Were you able to join us at the 2022 Justice Summit last week? If so, you know it was pure fire!
If you attended, either in person or online, I trust that you left with new stories, inspiration, ideas and concepts, and contacts with others who are committed to this work. If you were not able to join us, I have good news! The video recording will soon be available of the plenary conversation between Rev. Dr. Diane Schmitz and Bishop Yvette Flunder, SNEC Theologians in Virtual Residence, and moderated by Rev. Darrell Goodwin, SNEC Conference Minister.
You also will be able to view the powerful worship services, including a scene-setting, challenging, and inspiring morning sermon by the Rev. Dr. Danielle J. Buhuro, Founder and Executive Director of the Sankofa CPE Center and author of “Spiritual Care In An Age of #BlackLivesMatter: Examining the Spiritual and Prophetic Needs of African Americans Living In A Violent America.” She offered us new ways to see the text about the resurrection of Lazarus and demonstrated its connection to our call to roll away the stones of injustice in a holistic manner in which we consider the needs of the entire human.
We will let you know when these recordings become available. Trust me: if you missed the Justice Summit live, you do not want to miss this opportunity.
I also invite you to consider ways to integrate these videos – and, by extension, the work of the Justice Summit - into the efforts of your congregation. Consider inviting congregants and community members to shared viewing of Rev. Dr. Buhuro’s sermon and/or the plenary conversation between Bishop Flunder and Rev. Dr. Schmitz, then host a conversation about how the ideas and concepts they discussed relate to your context or can be implemented by your congregation.
View the calls to worship, with their articulation of our shared longing, frustrations, hopefulness and more; the heartfelt confession, which calls us all to greater accountability; and the liturgy for Holy Communion, which reminds us of the ways in which our faith history interacts with the contemporary realities of our world. Could these be the focus of Bible study sessions, post-worship conversations, or sermons? What might God be bringing forth through your encounters with these liturgical elements?
And there is so much more that you will want to experience, including the stunning original music of Sara Vokes, music director at The Meetinghouse in Ridgefield, Connecticut; the poetry of Rev. Sherrill Willis of the SNEC; and a presentation by Rev. Dr. Velda Love, UCC Minister for Racial Justice, about ways to become involved in our church’s “Join the Movement Toward Racial Justice.”
The Justice Summit was never intended as a day-long event that we would all leave and forget about until next time. That would not be a worthy use of any of our time. Rather, the goal was to offer a variety of opportunities and entry points for new and deeper work to live into our commitment to live the love and justice of Jesus.
As we move forward, I must again thank the many people who helped make the Justice Summit a success. I am grateful to Rev. Kate Vanderzee-Glidden, the incredible staff and the entire congregation at First Church of Christ Congregational in Glastonbury, Connecticut for hosting this summit. They were excellent partners and hospitable in ways beyond my expectation. I also thank the members of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team, most especially Rev. Emma Brewer-Wallin and Karen Methot, who were superstars. I thank the many workshop presenters, volunteers, people who provided technical support, and all who attended. We will be a stronger church because of all of you.
Finally, please look at the other racial justice programming scheduled for the fall. I especially invite you to register now for the two online sessions that Rev. Dr. Diane Schmitz will lead primarily for white-identified individuals. The first session is Saturday, October 8. Enrollment is free, but space is limited.
Beloved, as always, I thank you for all that you do and all that you will do. God continues to do new things in and through us, individually and, most especially, together. I look forward to what comes next.
Blessings and Power!
James D. Ross II
Photos, from top: Rev. James Ross and Rev. Emma Brewer-Wallin serving communion; Sherril Willis speaks; Sarah Vokes shares her music; Rev. Darrell Goodwin moderates plenary with Bishop Yvette Flunder and Diane Schmitz; Eric Elley and Paul Archaski behind the scenes, bringing the virtual summit into homes.
The Rev. Dr. James D. Ross II is Director Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. He also provides support and leadership within the Conference, our churches, other settings of the United Church of Christ, and the communities where we live, worship and ...