Message from the Clerk – March 4, 2018
“So teach us to number our days, that we may present to you a heart of wisdom.” Psalms 90:12
Amani Upendo Na Nguvu
How can it already be March! First of all, belated Happy New Year. My prayer is that 2018 has already been good to you. I hope that you are celebrating the faithfulness of the Most High in your lives and being mindful to offer prayers of gratitude for each day. Like so many of you, I find myself sometimes overwhelmed with all of the things that are on my plate. I am mindful that some of the things on my plate were placed there by the Holy Spirit and some are there because I just don’t know how to say no! J. Tonight David’s prayer resonated with me “Teach us to number our days!” I know I personally want to exercise greater wisdom and discernment so that each day is spent gratefully, productively, positively, and mindful of what is really important. Love is important. Communicating is important. Making ourselves available for Spirit’s work is important! We really are here for such a short time. Let us find moments of joy as we number our days.
I don’t know about you, but for me, January and February have gone by so quickly. I think it’s been because we have been doing so very much! Here are a few updates:
News from the Continuing Committee: The Continuing Committee is excited to announce the theme for this year’s gathering: Singing God’s Song in a Strange Land…Psalms 137:1-4. The 2018 Gathering will celebrate the place of music in our spiritual journeys and our struggle for liberation. This will be a weekend to bring your instruments, songs, favorite music and stories about the transforming power of music in your life. This music could include any that inspires you to make the world better or reveals the Divine to you. This might be jazz, blues, gospel, spirituals, hymns, hip hop, R&B, classical, freedom songs or whatever touches your being. In addition, we are looking for folks to engage us in a consideration of the use of music in the Quaker tradition and the experience of music in the African and Diasporan faith and social justice tradition. Tentatively, the Gathering is set for August 24-26 in Philadelphia at the Ujima Friends Peace Center and perhaps one of the local meeting houses. Registration form will be posted in May on our website. For now, save the date!!!!
BAGU – Bold Adolescent Girls Union practices Kujichagulia: Introducing SEASJ
To celebrate Kujichagulia, we embarked on a fundraising endeavor to support the work of Linda Anaabah, who met with the Ghana delegation this summer. At the time, the name of her project was BAGU. BAGU, however, has exercised its Kujichagulia (self-determination) by changing its name to one that better reflects the fact that some of their work also includes males. The new name is SEASJ: Society for Empowerment and Social Justice! In celebration of the principle of self-determination, some members of the Fellowship partnered with several sororities and sisterhood circles to raise $1200 dollars for SEASJ. We had a delightful time at Ujima Friends Peace Center, SKYPING with Sis. Linda Anaabah! She is so upbeat and positive. It is clear that the work she is doing grows out of the bright light of the in dwelling Spirit. Well, we set $1200 dollars as our goal. We surpassed our goal and raised – $1500.
We are grateful for the participation of women from the Fellowship of Friends of African Descent, Delta Sigma Theta, Inc., Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc., Sisters of Sankofa Freedom Academy, Assata Shakur Sisterhood Circle, Swing Phi Swing, Inc. , Ujima Friends Peace Center and Women of Sanctuary Church of the Open Door. Yes, sisterhood truly is powerful!
Congratulations, Paul Ricketts! – Congratulations to Paul for his publication in the February, 2018 edition of Friends Journal, entitled Breath of the Ancestors. Breath of the Ancestors chronicles the experience of Paul and the Fellowship’s Ghana trip.
Hill House Monthly Meeting in Ghana – We want to continue to encourage friends to donate to repairing the roof at Hill House in Ghana. Hill House has established a GoFundMe. They need to raise approximately $6,200 (4450 pounds). In these first two months, they have raised about $1550.
Family, the principle of Kuumba (creativity) requires that we leave a place better than we found it. In the past two months, the Hill House fundraiser has only had 16 donors. Let us each make a personal commitment to donate something to assist our brothers and sisters whether we went to Ghana or not! Please share this concern with your monthly meetings and ask them to match your donation. Please visit their Gofundme at: https://www.gofundme.com/rebuilding-quakers-in-ghana.
Ujima Friends Peace Center: The Peace Center has been on a roll. Please visit the website and look at the newsletter to catch up on all the happenings. We had an awesome Kwanzaa and a greet celebration of Dr. King’s birthday. We have served over 50 tenants some of whom face eviction in our Renter’s Rights classes. We have provided 500 families with a week’s worth of groceries in our grocery give-away. We are beginning our work with the Courtland Life Center to bring together elders and youth to exchange their gifts and talents, as well as starting our yoga, health and wellness classes and African drumming classes. We presently are making plans to open a Freedom School at the center this summer as well as continue our Mpatapo (Peace Works) curriculum, which we hope will reach 500 young people through working with various freedom school programs in the city. One big highlight for February, was when we Ujima hosted a meeting between Lincoln University, two local schools, Philadelphia Freedom School and the Algebra Project. It was so wonderful having civil rights legend, Dave Dennis with us to share from his experiences as a community organizer and freedom fighter from his days at SNCC, CORE, MFDP, and COFO. Best of all, we continue to be blessed by the presence of the Spirit in our Sunday worship at 2:00 pm. and our growing sense of fellowship with one another.
We would love to have members of the Fellowship join us so if you are in Philly come home to Ujima. Remember, Ujima Friends Peace Center is a ministry of the Fellowship of Friends of African Descent. We depend on monthly pledges from Friends of African Descent to maintain our facility. Please visit our website and make a recurring monthly donation. www.ujimafriends.org
Psalms 90 ends with my wish for our fellowship as we enter the month of March. Let’s be mindful of making each day count. “Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us; and confirm for us the work of our hand; Yes, confirm the work of our hands. (Psalms 90:17)
Sisi ni moja siku zote (We are one always—-)