By Pastor Kurt
ECC is thankful for God’s provision through the years in so many ways. As you may know, today is Giving Tuesday and a good day to highlight some creative ways to participate in the funding of the mission God has given us at ECC.
If you are a person who doesn’t like carrying a checkbook or someone who would rather pay your bills online, ECC offers a way for you to give to our church’s ministries through our online giving portal. Gifts can be designated for the General Fund or the Benevolent Fund. You may give using a debit/credit card or direct withdrawal from your bank account. You may also set up recurring giving, whether you prefer to give weekly or monthly. For more information see the portal here.
In the past, individuals have inquired the process of giving stock to the church as part of their tithes and offerings. A few years ago, we developed a protocol for handling these transactions and from time to time, it is good to remind everyone of the process.
Gifts of appreciated securities (such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds) to Evangelical Covenant Church carry two benefits that cash gifts do not. You may eliminate the income tax on capital gains when contributing securities and, depending on your individual itemized deduction amount, you also may be able to take an income tax deduction based on the securities' fair market value on the date of the gift -- a double tax benefit from both the avoidance of capital gains on appreciated shares and the gift deduction.
What Are The Guidelines For Giving Appreciated Securities?
If you have any questions or would like to be provided with additional information including how a broker can transfer stock to ECC through a Direct Transfer Certificate, please contact me at the church.
Other creative ways to donate to ECC include creation of a Donor-Advised fund as well as donating part of your Required Minimum Distributions (RMD) if you are age 70 1/2 and older, and are receiving RMD’s from your Individual Retirement Account (IRA). I am happy to talk with anyone who would like to know more about any of these creative ways to fund the mission at ECC! Remember…God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7b)
By Pastor Kurt
I hope you will join us Tuesday, November 26 at 7:00pm for our annual Harvest Ingathering worship service. It is always a meaningful evening of worship, thanksgiving, sharing testimonies, and bonding in fellowship. Part of our worship will be to collect a thanksgiving offering for Covenant World Relief.
For more than 60 years, Covenant World Relief (CWR) has been the Evangelical Covenant Church’s response to human suffering and injustice in the world. Through local partnerships, CWR invests in community development and responds to global disasters. CWR’s mission is to join God in loving, serving, and working together with the poor, the powerless and the marginalized. They seek the following values in our global partnerships. They seek to demonstrate the good news of Jesus Christ in word and deed. The belief is that the church is at its best when it holistically serves the most vulnerable—spiritually, physically, economically, intellectually, socially, and emotionally.
They do so by partnering with established local organizations, relying on their expertise, experience, and networks. As a ministry of the ECC, CWRs prioritizes Covenant connected relationships. They affirm an asset based relief and development model that prioritizes local resources—human, relational, material, and financial. This way the community and its leaders are equipped and empowered to carry out programs that are locally initiated and led, working with, rather than for, the community.
CWR strives for comprehensive and sustainable development that leads to holistic transformation, valuing the quality of impact more than the quantity of people impacted. CWRs believes that all people are made in God’s image and are worthy of being treated with dignity and respect and they work to address the root causes of injustice through reconciliation, peacemaking, solidarity, and advocacy.
Jesus said in Mathew 25:31-46 that whenever we reach out and touch another hurting person in His name, we do it to Him. I invite you all to be a partner in this vital ministry through the giving opportunities as part of our Harvest Ingathering service.
Be still, and know that I am God.
By Sally Lowrey
About 80 women came together at Camp Tecumseh from November 1-3 to PAUSE. Some stayed overnight; some decided to enjoy the comfort of their own beds and drive back to camp each day. Both choices allowed for effective PAUSE that included fellowship, worship, prayer, learning and fun.
The weekend started on Friday evening with worship. The songs were carefully selected to support the retreat theme of PAUSE and for us each to be reminded that we are loved dearly by our ever-present God.
We had a very engaging speaker, Kristan Dooley, who presented throughout the weekend starting Friday evening and ending Sunday morning just prior to our ending communion service. The guiding scripture for her teaching was John 15. Below are some of the key points she shared with us to reflect upon:
Saturday afternoon was unstructured time. Each woman was able to find her individual PAUSE activity. Some painted signs to take home as a reminder of the retreat’s guiding scripture "Be still, and know that I am God." Others took a walk through the beautiful camp setting. Some took naps or read. Some even participated in the camp activity of riflery and archery. There was definitely something for everyone.
Throughout the entire retreat there was lots of prayer, lots of woman-to-woman support and care, great food, and lots of games and laughter. Prayers were answered as each woman who was asked “would you...” said yes, starting from the time of initial retreat planning months in advance to the conclusion of our time together on Sunday. Thank you to everyone for sharing your talents in many ways for this retreat to be meaningful and successful.
We definitely missed Kate Cogswell while she was with family as they honored her beautiful mother Bonnie who had passed earlier in the week. Because of the many women who contributed their talents and time, Kate was able to be fully present with her family.
By Ronda Ooms
17 years ago ECC, committed to partnering with other area churches to help families in need during the Christmas season through an outreach called Christmas For Everyone. For 15 years we helped provide gifts for thousands of children. It was a very good thing that we did. A few years ago we sensed that God was leading us in a different direction. We realized that even though we were doing a good thing, we weren't making a lasting difference in anyone's life. Many families would come back year after year. Their circumstances hadn't changed. We saw them once a year and had no other interaction with them. We realized that without a relationship we weren't really able to make a lasting difference in anyone's life. In 2017, after much prayer and discussion, we began a new Christmas Outreach, one that would allow us to deepen relationships and allow us to work with families all throughout the year.
"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" Luke 10:27
This decision has shaped the way that we do a lot of our outreach efforts. We focus on families in the Miller/Bauer neighborhoods. In particular we work with families whose children are involved with Afterschool JAM, our weekly Afterschool ministry that takes place on Thursdays. 24 children from 11 different families make up our group. We will be hosting a Christmas event for these children and their families on Saturday, December 7.
This party will include lunch, fun activities, family pictures, a time for parents to shop for gifts for their children and gift cards for gas or a bus pass, food, clothing and a special gift card to allow families to experience a fun family outing. This will be our 3rd year of this type of Christmas outreach. We have contact with these families throughout the school year and even through the summer. We are able to have more input into their lives and show them God’s love through walking alongside them as they work to raise their children and make ends meet.
I can tell you that each family has/is experiencing great difficulties. Most are single moms trying to make ends meet. Several have experienced homelessness. They are so blessed by ECC's involvement in their life. Mary, one of “our” moms, said to me recently, “ECC has helped my family so much. We are blessed to be involved with such great people.” She feels like we are family, that we will pray for her, love her children and be an encouragement to her. We desire for each of the families we are blessed to interact with to feel that support and care.
Each year at this time we raise funds to help with our outreach efforts. This year our goal is to raise $12,000 to use throughout the entire year to bless families in need. Some of the money will be used in December for Christmas but a majority of the money will be used to help families throughout the year. We ask that you pray about what God may desire for you to give. Please make this gift above your regular giving. All monetary donations are recorded as part of your giving, just make a check out to ECC with Christmas Outreach in the memo portion.
You also have the opportunity to be involved at the Christmas party on December 7. We need several people to give rides to families without transportation, people to help with food prep, serving, clean up and with crafts and other activities. We also need people that are willing to be a host to a family the day of the party, which means you will eat lunch with the family, do gift shopping with the parents, and do what you can to make the family feel welcome here. We will also be doing an outreach activity where families put together blessing bags for the homeless shelter. There are also several opportunities to help prior to the party by purchasing items and baking cookies we purchase for the families to decorate. You can sign up here. You may also want to visit the East counter to choose an ornament with items you can purchase to help us at the December 7 Christmas party.
I would be happy to talk with anyone that has questions about our outreach ministry and the thought process behind why we do what we do. Feel free to contact me at 474-4842 or email@example.com
By Pastor Stacey
ECC has been journeying down the Vitality Pathway toward becoming a more healthy missional church for almost three years now. When it’s all said and done, frankly, I believe we might be a poster child for the process and the impact it can have on a local congregation. I think we have seen such fruit along this pathway because of the quality of people who have led us and due to our growing sensitivity and responsiveness to the leading of the Holy Spirit. But I believe we can do even better!
One of the things I continue to discover about myself and my own leadership abilities is that there is always more to learn and there are always new areas of growth to be discovered. When we (ECC) took part in the Pulse Assessment in the spring of 2018, for example, one of the lowest Healthy Missional Markers (HMM) was A Culture of Godly Leadership. In fact, it was the second lowest of the ten markers for us. A culture of godly leadership is described as:
Based on the process so far and the growth I have personally witnessed in our people, I believe that when the time comes to take the Pulse Assessment again, our score on this HMM will rise significantly. However, there is still (always) work to be done. And, thankfully, we are a part of a denomination and a conference within that denomination that desire to serve us in this area. In response to the third bullet point above, the Central Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church has invited us and other churches in our conference to take part in the L.E.A.D. Workshop, which will be held here on ECC’s campus on Saturday, November 16, from 9:00am-2:00pm. L.E.A.D. stands for Lay Leaders Equipping And Developing, and on that day lay leaders from ECC and other churches nearby will come together to learn to lead better. I am personally very excited about the impact this workshop can have on our leaders and I hope you will join us!
The workshop will be interactive, practical, and biblically-based, and will address the topics identified in a survey sent to church leaders and pastors last year. Together we will engage in conversation and learning around reframing our mission, vision, and health as congregations and as individual leaders, using two excellent resources: Emotionally Healthy Leaders, by Pete Scazzaro and Congregational Leadership in Anxious Times, by Peter Stienke. We will also be introduced to an online toolbox for further learning and growth beyond the workshop. The cost for the workshop is $10, which will include a working lunch and all the materials we need. We have already had several from ECC sign up, and I hope you will consider doing so, as well. Please CLICK HERE TO REGISTER. When you go to the registration page, make sure you scroll down and click the November 16 workshop at ECC, as there are several options. Finally, please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have any further questions.
ith this week’s sermon and eletter article, we enter into our third and final Touchstone: Welcome. We’ve saved Welcome for last as it is, potentially, the most challenging of the three. Why might it be more challenging? Because, it’s one thing to encounter broken and messy people in our neighborhoods, homes, workplaces, and schools. It’s another thing to welcome them into our community to join us in our journey toward Christoformity and Presence.
We desire to be hospitable because, first and foremost, that is the character of God. God loves foreigners and gives them food and clothing (Deuteronomy 10.18). Furthermore, God’s gracious and hospitable character is displayed in Jesus’ parable of the Great Banquet (Luke 14.15-24), where those least likely to be invited are welcomed to the feast that represents the final and full coming of the Kingdom of God.
Likewise, the Apostle Paul exhorts us to “practice hospitality” (Romans 12.13), and the closing verses of Hebrews exhort us to “show hospitality to strangers” (13.2). In fact, the Greek word we translate as “hospitality” is literally two words put together meaning “love of strangers”. Furthermore, Paul exhorts us to “do good to all people, especially those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6.10).
In one of Jesus’ most provocative parables, he warned us, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” (Luke 14.12-14) And we dare not forget the account of the “sheep and the goats” in Matthew 25.31-46. There we are taught that to invite a stranger into our home is to invite Jesus. Is there any image more challenging concerning our calling to welcome others than the image of Jesus in what Mother Teresa called his “distressing disguise”?
In addition to welcoming the last, the least, and the lost, in Romans 15.7, Paul reminds us, “Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” (ESV) There, more specifically, God speaks to those of us who know Christ welcoming one another, as sisters and brothers in Christ. We are to welcome those from outside of the community of faith as well as those who are already a part of our community.
Because God is hospitable and Jesus lifts hospitality up as a key virtue, we practice hospitality towards all people, wherever they may be on their journey of faith, and however they may find their way to our doors.
We become a more welcoming congregation when we receive into worship and community those who are most like us and those who are “other” than us: as we engage in ministry with and to the emerging young adult population and the people of the Bauer/Miller neighborhood; as we grow in our ethnic diversity; as we remain open to challenging, but important conversations on topics relevant to our community (race, LGBTQ, immigration, etc.); and we welcome one another and pursue healthy relationships as sisters and brothers in Christ with those who are already a part of our ECC community.
So much of the division that characterizes our nation these days has crept into the larger Church and damaged our mission and witness. Even so, we believe it is possible to become a community of people who are able to differ with one another while being gracious and loving toward one another, as well. And so we desire to be a place of hospitality, grace, and community for all people.
Our denomination, the Evangelical Covenant Church, has as one of its distinct markers the affirmation of women as called and gifted for every area of ministry in the church, in the marketplace, in the community, and at home. The Covenant has welcomed Marilyn Williams as the new director of women’s initiatives. She has a recast vision of ministry focused on fostering the flourishing of women, clergy and lay, across all mission priorities and in local churches.
The five mission priorities of the Evangelical Covenant Church are:
Each of these mission priorities will develop intentional pathways for women to flourish in their God-given contexts and calls. Highlighted in the list below are a number of new initiatives the Covenant has committed to:
John Wenrich, the president of the Covenant denomination, said recently, “I believe we are on the cutting edge of ministering well with and for women today.” Find more information about this vision here.
By Ronda Ooms
It’s October! Can you believe it? The leaves are beginning to change colors, and the weather is turning a bit cooler! I love this time of year and the changes that it brings - God’s handiwork at its best!
Fall has many fun traditions, and one of them here at ECC is Trunk or Treat. This year on Wednesday, October 30, our campus will be filled with the sound of laughter, children dressed up in awesome costumes and lots of activity! Families from ECC and around the community will come to enjoy some great food and fellowship and a time for their children to trick or treat.
This event is a great way for you to invite family and friends that may not feel comfortable in the church environment on a Sunday morning. What a fun, nonthreatening way to introduce someone to ECC! Meet them here and help them feel welcome. Knowing that there’s a least one friendly face that they will recognize will be comforting to your guest.
Each year, we invite our Afterschool JAM families to this event, and they have such a fun time! They have already been asking about it, because this event is one of the highlights of the year for them! Over the past couple of years, when we have invited our Afterschool JAM children there have been multiple children that have not had costumes. I have felt so bad when a parent has said to me, “I don’t get paid until after Trunk or Treat, and my child doesn’t have a costume. Are they still able to come?” We want every child to have the opportunity to be a part of Trunk or Treat and to feel comfortable. Most children want to be able to dress up and have fun! Do you have costumes your child has outgrown? Maybe you’d even pray about going to Walmart and purchasing one to donate. Either way, I know that the parents would be SO grateful for the help. Simply bring the costume(s) to the church office and we’ll be sure they are made available to children who may need them.
This event has brought over 800 people to our campus over the past few years. We could use your help in a couple of additional ways to help this year’s Trunk or Treat be even better than years past. Please consider decorating a car. It doesn't matter if it is elaborate or simple. Or simply commit to have your car in our parking lot and hand out candy if you aren’t up to decorating it. Our goal is to have between 25 and 40 cars. We can also use donations of candy for the people to pass out. The last couple of years we have run out of candy so we need LOTS of donations! If you are unable to purchase candy yourself, we welcome financial donations and someone else will be happy to buy it for you.
Whether you can attend the night of Trunk or Treat or not, you can be a part of this outreach event. Costumes, trunks or candy - which area(s) can you help us with? Sign up here and be a part of the fun! You will be blessed as you are a blessing! Please call the church office at 765-474-4842 with any questions.
By Pastor Stacey
On Sunday we began week five of our 10-week exploration of three Touchstones that will shape the future of our mission and vision at ECC. As a reminder, a touchstone was a piece of flint-like, black stone used to determine the quality of gold and other precious metals by examining the color of the mark left when the metal was scratched against it. Since then, its meaning has evolved to refer to a criterion by which we measure the genuineness of something, or, probably most helpful for our purposes, a touchstone is “a fundamental or quintessential part or feature” of something. Our three ECC Touchstones are Welcome, Transformation, and Presence. This week, we begin to look at Transformation.
In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, he teaches us that outward acts of piety are not enough. We must become the kind of people whose righteousness goes beyond that of the religious elite (Matthew 5.20). In doing so, we “yoke” ourselves with Jesus and discover that being conformed to the image and character of Christ is not a burden, but is “easy” and “light” (Matthew 11.28-30). We submit to the yoke of Christ and the Spirit of God, and we are transformed.
We acknowledge that Transformation is important because God desires that Christ be formed in us (Galatians 4.19) and that we be “conformed to the image of Christ” (Romans 8.29). As the Apostle Paul puts it in elsewhere, “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory…” (2 Corinthians 3.18). Likewise, our destiny as followers of Christ is to become “like him,” for one day “we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3.2). This is where God in Christ is taking all things. Christoformity – having the character of Christ formed in us – is the goal of our transformation.
I have taken the word “Christoformity” from scholar Scot McKnight of Northern Baptist Theological Seminary (formerly of North Park University in Chicago). He, in turn, borrowed it from one of his professors when he was doing his PhD work in England. Other words that overlap this concept of Christoformity are: transformation, Christlikeness, and discipleship. But I like Christoformity because of its strangeness – we have to stop and consider what it means; we can’t just read right past it. To become a Christoform person is to become a person who is shaped, formed, and filled with the character and nature of Christ Jesus. It is to become the “little Christs” CS Lewis speaks of when he says, “Every Christian is to become a little Christ. The whole purpose of becoming a Christian is simply nothing else.” In my understanding, it is the primary responsibility of a pastor to nurture a culture that nourishes his or her people in the direction of Christoformity.
Because God desires that Christ is formed within us, and Jesus teaches us a new way of life, we seek to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in helping one another follow him in our journey toward Christoformity. What we do in worship each Sunday, and in our classrooms and ministry with children, youth, and adults, is all aimed at spiritual formation. It is the goal of our retreats and special events, our Bible studies and our Community Gathering options for Christian formation, to list a few.
Our commitment to transformation is found in our intent to engage spiritual formation practices as a community and as individuals. We desire to provide resources and relationships for the journey from curiosity to Christoformity.
By Pastor Jorden
In August I had the privilege of taking a three-day journey, called Sankofa, with some of my brothers and sisters of the Evangelical Covenant Church (Covenant) to understand the role of race in the history of our country.
Sankofa is a word in the Twi language of Ghana that translates to "Go back and get it" (san - to return; ko - to go; fa - to fetch, to seek and take) and also refers to the Asante Adinkra symbol represented by a bird with its head turned backwards while its feet face forward carrying a precious egg in its mouth. The word sankofa is often associated with the proverb, “Se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenkyi," which translates as: "It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten."
The Covenant has been offering their Sankofa trip for over 20 years and it has been a trip that I have wanted to take for the last ten years. This year, I was finally able to do it. The Covenant’s Sankofa trip traces the history of race in America, and tangibly equips believers to begin living into the church’s mission to be ambassadors of reconciliation. The Sankofa trip accomplishes this by exploring historic sites of the Civil Rights Movement, connecting the freedom struggle of the past, to our present realities.
This trip was an interactive, spiritual formation, pilgrimage that has further equipped me to pursue racial righteousness inside and outside our church. I met the group in Chicago on Tuesday August 13 for our initial gathering and greeting. We boarded a bus in the evening and traveled through the night to Birmingham, Alabama. On Wednesday morning we arrived in Birmingham to have breakfast at the Magic City Grill where we met Minister Jean. Minister Jean was a wonderful woman of God who marched as a child with Martin Luther King Jr.
Minister Jean told about her story of growing up in the south during the civil rights movement. When we left Magic City Grill I gave Minister Jean a hug, thanking her for her ministry and witness. She whispered in my ear something about finding my voice and using it. This was a powerful word from Minister Jean; she was encouraging me to find my voice and speak up. I believe this was a word from God about who He has called me to be.
After breakfast, we made our way on the bus over to the 16th Street Baptist Church. This is the site where there was a bombing on September 15, 1963. This bombing was an act of white supremacist terrorism which occurred at the African-American 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, on a Sunday when the church was hosting a youth rally. Four black girls were killed and at least 14 others were injured, sparking riots and a national outcry. Those killed in the bombing were 11-year-old Denise McNair and 14-year-olds Carole Robertson, Addie Mae Collins and Cynthia Wesley. It was a sobering experience to walk through this beautiful sanctuary, knowing the dark history that happened there in 1963.
While we were at the 16th Street Baptist Church we met Mister Louis. Mister Louis was also part of the marches in Birmingham, marching alongside Martin Luther King Jr. Mister Louis now works and volunteers at the 16th Street Baptist Church sharing the history and maintaining the property. Mister Louis entertained any questions we had about the history or otherwise. Someone in the group asked him how he felt about the current state of the race conversation in our country. Mister Louis sat down and said he felt discouraged about the ways in which it feels like we have regressed in the fight toward equality and unity. He said he was tired of fighting for racial equality because he had already fought through the marches in the 60's and he felt like he is being asked to do that hard work again.
After speaking with Mister Louis, we went across the street from the church to walk through Kelly Ingram Park, a large memorial park telling the history of the marches and the abuse that the marchers faced. Also, across the street from the 16th Street Baptist Church is the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. We spent time walking through the exhibits at the institute and saw documentation and exhibits of all of the historical movements that took place in Birmingham during the Civil Rights Movement. It was truly painful to walk through the exhibits and see the hatred and cruel actions that were taken against fellow children of God.
In the afternoon we left Birmingham and traveled to Montgomery, Alabama. Montgomery was one of the centers for the trading and selling of slaves. At one time there were many slave auction houses and slave holding centers, almost like prison/warehouses where the slaves were stored between auctions. The conditions of these holding warehouses were not good and many of the slaves would get sick from the extreme temperatures and conditions and even die. When we were in Montgomery we visited one of these warehouses that has been converted into the Legacy Museum.
The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration is situated on a site in Montgomery where enslaved people were once warehoused. A block from one of the most prominent slave auction spaces in America, the Legacy Museum is steps away from an Alabama dock and rail station where tens of thousands of black people were trafficked during the 19th century. In 2018 the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) transformed this once oppressive site into a rich treasure of history, exploring the history of enslavement and incarceration in America. Also, in Montgomery is the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, the nation’s first memorial dedicated to the legacy of enslaved black people, people terrorized by lynching, African Americans humiliated by racial segregation and Jim Crow, and people of color burdened with contemporary presumptions of guilt and police violence. This Memorial is set on a six-acre site, using sculpture, art, and design to contextualize racial terror. The site includes a memorial square with 800 six-foot monuments to symbolize thousands of racial terror lynching victims in the United States and the counties and states where this terrorism took place. EJI has curated one of the best-known resources to learn about the history of racism and terror in America. Not only have they done a massive amount of research and study, they have also brought this rich data to life with these exhibits and placed them all in one of the epicenters of the historic movement.
From Montgomery we travel to Selma, Alabama where we stayed in a hotel to rest up for the next day. In the morning we traveled to the Edmund Pettus Bridge which is the site of Bloody Sunday. On March 7, 1965, some 600 civil rights marchers headed east out of Selma on U.S. Route 80. They got only as far as the Edmund Pettus Bridge six blocks away, where state and local lawmen attacked them with billy clubs and tear gas and drove them back into Selma. It was so violent that there was literally blood streaming down the pavement of the bridge. The march was a march for voting rights for all.
We marched over the bridge and it was a very emotional experience, knowing what happened in that exact same spot only some 50 years ago. After marching over the bridge, we travelled to Memphis, Tennessee. In Memphis we visited the National Civil Rights Museum, which is also the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968. After we explored the Museum and the hotel, we went on a Historical Memphis Bus Tour led by Miss Elaine. Miss Elaine and her sisters grew up in Memphis during the Civil Rights Movement and they were one of the most arrested sibling groups during the civil rights movement because of their involvement in the nonviolent protests. Miss Elaine knew the ins and outs of the history of the Civil Rights Movement in the Memphis area and beyond. On our tour we stopped at Slave Haven, a mansion that was part of the underground railroad. Slave Haven had an underground cellar where slaves could hide until it was safe to venture to the Mississippi River to travel north to escape the south into Canada.
The official part of my Sankofa journey ended with dinner on Beale Street. Beale Street is in Memphis and it was one of the only places that blacks could go to dinner or the theater and enter through the front doors. Most places black people would have to enter through the alley and sit in a separate seating area. On Beale Street black men and women could feel like people and not like second rate citizens.
On Thursday night after dinner on Beale Street we boarded the bus and traveled through the night to a Covenant Church just outside of Chicago for our debrief time. We spent time talking about what we could do when we returned to our churches and how this trip has changed us or emboldened us to take next steps on our journey toward biblical reconciliation.
There is so much more I could say about this three-day trip. I would recommend this trip to anyone and everyone. It is eye-opening and life changing. I am still processing this trip and what God is calling me to and what God is calling ECC to. I am praying and discerning. I am confident that God has me here at ECC for a purpose and I am passionate about how we as a faith community can welcome people who look different than we do. I invite you to join me in praying and discerning how God might use our faith community to look back at our history and move forward knowing the truth.