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Presbyterian Center plans online Black History Month service

Black history is a lived-out message of faith, hope and love

by Gail Strange | Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE — “Black history is important for all people because Black history is American history,” says the Rev. Michael Moore, Associate for African American Intercultural Congregational Support in the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s Racial Equity & Women’s Intercultural Ministries (RE&WIM).

On Wednesday, Feb. 24, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will celebrate Black History Month with a special worship service led by RE&WIM. The service this year will be live streamed on the PC(USA) Facebook page starting at 9 a.m. Eastern Time.

The theme for this year’s service is adapted from Maya Angelou’s poem of liberation and survival, “Still I Rise.”  Moore will be the preacher.

Moore, who is also giving leadership to the committee planning the service, says, “Black History Month is a month typically dedicated to celebrating the achievements of Black Americans and the central role they’ve played in U.S. history.”

“We traditionally celebrate the historical figures, times, and places of the contributions of Black people during Black History Month,” said Moore, “and it’s very important that we pay homage and celebrate the achievements of Black Americans of the past and today. However, this Black History Month I am more intrigued by what I call the ‘spirit’ of Black history.”

Moore says “spirit” in this instance doesn’t mean something other-worldly. It’s something that can’t be named, but is known and passed down through generations, Moore said.

the Rev. Michael Moore

“The spirit of Black history is an incredible witness to the church and society of a deeper meaning of what faith really looks like in the truest sense,” Moore said. “Not confessions, not just doctrines, not just a theology, but a witness of faith forged in unmerited suffering and redemption.”

He described Black history as a journey of a people who, despite the contradictions, unfairness, inequity and disparities, just keep getting back up, stepping up, standing out and going forward despite it all.

“I am amazed, astounded, flabbergasted and sometimes bewildered and dumbfound by the spirit of Black history,” said Moore. “What is it that allows a people —  not immigrants, but a stolen people from a diverse continent —  to endure the horrors of the transatlantic slave  trade, learn a new language, be bought and sold and designated as chattel —  and survive?”

Moore asked what is it that allows a people designated as three-fifths of a human being and stigmatized because of the color of their skin to endure lynchings and Jim Crow laws and yet still be resilient and adaptable enough to share crop or work for nothing and build and contribute greatly to the making the wealthiest country on the planet?

Moore says that as he reflects on Black history, he wonders what is the something that still to this day strengthens Black people to resist being marginalized and segregated and being killed openly without justice, without restitution or even acknowledgement of the horrible wrongs perpetrated against them.

“What is it that allows a people to hold to a vison and value that one day they will be not be judged by the color of skin, but content of character?” he said.

“Black history,” Moore said, “is a lived-out message of faith, hope and love.”


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