We Have A Shared Legacy of Resilience
On Sunday, August 25, we welcome Dr. Catherine Meeks, executive director of the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing, to preach and speak. Dr. Meeks will preach at the 8:45 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. services, and speak in Child Hall at 10:10 a.m.
Dr. Meeks describes the presentation: “Four hundred years ago, twenty Angolans from southern Africa were sold into slavery in Virginia and a system of pain and suffering emanated from that fateful sale that gave birth to an amazing legacy of resilience. In many ways it is difficult to discern how such a legacy could have been forged by a people who were separated from everything that was known to them and who had their humanity challenged as the slaves were challenged by their circumstances. However, they forged that path and all of us, white, black, or brown, have access to the gift of that capacity to make a way out of no way and to find hope in the midst of hopelessness. The greatest evidence of that legacy can be found in the words of African American spirituals with their expressions of struggle and triumph in spite of the sorrow that was endured. The forum will address this legacy of resilience and how it offers hope for us in the 21st Century and is offered as a part of the commemoration of the 400th year anniversary of this event.”
Prior to the opening of the Center for Racial Healing, Dr. Meeks chaired its precursor, Beloved Community: Commission for Dismantling Racism for the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. A sought-after teacher and workshop leader, she brings four decades of experience to the work of transforming the dismantling racism work in Atlanta. The core of her work has been with people who have been marginalized because of economic status, race, gender or physical ability as they pursue liberation, justice and access to resources that can help lead them to health, wellness and a more abundant life. This work grows out of her understanding of her call to the vocation of teacher as well as her realization that all of humanity is one family which God desires to unite.
Dr. Meeks is the retired Clara Carter Acree Distinguished Professor of Socio-Cultural Studies from Wesleyan College and founding executive director of the Lane Center for Community Engagement and Service. She characterizes herself as a midwife to the soul of her students and workshop participants. She has spent many years sharing the insights that she gained from her pursuit of the truth. She has had many great teachers including her sons, the Bible, Jungian psychology, cross cultural stories and other books of wisdom. But her greatest teacher is rheumatoid arthritis because it has forced her to learn many new ways to listen to her body and to pay attention to the messages from her heart. Dr. Meeks is frequently asked to present commentaries on Georgia Public Radio and other radio and television programs. She is the author of six books and one inspirational CD and is the editor of the bestselling book, Living Into God’s Dream: Dismantling Racism in America and co-author of Passionate for Justice: Ida B Wells as Prophet for Our Times. She holds a master’s degree in Social Work from Clark Atlanta University and Ph.D. from Emory University.
In remembrance of the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved Africans’ landing in North America in 1619, the Cathedral will rings its bells in unison with other Episcopal churches across the country this Sunday, August 25, at 3 p.m.