Here is a confession: a few weeks ago I had never heard of Juneteenth and Juneteenth celebrations. Maybe people from Texas could have informed me… Maybe I could have paid more attention. But who can keep up with it all? Well, it has certainly been mentioned many times since. Today is Juneteenth, and since we have reason to remember it this year especially, allow me to include an explanation of the day’s significance for those of you who, like me, had never heard of it until recently. This is from a credible website: “Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. From its Galveston, Texas origin in 1865, the observance of June 19th as the African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States and beyond.” On June 19th 1853, General Gordon Granger, a career US army soldier and Civil War general who was given command over the district of Texas (post bellum), read to the people of Texas General Order Number 3, which began most significantly with: “The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.” The celebrations that followed the reading of the proclamation by General Gordon Granger began a tradition that has lasted for one hundred and fifty five years, and today is hosted in cities across America and beyond…
Lisa Miller is working on a pretty thick special edition of Steeple Views that should be in your mailboxes and hands by sometime next week. She told me that she bribed the young people in her house. “If you don’t help me, there will be no pool!!!” That’s a credible threat. Usually, she has a wonderful cast of volunteers who have a routine system in place to crank out the newsletter from our workroom in the office area. Now all these helpers are “on furlough,” as Ginny B. puts it. Instead, we have a blossoming system of bribery at church and in many of our homes… I know that Kirsten Olson has not quite bribed, but “rewarded” some of her musicians and artists with little gifts since we depend on them so much and really appreciate their help. I have heard from various other corners that “bribery” has become rampant during the COVID pandemic. Nicole A. said to me, “Yes, bribery is definitely one of the parenting survival tools.” Her husband Vince will be one of the speakers in this Sunday’s service. Nicole and Vince have two young children, Vienna Rose and Gavin. Overall, I have a full cast of younger and older dads for this Saturday’s recording, including Mark B., Eric J., Bill K., Vince A., Bill G. and Paul S. As we continue recordings throughout the summer, we will move up our recordings to Tuesday nights. Heaven forbid someone has special plans for the weekend!
Please do not forget the Father’s Day Ice cream truck!!! The Sweat Pea Ice Cream truck from Doylestown will make a stop in our church parking lot on Sunday/Father’s Day between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. The ice cream will be served drive through style and is free of charge, thanks to a generous sponsor. We invite our members and friends to come and enjoy, especially all dads and their children. The ice cream is home-made, all-natural and they use only compostable containers. Do something nice for dad! We will also have a basket for church offerings on site. Come and enjoy!
I want to thank you for many early responses to our survey, see link below. We really welcome and appreciate your input!
Another mini-series that we are adding to our summer calendar had come out of my conversations with Rabbi Parmenter from Tiferet Bet Israel (TBI) in Blue Bell. It is called “Tender shoots of Righteousness: Re-discovering religious Civil Rights Leaders – A Jewish/Protestant conversation in the Black Lives Matter Era. We will offer the following three sessions via Zoom:
July 7: Abraham Heschel: “When I marched in Selma my feet were praying.” – A Jewish mystic on a journey toward justice – what he can teach us and what we can learn while our feet are praying. With Rabbi Danielle Parmenter.
July 21: The Civil Rights Movement in our front yard: Black leaders in Philadelphia from 1963 to 1985 and the Move Bombing. With Assistant Prof. Emeritus for African American Studies, Dr. Richard Stewart.
August 4: Lessons learned? Reinhold Niebuhr and the Civil Rights Movement. With excerpts from 1954 until late 1968 written by one of the best-known Civil Rights Ethicists of the time. With Pastor Andreas Wagner.
Be blessed and be safe! Pastor Andreas Wagner