Dear Grace Meridian Hill community,
Every February our nation celebrates Black History Month. In small but meaningful ways, our church does too, as an expression of our commitment to growing as a “cross-cultural community.” Vola Ranaivoson, our wonderful Neighborhood Outreach Coordinator, has listed below a few ways we can engage this vision and grow in love for our black church members and neighbors. Please check it out!
But first, I want to offer you some brief reflections on this question: Why might Christians, including non-black Christians, feel compelled to observe and celebrate Black History Month? Here are six:
- To celebrate the radiance of God’s image revealed in black people, history, and culture.
- To deepen fellowship with our black Christian brothers and sisters by honoring their family stories and learning about the historical and cultural contexts that shape who they are.
- To cultivate cross-cultural skills for serving our black local neighbors (47% of our city’s residents) more genuinely and more effectively. After all, we cannot love our neighbors well without knowing their stories and without sharing a “common memory” of the past.
- To learn more of the all too neglected heritage of Black Christianity, recognizing that Black Church History is Church History.
- To model the gospel ethic of mutuality and interdependency by esteeming the people a subdominant culture — historically, one that has been oppressed even in and by the Church — witnessing its vast potential to bless the ministry and mission of the Church.
- To grow in repentance for corporate sins committed against Black people — sins past and present, of commission and omission — as a vital step toward true reconciliation and interethnic unity in the Church.
The Lord bless you and bless our cross-cultural community this February,
For more Black History Month opportunities, see Vola's blog post.
DC JUSTICE WALKING TOUR – FEBRUARY 17, 2019
Join us for the DC Justice Walking Tour of U Street on February 17, 2019. After church, we’ll grab some lunch at Oohs and Aahs on U street, then from 2:00-4:00PM we start walking. The DC Justice Walking U Street will have an emphasis on black history including the African American Civil War Memorial, Duke Ellington's house, the site of the riots of 1968, Busboys and Poets, and St Augustine's Church. We’ll engage with the neighborhood, looking at historic and current justice issues. Kids are welcome to join. Dress warmly.
There is a 25 person limit on the walking tour so please RSVP here. If you have any questions, please contact Vola at Vola@gracemeridianhill.org
(Note: we could do also do this with other neighborhoods, if people want to research and map out significant locations around the neighborhood that have been places of history, places of joy or pain that have shaped that neighborhood, share them with me, and we could even make it a communal learning/lamenting time, and map a walk that goes strategically through each neighborhood)
CHOCOLATE CITY?: RACE, CULTURE AND FAITH IN WASHINGTON DC - FEBRUARY 23, 2019
GMH Cross Cultural Team would like to invite you to a joint event with the GDT Cultural Intelligence Team. What does it mean to live in Washington, DC? How does the past shape the city we have today? Once considered Chocolate City due to its cultural makeup of primarily African Americans, DC has a complicated and fascinating history. What role have churches played, and what role should our church play? Come hear from Dr. George Derek Musgrove, the co-author of Chocolate City: The History of Race and Democracy in the Nation’s Capital. After his talk, there will be ample time for Q&A. This is an incredible opportunity to engage with a local expert and consider these questions as a community. Sat Feb 23, 11:00am-1:00pm at Grace DC Church office, 637 Indiana Ave NW.