CHATHAM— You’ve seen them on social media and in the news— #blacklivesmatter, #sayhername, #lovewins— hashtags that have become the rallying cry of today’s civil rights activists. This fall at Stanley Congregational Church, Pastor Jocelyn Emerson will use Biblical and contemporary sources to reflect on how the Christian spiritual tradition can contribute to seeking justice on a local, national and global scale.
The church held summer Vespers on Wednesdays in the chapel on Fairmount Avenue and Oliver Street and on September 13 resumes Sunday morning worship at 10 a.m. Stanley will also launch Dinner Church—a participatory meal and worship service— on September 27 at 5 p.m. in the parish hall, which will continue twice a month through advent.
“Stanley Congregational Church seeks to be the progressive spiritual voice in Chatham and the surrounding area by reaching outside her doors as justice-makers in this world,” said Emerson, who has recently led the congregation through an envisioning and consensus process about its building and future. “The fall worship series—both on Sunday morning and at Dinner Church— will focus monthly on a specific justice theme.”
For example, the September 27 theme will be #blacklivesmatter, using scripture in Luke and Philemon to discuss the call to justice. Emerson will also preach on #sayhername, the hashtag associated with Sandra Brown, and #YouOkSis, which challenges street harassment. In preparation for its mission weekend on November 14-15 and housing its guests from Family Promise, Stanley will also consider hashtags such as #homelessness, #accessiblefood and #poverty #dignity. The series will round out with the advent theme of how we define family in the context of the #lovewins movement and what Christians can do to work toward queer justice.
About Stanley Congregational Church
Stanley is an Open and Affirming congregation committed to social and environmental justice. Stanley warmly welcomes people of any race, marital circumstance, sexual orientation, and theological tradition. The congregation offers Church School and Pilgrim Fellowship for local youth; Bible studies, Stitchers N’ Knitters, Choir, Contemplative Prayer and other activities for adults; hosts homeless guests through Family Promise and participates in Bridges outreach to deliver brown bag meals, clothes and other items to the homeless in New York City, Newark and Irvington.
In 2011, Stanley was formally certified as a GreenFaith Sanctuary, which included a two-year process to make energy improvements and eliminate the use of paper goods. The church holds eco-friendly events with biocompostable products; promotes alternate commuting; serves vegetarian, local and organic food and uses Fair Trade Equal Exchange Coffee. The church has also created its own rain garden, supported a well project in Mozambique, a community garden project in the IronBound section of Newark, and has hosted Interfaith forums on earth care.