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Musings, On Black History Month: February 1st 2022

On this, the shortest month of the year, we are invited to participate in Black History Month festivities and events that honour the legacy of Black Canadians and their communities. The 2022 theme for Black History Month is: “February and Forever: Celebrating Black History today and every day,” which focuses on recognizing the daily contributions that Black Canadians make to Canada.

I was pleased to see banners on the telephone poles in Amherst marking the month as we need all the reminders we can get to honour the legacy of Black Canadians and to reflect on a history that is laden with both over and covert systemic racism. I urge you, as you ponder the stories of resilient Black Canadians, that you also take time to examine your own implicit bias and the ways we all benefit from racism that is systemic within our communities.

Over the month of February, the Seekers Group, facilitated by Catherine Gaw, is using resources compiled by the Anti-Racism network of the Fundy St. Lawrence Dawning Waters Regional Council. Each week there are films to watch and on Sunday morning the participants share in discussion around the films.

Anne Pirie in a note to the Seekers Group reminded us of a bit of local history. Charles Dixon was instrumental in offering land and funds to build the downtown Methodist Church (now our United Church) in Sackville. We hold the Dixon Fund today...

Charles Dixon, who was the largest landowner among the Yorkshire settlers supporting the foundation of Wesleyan Methodism in Chignecto, and who became a Justice of the Peace and the area’s representative in the New Brunswick Legislature is buried here with wife Susannah. In 1794 he bought three [enslaved persons], two of [whom] he sold, the third one he eventually liberated. It was the wish of this [enslaved person] to be buried near Dixon. A large plot, surrounded by a fence, is reportedly where that [formerly enslaved person] is buried, possibly with the other two [enslaved persons]. Source: Town of Sackville Historic Places Files: "Methodist Burying Ground" 1. Adapted

Anne writes, "We benefit from the Dixon fund today. I wonder what steps we might take in our commitment to being anti-racist?"

In another effort to recognize Black History Month, we will be offering four children's books read by members of the congregation for your enjoyment and reflection. These will be available on the Church website and you are encouraged to share them with your family and friends. Watch for these to be on the Church website by Saturday evening of each week.

  • I am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes and Gordon C. James read by Edward Knuckles

  • Viola Desmond Won’t be Budged by Jody Nyasha Warner & Richard Rudnicki read by Dorthee Desrochers

  • When God Made You by Matthew Paul Turner & David Catrow read by Glenda Thornton

  • Oscar Lives Next Door by Bonnie Farmer & Marie Lafrance read by Janet Hammock.

Looking Ahead

Monday was filled with pastoral calls including a visit to Ruth Barry whose husband Alf died over the weekend. I hope you will join me in holding Ruth in care and prayer as she grieves the loss of her beloved husband.

Today I am in the office all day with meetings scheduled throughout the day. At 4PM I will gather with the family and some close friends of the late Bill Anderson for a small memorial service. In addition to the small group of people together in-person at the Church, we will bring other family members together from across the country together via Zoom. Join me in holding all who grieve Bill's death in love and care.

Wednesday, Groundhog Day, will involve pastoral calls, a meeting of the Worship and Sanctuary Committee, the Virtual Community Dinner at 5:30PM followed by the monthly Grounding Meeting of the Executive.

On Thursday, other than a gathering of colleagues at 10AM and the Broadview Discussion Group at 3PM I hope to devote the day to crafting a liturgy and sermon for Sunday.

Friday and Saturdays will be days off (I hope) and on Sunday I look forward to being with you all via Facebook Live.

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