General Writing, New York, quickie

Believe It

I was fantastically moved by today’s baptisms at Emmanuel Baptist Church, my home base in Brooklyn. Members, guests, and families applauded, snapped pictures, shed tears as several young people were dipped into water with a prayer for this profound new chapter in their lives. I found myself covered in goosebumps.

I felt a sense of deja vu: I was instantly reminded of taking my own walk with my other mom, Deacon Ruth Corbett, in August 2001. I knew I liked the vibe of EBC on my occasional visits–the straightforward messages, preached to people who looked like me, who struggled like me. I didn’t hesitate, compelled to squeeze past my pew neighbors to join the fellowship. I was welcomed warmly and blessed for my epiphany.

I was baptized on September 19, a week after brutal terrorist onslaughts in the US, attacks that found me in SoHo, on a patio watching firsthand a second plane crash into the towers. What followed was a blur of a colleague’s apartment crammed with trembling co-workers, ash-covered and blank-eyed survivors, frantic check-ins with classmates, friends, sorors, and family (my aunt was in an adjacent tower; we waited an agonizing 10 hours to hear from her). Fourteen years later, no country appears safe from violent, pointless attacks, as witnessed just in the past two weeks. I hope that our new members find community, camaraderie, and a sense of security through renewed faith, as I did. In the meantime, I’ll live day by day, with mercy and grace. I wish the same for us all. Cheers.

NH

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3 thoughts on “Believe It”

  1. “The African American church sits in the midst of our urban ghettoized situation. Everyone in the ghetto does not belong to the church, but the church belongs to everybody in the ghetto.
    It is the preserver of our culture.
    It is a producer of our genius.
    It is the power base of our political ascendancy.
    It is the parent of our music and art.
    It is the sponsor of our creativity, versatility, and ingenuity.
    It is the incubator of our leadership.
    It is the storehouse for the disinherited.
    It is the power base of the disfranchised,
    and is a hospital for wounded souls.
    It is a love tabernacle for the hated and exploited.
    It is an open door to the least, the last, the lost the little,
    the unlucky, and the left out.
    It is the biggest enemy of the status quo.
    It is a central agency for anti-segregation and anti-defamation.
    It is rock in a wary land of oppression.
    It is a shelter from the stormy blast of bigotry.
    It faces a frowning world and shouts that we shall overcome.
    Let’s join it, engage it, and use it to encourage African Americans and others to be partners, movers, and shakers in the vast underdeveloped vistas of economic possibility and social responsibility.”
    From the Sermon, “Drunk of the Eve of Reconstruction”
    Rev. Dr. Charles Adams, Pastor – Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, Detroit, Michigan

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