Message by Gordon Barbosa, Lay Minister
Based on Exodus 3:7-8; Romans 12:9-21
Pastor Diana Hunter talks about the importance of voting.
Based on Romans 12:1-13
Message by Rev. Diana Hunter
Based on Psalm 36
Lead, Kindly Light
By John Henry Newman
Lead, kindly Light, amid th’ encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on;
The night is dark, and I am far from home,
Lead Thou me on;
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.
I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou
Shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path, but now
Lead Thou me on;
I loved the garish day, and spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will; remember not past years.
So long Thy pow’r has blest me, sure it still
Wilt lead me on,
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.
Message by Rev. Diana Hunter
Based on John 20:19-23
"Sending You Light" by Melanie DeMore, piano by Julie Wolf is an alchemical healing. Send it to everyone you love, and they will feel your message. Most of us today could use this offering of peace and compassion. Film at Freight & Salvage in Berkeley, CA. Video by Irene Young and Tina Silano.
By Susan Parker
I was visiting my best friend one day when her new neighbor moved in with a daughter about eight years old. That put a smile on my face. Somebody our age just two doors down and across the street. Now I had two friends named Alice.
Remembering the details of our play escapes me, but I had a good time. A few months later I found out they were moving away. I ran to this new friend’s mother and found her at her back door.
“Please don’t move. I want you to stay. Why are you moving?”
She looked at me with controlled sadness in her eyes. She didn’t say a word, turned and went back into the house. I kept wondering why. Did I tell you their skin was dark brown?
I just lived my young life in an unrecognized bubble of whiteness. Taking the train into New York City would only provide me with glimpses of different skin colors. Those observances didn’t conjure up any emotions one way or the other. It was just interesting like seeing clips in a documentary of life in a far off land.
I find it a mystery to this day that I was given a standard baby doll I could bottle feed when I was three. I was never much into dolls preferring animals and trucks but I liked the doll well enough for a while. It was brown skinned. Every other girl I knew had a pink one.
When I was twelve, my father decided he had had enough of cold, slushy Connecticut winters and decided to go to Florida for a month. We packed up the car and drove south. It would take three days to get to Siesta Key near Tampa. I loved reading road maps and became the navigator from then on. Father always wanted to get to the destination while my mother loved to follow the unexpected and explore. No side trips on this fleeing the winter blahs journey.
On the second day we stopped for gas and a restroom break in North Carolina. On the side of the building I found water fountains labeled for whites only and for colored only. Also the restrooms had the same designations. The colored area was unkempt, dirty even. A stark contrast with the white side.
I felt like I had been punched in the heart. What is this? How can this be?
The explanation given to my growing outrage didn’t help much.
“That’s the way it is here in the south,” my father uttered with sad resignation and suggested I drop the subject.
My parents grew up in St. Louis. My mother told me that her father in the early 20th century purposely rode in the back of the bus. That wasn’t as difficult as Rosa Parks sitting in the front of the bus a couple of decades later but she was very proud of him.
In the movies of the late 40’s and early 50’s, I remember hearing in response to thwarted human activities, “I’m free, white and twenty-one.” The weight of those utterances flew right over my head at the time as a grade schooler. Now, that sticks out like a gnarly thumb growing out of my ear.
My younger brother started collecting 8mm and 16mm films in elementary school. By the time he was fourteen, he had a large enough collection to have a blossoming film rental business and was asked to be a film rep for Carling Black Label. Discovering his age, they withdrew the offer.
He also began to have an extensive array of black films, mostly from the 30’s and 40’s. I saw quite a few of them and learned they were rarely seen by whites. Standard Hollywood films cut scenes in order to play the south. Lena Horne’s “Stormy Weather” disappeared in the bible belt along with many other talented artists.
With his seeming pride in this film collection, I found it confusing and disturbing that my brother would tell racist jokes.
On November 22, 1963, I was working at my first real job in Monterey as a telephone operator. This was two years before direct dial. I sat at a board placing retractable dull red cords with plugs on the end into many round holes in front of me. I wore a headset with a microphone suspended in front of my mouth.
Late that morning, a woman called in and promptly put her phone up to her TV. I could hear the announcer shakily sharing the news that JFK had been shot. This woman needed to share this with someone, anyone. I immediately told my supervisor. In anticipation of a possible onslaught of calls, she told us to take a 10 minute break. Most of us headed to the restroom.
Above the chatter, the supervisor exclaimed, “It must have been some goddamn n****r.”
As soon as I could get my jaw off the floor, I loudly proclaimed, “That is an awful thing to say. You don’t know anything about it.” The supervisor stayed mum on the subject after that.
We went back to our seats and waited for the wave of calls to hit. Instead, it got very quiet. The shock was palpable.
Then Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated. The Watts riots made the headlines. Black performers were beginning to appear on TV. Little by little more was being revealed about all aspects of life on this planet. And then with the internet and smart phones the world was opening to an even broader spectrum of information and images.
Now, fast forward to June 4, 2020. George Floyd has been killed or should I say lynched by an officer of the law in Minneapolis on May 25th. Here in Fort Bragg, CA, there had been a student led protest on June 2nd, which I was unable to attend. This second demonstration was smaller but no less outraged. All wore facemasks and tried to keep a suitable distance from each other during this covid19 pandemic.
I held a sign I designed with “Black Lives Matter” on one side and “Love Your Neighbor, No Exceptions” on the other. The Hawaiian speaker with a black husband and children passionately spewed a lifetime of pain and anger from the tips of her toes, begging for this to be THE turning point for justice and equality.
Next a young black woman spoke from a prepared speech until she admitted she was too tired to go on.
We were asked to kneel for the 8 minutes and 46 seconds and listen to the actual sound of the event. I asked the young man next to me, “If I kneel, will you help me get up?” He smiled and said, “Yes.”
The rough surface of the sidewalk, which was full of chalk outlines of bodies and the names of those who had been killed at the hands of police, was more painful than I imagined. One knee. Two knees. Added both hands. Then rolling to my right hip. I was so pleased our chief of police kneeled with us.
Through it all, I was moved to the point of tears, hoping that somehow things were finally going be different. I think of the t-shirt I once saw, “Humankind; Be Both.”
Diana Hunter is our Senior Pastor;