At the Crossroads of Church and Race

At the Crossroads of Church and Race
The Gateway Church in the Dallas-Forth Worth area is one of the largest churches in the country.
The Gateway Church in the Dallas-Forth Worth area is one of the largest churches in the country. Ilana Panich-Linsman for The New York Times
Campbell Robertson

Campbell Robertson

I grew up in a little Baptist church in small-town Alabama. The Baptist part is inherited, like baldness or dimples: Both of my grandfathers and three of my uncles were Baptist preachers, and my parents met as graduate students at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Genes aside, the church — plastic chairs, pilling carpet and grape juice for communion — was the organizing institution of my childhood, where I met my closest friends and most of the significant adults in my life.
Church attendance has been in generational decline. I began calling around, exploring whether people in small towns were looking for community elsewhere and, with the white nationalist rallies so often in the news, whether young white people were looking for meaning in the grim sanctuaries of the alt-right.
But I kept hearing about something different. Pastors, theologians and sociologists were talking of how black worshipers were leaving white-majority churches. They were leaving quietly and not en masse, a family here, a single person there. But it was happening everywhere, a movement large enough for some to see the unraveling of decades of efforts at racial reconciliation. Read the rest of the article HERE.

 

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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.''

 

Spiritual Care in Medicine

Click through to learn how you can view an all-new one hour interview with Bernie Siegel, MD, one of the top teachers of spirituality in medicine #nicabm #spirituality #spiritual #medicine #psychology:

 The Case For Incorporating Spiritual Care In Medicine

“We need to back away from the computer and really listen.”

Antonia Blumberg     Associate Religion Editor, The Huffington Post

Blumberg writes, “Dr. Christina Puchalski is familiar with death. The palliative care doctor and founder of the George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health (GWish) has seen countless patients facing the end of life ― but there are still moments that shake her foundation.” She continued, “Sometimes, Puchalski noted, the most crucial thing a doctor can offer a patient is their presence and a willingness to listen. With these tools doctors can attend not only to their patient’s physical needs but to their spiritual concerns as well, she said. The definition Puchalski uses for spirituality at GWish, which marked its 15th anniversary this year, focuses less on religious affiliation and more on a person’s “search for ultimate meaning.” How patients make sense of their illnesses, and even their aches and pains, should be part of the “whole person model” doctors employ, she said.”

Read more about how spirituality affects medical care here.

Evangelical Pastor Shunned For Welcoming LGBT People

Evangelical Pastor Has A New, Thriving Congregation

Adam Phillips went from rising evangelical star to outcast to leader of a new, inclusive church.

Antonia Blumberg    Associate Religion Editor, The Huffington Post

Evangelical pastor Adam Phillips moved to Oregon to start Christ Church: Portland in the spring of 2014. Nine months later, the evangelical denomination Phillips worked for kicked him out and pulled two years of funding from the church.

Phillips’s transgression? Advocating for the full inclusion of LGBT Christians in the church.

A new short documentary by The Atlantic traces Phillips’s journey from rising evangelical star to outcast to leader of a new, inclusive congregation. It’s been less than two years since the Evangelical Covenant Church dealt Phillips that blow, and in that time the pastor has built up a thriving church community that doesn’t compromise on its convictions. Watch the video here.

Religious Liberty vs. Nondiscrimination

Where the Public Stands on Religious Liberty vs. Nondiscrimination

Two-thirds say employers should provide birth control in insurance plans, but public is split over same-sex wedding services and use of public bathrooms by transgender people

The U.S. public expresses a clear consensus on the contentious question of whether employers who have religious objections to contraception should be required to provide it in health insurance plans for their employees. Fully two-thirds of American adults say such businesses should be required to cover birth control as part of their employees’ insurance plans, according to a new Pew Research Center survey, while just three-in-ten say businesses should be allowed to refuse to cover contraception for religious reasons.

When it comes to views about employer-provided birth control, services for same-sex weddings and use of public restrooms by transgender people, there are large differences between some religious groups.

Read more here.

On Views of Race and Inequality, Blacks and Whites Are Worlds Apart

 

 

maine trip7

On Views of Race and Inequality, Blacks and Whites Are Worlds Apart

About four-in-ten blacks are doubtful that the U.S. will ever achieve racial equality

Many blacks are skeptical that the country will eventually make the changes necessary for racial equality

Almost eight years after Barack Obama’s election as the nation’s first black president –an event that engendered a sense of optimism among many Americans about the future of race relations1 – a series of flashpoints around the U.S. has exposed deep racial divides and reignited a national conversation about race. A new Pew Research Center survey finds profound differences between black and white adults in their views on racial discrimination, barriers to black progress and the prospects for change.

Read more here.  For the interactive article, click here.

Conference sends teams to Orlando to offer support, witness…

The Connecticut Conference sent two teams of first responders to Orlando, Florida, to offer care, support and public witness following the mass shooting that left 50 people dead and 53 wounded, most of them part of the gay Latino/a community. The C.A.R.E. (Church Awareness Response Effort) Team is made up of members of three New England Conferences, CTUCC, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

The first team of responders, The Rev. Emily Heath of Exeter, NH, and Chris Breen, a seminarian from Cambridge, MA, arrived in Orlando on the morning of June 14th in time to join a gathering with national UCC staff, Florida Conference staff and Florida pastors.

A second team of first responders composed of Connecticut clergy went to Orlando on June 15.  They are: The Rev. Thea Racelis, pastor of the South Congregational Church of Middletown, The Rev. Jack Davidson, Associate Minister of the First Church of Christ Congregational in Redding, and The Rev. Mia Douglas, Director of Discipleship at Asylum Hill Congregational Church in Hartford.

Read more here  http://www.ctucc.org/news/20160614_orlando_teams.html

Mia DouglasEmily HeathJack DavidsonChris BreenThea Racelis

Muhammad Ali

MuhammadAli

Photo source: http://www.history.com/topics/black-history/muhammad- ali

Muhammad Ali (1942-2016) was an American former heavyweight champion boxer and one of the greatest sporting figures of the 20th century. An Olympic gold medalist and the first fighter to capture the heavyweight title three times, Ali won 56 times in his 21-year professional career. Ali’s outspokenness on issues of race, religion and politics made him a controversial figure during his career, and the heavyweight’s quips and taunts were as quick as his fists. Born Cassius Clay Jr., Ali changed his name in 1964 after joining the Nation of Islam. Citing his religious beliefs, he refused military induction and was stripped of his heavyweight championship and banned from boxing for three years during the prime of his career. Parkinson’s syndrome severely impaired Ali’s motor skills and speech, but he remained active as a humanitarian and goodwill ambassador. Read more.