– from Rev. Dick Fylling, Annual Meeting Planning Work Group
Two weekends ago, up to 80,000 people gathered at Selma, Alabama to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the crossing of the bridge there and those who had first tried to cross it on what became known as “Bloody Sunday”, March 7, 1965.
While the crossing and the march to Montgomery were completed on March 24, under the protection of federal troops, those who made that first attempt to cross the bridge in a march for equality suffered a painful cost of discipleship as they sought to realize their ideals of faith and freedom: the recognition that all people are children of God and equal in the sight of God and that the United States should finally realize its promise of and commitment to “liberty and justice for all!”
Some of those who gathered last weekend had been there on that courageous statement of faith and freedom back in 1965. Others now gathered to honor them and make their own statements for the liberation of people for equal rights and from the bondage of racism.
How far have we actually come from “Bloody Sunday” in 1965? The Voting Rights Act of 1965 instilled the hope that both our ideals of faith and of this nation might truly have been realized. However, in 2013, important parts of the Voting Rights Act were struck down by the United States Supreme Court. Since then, strong efforts to produce voter suppression have been advanced in a number of states.
In the last few years, the last few months and even in the last few days, we have once again been reminded of both how far we have come and of how far we have yet to go. From Sanford, Florida in 2012, to Ferguson, Missouri, to Cleveland, to New York City, to Madison, Wisconsin, to Norman, Oklahoma, we have been painfully reminded that there are still more bridges left to cross before our dreams of faith and the ideals of this nation will be realized.
Must every generation have to battle the cancer that is racism – the worst social disease this nation has ever known?
We hope that you will join us and share your thoughts and feelings on this subject as we gather June 12-14 at the Annual Meeting of the Minnesota Conference of the United Church of Christ as we explore the depths of faith and freedom: Going Deeper: Trusting in Sacred Conversation.
-Rev. Dick Fylling, Annual Meeting Planning Work Group