I attended Decatur United Church of Christ this past Sunday morning. Their senior pastor, Reverend Glenna Shepherd, shared powerful words of hope during the inter-faith blessing at the Rally for Truth at the Georgia State Capitol this past Thursday. You can find the message she shared with the crowd here! She and I had the opportunity to share some words right before the rally began and felt compelled to worship with her congregation this morning. As I was perusing the worship bullatin this morning, I was surprised to see a wonderful pastoral letter (see below) included about the greater context in which last week’s rally needs to be framed, particularly in relation to communities of faith.
Many of you are following story around Arizona copycat hate legislation that is unfolding here in Georgia. it is imperative that we hear more voices from the faith community step to the plate on this issue, as it impacts all of our communities. As Paulina Hernandez recently conveyed in a GA Voice Article “The people behind these bills are the same as those with homophobic agendas all over the country. This is a growing trend of “white nativism.” We are all under attack and it is imperative that we find intentional ways of coming together to fight these hate bills as a unified front.
Please read Reverend Shepherd’s letter to her congregation and share with your own communities of faith:
My spirits were revived today!
Many of you know that I was invited to address the RALLY FOR TRUTH! which was sponsored by the Georgia Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition. The rally, which was held at the Georgia State Capitol, was organized to protest proposed legislation similar to the recent Arizona measures.
If you want to know more, you can check out their website at www.glahr.org or read the full texts of Georgia House Bill 87 and Georgia Senate Bill 40 online as well. You can also read the text of my brief speech on our website.
I was honored to be asked to speak. But that‟s not exactly why my spirits were revived today. My spirits were revived because this Interfaith Rally preceded the official protest and – literally – THOUSANDS of people showed up. And it wasn‟t just so they could arrive early to get close to the platform. No. I‟m sure of it because many of them had signs about GOD – positive signs about God‟s love and inclusion. They were there because they thought maybe people of faith might just have a message of HOPE , and they wanted to hear it.
My spirits were revived today. Even though there is some truth to the assertion that we live in a post-church age. Even though religion is less respected in our communities. Even though we know for sure that churches and synagogues are closing at unprecedented rates. My spirits were revived today BECAUSE FOLKS LOOKED TO US FOR HOPE! They wanted to hear OUR voices (not the press or the politicians or even the public) offer a message of the love, compassion, and empowerment of God. They wanted to know what Jesus would do – and what WE will do to speak up for the dignity and worth of all human beings. They wanted to know where WE stand on racial profiling and second-class citizenship and keeping our privileges to ourselves! They wanted to know. And that revived my spirits today.
I hope it touches your heart, gives you hope, and revives your spirits, too. I look forward to seeing you on Sunday!
With Love (and a revived spirit),
Rev. Glenna Shepherd
Original in March 27, 2011 Worship Bullatin
Reverend Shepherd gave an absolutely wonderful sermon this morning on John 4:5-42. Some of us know it as the lesson of the Witness at the Well. I had never thought of examining that lesson from the vantage point of Yeshua before. It provided a whole new way of looking at the Social Gospel…but, more to come on that once the sermon is posted.
I have reached out to a few other Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders in Atlanta to begin discussions about developing an action-focused inter-faith coalition. It’s something I had the privilege of being a part of developing in Philadelphia. Far be it from me as the new girl to tell Atlanta what it needs. Nevertheless, after several conversations and a bit of digging, it seems that there is a yearning for these kinds of collection.
I am not sure what this kind of coalition will look like, but I do know that I want to be at the table and want to be a part of helping such a community take shape.