Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Preparing to Commemorate 50th Anniversary of the martyrdom of N.H.'s Jonathan Daniels

Taken from jonathandaniels50.org Click here to go to link

The year 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the martyrdom of Jonathan Daniels, who was assassinated on August 20, 1965 at the height of the Civil Rights movement. Jonathan, a seminarian at the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, went south that summer answering the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s call for clergy to help register black voters. While there, Jonathan was arrested along with a number of Civil Rights workers. Upon being released from jail, he along with several others headed to a store to buy a cold drink. As they approached, a local deputy sheriff, Tom Coleman, raised his gun and fired. Jonathan shoved SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) worker Ruby Sales out of the way taking the fatal shot himself.

Jonathan grew up in Keene, New Hampshire where he worshiped at St. James Episcopal Church. To honor him and the beliefs he stood and died for, the Jonathan Daniels Commemoration Committee is spearheading the planning of activities throughout the year locally, nationally and internationally to commemorate his life and death. The committee has adopted a theme for the year based on the biblical passage from Isaiah 6:8 “I heard the voice of the Lord saying whom shall I send? Who will go for us? Then said I, Here Am I, Send Me.” The goal is to have every person touched by Jonathan’s example to do one thing to make the world a better place to live.

This website is intended to provide a place to inform visitors of the various commemoration activities planned around the US and the globe. Visit the Listing of Events and Calendar tabs to view the events that are being planned. If your organization is planning a commemoration event that you want to include, please submit the details on the Contact tab.  To assist in your planning these three dates stand out. He was born on March 20, 1939. He was assassinated on August 20, 1965 in Hayneville, Alabama. The Episcopal Church celebrates his life and work annually on August 14th. He has been named a saint and martyr of the Episcopal Church and with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of only two Americans listed in the Memorial Book of Heroes and Martyrs at the Canterbury Cathedral in England. A sculpture of Jonathan will soon be displayed on the Human Rights Porch at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

A Symbol of Hate

What has become known as the Confederate flag is coming down outside the state house in South Carolina only a few weeks after the massacre at Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston took nine souls. 
In addition, the dean of the Washington National Cathedral has announced that they will be removing two stained glass windows, installed in 1953, that honor Confederate generals Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee that include the Confederate flag.  You can read more Click here 

It still amazing to me how the Civil Way continues to find its way into modern American life and discourse when it comes to matters of race. It also does not surprise me that that the Episcopal Diocese and Bishop of South Carolina -- for now -- has been largely successful in S.C. courts in separating from the national church and keeping -- for now -- much of their church property. Is there something in the water in S.C., so to speak, where the impulse to reject and go it alone is stronger than elsewhere? Perhaps. 

As you can see from my previous blog about the placement of the American flag in our church sanctuary, we too have been thinking about the power and placement of symbols. So far I detect that our very Anglican "middle way" of having the flag in the narthex seems about right for now.  

My hope in the Confederate flag debate is, like so many other reactions to horrendous events, it does become a replacement or a filler to a change of heart and mind. Racism in America, and throughout the world, is one of the greatest sins against God because it cuts to the core of rejecting God's creation itself. Humanity is created in the Divine image. No one race is greater or less in God's eyes. Period. Always. 

Racism is an expression of our great temptation to distort our own fear and weakness and turn it back onto someone else. 

"God is not done with us yet" is as true today as always. In memory of the nine souls who welcomed a stranger in their midst as Jesus inspired them to do, I pray and hope that some minds and hearts have been moved and changed over this last month.