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February 3 – Black History Month (February)


"Love…bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." —1 Corinthians 13:4-7, NRSV

Tucked into a St. Louis neighborhood is a little-known treasure, the Griot Museum of Black History. A multimedia educational and cultural center, Griot strives to "create a community of lifelong learners who explore, experience and embrace the region's rich and enduring African-American heritage."

February—Black History Month—is a perfect time to check out places like Griot and learn more about the African-Americans who have shaped, and continue to transform, our lives and to give thanks for their gifts.

Here are a few possibilities to consider:

Join with other congregations in your community for a Black History Month celebration. (See Newsletter Nugget below.)

Read and reflect on works by African-American writers and poets.

View films that accurately portray African-American history and research black movie producers, writers and actors.

Study about the Underground Railroad and other aspects of the migration of African-Americans in search of a better life.

Learn about the science, technology, engineering and math contributions of African-Americans, starting with the women portrayed in Hidden Figures.

Conduct a read-aloud of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream" speech and invite children and youth in your congregation to write their own speeches about what inspires them to change the world.

Sing songs of the Civil Rights Movement such as "This Little Light of Mine" and "Oh, Freedom." Discuss how the lyrics reflect the spirit of the time.

How will your congregation observe Black History Month? Share your ideas!

—Adapted from website

Loving God, help us to do our part lovingly to shape and to learn from history. Remind us to value and encourage the gifts of all of your children. In your name, we pray. Amen.

From Discipleship Ministries: Fourth Sunday after Epiphany — God of Limitless Love: We sing praise to you from whom all blessings flow, and we give our gifts and go our way. We know we have taken baby steps toward the life you've called us to live. The giving is easy compared to the kind of loving you expect us to extend to others: a love that is patient, unselfish, forgiving, and full of hope that endures through anything. May we grow in our giving, but even more in our loving, as your Son taught us. We pray this in the name of Jesus, who gave in enduring love all there was to give for us. Amen. (1 Corinthians 13:1-13)

In 2018, a United Methodist church in Topeka, Kansas, celebrated Black History Month and reached out to the community at the same time. In a special Sunday afternoon service, Asbury Mount Olive United Methodist Church hosted nearby Calvary Baptist Church for its celebration.

A play, "Remembering the Past," included a narrator and actors representing historic African-Americans, including Frederick Douglass and Rosa Parks. Calvary Baptist's pastor preached, and its choir performed.
The service, the Rev. Harry Christian, Asbury Mount Olive pastor, said, would not only respect African-Americans from history, but give hope for years ahead. "We want to remember our past and embrace our future," he said. "I'd like it to be an annual event. We're talking about inviting different denominations so we can fellowship together with other Christians."

Hope is the key, he said. "We're sharing the things that will, hopefully, enlighten people to go out and do great things."

—Adapted from a February 15, 2018, article by David Burke, communications coordinator, at [email protected].

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