Black and Diaconal Panel Discussion
As part of our recognition of Black History Month, the Centre for Christian Studies hosted an online panel discussion with some of the Black diaconal ministers and deacons in the United Church and Anglican Church in Canada. (They took as a launching point the 2022 interview in Broadview magazine.) CCS program staff member Alcris Limongi facilitated the conversation and Therese Samuel was the tech host. Anglican deacon Aldith Baker, United Church diaconal minister Marlene Britton, and United Church diaconal ministry student Lisa Byer-de Wever explore how these identities – Black and Diaconal – inform each other, the challenges they pose in the church today, and the gifts these perspectives bring for the people of God.
Black History Month at CCS continued the following week with an online Celebration of African/Caribbean Heritage in the Diaspora. The event started with an opening worship featuring a reflection by Alydia Smith, and followed up with breakout room workshops on storytelling, poetry, food, music, etc.
Jesus said, “I am the gate… I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
Last week we reflected on ways to invite Black people to see themselves in Diaconal Ministry. In so many ways, in The United Church, the gates seem closed when we do not see people like ourselves in leadership. The first person there finds a closed gate, and has to open it enough to squeeze through. The next person opens the gate a little more, until finally the gate is open wide, and then it is a full reflection of the kindom of heaven. For in the kindom of heaven, the gate is always open wide, that all might have abundant life.– Therese Samuel, from the opening worship