Speaking Peace


By The Rev. Cleo Graham & Brenda Westbury
On Saturday, February 2, 2019, more than 65 members of the community gathered at Beneficent Congregational Church UCC, in Providence, Rhode Island, for the first “Speak Peace Symposium” organized by the Justice and Witness Committee. Brenda Westbury, JWC Chairperson introduced the conference theme “Speak Peace,” as a rallying call. The day was filled with outstanding speakers and an amazing homemade pasta lunch made by Chefs Judy and Scott. FundaFest performer Teju Olobongi from Minnesota enlightened the crowd with his drumming and chants of peace and resiliency spoken in many languages throughout our world.
The Rev. Marilyn Kendrix, Interim Rhode Island Conference Minister, gave a spirited message about the prevalence of Mass Incarceration in Rhode Island and vicinity and why we need to “do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God.” (Micah 6:8)

Dr. Gregory Elliot, from Brown University, enlightened the crowd about the importance of mattering and how we need to reflect and share this message as awareness with and toward others. Attorney Lonnie Braxton challenged us to remember the importance of voting, our historical rights, and our current standing. During the early afternoon, three artists, Angel Carjitas- Arbelo, Sarah Jane Lapp, and Christopher Thomas shared their artistic visions and their relationships with social justice. The day concluded with a gathering of participant voices in song led by Minister of Music Earnest Cox. A special thanks to all who helped to make this day so extraordinary!



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