Building Relationships

Jesus tells us “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul and with all your mind (Matthew 22:37). One of the greatest ways to love your neighbor is to be in relationship, which can open our eyes to what is in someone’s heart and to see life from diverse perspectives. As part of our to work to dismantle structural racism and understand its impact on many of our neighbors, we strive to develop friendships built on mutual trust and understanding with diverse faith communities and other organizations working to dismantle racism in our community.

In 2020, leaders of the local interfaith community came together to take a stand against structural racism. The group of 19 individuals and church leaders, including our own Pastor John Willingham, signed a letter calling for change which was published in the Intelligencer newspaper.

In addition to direct relationships, art is often seen as “The great equalizer” and brings people together to create connections and better understanding of diverse views. Our Peace and Justice Committee’s Esther Brigade recently presented a casual Zoom gathering to lift up 14 different black artists, including musicians, painters, animators, writers, and poets. We invite you to explore and share these videos as we join together in joy, hope, and inspiration.

On March 13, 2022 we gathered for an event we called Soul-Full. We welcomed Dr. Dumpson, renowned choral conductor, who teamed with our Chancel Choir to help lead us all in song. He provided insight into the history and culture infused within selected African-American Spirituals as we continued to learn, grow, and expand our outlook.

Following the soulful songs, we moved to Fellowship Hall where David Marable, Executive Director of the non-profit Amazing Grace Blessings, explained what makes Soul-Food so special. He explained that while the cuisine is ingrained within the African-American experience, cultures from around the world connect to food in similar ways.

We enjoyed our first shared meal as a church family in more than two years, as we sampled some home-cooked comfort food provided by David and his talented team.

On September 26, 2021, we welcomed Louise Davis, of the African American Historical and Cultural Society of Bucks County, who portrayed her 3rd Cousin Harriet Tubman during an incredible monologue. Davis came courtesy of the African American Historical and Cultural Society of Bucks County, and as part of our church’s efforts to live as a Matthew 25 congregation. To learn more about the organization, visit https://aahcsbc.wordpress.com/

We were honored to spend some time with Linda Salley, President and Executive Director of the African American Museum of Bucks County, recently. In this video, Linda shares a glimpse of the exhibit currently on display at the Bucks County Visitors Center in Bensalem. We thank her for being a part of our Matthew 25 initiative.