The journey towards establishing Black History Month began in 1915, half a century after the abolition of slavery in the United
States of America. This journey begins with the establishment of a foundation now known as the Association for the Study of
African American Life and History by a historian named Carter G. Woodson and a prominent minister, Jesse E. Moorland. Elev-
en years later, 1926, the ASALH sponsored the first national week dedicated to celebrating the history and accomplishments of
Black people. The week chosen was the second week of February, between the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick
Douglass. Schools and communities were encouraged to organize local celebrations, establish history clubs and host perfor-
mances and lectures.
Slowly, and by the late 1960s, the week expanded into a whole month thanks to the work of those engaged in the civil
rights movement. It took until 1976 for President Gerald Ford to officially recognize Black History Month and said to the public
that they needed to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area
and endeavor throughout our history.” 61 years of work for official recognition of the accomplishments of Black people in our
communities, and the work continues 45 years later to where we are today.
Maybe these are dates and details that you already knew and this was a refresher for you. Maybe these are brand
new facts and they made you go “huh.” But the truth of the matter is that the journey towards all people being recognized as
equals created in our God’s image and love continues and it needs each of us to do this very important work. This work cannot
only take place when we see crisis on the news but needs to continue every day and in every area of our own lives.
That is a tall order and one that feels overwhelming for many of us. But the fact that Black History Month and Lent are
intersecting with one another opens up the possibility for us to dedicate ourselves to this justice and reconciliation work which
is truly at the heart of the Gospel. With Lent, we usually think of it as a time where we give something up—more importantly,
giving something up which stands in the way of our relationship with God. There has been a call recently to not focus so much
on giving something up, but rather to take something on that will strengthen our relationship with God.
It is through justice work that we do with God at the center that we can begin to reconcile our relationships with all of
creation—including our Siblings in Christ who are Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC). I Invite you to look towards Christ
this Lenten Season as the guide towards reconciliation. After all, “All this is from God, who ransomed us through Christ—and
made us ministers of that reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:18, The Inclusive Bible: The First Egalitarian Translation)
Where is it that God is calling you to engage in the work of reconciliation this season? There will be many ways in the
coming weeks where we can engage in the necessary work of reconciliation with our Black Siblings in Christ. You will find those
opportunities to engage in small groups in the calendar and in the following pages of the newsletter. Maybe you aren’t ready
to talk with others but need to find somewhere to start for yourself. I invite you to pick one of the following books to read
through the season of Lent and engage with God and Christ as ministers of reconciliation. May God be with you on this jour-
ney, May Christ strengthen you, may the Spirit move you forward.
Be the Bridge by Latasha Morrison
The Color of Compromise by Jemar Tisby
Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
To the Congregation
Last spring, amidst this ongoing pandemic, the Board of Trustees decided to take advantage of a government pro-
gram called a Payroll Protection Program. It was a program designed for businesses