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OUR RESPONSE TO CURRENT EVENTS

For information about live-streamed worship, online programming, our phased reopening plans and ways you can help during this time of COVID 19, please click here.

For information about our responses to the ongoing pandemic of racism and violence against black and brown lives, please read below for a June 10 statement issued by the Executive Council, Board of Deacons and Staff of First Church.

BECOMING AN ANTI-RACIST CHURCH

Prayer, Reflection, and Action
Summer 2020

The following statement expresses First Church’s intentions and commitments for the summer of 2020. We join with a global outcry against recent and past events of violence against black and brown persons. This statement builds on several years of concerted efforts to raise our self-awareness, build relationships, and act towards racial justice and healing. We approach this work with hearts open to listening, learning, and change.

 
First Church affirms that Black Lives Matter and Indigenous Lives Matter. We celebrate the gifts, presence, and leadership of persons of color within First Church and beyond. We recognize that the problem of racism is a white person’s problem and that this is white people’s work. Becoming an anti-racist church means that we are determined not merely to raise our consciousness of racism, but to actively call out and intentionally work for change. We do this work because we know our individual and collective spiritual health, transformation, and liberation depend on it. We do this work relying on God’s help and knowing that we cannot do it alone.

In the coming weeks and months, the Staff, Executive Council, and Deacons of First Church
invite you to join us in taking on a spiritual practice aimed at disrupting our complicity with white supremacy, ending our silence about police brutality and racial inequality, and acting toward real change. We invite you to commit serious energy and sacrificial love to at least two of the following levels of work:

SOUL LEVEL
Here are several ideas to deepen our self-awareness, learning and healing:
  • Commit to listening to or reading at least one black or indigenous voice each day. Here are some ideas. Check our website throughout the summer for updates.
  • The ”Exploring a Practice of Reparations” Group holds its first meeting on Monday, July 27, 5:00-6:00 p.m. Support for those participating in a range of local and individual reparations pledges and efforts. For more information, contact Dan Smith dsmith@firstchurchcambridge.org or Alice Kidder flintkiddr@aol.com.
  •  Say Their Names. North Carolina Laureate Jaki Shelton Green mourns George Floyd and other lives that were taken with Oh My Brother, a work of spoken word and images.
  • Learn more about how to act on your belief that Black Lives Matter.
  • Reading, Listening, or Watching Groups - Gather friends for a close read of Robin D’Angelo’s White Fragility or Ibram X. Kendi’s How To Be An Anti-Racist.
 CONGREGATIONAL LEVEL
Participate in making First Church an inclusive, anti-racist congregation:
  •  Join a monthly after-church Zoom coffee hour check-in to share progress with your commitments and ideas for our shared work. This month’s conversation will take place next Sunday, July 26. 
  •  Stay tuned to news and reports from Executive Council, Deacons and Beloved Community who are leading internal work, insitutional changes towards becoming an anti-racist church.
 COMMUNITY LEVEL
Watch the church bulletin and Facebook page for more details on these and future options.

As Rev Dr. Otis Moss III of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago has said, our country is facing not one, but two pandemics: Covid-19 and “confederate Covid 1619,” referring to the toxic strain of racist and white supremacist ideology that has been coursing through our church, city and nation’s history since its founding on stolen land. First Church tested positive for the latter in the 1630’s when our forebears held captive enslaved persons of African and Indigenous descent. We have yet to develop a vaccine, and its effects are still evident to this day. We are all carriers, whether we know it or not. We all need constant vigilance, lest we share it unwittingly. We are all in need of healing. The collective treatment includes a daily regimen of prayer, action and reflection. The Spirit is upon us now, calling us each to respond.

 


Looking for ways to support our community during this unprecedented time of need? The Missions and Social Justice Committee has compiled and vetted a short list of organizations looking for assistance to aid in their work in the COVID-19 response...

In response to the Coronavirus outbreak, the Shelter has expanded into Sage Hall to allow for greater social distancing, and is now open to guests around the clock, thanks to additional funding from the Commonwealth. They would very much welcome...