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01 Feb

Black History Month (February)

Preaching Notes for Transfiguration Sunday (February 7, 2016)

Article

The Reverend Cedrick D. Bridgeforth, Pastor of Santa Ana United Methodist Church in Santa Ana, California, is the guest writer for the Preaching Notes during February, Black History Month.

Preaching Notes for Transfiguration Sunday (February 7, 2016) »

Preaching Notes for the First Sunday in Lent (February 14, 2016)

Article

During this Lenten Season, we also have the high privilege of celebrating African American History Month (observed in the United States).  Both carry great weight and can work to challenge preachers and congregations to consider the roles and responsibilities we have as people of faith to practice humility and exhibit servant leadership.

Preaching Notes for the First Sunday in Lent (February 14, 2016) »

Preaching Notes for the Second Sunday in Lent (February 21, 2016)

Article

In 2016, we have learned what to do in the event of a natural disaster, but what do we do in the face of human errors that cause unnatural disasters?

Preaching Notes for the Second Sunday in Lent (February 21, 2016) »

Preaching Notes for the Third Sunday in Lent (February 28, 2016)

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Whenever we oversimplify things, underestimate an opponent, or generalize too broadly, we miss the essence of the lessons and risk hastening past much-needed reflection and wisdom.  That is why Lent is the perfect season for creating a new spiritual rhythm and making new relational connections.

Preaching Notes for the Third Sunday in Lent (February 28, 2016) »

The Africana Hymnal

Book

The Africana Hymnal

Black sacred music is a gift. And now you can have the sheet music, accompaniment tracks, PowerPoint lyrics, and instructional guidelines for 150 songs all wrapped up on one USB flash drive. The songs are organized around the seasons of the year, the sacramental life of the congregation, and the special days of the black church. Encourage all God’s people to sing with this resource that creates a bridge between the past, present, and future of black sacred music.

The Africana Hymnal »

REMEMBER. RESTORE. RENEW. Prayer Calendar for Black History Month 2016

PDF

This prayer resource is designed to help leaders share both daily Scripture readings and insights about African-American History during gatherings within the month of February and beyond.

REMEMBER. RESTORE. RENEW. Prayer Calendar for Black History Month 2016 »

History of Hymns: “Father, I Stretch My Hands to Thee”

Article

"Father, I Stretch My Hands to Thee," by Charles Wesley. The Africana Hymnal, No. 4092. When I was a child learning to play the piano, one of my goals was to learn all of the hymns in the hymnal that sat on the family instrument. As I made my way through the book, I began to notice numbers at the bottom of certain hymns that were not page number indications. When I asked my father what these were, he told me to figure it out for myself. Well, I did...

History of Hymns: “Father, I Stretch My Hands to Thee” »

History of Hymns: “Wait Right Here Until He Comes”

Article

The Africana Hymnal Study Committee found that there were songs and practices in black Methodist strongholds of the low country of South Carolina and Maryland Eastern Shore that were dying out as populations continued to move inland. One song discovery was “Wait Right Here,” as sung by Margaret Rivers Grant, a prayer band leader on Johns Island, SC. Her singing opens and closes Reflect, Reclaim, Rejoice: Preserving the Gift of Black Sacred Music, the DVD component of the Africana Hymnal Project.

History of Hymns: “Wait Right Here Until He Comes” »

History of Hymns: “Living in the Imagination of God”

Article

“Living in the Imagination of God,” a song written by Cecilia Olusola Tribble1, is one decade old. She composed it one week after her maternal grandfather passed away. As found in hymnals, it is a song of welcome, encouraging worshipers to enter into community with God and one another, sharing the hope of the good news of Jesus Christ. It was originally written, however, as the theme song for Journey into the Hush Arbor: Living in the Imagination of God (2006), an Abingdon Press Bible and Arts program.

History of Hymns: “Living in the Imagination of God” »

History of Hymns: “Bethlehem”

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Marilyn E. Thornton shares, "Never enjoying the slow and drawn out manner in which “O Little Town of Bethlehem” is often sung, I decided to compose an upbeat new song as an alternative selection. Culturally, I wanted it to reflect African American heritage, utilizing call and response and a gospel/jazz rhythm."

History of Hymns: “Bethlehem” »

A Matter of Choice

Article

When you get right down to it, we are ruled by pride.  Pride gets in the way of so much.  Pride leads us to making decisions that are not in our best interests.  Pride leads us to disobedience.  Isn’t the old adage, “pride goes before a fall”?  

A Matter of Choice »

History of Hymns: “Let Us Break Bread Together”

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"Let Us Break Bread Together," African American Spiritual,  The United Methodist Hymnal, No. 618.

History of Hymns: “Let Us Break Bread Together” »

Reflect, Reclaim, Rejoice: Preserving the Gift of Black Sacred Music

Video

Black sacred music is slowly being lost to America’s collective memory.

Narrated by Academy Award nominated Alfre Woodard, "Reflect, Reclaim, Rejoice: Preserving the Gift of Black Sacred Music" traces the music’s history and invites the viewer to see and feel how it’s being kept alive.  

Reflect, Reclaim, Rejoice: Preserving the Gift of Black Sacred Music »

Plenty Good Room! A Black History Month Sermon Series Based on Negro Spirituals

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"Plenty Good Room! A Sermon Series Based on Negro Spirituals" is written by the Rev. Dr. Larry D. Pickens for Black History Month (February).

Plenty Good Room! A Black History Month Sermon Series Based on Negro Spirituals »

“We Shall Overcome”

Article

"We Shall Overcome" (The United Methodist Hymnal, 533) is the anthem of the Civil Rights Movement in the USA; but in a larger, global context, it is a freedom, liberation, and political protest song that has carried the hopes of many different people and many different causes. It is listed as an African American Spiritual in our hymnal, which is inaccurate; and there is no copyright citation other than the arrangement, which is also inaccurate. The spirituals were born out of the experience of slavery, many of them originating in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. "We Shall Overcome" is of much later origin. Here is its story. 

“We Shall Overcome” »

Celebrating Black History Month #21

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Composer  Doris Mae Akers wrote her first song at age ten. Even though she lacked formal music training, she went on to a successful career conducting choirs throughout the U.S.A. and composing gospel songs. 

Celebrating Black History Month #21 »

Celebrating Black History Month #20

Article

In whatever setting or arrangement, and whether it is sung by soloist, choir, or congregation, the message of "There Is a Balm in Gilead" is that regardless of circumstances, in Jesus there is a promise of healing, hope, and liberation. 

Celebrating Black History Month #20 »

Celebrating Black History Month #19

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Andraé Crouch, pastor, performer, composer, and church musician extraordinaire, has been an important presence in contemporary and gospel music for fifty years and a contributor to United Methodist songbooks for thirty years.   

Celebrating Black History Month #19 »

Celebrating Black History Month #18

Article

There are a number of characteristics of the spiritual "O Mary, Don't You Weep" that some will find confusing....what does the weeping New Testament Mary have to do with the drowning of Pharaoh's army in the Red Sea 1,400 years earlier (Exodus 14:26-31)? The answer lies in the secret or coded messages found in many of the spirituals, including this one. 

Celebrating Black History Month #18 »

Celebrating Black History Month #17

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There is a specific genre of music known as  Freedom Songs  or  Liberation Songs.This is music that specifically came out of the struggle for equality and civil rights in the U.S.A., South Africa, and other parts of the world. This is the music that was born from the battle against segregation, apartheid, discrimination, inequality, and persecution. 

Celebrating Black History Month #17 »

Celebrating Black History Month #16

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Margaret Douroux wrote her first song, "Give Me a Clean Heart," in 1970; and it caught on after it was introduced at a national gospel convention. 

Celebrating Black History Month #16 »

Celebrating Black History Month #15

Article

"We Shall Overcome" (The United Methodist Hymnal, no. 533) is the anthem of the Civil Rights movement in the USA; but in a larger global context, it is a freedom, liberation, and political protest song that has carried the hopes of many different people and many different causes. 

Celebrating Black History Month #15 »

Celebrating Black History Month #14

Article

Mark Miller serves on the faculty at both Drew University and Yale University, where he teaches sacred music and worship. He is also the Minister of Music at Covenant United Methodist Church in Plainfield, New Jersey. 

Celebrating Black History Month #14 »

Celebrating Black History Month #13

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The landmark book Slave Songs of the United States, edited by William Francis Allen, Charles Pickard Ware, and Lucy McKim Garrison, was published in 1867, just two years after the Civil War ended.  

Celebrating Black History Month #13 »

Celebrating Black History Month #12

Article

A Russian traveler, accustomed to the more restrained worship and song of the Greek Orthodox Church, visited the Mother Bethel AME congregation in 1811. He wrote  this about the reading from the Psalms . . . 

Celebrating Black History Month #12 »

Celebrating Black History Month #11

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Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington (1899-1974) was an American composer, pianist, and big band leader with more than 1,000 compositions to his credit. 

Celebrating Black History Month #11 »

Celebrating Black History Month #10

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Richard Allen (1760-1831) was born a slave, ordained the first African American Methodist deacon, and founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1787.  

Celebrating Black History Month #10 »

Celebrating Black History Month #9

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Richard Allen was one of two African Americans present at the Baltimore Christmas Conference of the American Methodists in 1784, and he became the first African American Methodist deacon.  

Celebrating Black History Month #9 »

Celebrating Black History Month #8

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Edward V. Bonnemere (1921-1996), African American and Roman Catholic, enjoyed a rich and varied musical career. He is the composer of the music for "Rule of Life," musical setting of the well-known Wesley aphorism,  Worship & Song, no. 3117.  

Celebrating Black History Month #8 »

Celebrating Black History Month #7

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February 13 is the anniversary of the start of non-violent sit-ins designed to desegregate Nashville department store lunch counters. There had been earlier protests in Oklahoma City; and on February 1, 1960, in Greensboro, North Carolina, which encouraged Nashville college students to pick up the cause.  

Celebrating Black History Month #7 »

Celebrating Black History Month #6

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Several reasons account for the strong support given by  African Americans to Methodism . . . 

Celebrating Black History Month #6 »

Celebrating Black History Month #5

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Noted pastor, Civil Rights leader, theologian, and cultural historian Wyatt Tee Walker has identified five major genres of "Black Sacred Music" developed since 1619. 

Celebrating Black History Month #5 »

Celebrating Black History Month #4

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Cleavant Derricks (1910-1977), African American and father of twin actor sons,   established a solid reputation and career as pastor, choir director, poet, musician, and composer with over 300 songs to his credit and several song collections. "Just a Little Talk with Jesus" (Worship & Song, no. 3107) is his best-known and most-performed song, but others include "When God Dipped His Love in My Heart," "We’ll Soon Be Done with Troubles and Trials," "When He Blessed My Soul" and "I Want the Light from the Lighthouse to Shine on Me." In 1984, Derricks was inducted posthumously into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.  

Celebrating Black History Month #4 »

Celebrating Black History Month #3

Article

Our hymnals and songbooks have recognized the importance of the music of African Americans in our worship and formation. It's interesting to note the increase in African American songs included in our hymnals and songbooks over the years. 

Celebrating Black History Month #3 »

Celebrating Black History Month #2

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The Spiritual "Let Us Break Bread Together" probably began as a gathering song ("Let Us Praise God Together on Our Knees") among Virginia slaves.   

Celebrating Black History Month #2 »

Celebrating Black History Month #1

Article

Between 1500 and 1866, 12.5 million Africans were brought to the Western Hemisphere in the slave trade. Approximately 15% died in the Middle Passage, resulting in about 11 million surviving African slaves. Approximately 450,000 of those were brought to the American colonies or the United States, the vast majority being taken to the Caribbean, Central and South America.

Celebrating Black History Month #1 »

Celebrating Black History Month

Article

February is Black History Month, the annual observance of the history of the African diaspora. It has been observed in the month of February in the United States and Canada since 1976. It was begun as Negro History Week by historian Carter G. Woodson in 1926 with the goal of educating the American people about African American history. It concentrates on the cultural backgrounds and achievements of African Americans. To celebrate Black History Month this year, beginning Feb. 1, Discipleship Ministries staff will post a piece of African American history, culture or biography related to church music or worship practice and history each week day. There's lots here to learn about and celebrate. Please also browse among the many resources already posted here.  

Celebrating Black History Month »

Black History Month - African, Africana, and African American Music

Article

Black History Month is an annual observance in the month of February devoted to the study and celebration of the contributions of black people throughout history. It was started in 1926 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, who in 1915 established the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (now the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History), and in 1916 founded the Journal of Negro History. In 1926 he designated Negro History Week as the second week of February in order to focus attention on the contributions of black people throughout American history. He chose that week because it was also the week for the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.  

Black History Month - African, Africana, and African American Music »

Let Mt. Zion Rejoice! Music in the African American Church

Book

by James Abbington. Valley Forge PA: Judson Press, 2001.
Author and longtime music and worship leader James Abbington provides information, examples, and direction for choosing, training, and developing the best music directors possible for your church.  

Let Mt. Zion Rejoice! Music in the African American Church »

African American Special Days: 15 Complete Worship Services

Book

by Cheryl A. Kirk-Duggan (Abingdon Press, 1996).A collection of worship services for various special days celebrated in most African American churches.  

African American Special Days: 15 Complete Worship Services »

The Making of a Prophet:  Celebrating the Life of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Article

Those born after 1968 did not hear the speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on the evening news; and many of us born before 1968 only recall them in the brief "sound bites" that are used in our yearly MLK celebrations. "The Making of a Prophet" provides an opportunity for both younger adults and older adults to hear and reflect upon several of the historic speeches that shook the foundations of America and forever changed how we live with one another.  

The Making of a Prophet:  Celebrating the Life of Martin Luther King, Jr. »

In Celebration of Martin Luther King Day, Creative Justice

Website

Where is justice to be found? Must we resign ourselves to the all-too-human patterns of oppression and murderous destruction? James Skillen, president of the Center for Public Justice in Washington D.C., answers that with a resounding, “No.”  

In Celebration of Martin Luther King Day, Creative Justice »

Remembering Coretta King

Music Download

Dedicated to the memory of Coretta Scott King (4/24/27 - 1/30/06). Words: Edith Sinclair Downing; Recommended Tune: Ellacombe; Alternate tune: Kingsfold

Remembering Coretta King »

Ray Of Hope For Those Oppressed (Sojourner Truth)

Music Download

Words: Edith Sinclair Downing (2005); Recommended Tune: Germany (LM), attributed to Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827); Gardiner's Sacred Melodies (1815)

Ray Of Hope For Those Oppressed (Sojourner Truth) »

Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning

Music Download

The words and music come from a Spiritual, which in recent years has been popular as a choral octavo. Additional stanzas have been added related to Matthew 25:1-13 and Genesis 28:10-17. The original text was based on the parable of the ten virgins. Don’t sing it too fast – check the metronome mark. Give it a strong downbeat and feel free to add drums and rhythm instruments. Scores are provided here in full SATB hymnal and choral voicing as well as melody-only as a bulletin insert.

Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning »

I Have a Dream

Music Download

This new text by F. Richard Garland was composed in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s "I Have a Dream" speech delivered at the March on Washington in 1963. The author writes of this text, "The Dream that King articulated resonated deeply and changed America profoundly, yet, sadly, it feels like, after so many years of progress, we are at risk of stepping backward. This text has political overtones, but then what King said that day did too."

I Have a Dream »

“I Have a Dream”

Article

The hymn's title, "I Have a Dream," derives from Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous speech delivered to over 200,000 civil rights supporters on August 28, 1963, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. 

“I Have a Dream” »

Here Where Dreams Are More Than Visions

Music Download

This hymn text is for Black History Month (February). The  Rev. Andrew Pratt's preferred tune for this text is, Lord, Thy Church on Earth Is Seeking, in Caribbean Praise.

Here Where Dreams Are More Than Visions »

I’m Gonna March If The Spirit Says, March

Music Download

Early in the American civil rights movement, leaders recruited high school and college students who were willing to march, sing, and demonstrate against segregation, regardless of the risks. Wherever they went there was singing, even as they were hauled to jail.

I’m Gonna March If The Spirit Says, March »

We Honor Harriet Tubman

Music Download

We honor Harriet Tubman, the "Moses of her race." She lived her life with courage and leaned upon God's grace. Words: Edith Sinclair Downing

We Honor Harriet Tubman »

Busses Are A-Comin’

Music Download

Discussing the student protests, beatings, arrests, and jail sentences, one of those arrested, former freedom rider Kwame Leo Lillard, said that he and others began singing this song while in jail.

Busses Are A-Comin’ »

For Rosa Parks, Sing Praises

Music Download

Words: Edith Sinclair Downing, 2004; Recommended Tune: Munich 76 76D;
Adapted by: Felix Mendelssohn (1847); Nuevermehrtes Meiningishches Gesanbuch (1693)

For Rosa Parks, Sing Praises »

Resources for Remembering Rosa Parks and Other Prophets

Article

Rosa Parks was a lifelong Methodist in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and she maintained close ties through her life to congregations in Montgomery, Alabama, Detroit, Michigan, and Los Angeles, California. 

Resources for Remembering Rosa Parks and Other Prophets »

Abolition Of The Slave Trade

Music Download

A number of groups and entities have offered apologies for their past role in tolerating, promoting, or profiting from slavery, segregation, and racial discrimination. Text of song by Dr. Andrew Pratt.

Abolition Of The Slave Trade »

Holy Communion Musical Setting (We Shall Overcome)

Music Download

Here is another new setting of congregational responses for Holy Communion — Sanctus, Memorial Acclamation, and Amen. These are based on the Civil Rights freedom song, "We Shall Overcome."

Holy Communion Musical Setting (We Shall Overcome) »

Great Amen (We Shall Overcome)

Music Download

Here is another new setting of congregational response for Holy Communion based on the Civil Rights freedom song, We Shall Overcome, no. 533 in The United Methodist Hymnal.

Great Amen (We Shall Overcome) »

Memorial Acclamation (We Shall Overcome)

Music Download

Here is another new setting of congregational responses for Holy Communion based on the Civil Rights freedom song, We Shall Overcome, no. 533 in The United Methodist Hymnal.

Memorial Acclamation (We Shall Overcome) »

Sanctus (We Shall Overcome)

Music Download

Here is another new setting of congregational response for Holy Communion based on the Civil Rights freedom song, We Shall Overcome, no. 533 in The United Methodist Hymnal.

Sanctus (We Shall Overcome) »

History of Hymns: “We Shall Overcome”

Article

"We Shall Overcome"
African American Spiritual
The United Methodist Hymnal, No. 533

History of Hymns: “We Shall Overcome” »

Come, Let Us Dream

Music Download

This is the second hymn text by retired United Methodist pastor John Middleton which was inspired by belovedness in the writings of Henry Nouwen and Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Come, Let Us Dream »

Martin’s Dream

Music Download

Tune: Aurelia

This hymn was written in 2003 for the Martin Luther King Day observance and was first used in the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Trenton, New Jersey.

Martin’s Dream »

I’ll Overcome Someday

Music Download

This hymn by the great Methodist African American pastor and hymn writer Charles Tindley was transformed into the greatest of all the Civil Rights struggle's freedom songs.

I’ll Overcome Someday »