A Moment for Mission
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. / Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." —Matthew 5:9-10, NRSV
February is Black History Month. Here are a few ideas to enrich your congregation's experience:
- Celebrate the lives and contributions of African-American heroes in society. Invite people of all ages to design posters and tell about their designated person.
- Honor African-American veterans by visiting and writing letters of appreciation to them.
- Host a poetry reading featuring the work of well-known and emerging African-American poets.
- Learn about African-American bishops in The United Methodist Church. In 1984, the Rev. Leontine T.C. Kelly was the first African-American woman to be elected bishop in the denomination.
- Share the work of African-American painters, sculptors and other artists and encourage people of all ages to use these artists' media as inspiration for their own creations.
- Sing hymns by African-American composers such as Thomas A. Dorsey ("Precious Lord, Take My Hand"), James Weldon Johnson ("Lift Every Voice and Sing") and Charles Albert Tindley ("Leave It There").
- Sponsor a Black History Month–themed evening or weekend vacation Bible school. Use African-American culture and history as a lens from which to view biblical teachings and share the gospel.
- Read and discuss black history classics such as Beloved, Go Tell It on the Mountain, Invisible Man and Native Son.
- View and discuss The Green Book and other films depicting black history.
- Visit a Black history museum in your community or travel virtually online to one.
- Make February a time for learning and growing!
Loving God, help us to be peacemakers and peacekeepers. Show us how to serve and, especially, to appreciate the gifts and graces of all your children. In your name, we pray. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Fourth Sunday after Epiphany — Holy God, as we bring our tithes and offerings to your altar, we confess that many of us have longed to be "wise with money" as the world understands it – accumulating and building our balances and portfolios. The apostle Paul has called us to live in ways that often seem foolish to the world, and we know that means being seen as extravagant in generosity and reckless in our compassion. Help us on the journey to loosen our grip on our money and possessions and live the compassion to which your Son has called us. In his name, we pray. Amen. (1 Corinthians 1:18-31)
In February, United Methodists celebrate the African-Americans who enrich our church's history and America's heritage. Since 1976, every U.S. president has designated February as Black History Month and endorsed a specific theme.
The 2020 theme, "African-Americans and the Vote," honors the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment, granting women's suffrage, and the sesquicentennial of the 15th Amendment (1870), giving black men the right to vote.
In the Radical Reconstruction period that followed the Civil War, newly freed black men made significant political gains, winning office in Southern state legislatures and Congress. The Southern backlash was swift, marked by the passage of "black codes" designed to intimidate black voters, and prompting a call for formal, national legislation on the right to vote.
The women's rights movement grew out of the abolitionist movement, with activists like Frederick Douglass working alongside Elizabeth Cady Stanton to secure the right to vote for all. The goal was reached with the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920.
—Adapted from www.history.com