Camp Words in Congressional Record

More to Think About: Community

Rep. John Larson came to Faith Church for many reasons. Rep. Larson has visited numerous times, bringing information and keeping us informed. On this visit, he did two important things: he presented a copy of a proclamation in conjunction with having Rev. Camp’s words read into the Congressional Record, and he made a contribution of $1000 to be used for mission through Faith Church.

 

REMARKS BY STEPHEN W. CAMP

______

HON. JOHN B. LARSON

of Connecticut in the House of Representatives

Monday, September 18, 2017

Mr. LARSON of Connecticut. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to include in
the Record remarks made by the Reverend Stephen W. Camp at the Be the
Light Interfaith Candle Lighting Vigil at Congregation Beth Israel in
West Hartford, CT on August 23, 2017.

The Reverend Stephen W. Camp, M.Div., Senior Pastor, Faith
Congregational Church of Hartford, CT

``The prophetic voice Maya Angelou once said, `I've learned
that people will forget what you have said; people will
forget what you did, but people will never forget how you
made them feel.'
America was sent a message recently, a message that America
rarely feels as deeply. As America watched the unfolding
story centered in the little sleepy college town in Virginia.
it was forced to feel, the kind of feeling that one never
forgets. It was reminiscent of Selma and ``Bloody Sunday.''
It brought to mind Birmingham with the dog and fire hoses; it
reminded America of the open hostility and defiance of a
George Wallace. As America watched in recent days, some were
stirred by the memory of ancestors and family members being
marched into ovens, reminded of some of the worst inhumanity
that our world has produced. The genie, we thought, was back
in the tightly dosed bottle, the monster was locked away in
its cage, but here it was again raring it ugly head, saying,
``I'm not dead yet! America felt pain once again.
For some I'm sure, it simply felt like a scab had been
ripped off an old wound. Still others may have thought these
days were behind us, a past just-as-soon forgotten. But lest
we forget, lest we ignore for even a moment--this pain rooted
in forced Indian reservations and the buying and selling of
human beings, lest we forget, it will surely surface and seek
to cause havoc and pain until it is faced and fixed. The
events of late teach all of us, as if any had doubt; that
America is not healed yet. The work is not done. It seems
just yesterday that Jewish cemeteries were vandalized, or
just the other day that terrorist bombed a mosque or burned
churches in the south. Were they just isolated incidents? No,
but somehow they connected us and called us to feel, to be
awake, to be alert--to mobilize for good. And here we are
again.
Charlottesville conjured up old feelings. Many who marched
in Charlottesville that day, as we watched, most of us glued
to the television, as they boldly marched, unhooded this
time, khaki wearing white men, with their contorted angry
faces, and carrying tiki torches, trying it seemed to
desperately symbolize their power, their might, but only
succeeding to pull back the scab and memory of historic
oppression, failing to offer even a flickering of light, and
of peace. We watched with sadness while they shouted hateful
words and embodied a most detestable part of the American
mosaic, frankly, only making many of us remember and feel the
acute sickness that is still a part of America. For those who
marched with counter intent, with ``never again'' etched upon
their hearts, with ``non-violent direct action'' embedded in
their spirit, many of them young people who have gotten the
lessons that many of us who are older have tried to teach. So
many counteracted and confronted, they stood tall and whether
we liked it or not, they stood their ground and they gave us
hope that one day the pain would give way to promise.
We can take heart, because through them we knew that ``we
shall indeed, overcome.'' But dearly, we have not yet reached
that Promised Land. We have not yet fully embraced the place
that Dr. King and Rabbi Hershel who marched arm in arm tried
to show and to teach us. We haven't yet felt how Malcom who
epitomized both the hope and the worry of the movement for
justice, worry that integrity in the movement would be
comprised given the times they were in, yet united with a
yearning to taste real freedom for all. All of them
understood that justice had a cost attached to it. However,
we still haven't learned yet, how to include all the voices,
sit with all the pain, open and feel all of the diverse ways
we are together, but there is hope shining through, maybe
given the Boston event, that we will get there. The beloved
community will one day be! Think of the blueprint that was
left to us, the light that was given and passed to us, as
they each in their own ways, gave their lives to pass on to
us, a real hope for a better tomorrow.
What I guess Charlottesville has challenged me to do, is to
keep singing songs of justice, keep speaking words of peace.
The challenge is to sing a new song in this often strange
land, this place where America is still striving to form a
more perfect union, this place where free speech should
always be celebrated, must always be protected, but never
allowed by any to be abused. We are called to sing together
the words of peace, the words of hope, sing so as to feel
that hope and that peace until it is never forgotten, until
it is so deeply felt that no one is left behind without voice
or value.
So we come together again, gathered by the many ways God
gathers us, we come together to sing even when we may not
feel like singing, sing even though the words may not always
be dear to us or the language understood by everyone is not
plain. We come together to share words of peace, even when it
seems the world is bent upon acts of violent expression. We
come together knowing that love trumps hate, that without
love and hope we perish, so we hope, we believe and work for
a better day.
Maya Angelou was right, people will never forget--when it
is felt. It is our work, to help each other feel the presence
of peace. It's our work to care for one another, to bind up
those who are broken, to repair the world and make the world
a just place for all. This is our work to feel, not the hate
that some would have us feel, but to offer a binding,
sustaining and enduring feeling that builds community and
opens hearts to know and feel that another world is possible.
It is there, don't you feel it, can't you see it? It is
there, just over the horizon. Let's go there together! Thank
you.''