M-Note 6.18.2021

On June 19th, 1865, Union troops rolled into Galveston, TX. Even though General Lee and the Confederates had surrendered months before this, there were pockets of ongoing resistance, including in Texas. That day, General Order No. 3 was read to the people of Texas including the proclamation that, “all slaves are free”.  Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation two and half years prior to this, but it wasn’t recognized or enforced everywhere immediately, and Texas was the last holdout. June 19th or “Juneteenth” was celebrated locally in Galveston by African Americans, and later around the nation, as the official end of slavery in the United States.
Growing up white in a nearly all-white community, I was never taught about Juneteenth. I am certain I wasn’t alone in that. More recently, Juneteenth has been recognized and celebrated anew, not only to remember and commemorate an important historic date, but to remind us that the work is still unfinished.

It is one thing to write something down or to make a proclamation. It is another thing to actually live out those ideals. We can aspire to be something, but until those aspirations become a lived experience for all people, then the work is not complete. This is true of so many realities in our life and faith. It is especially true when it comes to racial justice and equity in our country.
Some people argue that racism is largely a historic reality, not a current one. Juneteenth reminds us that racism can formally end in policy but not end in practice. Racism has a way of lingering, of finding new ways to exist. We can change laws and make declarations, but it takes a long time to change practices, behaviors, and consequences.
Today we remember and commemorate Juneteenth and continue the work that it calls us towards. You can learn more about the historical event here and if you are looking for ways to observe the holiday, you can find some suggestions here.
Dads - have a great Father’s Day. This weekend I am continuing my series REAL: The Power of Vulnerability. I hope to see you in church, in person, or online.
P.S. There is something else really important happening today. Pastor Adam Baker is back in his home conference in North Carolina to be fully ordained as an elder in the United Methodist Church. This is the result of a long and taxing process. Seminary, retreats, training, tests, interviews, and a lot of paperwork! It is a huge accomplishment and an acknowledgement by the church of the effectiveness of his call and work. We are blessed to have his leadership at The Gathering. I encourage you to take a moment and write him a word of congratulations here.

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