The "sending" with Zion reading the Prayer of Peace attributed to St. Francis: https://youtu.be/ov8CbqgSZvc
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As context, especially if you don't know this reference, we highly recommend you watch this short video of Nina Simone discussing and performing Young, Gifted and Black: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hdVFiANBTk.
In this time of sharing on August 12, we had the opportunity to meet:
1) Lem, R.J., and Carla, a mother and two sons who lead in ministry at Hephatha Lutheran Church (Milwaukee, WI). We heard Lem's poem on Mr. George Floyd, which was used at Hephatha as a reflection for their confession of sin following Mr. Floyd's murder.
2) Zion, Gloria, and Natalie, a mother, son, and daughter team who also lead in ministry at Hephatha. We viewed Zion's Black Ascending Jesus artwork and their brief youth summer work ministry video, "Black Lives Matter--My Life Matters To God, My Life Matters to Others, My Life Matters to Me." Natalie shared the process of creating the video with us.
3) Pastor Mary Martha Kannass, who has been learning from Lem, R.J., Carla, Zion, Gloria, and Natalie. She invites us to do the same. We are blessed by Hephatha's young, gifted, Black leaders and the faith they share in a time such as this.
Lem Wells is a high school senior. He ministers in numerous ways at Hephatha, including providing saxophone music for worship and serving a young person who suffers with a significant neurological disorder. A poetic young man of faith, Lem has recently been entrusted with more responsibilities at work and will appear by recorded video. His mother, Carla, and younger brother, R.J., joined the presentation live to share their roles in ministry and their commitment of active faith in love.
Zion Moore is entering 9th grade. Valedictorian of his 8th grade class, he excels in all things artistic. Zion shared with us his Black Ascending Jesus, just one of his many drawings of faith that he uses to express himself and bless the congregation. Zion's mom, Natalie, is an adoptive mother of two and a devoted CNA who also cares for her sister and nephews following her sister's extended illness. Natalie and daughter Gloria (age 5) are also central in the life of Hephatha. Natalie grew up at Hephatha and shared about their work ministry as she expresses the meaning and impact of their Black Lives Matter video.
Pastor Mary Martha Kannass is honored to serve with the above mentioned persons of faith and has been the pastor of Hephatha Lutheran Church for 29 years. This is her first call. She spent her internship at Reformation Lutheran Church in Milwaukee and did her CPE training at Children's Hospital in Milwaukee. She completed her M.Div. degree at Yale Divinity School and her undergraduate studies at Carrol College. A devoted aunt and sister, she very recently suffered the intensely painful loss of her mother, whose loving day to day presence showed her the way of God's love.
Questions from our presenters to consider: Who do you know personally who is young, gifted, and Black? Where can you place yourself to meet and learn from the many young, gifted, Black servants of God? What is your image of Jesus? How is the Gospel truth that Black Lives Matter To God expressed in your life and in your ministry? How can you learn to live into this Gospel truth and move out of the sin of white supremacy? Do young, gifted, Black servants of God feel welcome in your church?