On Saturday, February 29th, 2020, the Bishop Nathan Baxter Chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians, the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania, and the St. Stephen’s Cathedral and School partnered together for a Celebration of the Feast of the Blessed Absalom Jones, the first African American Episcopal priest and founder of the first black Episcopal Church. The cathedral welcomed guests from The African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, Philadelphia, the church Absalom Jones founded. Congregants were treated to beautiful music from the St. Thomas Gospel Choir and the preaching of the Very Rev. Canon Martini Shaw and celebrants The Rt. Rev. Dr. Audrey C. Scanlan, The Rt. Rev. Dr. Nathan D. Baxter and the Very Rev. Dr. Amy D. Welin.
Following the service, students from around the region who participated in the Dr. George H. Love Youth Awards, were recognized for essays and art they created related based on the theme, “Striving for Justice in an Unjust World.”
The Diocese would like to thank all of those who made this such a special event.
Absalom Jones (1746 – 1818) is one of Pennsylvania’s earliest human and civil rights activists. His lifelong struggle for freedom and justice has much to offer us today. As you research the life of Absalom Jones, consider some of the social justice issues that Absalom Jones faced to rise from a former slave to become an inspirational community leader, the first priest of African descent in the Episcopal Church and the founder of the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas in Philadelphia.
Before you begin take the time to examine some of the social justice issues that affected Absalom Jones and other people of African descent during his lifetime. How did he, along with friends like Richard Allen, respond to some of these indignities in ways that benefitted his Philadelphia community?
Which social justice issue is important to you? Which organization and/or person in your community is addressing this issue? What are some active ways you can support your cause and gain the support of others to the benefit of your community?
Using the examples of Absalom Jones’s fight for justice and the research on your chosen issue, develop an essay, letter, poem, song, video, podcast, vlog or original piece of artwork that will serve as motivation to others who are striving for justice.
This contest is for students in grades 5th – 8th and 9th – 12th. The word limit is 100-200 words. For those who choose to respond with a creative piece such as a poem, song, video or artwork, please include a paragraph that describes how your research about Absalom Jones’s struggle for justice informed your decisions for your creative piece. Submissions will be judged on content, clarity, critical thinking, creativity and quality of production.
Monetary prizes will be awarded, and winners are invited to present their submissions in person as a part of our Absalom Jones Day celebration on Saturday, February 29, 2020. Winners will be notified in early February by email and/or phone.
Essays, letters, poems, songs, videos, podcasts or vlogs may be submitted online or handwritten using the attached form. If you plan to submit original artwork, please attach a picture of the artwork. Be sure to include the information listed below with your entry. All submissions are due to Ms. Karen Love, firstname.lastname@example.org, by February 8, 2020.
About the Union of Black Episcopalians
Organized in 1968 as the Union of Black Clergy and Laity, the Union is the proud inheritor of the work of many people. UBE also grew out of the work and spirit of earlier organizations. The Convocation of Colored Clergy and the Conference of Church Workers among Colored People were dedicated to justice and the ministry of Blacks in the Episcopal Church.
The Bishop Nathan Baxter Chapter of UBE was established in 2014 with the Rev. Brenda M. Taylor as the first president. The chapter is dedicated to serve as an instrument to eradicate racism and social injustice and to help the Episcopal Church become one body for all.
For questions, please contact President, Anthony Alexander.
UBE 2020 Membership Brochure
If you are interested in donating to the UBE Bishop Nathan Baxter Chapter, click here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]