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'Lift Every Voice' Series Resources

Ok friends, are ready for all the links? And, yeah, I really mean All. The. Links!

Throughout these first three weeks of our “Lift Every Voice” sermon series we’ve offered a wide variety of articles, ideas, and people for your Black History edification. So many offerings that it would be understandable if you missed some. Here, then, is the full compilation of all those articles, ideas, and people for you to read, learn with, and follow.

(Obviously it is impossible to list everything and everyone worth reading and knowing. This is just a list of those we mentioned during this sermon series. Still, if there something from the series I missed here, please let me know!)

Articles on the history and impact of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” 
—the Black National Anthem that is providing the structure for this sermon series. Click the links for the full story!

This article in the History of Hymns series on the UMC website.

This piece from the Smithsonian

This article from the Washington Post

This short piece from the NAACP

This blog post from the Roosevelt Alumni for Racial Equity

For a different approach to the song read this critique of the suggestion that the song alone can heal racism 


Daily Prayer Resource
Discipleship Ministries of the United Methodist Church offers daily prayers for anti-racism. Click here to read this week’s prayers and have the option to subscribe to their prayers for anti-racism emailed daily. 


Resources to better understand our history—and present
The National Memorial for Peace and Justice

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

This informative “What is?” series by the General Commission on Religion & Race of the United Methodist Church


Folks to follow on social media
I’ve noticed that I tend to follow people and accounts that look and sound and think like me. Here is an attempt to alter that pattern. These are just a couple examples that I mentioned in part 3 of the sermon series. Please share others I should add to the list!

Chef and author of Kosher Soul, Michael W. Twitty 

Artist, activist, organizer, and Confederate flag remover Bree Newsome Bass

Author Cole Arther Riley, aka Black Liturgies. She wrote This Here Flesh and posts breath prayers and longer prayers almost daily.


All those inventions!
Yet another reminder that Black history is all our history. 
Everyday inventions created by Black inventors such as folding chair, traffic signal, potato chips, refrigerated trucks, closes dryer, automatic gear shifts, peanut butter, and more

Advocacy Opportunities

Welcome back to the blog! Time for some follow up on ideas and actions we’ve discussed over the previous few weeks.

First, last week’s guest speaker, Cynthia Changyit Levin was terrific! If you missed her talk, you can (as I hope you know by now) watch it on our YouTube channel.

Cindy and her husband, David, gifted Woodridge UMC with a copy of her book for our church library. Check it out some time. (See what I did there?) Further, learn more about the amazing advocacy work Cindy does by clicking here. You can buy her book there too. 

As Cindy shared with us, our Offering of Letters had a great impact! The Global Malnutrition Prevention and Treatment Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives in July! Click here to see which Representatives from IL co-sponsored it.
Click here to see how all Illinois Representatives voted (spoiler alert: only one Representative didn’t vote for it. Can you guess who?)

Cindy talked about the need to continue our advocacy in order to get this bill passed in the Senate. The urgency comes from the need to get this passed before the end of the year. After that, the process starts all over again. (We don't want this to be "just a bill on Capitol Hill" do we??)

Click here to partner with Bread for the World to send our Senators a letter asking them to sponsor and pass this bill. 

Click here to learn more about other legislative priorities Bread is working on to help care for our hungry and hurting neighbors.

Meanwhile, we here at Woodridge UMC continue to resist and refute White Christian Nationalism. So far 12 people from our congregation have raised their voice by adding their name to the statement by Christians Against Christian Nationalism. That’s awesome! But there is room for many more names. I’ve included the full statement below.

Click here to add your name .

Here's the full statement: 

As Christians, our faith teaches us everyone is created in God’s image and commands us to love one another. As Americans, we value our system of government and the good that can be accomplished in our constitutional democracy. Today, we are concerned about a persistent threat to both our religious communities and our democracy — Christian nationalism.

Christian nationalism seeks to merge Christian and American identities, distorting both the Christian faith and America’s constitutional democracy. Christian nationalism demands Christianity be privileged by the State and implies that to be a good American, one must be Christian. It often overlaps with and provides cover for white supremacy and racial subjugation. We reject this damaging political ideology and invite our Christian brothers and sisters to join us in opposing this threat to our faith and to our nation. 

 As Christians, we are bound to Christ, not by citizenship, but by faith. We believe that:

  • People of all faiths and none have the right and responsibility to engage constructively in the public square. 
  • Patriotism does not require us to minimize our religious convictions. 
  • One’s religious affiliation, or lack thereof, should be irrelevant to one’s standing in the civic community.
  • Government should not prefer one religion over another or religion over nonreligion.
  • Religious instruction is best left to our houses of worship, other religious institutions and families. 
  • America’s historic commitment to religious pluralism enables faith communities to live in civic harmony with one another without sacrificing our theological convictions.
  • Conflating religious authority with political authority is idolatrous and often leads to oppression of minority and other marginalized groups as well as the spiritual impoverishment of religion.
  • We must stand up to and speak out against Christian nationalism, especially when it inspires acts of violence and intimidation—including vandalism, bomb threats, arson, hate crimes, and attacks on houses of worship—against religious communities at home and abroad.

Whether we worship at a church, mosque, synagogue, or temple, America has no second-class faiths. All are equal under the U.S. Constitution. As Christians, we must speak in one voice condemning Christian nationalism as a distortion of the gospel of Jesus and a threat to American democracy.

Again, click here to add your name to this statement.

What other ways can our congregation resist and refute White Christian Nationalism? Leave your ideas (or questions) in the comments below.