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‘We must go beyond the one-day worship service’


Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to host forums recognizing Black History Month

by Gail Strange | Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE — The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will be holding a special online worship service at 9 a.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, Feb. 9 to commemorate and honor Black History Month.

The theme for the 2022 celebration is “Resiliency to Recovery.” The theme observes the strong resiliency of the African American community from a historical to present-day perspective. It examines African Americans’ ongoing ability and need to survive while continuing to fight for justice and equality.

In addition to the service, the African American Intercultural Congregational Support Ministries will host three forums to give participants an opportunity to go into a more in-depth conversation around the topics of resistance, rest, recovery, and reparations which are the supporting pillars of the theme of the worship service. The forums will be held at 4 p.m. Eastern Time on Feb. 10 and 24 and at 6 p.m. Eastern Time on Feb. 17.

The Rev. Dr. Terrlyn L. Curry Avery

The speaker for the Feb. 10 forum will be the Rev. Dr. Terrlyn L. Curry Avery, the pastor of the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Presbyterian Church in Springfield, Massachusetts. She is particularly passionate about healing the wounds of religion and dismantling racism and is a strong advocate for social justice.

“In one respect, Black survival amidst the legacies of slavery, colonialism, and disenfranchisement is a testament to the strength of Black people,” said the Rev. Michael Moore, associate for African American Intercultural Congregational Support. “On the other hand, this stereotypical trope of Black people being able to endure great suffering through generational traumas lends to the notion that Black people are somehow non-human or the historical antedate three-fifths of a person.”

The Rev. Michael Moore

Moore says there is a burden of “Blackness” while living in America. According to Moore, this burden tells another story of chronic heath disparities that need to be addressed systematically, individually and communitywide.

“Diabetes, kidney disease, strokes, higher blood pressure levels, asthma, cancer, and the highest infant mortality rates are glaring indicators for the need for political pressure, education, awareness and change in the managed care system,” Moore said. “We are still dealing with the effects of systemic and structural racism as a health crisis These are just as important or maybe more in these times of backlash, struggle, and the new reality of COVID-19.”

“While we’re highlighting these issues during this celebration, it should be noted that Black History is so much more and goes far beyond the month of February,” Moore said. “These life-impacting issues of Black health and mental wellness need to be addressed all year long.”

“So, at this time we want to encourage Black, Indigenous and People of Color with the message that we must remain resilient and resist the forces of injustice, but develop new coping skills of rest, self-care, recovery and repair for self, family, and community,” Moore said. “We hope and pray that Black History Month will not only be a time of great pride but a time to take action in the community for mental, emotional, and physical well-being.”

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