Mine Eyes Have Seen the Savior

IV - The Civil Rights Era
June 3, 2003

Opening Prayer

Leader Let us pray.

Strengthen us, O God, as we continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship. Help us to affirm and support the various forms of living ministry which exist in our community, so that we may further the knowledge and love of your Name in all the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Scripture Reading
Read 2 Corinthians 3:1-18 or Exodus 24:1-8

Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Surely we do not need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you or from you, do we? You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all; and you show that you are a letter of Christ, prepared by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our competence is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of letter but of spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. Now if the ministry of death, chiseled in letters on stone tablets, came in glory so that the people of Israel could not gaze at Moses' face because of the glory of his face, a glory now set aside, how much more will the ministry of the Spirit come in glory?

Then he said to Moses, "Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship at a distance. Moses alone shall come near the Lord; but the others shall not come near, and the people shall not come up with him." Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice, and said, "All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do." And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. He rose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and set up twelve pillars, corresponding to the twelve tribes of Israel. He sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed oxen as offerings of well-being to the Lord. Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he dashed against the altar. Then he took the book of the covenant, and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, "All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient." Moses took the blood and dashed it on the people, and said, "See the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words."

Discussion questions

1) How would you describe the responses of General Convention to the Civil Rights Movement?

2) In what ways did the Episcopal Society for Cultural and Racial Unity (ESCRU) address the issue of segregation in the Episcopal Church?

3) The 1967 General Convention established a Special Program to address the problems of Blacks and other minorities in the inner cities. Why did it come under fire from Afro-Anglicans?

4) How did the Black Power Movement affect the civil rights agenda within the Episcopal Church?

5) How did the dismissal of Dr. Tollie Caution as National Secretary for the Division of Racial Minorities usher in the era of change for Blacks in the Episcopal Church?

6) What questions do you have for the Church about what you’ve seen so far on this videotape?

Closing Prayers

Leader Let us pray.
All (The Lord’s Prayer)

Leader The Lord be with you.
People And also with you.

All Sweet Jesus, as we reflect upon our sinful behavior we grieve for the injustice and the oppression of your children. Forgive us for our selfishness and guide our feet in your path of love and acceptance. Heal the hurt and bond us together in the love of your Son, Jesus Christ, who suffered with the oppressed and weeps for the oppressor. Let us be the instruments of peace, joy and love, and celebrate your spirit of diversity. Through the wonders of your Holy Spirit we pray. Amen.

Leader Go in peace to love and serve the Lord. (Alleluia, Alleluia)
People Thanks be to God. (Alleluia, Alleluia)