The year 2019 marks 400 years since the first enslaved Africans set foot in Jamestown, Virginia. Since then, Black communities have demonstrated remarkable resiliency in the face of cruelty, terror, and systematic oppression. African Americans have not only created pathways to survive but, in many instances, to thrive. Through it all, the Black Church has endured as a beacon of hope and testimony to resurrection. On September 20, 2019, people of faith from all racial and ethnic backgrounds will gather to honor ancestors, commemorate 400 years of resiliency, and pray for an end to systemic racial injustice.

The commemoration will consist of two major components on Friday September 20: a preaching master class during the day and a worship service in the evening.

Preaching Black Resiliency:
A Master Class with Rev. Dr. Leslie Callahan

Friday September 20, 2019 at 12pm
People's Baptist Church, Boston, MA

Preachers are invited to attend this homiletic master class on preaching black resiliency. Rev. Dr. Leslie Callahan serves at the first female pastor of St. Paul’s Baptist Church in Philadelphia, with degrees from Harvard, Union Theological Seminary and Princeton University.

*Space is limited. Look for more information about tickets on our website.

“May We Forever Stand”:

Worship Led by Rev. Dr. Cheryl Gilkes with Bishop Claude Alexander preaching

Friday September 20, 2019 at 7:30pm

Greater Framingham Community Church, Framingham MA

All are invited to attend this ecumenical worship service for the praise of God and the celebration of the Black Church.  Bishop Claude Alexander has served as the Senior Pastor of The Park Church in Charlotte, North Carolina for the past 27 years, with degrees from Morehouse College, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and Gordon Conwell Theological School.

Church, we seek your partnership in these important events.  We hope that you will attend, but we also invite you to share in supporting “May We Forever Stand: Massachusetts Commemorates 400 Years of Black Resiliency” by completing the Sponsor Form by August 30, 2019.

For this auspicious occasion, we are inviting partner institutions, local churches, civic leaders, committed businesses and devoted individuals to support and sustain this event.  Massachusetts has a complex and varied history on the path to liberation for all.  Far too often, the story of abolition and justice has centered the stories of white leadership. For this occasion, we are actively excavating and reclaiming stories of black resiliency in partnership with local black historic sites and museums. 

Funds raised through sponsorship will underwrite the cost of the commemoration, continued ecumenical ministry among black Christians through the Massachusetts Council of Churches, and financial support of local black historic sites across Massachusetts. Together, we believe we can tell a different story, a more comprehensive and accurate story of the long road to liberation for all.

As we gather on September 20, we envision this time of education, commemoration and worship as a multi-racial celebration of black resiliency in Massachusetts, especially through the enduring power of the Black Church.

We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you in person on Friday September 20, 2019.  

In hope,

Rev. Kenneth

P.S.: Learn more about the 400 Years Commemoration in this conversation between Rev. Laura and me on our facebook page.

In This Issue

Mark your calendar! September 20, 2019
400 Years Commemoration.
Greater Framingham Community Church

Sept. 15, 2019

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The Massachusetts Council of Churches relies on donors like you to join us in making the Vibrant Church Visible! If you are grateful for the work of the Massachusetts Council of Churches, please make a financial commitment so that we might continue to be a critical coordinating force for good, and a common Christian witness.  

Meet our new icon of St. Lydia, written by the Greek icon artist Eri Fragiadaki. Lydia's work as a dealer of purple cloth supported her ministry, just as many part-time and bivocational ministers find creative ways to support their ministry today.

The Lydia Fellows Program for Thriving In Part-Time Ministry is an effort to support part-time clergy in New England by increasing connectivity with other pastors, strengthening confidence and self-esteem, and providing opportunities for professional growth through financially compensated fellowships. You can contact our Lydia Fellows Program Director Rev. Carrington Moore with questions or if you are itnereste. 
Sunday, September 15, 2019, 4:00 pm
Concord, MA

Each year, the Al Filipov Peace and Justice Forum invites a speaker to share their work and vision, inspired by the memory of Al Filipov, who died in the terrorist attacks of 2001. The Al Filipov Peace & Justice Forum was founded to promote peace and justice among all people and to demonstrate the power of an individual to make a positive difference in the world.

This year the Forum honors Lois Gibbs for her lifelong work for environmental justice. Ms. Gibbs was the primary organizer of the Love Canal Homeowners Association. In 1978, she brought public attention to the environmental crisis in Love Canal. Her actions resulted in the evacuation of over 800 families. She is a pioneer in the field of environmental justice who worked to help train and support local activists with their environmental work. She is currently the Executive Director of Center for Health, Environment, and Justice in Washington, DC.       |     (617) 523-2771