11 September 2018

Gathering Music

“God Has Work for Us to Do”

Call to Worship

Dr. Althea Spencer-Miller

One: We lift up our eyes to the hills, from where does our help come?
Many: My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
One: God will not let our feet be moved, the one who keeps you will not slumber
Many: Be with us now, O God, protect and keep us.

Introduction to the Rev. Dr. Katie G. Cannon

Dr. Althea Spencer-Miller

First Reading

Ann Marie Brown

“By five, I could recite the Lord’s Prayer, the Beatitudes, Psalm 23, the 10 Commandments and answers to catechism questions, such as “Who is God?” and “Why did God make us?” Looking back, I realize there were a lot of lessons about the attributes of God as creator, God as love, and of utmost importance — God is great, God is good, and we thank God for our food. My mother, father and maternal grandmother were ordained Ruling Elders. Our home was a house of prayer.

Yet from my earliest conscious moments, each night when I said my prayers, I talked to God about the pain of living in a racially segregated world. Using the notion of sin in my catechism class as a lens I wanted to know what wrongdoing my kith and kin had committed that made it a crime for me to swing on swings, slide down slides and build sand castles in sandboxes in tax- supported public parks where white children played. I wanted this good, loving and forgiving God help me understand the entrenched reasons why my signing up to participate in the Kannapolis city-wide spelling contest was a life-threatening transgression. Askew and unjust feelings contributed greatly to who I am.”

Silent Reflection

Sung Response

“Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child” (v.1)

Second Reading

Brinna Kolitz

“Scattered throughout my teaching career is the mantra, there is no value-free space. It is impossible to do authentic liberation ethics sitting in armchairs pretending only to be dispassionate, color-blank, objective talking heads. Instead, as embodied social selves, we create collaborative dialectic space—a learning environment where we can sandpaper with each other’s thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. Students who enroll in my courses know we are going to look at justice issues, counter falsely constructed realities, and investigate lines of demarcation between the valued-haves and the devalued-have-nots. My modus operandi consists of wrestling with difficult contestable issues in order to eradicate systemic oppression.

In essence, as a professor, my joy is knowing that long after my courses end and exams have faded from memory, I still get calls and email correspondences from students struggling to stay open-minded in their growing desire to live ethically as they identify the patterns that must be altered, and the accountable actions that must be taken in order to live justly, love mercifully, and walk humbly with our God.”

Silent Reflection

Sung Response

“Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child” (v.2)

Third Reading

Hayoung Kang

“All in all, no single action can correct the complex tapestry of white supremacy and androcentric norms operative in educational cultures where the classrooms of women of color are battlegrounds. We, and our professional comrades who cast their lot with us, need to find effective means to reeducated the miseducated who are unmoved by facts and evidence … We must be willing to embrace the benefits of embodied multiculturalism in order to address effectively, with seriousness and persistent strategies, the dismantling of hierarchical, mechanistic patterns of racist misogyny that justify the logic and legitimacy of oppressive, systemic domination.”

Silent Reflection

Sung Response

“We Resist”

Unison Prayer of the Day

O God, in mystery and silence you are present in our lives, bringing new life out of destruction, hope out of despair, growth out of difficulty. As we thank you for the wondrous, precious gift of life, we are aware of how time slips through our fingers. Caught up in yesterday’s dreams and tomorrow’s hopes, we pass by the opportunities of today. Grant us courage to meet the challenges ahead of us motivated by the vision of your reign, and empowered by the work of those who have gone before us. May your kin-dom come – even here, even now. Amen. 


Dr. Althea Spencer-Miller

Sending Forth

“We Shall Not Be Moved”


Worship Notes:

Call to Worship adapted by Kelsey Wallace from Psalm 121 (NRSV).

Unison Prayer of the Day adapted by Kelsey Wallace from: Bread for the Journey: Resources for Worship. Edited by Ruth C. Duck. Cleveland: United Church Press, 1981. 62.

Introduction to Katie Cannon written by Dr. Nancy Lynne Westfield and posted on https://lynnewestfield.com/2018/08/15/so-i-wrote-it/.

Reading one excerpted from: https://pres-outlook.org/2018/03/katie-geneva-cannon-reflects-first-african-american-woman-ordained-pcusa/

Reading two excerpted from: Katie G. Cannon. “Eliminating Ignorance.” Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 32, no. 1 (2016), 114–120.

Reading three excerpted from: https://www.ptsem.edu/news/katie-cannon-interview

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