Today marks the beginning of Black History Month. Over the past year, perhaps more than any other in the history of our nation, we have become more collectively aware of the ongoing impact of racism among us, and the responsibility we bear as a white majority to undo the systems that continue to harm and oppress.

Though our country’s history is inextricably bound to and built upon the dehumanizing slavery of African and Indigenous persons, we, too rarely, listen to the witness of those who bear the scars of this trauma in their bodies and blood line. If you haven’t yet, I encourage you to watch the PBS special “The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross” and the documentary “13th.” If you would like to read a more gospel-centered witness, I recommend to you Howard Thurman’s Jesus and the Disinherited. It can feel challenging to hear that our experience is so vastly different from others, and yet listening to and honoring our neighbor’s truth is the first step toward loving them.

This Sunday, we have invited fellow United Methodist pastor and University of San Diego professor Rev. Dr. Christopher Carter to lead us in worship. (He is truly our neighbor, living up the street in Clairemont!) I wish we were able to more fully welcome him among us on Sunday morning and to share in fellowship with him, but I look forward to future opportunities to learn from both his witness and teaching, as he leads us on the path toward racial resilience and reconciliation.

I look forward to worshiping together with Dr. Carter and you this Sunday.

In hope,
Pastor Darin

Dr. Christopher Carter’s teaching and research focuses on philosophical and theological ethics, Black and Womanist theological ethics, environmental ethics, and animals and religion. He approaches religious studies as a liberation ethicist committed to exploring how the moral economy of U.S. religious thought and culture impact the everyday lives of marginalized populations, particularly African American and Latino/a communities. Welcome to St. Mark’s!