Dear friends,

I have an assortment of things for you today.

First, our week of providing for Family Promise begins August 15. We still could use some $25 grocery gift cards. If you’d like to donate go to our website, and click on the SignUp Genius button at the bottom of the page to sign up. Thanks to everyone who has already donated, and a reminder to either bring the gift cards to church on Sunday, or bring them by the church during the week. 

Longtime faithful parishioner Peachy Horne is now living in an assisted living community in Roswell, Historic Roswell Place. She does not have a car, and really wants to come to church. The facility is just off Canton Street, where all the restaurants are. If you can be bring Peachy to church occasionally please let Lucy Kaltenbach know. And I know Peachy would appreciate cards, phone calls, or visits. Peachy is very lonely and feeling isolated. She is afraid St. Dunstan’s will forget about her. I’ve assured her that is not true. Help prove me right about that!

RIP Medical Debt has sent us another thank you note they received from someone whose medical debt was paid by our campaign last year. Here is it:“I want to thank RIP Medical Debt for abolishing the debt that I owed the hospital. I have been trying for years to get my credit to increase. This erased balance has really helped me in so many ways. Thank you!”  Also, several other churches in the diocese have been in contact with me about doing campaigns for RIP. Our influence is being felt in many ways.

One of the favorite hymns at St. Dunstan’s is “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which is known as the Negro National Anthem. The lyrics were written by James Weldon Johnson, and his brother set the words to music and performed the song to commemorate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday in 1900. The words of this hymn reflect on the hardships Black Americans face and captures the community’s commitment to God in pursuit of freedom. “Lift Every Voice and Sing” became a civil rights anthem in the 1950s and 1960s. The Episcopal Church and the Lutheran Church were the first predominantly white denominations to include the song in their official hymnals. One of our supplemental hymnals is entitled “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” 

In January, South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn introduced H.R. 301 to establish “Lift Every Voice and Sing” as the national hymn of the United States. Clyburn has said that doing so “would be an act of bringing the country together.. The gesture itself would be an act of healing. Everybody can identify with that song.” The Executive Council of the Episcopal Church has passed a resolution in support of Clyburn’s legislation, and urges Episcopalians to show their support by contacting our representatives and senators and asking them to vote in favor of the bill. 

“Lift Every Voice and Sing” is hymn 599 in our hymnal. Here are the words:

Let our rejoicing rise high as the listening skies;
   let it resound loud as the roaring sea.
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 sun of our new day begun,
   let us march on, till victory is won.

Stony the road we trod, bitter the chastening rod,
   felt in the days when hope unborn had died.
Yet with a steady beat, have not our weary feet
   come to the place for which our parents sighed?
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered;
   we have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered.
Out from the gloomy past, till now we stand at last
   where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.

God of our weary years, God of our silent tears,
   thou who hast brought us thus far on the way;
Thou who hast by thy might led us into the light;
   keep us for ever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met thee;
   lest our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee;
Shadowed beneath thy hand may we for ever stand,
   true to our God, true to our native land.

To hear the hymn sung by a choir on the eve of President Obama’s first inauguration, click here (You can skip the ads at the beginning)

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