Dear Members and Friends of Old South Haven Church,
We again are having a Zoom Church Service this coming Sunday with Rev. Wright leading worship. The details for the service are below as well as Rev. Wright's letter to the congregation.
The church will again be open for prayer on Sunday afternoon from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM.
And, please save the date of August 31, 2020 for a Meet and Greet for Reverend Glorya Johnson at 4:00 P. M. on the church lawn. Rain date is September 3, 2020 at 4:00 P. M. More details to follow.
I am looking forward to seeing everyone on Zoom.
Linda Majowka is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Sunday's Church Zoom Service
Time: Aug 16, 2020 09:45 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 242 554 4200
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A Letter from Rev. Ralph Wright
` August 12, 2020
Dear Members and Friends of Old South Haven Church,
Following below is the experience of a Presbyterian living on the island which goes back to his formative days. It's worth a good read.
I'm black. And that has never been a problem for me. My parents, while deeply religious, reared us to have a positive sense of self. We had images and poetry and music around our home that reinforced the pride that we should have in ourselves. They taught us that there was nothing that we couldn't do and therefore insisted that we strive to excel in our educational and other pursuits. Growing up in Brooklyn, NY was a wonderful experience. Brooklyn is a true example of the melting pot that is the United States. We moved onto our block in the late 1960's and were only the second African-American family on Maple Street. That never seemed to be a problem as our European neighbors welcomed us with open arms. The schools I attended were decidedly diverse, having their fair share of black, white, brown and yellow children in them. In elementary school, we never experienced overt examples of racist behavior (although I now wonder why our multicultural classes were always taught by white women or men). But there was an incident that I experienced in middle school that changed the way I viewed the world.
In 1976, my class went to a screening of the movie 1776, a recounting of the "founding" of the USA. The theater our teachers took us to was in Bensonhurst, a predominantly white community in another portion of Brooklyn. We took the elevated train to the movie theater and when we arrived at our stop, we descended the stairs and walked 4-5 blocks to the cinema. Our class, full of different races and nationalities, thoroughly enjoyed the movie and when it concluded, we were ready to take our 25-minute subway ride back to school. But evil entered our lives that day.
As we gathered in the theater lobby preparing to leave, a group of older white teens stood in front of the cinema and menacingly began to approach the theater doors hurling racial epithets and reminded us that we didn't belong there. Our white teachers confronted them and told them to leave our group alone and scatter. They walked away for a few moments. When our teachers thought the coast was clear, we moved toward the exit. But this time the mob of teens returned with two by fours and bats. Our teachers went outside to reason with them but they responded by assaulting one of our teachers with a bat and injuring his arm. "Why were they doing this?" I asked myself. "I hadn't done anything to them." And then I heard them yell the n-word over and over and over. At that moment, our class had the option of staying and being likewise assaulted or running for our lives. Many of us chose the latter. I was a sprinter and ran past these racist teens in the direction of the elevated subway station. After running a few blocks, I took cover behind a car and watched my classmate Donna trip as she ran toward the station. As she fell, I watched a two by four fly over her, narrowly missing her head and certainly saving her from serious injury. Several of us made it to the subway station, jumped on the train and took a silent ride back to I.S. 320 in Crown Heights. When we got back to school, we didn't talk much about this hate-filled encounter. The only outward reminders were the injuries our classmates and teachers suffered. But I couldn't hide the internal wounds.
I was numb. I thought people were generally good and kind to one another. But that day I realized that racism was real. I began to look at others differently and was always careful about which section of Brooklyn I traveled to. And while I went on to attend a predominantly white high school and largely Jewish college, I will never forget that day in 1976 when my rose-colored glasses about race were snatched off of my face. Unfortunately, so many black and brown people have had similar encounters and chosen to be silent in the hope that their children would not have the same experience. I have shared this story with my black son and daughter and believe that much of what is happening in 2020 will alter attitudes, behaviors and policies so that other black boys and girls will know that their lives matter and they have a right to walk, jog, attend a movie or eat anywhere they choose. This I pray, in Jesus's name, AMEN!
Rev Scott Williams
Christ's First Presbyterian, Hempstead, NY
Remember to join us for a virtual worship service this Third Sunday of August on Zoom.
I too was raised in Brooklyn and can vouch for the reality of the story. I read this story in an e-mail sent out this week by the Presbytery of Long Island. Call me, or send me an e-mail with your reflections on this story, as well as your requests for prayer for yourself, your family, and friends.
631-475-3322–office; 631-289-5761–home: e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Again, this Saturday, August 15, will be joining with the community's "Let's Come Together - BLM/Justice ride" through Bellport & East Patchogue, leaving from Boys & Girls Club at 4 pm.