to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted and to announce that captives shall be released and the blind shall see, that the downtrodden shall be freed from their oppressors, and that God is ready to give blessings to all who come to him.”
This is the anthem of how we are to move forward, to make ourselves informed and educated of racism in our midst and to recognize the histories that have been omitted from the past.
Our United Church is starting to move towards equity and equality with the appointment of Michael Blair as General Secretary.
A prominent Black Minister in the United Church, serving as the Executive Minister for the Program Unit, Communities in Mission, at the United Church of Canada. Previously, he was the Executive Director of the Toronto Christian Resource Centre in Regent Park, the Community Chaplain with the Ontario Multi-faith Council’s Reintegration Program (2002-03).
The United Church announced in October of 2020 that the Church hired Adele Halliday as its first anti-racism and equity officer. Among other duties, she will help to co-ordinate the anti-racism efforts in the broader church as stated in the article in Broadview magazine https://broadview.org/united-church-anti-racism-equity-officer/.
This comes from the discussions held on the floor of General Council 43 held in Oshawa Ontario, a discussion that focused on racism in the United Church and the delegates who had been victims of that racism during their time.
A motion was put forward to recognize the United Church as an anti-racist church, that was voted on by Commissioners, a motion that declares that the Church will recognize racism in its midst. “This doesn’t mean we have achieved this goal,” explains the Moderator, the Right Rev. Richard Bott, “but we are taking a stand and saying we are publicly committed to eliminating systemic racism from our practices and policies.”
In order to be transfigured and transformed by love and recognize Jesus for who he is in our lives, we must first recognize Jesus transfigured and transformed for the love of all people, love of a God in which all people are created in that image.
No one is superior or inferior, all must be included, wrongs have been committed, and Love is what Jesus preaches to us.
When we live in the Spirit of the Lord, we know nothing but love for all who we come in connection with on this journey of faith.
Forgiveness, reconciliation, acceptance, and understanding are our tools to including all on this journey of faith.
And this must be done not only for a month but for every day, we must recognize the errors of the past and take steps to abolish racism and injustice in whatever form it takes.
We must be allies to those who are victimized by racism and be inclusive in our churches and communities.
Where is the Love?
Our hearts hold the answer, and if our hearts are that of our Creator, we hold Love for all who are captives, all who are oppressed, and we can preach the good news to the poor who need to hear about the LOVE that brings freedom, equity and equality to all.
God’s Love Letter A Letter From God – YouTube
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
Faithful God, we thank you that we are known by you.
And you have called us to go into the world to do you work.
Lead us we pray.
You called us to love and be loved
as we do justice in your field.
Help us we pray.
We come in humility asking
that you will give us courage and wisdom
to become ambassadors of your peace and reconciliation.
Hear us we pray.
You made us like you and called us to be unique.
As you look at us you see the same people
you created in your image.
Help us we pray.
Help us, Lord, that we may be able
to stand up against any injustice.
Hear us we pray.
We are glad to be your people
as we all come together with one voice,
answering and making a commitment
that we will not keep quiet if there is
injustice, but we will stand up
and do you work of love, peace, and reconciliation.
As you have called us to be one,
we recommit ourselves to this calling.
We pray all this through Jesus Christ, our Saviour,
as he taught us to pray:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come;
thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
WE ARE SENT OUT IN FAITH TO SERVE
HYMN: “For the Healing of the Nations” VU #678 (Words: Fred Kaan)
For the healing of the nations, God, we pray with one accord;
for a just and equal sharing of the things that earth affords.
To a life of love in action help us rise and pledge our word.
Scripture for Next Week
Genesis 9:8–17 The covenant between God and Noah.
Psalm 25:1–10 (VU p. 752) Lead me in your truth, O God.
1 Peter 3:18–22 Baptism now saves you.
Mark 1:9–15 The baptism, temptation, and mission of Jesus.
A Big Thank You to Brenda Shield for music and videos
Bible passages : https://www.biblegateway.com/
Intercultural Black History liturgy
2013 The United Church of Canada. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution. Non-commercial Share Alike License
Vignettes of Canadian Black History: A Service of Black History Month
2021 The United Church of Canada. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution. Non-commercial Share Alike License
The United Church of Canada
Michael Blair biography
DUNSFORD UNITED CHURCH
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Music Director: Brenda Shield 1-705-748-9875 or email@example.com
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