Archives for March 2016

Pastoral Letter on violence and political discourse

March 18, 2016
Pastoral Letter from the Executive Minister of the Regional Synod of New York, Reformed Church in America and the Conference Minister of the New York Conference, United Church of Christ:
As the Executive’s of the Regional Synod of New York, Reformed Church in America and the the New York Conference, United Church of Christ, we join our voices and hearts in solidarity with the statement just offered by the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church and the Council of Conference Ministers of the United Church of Christ with the following Holy Week statement:
On Good Friday the ruling political forces of the day tortured and executed an innocent man. They sacrificed the weak and the blameless to protect their own status and power. On the third day Jesus was raised from the dead, revealing not only their injustice but also unmasking the lie that might makes right.
In a country still living under the shadow of the lynching tree, we are troubled by the violent forces being released by this season’s political rhetoric. Americans are turning against their neighbors, particularly those on the margins of society. We seek to secure our own safety and security at the expense of others. There is legitimate reason to fear where this rhetoric and the actions arising from it might take us.
In this moment, we resemble God’s children wandering in the wilderness. We, like they, are struggling to find our way. They turned from following God and worshiped a golden calf constructed from their own wealth. The current rhetoric is leading us to construct a modern false idol out of power and privilege. We reject the idolatrous notion that we can ensure the safety of some by sacrificing the hopes of others. No matter where we fall on the political spectrum, we must respect the dignity of every human being and we must seek the common good above all else.
We call for prayer for our country that a spirit of reconciliation will prevail and we will not betray our true selves.
Reverend David R Gaewski, Conference Minister,
New York Conference, United Church of Christ
Reverend Amy Nyland, Executive Minister,
Regional Synod of New York, Reformed Church in America
New York Conference | United Church of Christ
315-446-3073 | |
New York Conference UCC, 5575 Thompson Road, DeWitt, NY 13214

Sunday, March 20 — *Ten Thousand Black Men Named George*

miki soos logoWhen the Great Depression struck America in the 1920’s, finding work was hard, but if you were poor and black, it was virtually impossible.

Working as a porter for the Pullman Rail Company was an option, but it meant taking home a third as much as white employees and working some days for free. You could forget about being called by your real name–all black porters were simply called George after George Pullman, the first person to employ emancipated slaves.

Asa Philip Randolph, a black journalist and educated socialist trying to establish a voice for these forgotten workers, agreed to fight for the Pullman porters’ cause and form the first black union in America. Livelihoods and lives were put at risk in the attempt to gain 10,000 signatures of men known only as “George.” This is the true story of how a courageous leader came to be known as “the most dangerous man in America.”

On August 25th, 1937 the Pullman Company signed the first ever agreement between a union of black workers and a major American corporation. It was twelve years – to the day – of the founding of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters.

For the next four decades Randolph carried forward his fight for equality. In 1963, commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, Randolph initiated the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. It was at that gathering that a young Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech … and Randolph passed his torch to a new generation of leaders in the fight for Civil Rights.

Join us this Sunday, March 20th (also the Vernal Equinox and Palm Sunday) from 4-6 p.m. (+ potluck) to watch “Ten Thousand Black Men Named George,” to learn more about this history of activism. At our Environmental Cottage, 3449 West River Road, Grand Island, NY 14072.

Where is God-with-us? Co-pastors to discuss pivotal book *Grounded*

“Bemiki sos smallginning with earjon and cathyth (dirt), air (sky) and water Bass weaves an engaging story of interconnectedness ending in the revelation of the divine in the here and now. I thoroughly enjoyed the texture and twists of insights opening the stunning truth of emerging faith in our midst.” — Sister Simone Campbell, author of A Nun on a Bus.

“Bass digs her fingers into the soil of our surroundings to unearth a new way of looking at spirituality and our place within our increasingly global neighborhood. A deeply theological book, but also a practical one; causes one to ponder the spiritual implications of farmers’ markets in altogether new ways.” — Booklist

“This impulse toward spiritual intimacy is found not only in the Abrahamic faiths, but in Buddhism, Hinduism, and native religions. Far too many people who understand God in these ways probably do not know how rich the tradition is that speaks of God with us, God in the stars and sunrise, God as the face of their neighbor, God in the act of justice, or God as the wonder of love.” –Diana Butler Bass, author of Grounded.

Join our co-pastors Cathy and Jon as they explore the Diana Butler Bass book Grounded with us this Sunday, March 6, from 4 to 6 p.m. (plus potluck), at Riverside-Salem’s Environmental Cottage, 3449 West River Road, Grand Island, NY 14072.

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