Friday, February 1, 2019

Windham community to experience the joy from Munjoy Hill: Celebrating Black History Month on February 10

The choir from Green Memorial AME Zion Church
By Lorraine Glowczak

They are at it again. The group of individuals whose mission is to bring the community together to enjoy and learn about other cultures and beliefs in a variety of exciting ways will provide a venue to explore other philosophies in February. Or, so states Father Tim Higgins of St. Ann’s Episcopal Church who is also a member of the Windham Area Clergy Association (WACA). “WACA is at it again.” Higgins began. “We will celebrate Black History Month on Sunday, February 10 at 4 p.m. at North Windham Union Church, 723 Roosevelt Trail. Pastor Ken Lewis and his gospel choir from Green Memorial AME (African Methodist Episcopal) Zion Church in Portland will join us and offer two musical selections from their choir. Dr. Rick Nickerson will direct the combined choirs to end the festivities,” stated Higgins in a recent email to The Windham Eagle. consists of the greater Windham area clergy that include the following churches besides St. Ann’s: Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints (LDS), Windham Hill United Church of Christ, North Windham Union Church and Faith Lutheran Church. The mission of this organization is to share concerns and joys, to support one another as well as to exchange outreach ideas within the greater Windham and Lakes Region communities. As an organization, the goal is to provide awareness of the communities’ needs as well as respond to any tragedies or difficulties the community may experience, all the while learning about others in the process in order to live together in harmony and respect. Any religious organization in the Lakes Region area is welcomed to join WACA.

For Black History Month, the purpose is to celebrate culture and how it contributes to personal and spiritual growth. “This gathering gives me hope and optimism,” began Glenn Davis, Bishop of LDS. “For me, the gatherings we have had thus far have helped me understand other cultures and people. It gives me a sense that things can change. It is a great opportunity to meet and serve with WACA who are willing to learn and share with one another. For this Black History event, it reminds me of the terrible injustices placed on others throughout our history and the ways those who faced such injustices have overcome great challenges despite the overwhelming odds.”
Davis went on to explain the past events that WACA has provided for the community. “In the past year we have gathered together in many ways including an opportunity to learn about the Jewish tradition, the Seder. We [WACA] and other community members met last year during a Seder meal lead by a Rabbi from Portland and hosted by Faith Lutheran Church in Windham. It was an amazing gathering that provided a learning experience for me.” Davis hoped that others learned from the experiences the WACA events provided from the past year that included community Thanksgiving gatherings and a Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration.

Perhaps the most exciting part of this Black History Event is the inclusion of the Green Memorial AME Zion Church from Portland. The church’s choir will provide two of the musical selections and will be a part of the Windham area church choirs, led by the one and only famous musical conductor, Dr. Richard Nickerson of Windham.

Green Memorial Choir will sing with Windham Area Church choirs
Briefly, AME Zion Church is a historically African-American denomination based in the United States. It was officially formed in 1821 in New York City that made its way into Portland. Reverend Kenneth I. Lewis, Jr. of Green Memorial AME Zion in Portland, who provided the invocation at Governor Janet Mill’s convocation ceremony, will be participating in this event and will offer historical and musical presentations from the Green Memorial’s choir. Rev. Lewis is looking forward to joining in with area Windham churches to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King’s message. “I am a believer of Dr. King’s promotion of a beloved community irrespective of race, stated Rev. Lewis “We are all brothers and sisters, where people are known by the content of their character not the color of skin. I think opportunities [such as this event] is a great way to promote and demonstrate the very best of our Christian character through education in a shared space and we are looking forward to sharing this space with Windham” Lewis also stated that Green Memorial, although historically an African-American church, is diverse in nature and has carried the mantel of Dr. King’s message. “We represent what heaven will look like. Our motto is ‘there is joy on Munjoy Hill’.”

The afternoon celebration event will include musical selections as well as readings, prayers, scriptures and pastoral commentary from all participating churches. The Green Memorial AME Zion choir will join in with the rest of the choirs and will be conducted by Dr. Richard Nickerson.

“This event is so very important to those of us who live in the Lakes Region area because we live in a homogenous community,” commented Rev. Higgins. “Most of us in this area are European-Americans and it will be beneficial on many levels to celebrate Black History Month by word and song with our African-American brothers and sisters.”

All are invited to experience the joy shared by our neighbors from Munjoy Hill.

If attendees wish, any financial donation will go toward the Green Memorial AME Zion ministries. All are welcome to attend for joy, celebration and refreshments after the event.

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