Juneteenth… on Father’s Day

This year, Sunday, June 19, 2022, will juxtapose two celebratory occasions: Father’s Day, recognized in the US on the third Sunday of June since 1910, pays homage to the paternal bonds of men who are remembered and revered for their influential role as fathers in our families and society at large.  

Juneteenth, also the third Sunday in June, has been celebrated for years in some form or fashion by former African slaves and their descendants. It marks the date—June 19, 1865—when enslaved Americans living in Galveston, Texas finally received word that President Abraham Lincoln ended slavery through the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation two years earlier in 1863.

So, what do these holidays have to do with each other?

Just as there were “founding fathers” who developed a constitution in 1776 that made slavery possible, later generations of “national fathers”—our Presidents—appealed to their better angels to undo the stain of human bondage that contradicts our very own Declaration of Independence that proclaims, “all men are created equal.”  

Since Black History is seldom consistently taught in American history lessons, the history behind Juneteenth was not known by many Americans. But now that it is a federal holiday, signed into law by President Joe Biden on February 17, 2021, after an overwhelmingly bipartisan bill authorized legislation from Congress, we can use this opportunity to be reminded of how discriminatory laws and policies harmful to certain segments of our population can be undone or re-written if we care enough to be the change we hope to see in the world. 

As an optimist who sometimes gets discouraged, I believe that most of us do not want to live in a world where there is so much divisiveness and hatred that we make enemies of those whose views we may not share or understand. 

Although Juneteenth is a somber reminder of America’s dark past, it is also a recognition that we live in a country where laws can be re-written and peoples’ lives positively changed if we elect the men and women, fathers and mothers, who represent values that, once embraced, lead us closer to becoming the Beloved Community Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. encouraged us to be.  

Telling the truth about historical facts can often be hard to read or hear, but as Bishop Curry reminded last year during his Juneteenth remarks, although we can’t change the past, you must hear the truth to do better and move on to new beginnings. He went on to recite the words of the first stanza in the poem “Lift Every Voice and Sing” as a template for how we should go about creating a new future:  

Lift every voice and sing ‘til earth and heaven ring.
Ring with the harmonies of liberty.
Let our rejoicing rise, high as the listening skies.
Let it resound loud as the Rolling seas.
Sing a song full of the faith that the Dark past has taught us.
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us.
Facing the rising son of our new day begun, let us march on til victory is won.

So, on June 19, 2022, Happy Father’s Day. And Happy Juneteenth.  

Gwen High, Chair, Social Justice Ministry

Sunday

Holy Eucharist, Rite I, 8:30 a.m., Church
Holy Eucharist, Rite II, 11:00 a.m., Church and Livestream
Coffee Hour Fellowship, 12:15 p.m., Parish House Lobby 

Summer worship schedule. Beginning June 12, Trinity Sunday, St. Peter’s will move to a summer Sunday worship schedule. Holy Eucharist Rite I with music will be offered at 8:30 a.m. and Choral Holy Eucharist Rite II will be offered at 11:00 a.m. Our summer schedule will remain in effect until the Sunday after Labor Day, September 11.

Charlotte Choir School Sings at 11:00 a.m., June 12. Choirs from Charlotte Choir School, in residence at St. Peter’s, will sing at the 11:00 a.m. service. Join these talented young singers as they prepare for their Summer Tour, which will take the choirs to Chapel Hill, Winston-Salem, and Asheville.

March for Our Lives. On Sunday, June 12, at 11:00 a.m. in First Ward Park, the St. Peter’s Clergy and Social Justice Ministry leaders will join March for Our Lives, a student-led nonprofit advocating for an end to gun violence. Parishioners of all ages are invited to join St. Peter’s in support of young people advocating for policy reforms to create safer schools and safer communities. You may wish to attend the 8:30 a.m. Holy Eucharist this Sunday or join others after the 11:00 a.m. liturgy. Social Justice members will be holding our St. Peter’s banner, so look for them when you arrive in First Ward Park. 

Join us for Sunday Juneteenth. On Sunday, June 19, St. Peter’s will celebrate Juneteenth during our worship services. Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the United States, particularly the event when news reached enslaved persons in Galveston, Texas more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Join us for worship on Juneteenth for special music and to hear our guest preacher, the Reverend Reggie Payne-Wiens, Vicar of the Chapel of Christ the King.