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Writers Church, A New Kind of Sunday Celebration

writers church

Writer’s Church

Glide Memorial Church’s Sunday Celebrations support writers. Every week we pass out small notebooks and pens to those joining us in-person, and invite our at-home church to write using the instrument of their choosing. offering four writing prompts for self-paced free-writes. We invite people to write stream of consciousness, and not hold back the writing that comes tumbling out.  On the fourth Sunday of each month, we have a full Writer’s Church, with writing prompts throughout the Celebration.

Through Writers Church, we are introducing another practice, and another tool for liberation—storytelling. We are the church of literary ancestor, San Francisco former Poet Laureate, and Poet, Janice Mirikitani. Janice brought thousands of people “into voice.” Show women and other marginalized folks how their story is their tool—first to self-discovery, then to freedom.

This month our Janice Mirikitani Poet Theologian in Residence, Ramona Laughing Brook Webb, provided us with our writing prompts.  We are sharing Ramona’s writing prompts here, in hopes that you will allow yourself time to create a writing practice, that you begin telling your own story, and that storytelling becomes a tool for your liberation.

February 4th Prompt

As we celebrate Black Futures Month we Celebrate the revolutionary vision and radical ministry of love gifted by Reverend Cecil Williams.

Quote One:  Cecil Williams & Janice Mirikitani – Who Will Take Care of My People?

“When I came to Glide and Cecil said I love you unconditionally it was quite the beginning of transformation for me…” -Janice Mirikitani

“Cecil started a revolution at Glide in many ways, from opening the doors to everybody for one thing and for not being the most exclusive place on Sunday mornings by opening it to pimps and prostitutes and everybody from the community and the homeless and taking down the cross and marrying same-sex couples 40 years ago. (2014) which I think is pretty revolutionary.” – Janice Mirikitani

Prompt One: Cecil Williams teaches transformation through unconditional love , how can you express unconditional love in your life?

 

February 11th Prompt

As we celebrate Black Futures Month we celebrate Dr. Maya Angelou’s extraordinary legacy as a world renowned poet , storyteller, activist, autobiographer, singer, dancer, actress, composer, and Hollywood’s first female black director.

Glide Memorial Church established a room in Dr. Angelou’s honor on May 23, 1993

Quote Two: 

Poem Title Still I Rise

“Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I’ll rise”

-Dr. Maya Angelou

Prompt Two: Remember an experience that inspired a transformation in you. What does your heart feel like when you rise?

 

February 18th Prompt

As we celebrate Black Futures Month we celebrate the brilliant ministry and artistry

of Minister Marvin K. White. 

Poem Title : Because…

It will take all of us,

Understanding that our history of

Transforming the darkest times,

Into acts of art, and faith, and resilience,

Are needed now,

Are of service now. 

– Minister Marvin K. White

Prompt Three: Take three deep breaths and envision where you feel the energy of hope in your  body. How does it feel to breathe into hope?

 

February 18th Writer’s Church Prompts

As we celebrate Black Futures Month we celebrate the iconic activism, poetry, playwriting and essays  of June Jordan. June Jordan was one of the most widely published poets and the founder of Poetry for the People at the University of California-Berkeley.

www.junejordan.net/poem-for-south-african-women.html

Time Signature : 1:55-2:00

Writers Church Quote 1: “I am a feminist, and what that means to me is much the same as the meaning of the fact that I am Black; it means that I must undertake to love myself and to respect myself as though my very life depends upon self-love and self-respect.”  – June Jordan

Poem Title : Poem for South African Women

“we are the ones we have been waiting for”

Writers Church Prompt 1:  If I am the medicine, what healing do I have to offer myself and my community?

 

As we celebrate Black Futures Month we celebrate the inventive genius and poetry  of Lewis Howard Latimer. Inventor of the first permanent carbon filament of the light bulb, designer of the patent of the telephone for Alexander Grand Bell and although he was the only Black member of the Eddison’s he was involved in a myriad of inventions you use everyday.

Writers Church Quote 2: (Background Reference information for display or just so you have background information.) Poems of Love and Life By: Lewis Howard Latimer, Published on the occasion of his his 77th birthday September 4th 1925

THE ENDLESS CHAIN

Let’s form a kind of endless chain,

Of loving kindly deeds;

Alleviating others’ pain,

And ministering to their needs.

Let’s do a kindness when we can,

 And pass the act along;

Let loving thoughts be in each word,

And tender be each song.

The world has great ones full enough;

Let’s be the simple kind;

The path of life is often rough;

Let’s smooth it for the blind.

Let each one do a simple act

Of kindness every day,

Think loving, kindly, tender thoughts;

 And send them on their way.

Let contact with our fellow men

Be marked by tenderness,

So that our epitaph may be,

He lived and, living, blessed.

-Lewis Howard Latimer

 

 Poem Titled : THE ENDLESS CHAIN

“Let each one do a simple act

     Of kindness every day,

Think loving, kindly, tender thoughts;

    And send them on their way. “

-Lewis Howard Latimer

Writers Church Prompt 2: What loving, kind, tender thoughts can you offer to yourself and a loved one today?

 

As we celebrate Black Futures Month we celebrate one of the single most important contributors to medical science Henrietta Lacks and her body’s HeLa cells. The genius of Henrietta Lacks’s body continues to heal and teach about a painful miracle  that continues to support medical breakthroughs

Henrietta Lacks born Loretta Pleasant; August 1, 1920 – October 4, 1951  was an African-American woman whose cancer cells are the source of the HeLa cell line, the first immortalized human cell line and one of the most important cell lines in medical research. An immortalized cell line reproduces indefinitely under specific conditions, and the HeLa cell line continues to be a source of invaluable medical data to the present day.

Henrietta Lacks HeLa cells were stolen from her body without her consent or knowledge, and her family was left with little information about her death while her cells traveled the world creating healing miracles in modern medicine.

Book Title : The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

“I’ve tried to imagine how she’d feel knowing that her cells went up in the first space missions to see what would happen to human cells in zero gravity, or that they helped with some of the most important advances in medicine: the polio vaccine, chemotherapy, cloning, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization. I’m pretty sure that she—like most of us—would be shocked to hear that there are trillions more of her cells growing in laboratories now than there ever were in her body.” -Rebecca Skloot  

Writers Church Prompt 3:  How have Henrietta Lacks HeLa cells contributed to your wellness or the wellness of someone you love?  How do you support ending racialized oppression in the medical system for Black Women?

 

As we celebrate Black Futures Month we Celebrate the brilliant revolutionary vision and radical ministry of love gifted by Reverend Cecil Williams to Glide Memorial Church.

Writers Church Quotes 4:

“Love is the legacy. It is the highest truth, and the foundation on which GLIDE was built. It leads to liberation, justice and freedom.”  –The Rev. Cecil Williams

“You gotta face people as they are, and accept them as they are and where they are.  You see, unconditionally.”  –The Rev. Cecil Williams                 

Writers Church Prompt 4: When have you offered yourself radical acceptance or radical forgiveness?

 

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