The Open Mic continues
Movie Night continues, and we recently publicized the film “My Brooklyn” on the local neighborhood blogs with a lot of hits and positive responses. We also tried a Saturday for the Kids Movie Nite. A mother and child from the neighborhood came to watch the film “Frozen”.
Game Night is a big success, with a lot of laughs, good coffee, tea, and snacks.
Our Easter Egg Hunt was a big success with the children finding all of the hidden loot in the backyard.
- In the fall we initiated out first Teen Day hike to Bear Mountain
- We visited the New York Botanic Garden/Frida Kahlo Exhibit
- The Metropolitan Opera – The Elixir of Love
- New Kids Planting Day – That was enjoyed by our kids
- A new Bible Study began in March
- We are still planning the Pottery Making Day
Activists and interfaith leaders gathered at the United Nations Church Center across the street from the UN on the anniversary of the abduction of a group of school girls by the extremist group, Boko Haram. Speakers addressed the marginalization and victimization of women in combat zones and called for political action to bring the girls to safety.
Muslims and interfaith supporters gathered in Bay Ridge (Brooklyn) outside the Arab American Association headquarters in remembrance of the three young Muslims murdered in Chapel Hill, NC, and as a show of support for Muslims worldwide. UCC Minister in Discernment CB Stewart (serving our sister church, Greenpoint Reformed) and members from Brooklyn for Peace attended.
Saturday, December 13, 2014
Members from All Souls Bethlehem Church teamed up with a Brooklyn for Peace contingent and traveled into Manhattan where we joined tens of thousands of marchers who congregated in Washington Square Park, directly across from Judson Memorial Church. Days prior the NY Conference of the UCC had organized an event at Judson to help us prepare for this momentous historic event. From Washington Square Park we marched north thirty blocks and then south again to a NYPD station south of Washington Square Park.
From the Brooklyn for Peace Statement on the issue of police killings:
Why Are We Marching?
Brooklyn For Peace Statement on Police Killings
The police killings of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and Akai Gurley are the most recent examples of the long, brutal history of racial oppression in the US. Our hearts go out to the families of these young black men, one of them only 12 years old. We are horrified by the systemic racism of our “justice” system. The tremendous outpouring of protest throughout the country and even the world serves as public indictment of the system which does not even bring to trial the perpetrators of these crimes, modern-day lynchings.
An increasingly militarized police force oppresses not only black but also Hispanic, white, Muslim, South Asian, and other communities. It is the domestic counterpart of our foreign policy in which whole countries are subjugated to violence.
This systemic racism in our police and “justice” system is the mirror image of our illegal wars in the Middle East and elsewhere, where thousands of completely innocent civilians have been killed in the so-called “war on terror.”
Brooklyn For Peace is committed to eliminating war and the social and economic injustices which lead to war. We see the racist bias of our criminal justice system, alarming environmental destruction, the widening wealth gap, the gentrification of our city centers, the privatization of our public schools, and the decaying infrastructure of the country—as issues which are connected, and which must be urgently addressed.
Black lives matter! All lives matter! All families matter, and need the resources to thrive!
We honored our outgoing Minister of Music, Terris Krueger, his past Sunday at his second of two farewell parties! We took turns singing his praises and Terry spoke briefly during the service and (pictured here) at the reception that followed. After being a regular presence on the piano–and more recently in the pulpit–for TWENTY YEARS (20!), it is a bittersweet moment in the life of the church. Bitter because we’re so sad to see Terry go. But sweet as we’re excited to be part of his journey toward ordination and full-time ministry (go Union Theological Seminary!). If you missed one or both farewell celebrations in July, never fear: Terry’s going to be our guest preacher on the first Sunday in September (he and our Minister Emeritus, the Rev. Dr. Bill William R. Nye will be leading communion).
From the Jewish Voices for Peace Statement: “Deeply concerned Jews in New York City, as well as Jews across the country, are engaging in acts of civil disobedience to stand against Israel’s current massacre against the Palestinians of Gaza–and to demand that the truth be told about the horrendous violence being perpetrated by the Sraelie Government and army against 1.8 million Palestinian…. Carolyn Klaasen, a participant in today’s action and member of Jewish once for Peace, an organizer of today’s protest, said, ‘We are engaging in civil disobedience at the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) because the IDF and Israeli government are responsible for the systematic and ongoing brutality against the Palestinian people.” Members of Jewish Voices for Peace read the names of those killed recently in Gaza inside the FIDF building and were arrested. The NYPD backed vans into the building’s garage, after which the garage doors were lowered so the gathered crowd was unable to witness them being loaded into the vans and taken into custody. Brooklyn for Peace (Rev. Martinez is their Secretary), also participated in the event. And CB Stewart, who has preached at ASBC and who is on staff with our sister church, Greenpoint Reformed, also took part.)
A good time was had by all as All Souls Bethlehem Church joined our sister church, Greenpoint Reformed, for the annual LGBTI Brooklyn Pride Parade. The ASBC contribution was several bags of candy which some of the kids marching with us distributed along the route to the great enjoyment of the spectators! As usual it was a warm, celebratory day with celebrities, politicians (the Mayor attended the event of the first time) and lots of regular folks who are supportive of LGBTI Civil Rights!
The larger church gathered on Saturday April 27th at the Church of the Pelhams for our quarterly business meeting and worship. Always great to see the diversity of the United Church of Christ and to feel the Spirit. Rev. Ruby Wilson preached a powerful sermon, youth performed a beautiful liturgical dance (below) and the host church’s bell choir performed. Really good time had by all!
It’s hard to believe any one of us could be snatched up by thugs and locked away in a Federal “Correctional” Facility for three years in solitary confinement, in plain view of the entire world, without so much as a trial. Such is the Kafkaesque world we are now living in, something a movement based on the case of Fahad Hashmi is attempting to call attention to.
One of tonight’s speakers was a professor Jeanne Theoharris, who shared about her experience working with Fahad when he was her student at Brooklyn College. He wrote about the plight of Muslims as it pertained to the struggle for Civil Rights. Fast forward two years and Fahad is in solitary confinement where he was held for three years without a trial, and suddenly the issue, as Professor Theoharris said at the vigil, was no longer purely academic.
The eventual accusation against Fahad was that he allowed a friend to stay with him. This friend allegedly had some ponchos and socks that were later sent to Al-Qaeda. Rather than risking 70 years in a Federal prison, Fahad plead out—as do 97% of these cases—and accepted a sentence of 15 years.
Fahad’s mother and brother attend these vigils. His brother Fasil created an organization and often speaks out on is brother’s behalf.
one of the speakers said the organizers often wondered if the men could hear us outside. That question lead to the invitation of an opera singer. She spoke softly and humbly about the event, and then said she would like to share an old spiritual, at which point she dropped her head, paused, and began singing, “Sometimes, I Feel, Like a Motherless Child.” I hadn’t noticed it before, perhaps because no sound had been as loud as her voice—not even the roar of busses, but as she sang I could hear her voice echoing back to us from across the street, as if she were singing across a massive concrete canyon.
Surely the men could hear, or some could, and word will spread.