"28 Days" (February Pastor's Note)

Updated: Feb 9

Perhaps you’ve heard the statement that a budget is a moral document. Or that our checkbook register (ha! - remember those?) reflects our values. I’d say the same is true about our calendars. When time and money seem to be two of our most precious limited resources, the decisions we make with how we allocate each are either guided by or tell us more about our core values. February is Black History Month. The shortest month of the year. Is that a coincidence? Over the past number of months, a Season of Repentance Task Force has been at work to learn more about the history of the church house and grounds, recognizing our indebtedness to Native Americans who used and stewarded this land for generations, and confronting the reality that this house and grounds was established and improved by the labor of enslaved people. You can read more about this history on our website. On March 13, the Task Force will lead worship, sharing these stories and inviting greater participation in the work ahead, which includes repentance and atonement. We are a congregation that has affirmed that Black Lives Matter. As a Matthew 25 congregation of the PC(USA), one of our foci is dismantling structural racism. We are challenged to live into these affirmations and pledges, not only in word, but in deed. As we continue this work, I invite us to approach Black History Month with deeper intention this year, investing ourselves and our finite resources of time, energy, and money. Here are some concrete ways to do this: - Listen to and amplify the voices of Black people. These days, with most of us active on at least one Social Media platform, there are easy ways to do this. Follow people and profiles that educate and challenge. Share posts. Here are some suggestions for who to follow: BLM Influencers, 70 Black Voices to Add to Your Social Media Feeds, and 14 Anti-Racism Educators & Activists To Follow and Support Online. Many of these varied leaders offer concrete ways to financially support the work they are doing, to compensate them for their emotional labor, time, and expertise. - This article offers 6 Tips for White People Who Want to Celebrate Black History - Watch documentaries and movies, including these African American and Africana Studies Documentaries, or this list of 35 Joyful and Inspiring Movies to Stream. - Check out the events at JMU, EMU, and Bridgewater College, in February and throughout the year, that highlight Black history and amplify Black voices. - Explore the African, African American, and Diaspora Studies Center. They also sponsor many events. - Support Furious Flower at JMU, the nation’s first academic center for Black poetry. - Learn about local history through the Shenandoah Valley Black Heritage Project and the North East Neighborhood Association. Take a “Roots Run Deep” tour, by foot in Harrisonburg or driving through Zenda. Do you have other suggestions? Meaningful events or learnings you’ve experienced in the past? Share them in the Trinity Facebook Group. Let’s use these 28 days to learn and grow together! Grace and Peace, ​Stephanie

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