Around the Church: Celebrating Black History
When President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, he called upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
Turning the Page
Both our past and our present are filled with examples of people of African descent not only bouncing back, but bouncing forward. Throughout February, Church Publishing Incorporated (CPI) is celebrating books by or about Black people to recognize “too-often neglected accomplishments.” This reflects the value that we at CPG overall place on inclusivity.
“CPI has been publishing resources on social justice, racial reconciliation, and LGBTQ issues for years, ranging from Rainbow Theology: Bridging Race, Sexuality, and Spirit, by the Rev. Dr. Patrick S. Cheng, CPG’s Senior Vice President for Client Benefits and Education Compliance, to the Rev. Gayle Fisher-Stewart’s Preaching Black Lives (Matter),” says Airié Stuart, the new Senior Vice President and Publisher of CPI. “More than 100 CPI resources amplify the messages the Church believes are important to share with our increasingly diverse audience.”
CPI’s 2021 Black History Month book list includes Hallelujah, Anyhow!, the memoir by the late Rt. Rev. Barbara Harris about her groundbreaking roles in national and Church history; Dancing from the Inside Out, an anthology of courageous reflections from Westina Matthews, PhD; and Passionate for Justice, a biography of the formerly enslaved visionary Ida B. Wells, by Catherine Meeks, PhD, and the Rev. Nibs Stroupe; to hear these authors discuss their book, please visit cpg.org/Meeks-StroupeCPI.
CPI is also featuring books of spiritual resilience from Black authors, such as Eldercare as Art and Ministry, by Irene Jackson-Brown, PhD, as well as liturgical resources including the Lift Every Voice and Sing Hymnal.
With Black-owned businesses having suffered disproportionately during the pandemic, please consider making your selection from a Black-owned bookstore.
Some of our resources are available at no cost, such as People of Color Who Inspire, the new lessons that supplement Volume 7 of The Complete Guide to Godly Play. Beginning with the stories of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Bishop Barbara Harris, this collection tells the stories of Christian people who worked for justice and preached respect for every human being. Peruse this series along with other CPI resources available without charge.
Be Part of the Picture
In its role as Recorder of Ordinations, CPG is in a unique position to help the Church identify deployment and compensation trends among clergy. In support of The Episcopal Church’s Becoming Beloved Community initiative and resolutions passed by the 79th General Convention, CPG is collecting data on race, ethnicity, gender identity, and sexual orientation from all clergy, on a voluntary basis.
Clerics are invited to Be Part of the Picture and update their information in their MyCPG Account. Documenting the evolving demographic makeup of clergy will provide a better understanding of the changing nature of the community by identifying trends in ordination, deployment, and compensation, as well as in Episcopal elections.