Please join us tonight from 7:15-8:30pm in the Worship Department Office Suite (below the Worship Center) for intercessory prayer for our community.
We are so blessed by the team of men and women who pastor at PCC. Pastor Peter Perkins is a gifted wordsmith and anointed shepherd. His email to the Bridges community at PCC (formerly known as Plus) was so wonderfully written I asked if I could use it for this week’s Gmail. I believe you will be blessed by it.
I look forward to joining Pastor Brian Rhen this Sunday in unpacking Nehemiah 13 this weekend with many of you. Read up ahead and come with hungry hearts.
I love being your pastor!
A Green Book for Safe Passage
Last month Beverly Blount, our guest soloist at the 8:55 worship gathering, shared sentiments about a recent discovery of the “Green Book,” as we recognized Black History Month. This book was originally published in 1936 under the full title The Negro Motorist Green-Book. The author’s intent was to provide a guide to services that were friendly to African-American travelers motoring across the United States. The unwritten message was that business establishments were aplenty that refused to provide accommodations, dining, and vehicle repair for black travelers, in addition to the implied threats of physical violence and forcible expulsion from communities along the travelers routes. Following the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, with the outlawing of discriminatory practices, the Green Book publication ended.
At the closure of our worship service, I read a few passages from Beverly’s Green Book. There were shamefully few businesses that were listed as “friendly” in my hometown of San Diego, and I shared my reflections on the nature of a society that would give rise to a Green Book publication. Following the benediction, I stepped down from the platform and after returning Beverly’s Green Book to her, she embraced me with a prolonged and unrelenting hug during which I was transported back to the summer of 1965.
The Watts Riots of 1965 brought focused national attention to the racial tension in our country. The alarm of “something is wrong” wafted southward into our La Jolla community as the Watts wreckage of lives and property seemed only blocks away.
Growing up in the ‘60s our family was active at La Jolla Presbyterian Church. A few blocks south of La Jolla “Pres” was Prince Chapel by the Sea African Methodist Episcopal Church. This AME church, founded in 1943, is tucked away on a short non-descript street amidst a predominately black and Latino neighborhood.
Responding to the Watts social alarm, my stepfather, Gordon Johnson (son of Evangelical Covenant Missionaries to China), walked into the neighboring AME church one Sunday morning to worship with his black neighbors. This visit led to a friendship with Rev. Lonnie Wormley and these two men, with added support from the community, formed the social justice organization S.O.F.A. (Strongly Oriented For Action).
S.O.F.A. grew in its work to address housing, educational, employment, and economic disparities in our community. A beautiful element of my stepfather’s initiative was my high school friendship with Lonnie Wormley Jr. who was a teenage companion and Vikings basketball teammate.
Beverly Blount’s embrace underneath the Nehemiah: Rebuild, Restore, Renew banner in our Worship Center triggered memories of a family legacy that valued responding to the warning alarms of an off-kilted culture. The Negro Motorist Green-Book has ceased publication.
That’s good. I think. But the reality expressed in the Bible and underscored in our PCC Rooted study groups is that we live on a battlefield. We are in active warfare between two kingdoms, God’s Kingdom and Satan’s. Outfitted with God’s armor as described by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 6:10-18, we are called to bridge across the kingdoms and seek God’s redemptive healing of our culture. Our firm hope is grounded in the coming of a New Kingdom where safe passage will require no motorist guide.