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St. James' Glastonbury
Episcopal Church

Rev. Don Hamer message June 14, 2023

Dear Siblings in Christ,

Next Monday our nation and our state will honor Juneteenth as a legal holiday. Derived from a combination of the word “June” and the number “nineteenth,” the holiday honors the date in 1865 that marked the formal end of chattel slavery in the United States – more than 2 ½ years after the Emancipation Proclamation and more than two months after the Civil War had ended. On that date, Major General Gordon Granger and his federal troops rode into Texas and issued a proclamation declaring freedom to those still living in slavery.

As children of God and as siblings of our Lord Jesus Christ, this holiday should have deep meaning for ALL of us, not just people of color. Chattel slavery, and the culture of racism which gave it birth and allowed it to flourish in the United States for almost 250 years, was a crime against humanity and a stain on the soul of our country – a symbol of America’s Original Sin. None of us were responsible for that, but all of us who are descendants of that period in our history still live in its shadow, with people of color particularly bearing its scars. I pray that next Monday each of us will reflect on the significance of this day in history and recommit ourselves to the spirit of the final line of our Pledge of Allegiance: “One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” I know that God will smile!

Have a blessed week. I hope to see you on Sunday! Your brother in Christ, Don+