On Sunday, five youth attended Pilgrim Baptist Church in St. Paul, Minnesota's "oldest and largest predominantly Black Baptist Church." This congregation was founded in 1866 by a group of escaped slaves who had made their way north from Mississippi.
Their history was remembered in the music, art, and stories shared during worship: in upbeat, rhythmic spirituals; in a drama decrying violence; in recalling the Exodus narrative. Notably, a few members shared reflections on Black History Month. The bulletins contained resources for reporting crimes of injustice.
This experience was quite a bit different than our typical Sunday at Glen Cary. Instead of Scandinavian wool sweaters, people wore suits and ties, exuberant hats, or traditional African clothing. The congregation frequently responded to the pastor with spirited shouts of "Amen!" There was a lot of clapping. And the service was over two hours long!
And yet, we were reminded that we are all united in Christ. We are all siblings in faith, here to share the good news of God's love. The church received us with warmth and hospitality, and blessed us with a new way of seeing the world-- if only for one morning.
The confirmands have also visited Temple Israel (synagogue) and the Basilica of St. Mary's this year. These experiences have helped them to learn about others, ask questions, and explore their own faith more deeply.