Happy Pride week. This Sunday is one of my favorite weeks of the year because it is New York City Pride and as always, I have been hard at work to bring you a wonderful service and march. We hope you will join us on Sunday at 11am for worship and then at 1pm at Judson Memorial Church for lunch and gathering. We will march from Foley Square to Washington Square Park with our smiles and rainbows and joy proclaiming God is good, all the time, in every queer body and experience God is good.
This week our scripture is from the book of Matthew. It may be a passage that you are familiar with. I know every time I read it, I start singing Godspell. I am also reminded of the baptisms I used to do, and in our preparation class we all ate a piece of salt plain and then with different foods reminding us that our work in this world is to be our best self and to enhance the life of others through that authenticity. So let’s read together from this chapter in Matthew and reflect on the questions below.
Matthew 5:13-16 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything but is thrown out and trampled under foot. You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. People do not light a lamp and put it under the bushel basket; rather, they put it on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your God in heaven.”
What are parts of your life or faith that enhance your relationship with God?
What are pieces of you that you try and hide?
How do you help the light of others shine?
Friends, know that the goodness that was and is who you are in your wholeness is celebrated here at The Park. May you always know that this is a place where your light can shine in its fullest.
Simple Prayer: O God, Let my light shine. Amen
On this Sunday as we worship God, we are not only centering queer expression, we are centering queer voices, in song writing and composition as well as performance. Thus, our guest artist J Hoard comes to us to lead us this Sunday.
J Hoard is a Brooklyn–based singer and songwriter on the Grammy Award–winning Coloring Book. Since moving to Brooklyn, he’s served as vocalist of the legendary curated hip-hop jam The Lesson in the Lower East Side. In recent years, J Hoard’s voice, lyrical genius, and fashion have become staples in the urban and traditional music scenes.
In 2015, he was a featured artist in the Montreal Jazz Festival program; that same year, he successfully provided a vocal program for the Xalapa Jazz Festival in Mexico. The following year, he was praised in DownBeat magazine for his concert during the opening ceremony and second vocal program of the Xalapa Jazz Festival. During these years, he also toured with Anna Wise and Sonnymoon as well as sharing bills and stages with Bilal, The Stepkids, Kimbra, Meshell Ndegeocello, and Pharoahe Monch.
Beyond performing and teaching, J Hoard is studio–centered. Since the summer of 2015, he has released reflective music intended to provide healing via urban beat production and vibrant melodies. This was first achieved on his EP entitled Feel Good. The following single, “Arctic”, received excellent response in the July ’16 Sofar Sounds live premiere. “Sirens”, was premiered on Okayplayer during Grammy week 2017 and went on to be featured on Noisey Radio (Beats1 Apple Music Station). It has since remained in rotation.
Lastly, J Hoard is a recent Grammy recipient due to his songwriting contribution on Chance the Rapper’s hit, “No Problem”. In addition, this past year he has co-written three singles with Sonnymoon (Anna Wise, Dane Orr), been featured on the recently released “Everything’s Fine” by hip-hop legends Jean Grae and Quelle Christ, and collaborated on the new critically acclaimed Meshell Ndegeocello album.
Children and Youth Ministry Update
from Nordia Bennett, Children’s Minister
Happy Pride Month and Happy Summer Solstice!
We celebrate the lives of the LGBTQ+ community, the pursuit of living a truthful, honest, and Spirit inspired life.
Last Sunday, the 10:00 am (4th grade or older) youth explored the importance of storytelling in Luke 13:22-30—what are the stories they are carrying with them and desire to build? The 10:30 am (3rd grade and younger) children explored Jesus Walking on Water in The Sparks Story Bible. We chatted about the importance of accountability in community.
This Sunday, the 10 am (4th grade or older) youth will dive into summer rituals and what can fuel us in a season of receiving. The 10:30 am (3rd grade or younger) children will explore “Fiery Furnace” in the Sparks Story Bible.
Celebrate NYC Pride at The Django Featuring C. Anthony Bryant!
Performing Wednesday, June 29, 10:30 pm ET
C Anthony Bryant: I am a global resident of many intersections. Black, SGL, Queer, Christian, and Questioning EVERYTHING. My life, my performance practice and my goals reflect my questioning. Walking in the humanity that I accept as my own reflects my questioning. My questioning reflects who I am as a Black, Same Gender Loving, Queer, Christian and Questioning individual. I THEN add to this my musicianship and who I am as a performer. My musicianship and the choices within said context all inform who I present as. I am free and I choose to be free musically and otherwise. THIS is what it means to be a part of the musical LBGTQIA community.
Join Pastor Kaji & The Park at Lincoln Center in celebrating the musical genius of Greg Tate at:
Gregory Stephen Ionman Tate (1957-2021) was a giant of Black radical thought and creativity, and a conductor of incandescent, community-driven music. Tate's body of writing as an influential critic would be enough to enshrine him as a cultural icon, but he is equally important to a generation of musicians as both the co-founder of the Black Rock Coalition, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the complete creative freedom of Black artists; and the creator of Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber, a sprawling, omnivorous, and outrageously accomplished improv collective. Under his co-leadership, BSAC has issued more than 20 releases in its two-decade history, featuring a cavalcade of virtuoso musicians. Tate's sudden passing in December 2021 was a blow to his many loved ones, friends, collaborators, and admirers around the globe. For this homecoming concert, curated and presented with The Tate Family at one of his favorite venues, more than thirty BSAC members will perform in celebration and tribute to one of the most essential voices in the history of 21st Century Avant Groidd music and thought.