WE BELIEVE THAT BLACK LIVES MATTER Get Involved

1963-2023
What Has Changed?
Why Has It Changed?
What is the same?  
 What Must/Can We Do?   

November 28, 2022 Antoinette Richardson

On December 3, via zoom, from 10:30 am to noon, we will gather to discuss the above questions. To request the zoom link to join the conversation email racialequitybuddies@fhcpresb.org. Our hosts and leaders for this event are Chiquita Montgomery and ivy tillman.

Maya Angelou’s inspirational poem Still I Rise reminds us that despite the difficult past, and the present difficult times we still rise. Join us on this equity journey and help us rise.

Following are a few pictures that capture the human rights struggle of the 1960s to the present. Collectively, they raise the question of how much this nation has changed; which begs the last question above “what can/must we do”.

After the pictures are excerpts from 1) a speech by Governor George Wallace of Alabama; 2) the Kerner Report; 3) Dr. King’s “Letter From A Birmingham Jail”, and 4) a speech by Malcolm X entitled “The Ballot or The Bullet”. 

African American Woman Being Carried to Police Patrol Wagon During Demonstration, Brooklyn, New York, USA, Dick DeMarsico, World Telegram & Sun, 1963.

Birmingham, AL: Demonstrating students wave a Confederate flag as they chant and jeer outside West End High School. Three Birmingham schools were...

Leeds United Kingdom Jun 2020 Photos Black Lives Matter Protest Stock Image

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Demonstrators hold up signs as they participate in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Washington DC, August 28, 1963. Among the visible...

Photograph of Carolyn House, Brenda Officer, Paul Anderson, and other people at an African American Civil Rights sit-in segregation protest at John A...

Free Protesters Holding Signs Stock Photo

1963 Governor George  Wallace: “Segregation Now, Segregation Tomorrow, Segregation Forever” In his 1963 Inaugural Address  Alabama Governor George Wallace made the above infamous declaration.“ Here is a one-minute YOUTUBE clip of Wallace speaking those hateful words. His remarks are chilling.

George Wallace’s “Segregation Forever” Speech – YouTube

1968 Kerner Report 

“Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal.” Segregation and poverty have created in the racial ghetto a destructive environment totally unknown to most white Americans.

What white Americans have never fully understood but what the Negro can never forget–is that white society is deeply implicated in the ghetto. White institutions created it, white institutions maintain it, and white society condones it.

It is time now to turn with all the purpose at our command to the major unfinished business of this nation. It is time to adopt strategies for action that will produce quick and visible progress. It is time to make good the promises of American democracy to all citizens-urban and rural, white and black, Spanish-surname, American Indian, and every minority group.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Letter From A Birmingham Jail    We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God-given rights. We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was “well timed” in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

1963 El Hajj Malik Shabazz, aka, Malcolm X “The Ballot or The Bullet”

“America is the only country in history in a position to bring about a revolution without violence and bloodshed. But America is not morally equipped to do so.

Why is America in a position to bring about a bloodless revolution? Because the Negro in this country holds the balance of power, and if the Negro in this country were given what the Constitution says he is supposed to have, the added power of the Negro in this country would sweep all of the racists and the segregationists out of office. It would change the entire political structure of the country. It would wipe out the Southern segregationism that now controls America’s foreign policy, as well as America’s domestic policy.

And the only way without bloodshed that this can be brought about is that the black man has to be given full use of the ballot in every one of the fifty states. Both the book club and Racial Equity Buddies Program are co-sponsored by The First Congregational Church of Hudson (UCC) and The Ministry of Adult Spiritual Growth (Forest Hill Church, Presbyterian).  Other groups, organizations, and institutions are invited to co-sponsor these events. To do so, please respond to this email: racialequitybuddies@fhcpresb.org.                                                               

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First Week of Advent: Hope

November 28, 2022 Antoinette Richardson

Hope knows where it needs to go

By Jean Reinhold

Maybe you’ll fly to Orlando

to have the best dinner conversation

of your life. Maybe you’ll drive

to Erie just to say happy birthday,

noticing the blazing trees, wishing

they could be the gift you give.

Maybe you’ll answer the phone

in the middle of the night because

someone needs you, then get out

of bed to really listen. Curl yourself

onto the floor, the phone beading

her words into your bones.

God is revealed in details. Today,

it hit you, all of the movement,

the way God made them walk to the

holy land. Mary, Joseph, the wise men.

We must leave ourselves, slither

out of routine.  We must venture

outside of the known to know.

God is saying to us – find and follow

your star, there is a distance to travel

and it will not be easy. Life is mapped

out by your veins, hope knows where

it needs to go.  Walk your way to the edge,

knowing you’re sure to come home

a different way.

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From the Ministry of Adult Spiritual Growth:

November 28, 2022 Antoinette Richardson

Advent is a time of waiting, anticipating the coming of Jesus Christ in a physical body just like ours. Christians everywhere and throughout time have used Advent to reflect, to deepen their experience of God coming to us in the flesh.

For Advent this year, the members of the Ministry of Adult Spiritual Growth have decided to try something different. In the past, we have offered special Sunday morning Advent classes as a way for people could enhance their spiritual growth. However, many people find attending Sunday morning classes difficult or not appealing. We know that such classes reach only a small portion of our worshiping community.

At our most recent meeting, we considered ways to reach out to the entire church community during Advent. We decided to have an Advent Email each week on Monday morning, with a reflection about the theme of the week and its application to everyday life. We know that our fellow church member, Jean Reinhold, has written wonderfully poetic Advent reflections. So we asked, and Jean has generously agreed that we can use her writings for our Advent emails this year.

Each week during Advent, you will receive an emailed reflection by Jean on the theme of the week from the Ministry of Adult Spiritual Growth. You will find the first Advent email, on the theme of Hope, on the next page. We hope that you will read and re-read this reflection throughout the week as a way of deepening your experience of this time of waiting.

from Ann Williams and the entire Ministry of Adult Spiritual Growth

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Developing Your Super Powers:
Disrupting Interpersonal Racism Series – via Zoom!
Danielle Cosgrove, presenter
William Shaul, presenter
Robin Harbage, presenter
Lisa Vahey, host

October 18, 2022 Antoinette Richardson

It can be challenging to talk about racism, white supremacy, and even the news, yet we must build our skills to help us move toward equity and justice. How do we step into the challenge, away from “negative peace, which is the absence of tension, to a positive peace, which is the presence of justice”? (Dr. King) This session will focus on building new knowledge and working through role plays to help us practice deep listening skills. We will also have guest presenters to help us learn a structure to change the culture of conversations about race, finding alternatives to the polarized and judgmental nature of these exchanges that tie our politics and problem-solving into knots. This skill can lead to more productive conversations and joint action with people of all races. If you’ve attended this class in the past, you are welcome to participate in it again.

Sunday afternoons, 4:00-5:15 pm
November 6, 13, 20
SKIP 11/27 (Thanksgiving weekend –
a chance to “try out” what we learn!)
Dec 4 and 11

If you wish to join, please sign up here: https://fhc.breezechms.com/form/59e87b.

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Strength to Love

September 22, 2022 Kurt Haas

Facilitators: Quentin Smith and Ron Zimmerman
Dates and Times: Sundays, September 11 through November 20, 9:15-10:15 AM
Format: Zoom only
Resource Text: Strength to Love, by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Class Description: The class will examine King’s philosophies and principles in resisting the evils of this world – poverty, racism, and war – through a study of his book Strength to Love, a collection of his sermons.
For a full description
or to sign up, click here.

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Study of the Book of Wisdom

September 22, 2022 Kurt Haas

Facilitators: Kathryn Eloff and Tom Zych
Dates and Times: Sundays, September 11 through November 20, 9:15-10:15 AM
Format: Hybrid (both in person at church and on Zoom)
Resource Text: Each week, the facilitators will send an email containing reflections and suggested readings
Class Description: This class continues our long tradition of Sunday morning Bible study. By popular demand, Kathryn and Tom will facilitate a follow-up to our Spring 2022 series, “How the Scriptures come to be THE Bible.” After our study of the books that did NOT become part of our Protestant canon, the focus of this class will be the Book of Wisdom as an example of late pre-Christian wisdom literature.

For a full description or to sign up, click here.

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Racial Equity Buddies

September 22, 2022 Kurt Haas

Facilitators: Lisa Vahey and Quentin Smith
Dates and Times: Saturday mornings, September 17 and October 1, 10:30 AM to 12:00 Noon. (More dates to be decided later.)
Description of Experiential learning opportunity:
A Racial Equity Buddy is a trusted companion with whom one can have difficult discussions on race. Two people agree to talk openly and honestly, without judgment, about their experiences and views regarding race and racism. They agree to meet consistently to listen to each other with open and curious minds.
This concept was introduced to Forest Hill Church about four years ago by a frequent visitor and friend of the church, Professor Mark Joseph, and some Buddies have been meeting for that entire time. They invite you to join them on a wonderful, colorful, discovery tour, learning about hidden historical figures and events while simultaneously learning about your own place in that history.
On Saturday morning, September 17 (10:30 to noon), we will meet on Zoom to continue this important program. New people are welcome to join those who began as Buddies earlier.
To sign up or to learn more, click here.

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Follow Me: Biblical Practices for Faithful Living

September 22, 2022 Kurt Haas

Facilitators: Pat Jenkins and Ann Williams
Dates and Time: Sundays, September 18 through December 18, 9:15-110:15 AM
Possibly also 4:00-5:15 PM, if there is enough interest
Format: Meeting by Zoom only.
Resource Texts: One Follow Me book for each month and your own Bible
September – Honoring God’s Diversity October – Practice Generosity
November – Make Peace December (Advent) – Go Tell
Class Description: The Follow Me classes are designed to help us to follow practices that Jesus taught for spiritual growth. As we learn about each practice, we will have ample opportunity to share our experiences, encourage each other, and build community.
For a full description or to sign up, click here.

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Probing the Parables

September 22, 2022 Kurt Haas

Facilitator: John Lentz
Dates and Times: Sundays, September 26 through December 5, 4:00-5:30 PM
Format: In person at church, with an option for Zoom participation of needed
Resource Text: Short Stories by Jesus, by Amy-Jill Levine, and your own Bible
Class Description: Using the book Short Stories by Jesus as a guide, we will explore Jesus’s most popular teaching parables, exposing their misinterpretations and making them lively and relevant for us.
For a full description, or to sign up, click here.

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Praying with Others Through the Challenges of Life

September 22, 2022 Kurt Haas

Facilitator: Leslie Clement
Dates and Times: Five days in the Fall, with dates and times to be determined by participants
Class Description: Do you long to deepen your prayer life in company with others who have the same longing? Leslie will be sharing a five-part series written by faculty, program directors, and leaders from the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary community.
For a full description, or to express interest, click here.

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