Cleveland native Rev. Otis Moss III celebrates Black History Month with the national staff in worship
Written by Gregg Brekke
February 24, 2009
A capacity crowd filled the Amistad Chapel at the UCC's Cleveland headquarters on Feb. 18 to hear the Rev. Otis Moss III deliver the sermon, "We're Not There Yet," based on the first chapter of Joshua.
Moss, pastor of Trinity UCC in Chicago, was invited as part of Black History Month celebrations hosted by national staff throughout the month of February. Conference Ministers and seminary presidents gathered along with Cleveland staff and guests from the greater Cleveland area.
The choir from Olivet Baptist Church, in addition to Cleveland's All-City Choir, performed at the service. Moss' father, the Rev. Otis Moss Jr., recently retired from a 40 year pastorate at Olivet Baptist and is the church the younger Moss referred to as his "spiritual home."
Moss' message centered on the historic precedent set by the election of Barack Obama as the first African-American President. Yet he warned that those who have struggled for civil rights should not feel that the election of Obama is the end of calls for racial justice. Like Joshua entering Israel, Moss asserted the journey toward racial reconciliation is not over.
"For if we dare think that we are in the promised land we will give up the struggle and leave the legacy of the past behind and operate in a world that is a figment of our imagination and romanticize what used to be in our country," Moss said. "And so it is important that we recognize that yes it is a post Moses moment but we have not yet reached the promise land."
February is Black History Month and was observed by national UCC staff with a series of speakers, worship services and profiles of notable African-Americans. One local presenter, Carole Brown of Euclid Congregational UCC, is a Master Quilter whose work was displayed in Quilts for Obama: An Exhibit at the Historical Society of Washington D.C.