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Black History Month at WPPC

February 3, 2012

Come worship with us in February in observance of  Black History Month.

During the next four weeks the White Plains Presbyterian Church will draw liturgy and music from four different regions from which members of our congregation come: West Africa, the West Indies, Central/East Africa and South Africa. Our bulletin will be graced with the art of Janet McKenzie, with her kind permission.


On February 4 we will worship with words and music from West Africa:  Senegal, Ghana, Cameroon, Nigeria and Alexandia. OK, Alexandria is not really “West” Africa, but St. Basil’s fourth century liturgy will be used as we gather for the Lord’s Supper. We will sing an African-American spiritual as we receive the fruit of the field and vine in the presence of our Lord.

We will also receive the challenge issued by the 2004 General Council of the World Council of Reformed Churches meeting in Accra, Ghana. The Accra Confession invites us to a new Covenant of Justice in the Economy and the Earth. Wilhelmina Anyidoho will be our worship leader. Sedinam Anyidoho will provide special music.


On February 11 the sermon will be delivered by Sarah Henkel, our new parish associate and the Cross-Cultural Ministry Coordinator for the Hudson River Presbytery. Leslie Mardenborough will be our worship leader. We will learn a form of singing the psalms remembered from the islands. Music and prayers from the West Indies: Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, more.


On February 18, Central/East Africa, we will be enriched by the presence of Alice Pala-Englert, recently returned from her mission in Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We will also say farewell to long time church member Ruth Heubel. Following worship we will hold our annual Mardi Gras celebration in the Church House. The meal is pot-luck. All are welcome. (Visiting? Don’t worry about the food – just come and enjoy the fellowship).


The final Sunday of February is also the first Sunday of Lent. Our worship leader will be Clerk of Session Deirdre Lewin, and our worship celebration will draw from the rich resources of South African churches. Following worship all are invited to join us for the first of our five weeks Lenten Education Series on the Belhar Confession of Faith. The Belhar Confession emerged from the experience of the Dutch Reformed Church under Grand Apartheid. We end our month of worship with powerful words from Archbishop Desmond Tutu.


Artist Janet McKenzie has kindly given us permission to use several images of her paintings as our bulletin covers during February. Worshippers and readers of this blog will want to check out more of McKenzie’s work on her website


In 2011 our Black History Month observance drew upon the African American tradition, particularly Conversations With God: Two Centuries of Prayers by African Americans, edited by James Melvin Washington. This year, we have utilized, among other resources, An African Prayerbook, edited by Desmond Tutu, and the songs from the forthcoming Presbyterian Hymnal (which will be available for order in July)

I hope to see you / meet you in worship.

Grace and Peace


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