Remembrance of ancestors launches ‘Wednesdays with the World’ webinars
People of many faiths and cultures remembered their ancestors — and much more — in a special webinar March 24.
With music, dance, ritual and the spoken word, “Journey to the Waters” marked two United Nations observances:
- The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, March 21
- The International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, March 25
It was the first episode of a new United Church of Christ webinar series, “Wednesdays With the World,” offered the first and third weeks of each month.
The series will offer “ways in which the quest for justice is intersectional and global,” said the Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson. She is the UCC’s associate general minister for Wider Church Ministries, which hosts the series. She said it will promote “increased awareness of global concerns — our connectedness — and highlighting options for advocacy and action.”
The March 24 “Journey” can be viewed on the UCC YouTube channel.
“Connectedness” is certainly what “Journey to the Waters” was about. The 1 hour, 45 minute event:
- Emphasized the history, culture and spirituality of people of African descent — but connected them with those of Indigenous cultures as well.
- Honored ancestors: not only their joys and struggles in earthly life but their continued presence and influence on people alive today.
- Featured participants from the UCC but also from Anglican, Baptist, Indigenous, Muslim, Presbyterian, Unitarian Universalist, United Church of Canada and other traditions.
- Alternated the arts and moments of silence with the spoken word.
Liturgical moments rooted in African diaspora traditions included:
- Two of Thompson’s poems, “Barely Breathing” and “By the Rivers of Babylon.”
- A traditional “Dance of the Water,” offered by the Rev. Everdith Landrau.
- Images of public art, including global monuments depicting enslavement and freedom from it.
- Multiple video recordings of songs by the Rev. Glen Thomas Rideout of the music program at the Unitarian Universalist UUMA Center Institute.
- … and much more.
“These are days that call us to bring our full selves into commemoration and aspiration as we remember,” Thompson said, but also “a time that invites us to look not only back but forward, to think about what it is that we’re creating for generations to come.”
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