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In the Beginning...

As a participant in a workshop entitled “Sacred Conversations to End Racism” being held weekly at First Congregational Church in Port Washington, I am learning about early human beginnings, migration, and, Genesis. We are only 2 weeks into the 8-week course and already I have been enlightened in so many ways. Reverend Laura McLeod is taking us on a journey toward Restorative Justice by helping us unpack and dismantle our personal biases.

The journey started at the very true beginning, creation. When earth changed from molten rock into a planet and God was there. When life appeared on the cooling planet and adapted and evolved, God was there. We learned that we need to decenter ourselves, humans, from creation. We, humans, are not the center of things. This world existed for millions of years without human interrogation. A radical thought we were asked to ponder: God does not need humans, humans need God.

Then we learned the answer to where did humans originate from? What has been forgotten is that Africa is the seat of all civilization. All homo-sapiens occupying the earth today can trace their genetics to African origins with the oldest homo-sapiens remains dated 200,000 years old. We watched Episode 1 of the PBS program, Africa’s Great Civilizations hosted by Henry Louis Gates, a Harvard professor. It covers the importance of Africa in the development of human awareness, culture, and evolution. In episode one, viewers begin a journey through anthropological and scientific discoveries that explain that Africa is the genetic home of all currently living humanity. It wasn’t until the migration of modern humans starting 60,000 years ago that modern humans expanded their reach and spread to all corners of the earth.

As we work through the 8-week workshop, we will bring back to our Pilgrim family some of the great knowledge nuggets that we are learning. Take the time to watch episodes 1 and 2 of Africa’s Great Civilizations. Episode 1 covers the beginning of civilization. Episode 2 debunks the myth that Christianity came to Africa with European colonialism. It’s worth the hour per episode and is available on Amazon Prime and PBS Passport. When you do, consider the following questions: What resonated or differed from what you were taught as an elementary, high school, or college student? What are/were some emotional responses to the videos? Why are these resources relevant for dismantling racism within the church and larger society?

-Respectfully submitted by your Racial Justice Committee

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