“Beyond Land Acknowledgment”

Dear Fremont Family:

First, I had so much fun at the Blessing of the Animals last Sunday! It was wonderful to meet many of your four-legged family members. All the animals were very well behaved, and I especially loved the well timed barks that joined the chorus of our praise in worship. I think Milton really enjoyed himself. Thank you for participating so fully in the day.

This Sunday, October 9, there is another wonderful event to look forward to at Fremont. National speaker, Mark Charles, will be joining us on Sunday evening, 6:30 – 8:30pm, in conjunction with Indigenous Peoples Day (on Monday) and in friendship with Great Spirit UMC.

For nearly a year now, every Sunday morning as part of our welcome to worship, we have been speaking a land acknowledgement. This acknowledgment has been an important practice for us particularly this year as we celebrate 100 years of ministry at Fremont. Establishing a Christian church on this land a century ago was an act of courage on behalf of those who were moving into the neighborhood, but, of course, we know, they were not the first people here. Long before “Fremont Street Church” (an early name for the congregation) broke ground for a future faith community, there were bands of the Chinook who lived on the land. As we do the important work of truth-telling and repair, we acknowledge the church’s participation in the displacement of indigenous peoples.

And, we look for opportunities to embark on a healed future. Part of that important work is listening to leaders within the Native community who can help us learn from our history and discover how our history continues to impact us today. I have had the privilege of hearing Mark Charles speak at Great Spirit UMC in years prior to the pandemic. He is adept at explaining the legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery, a Christian manifesto, that set in motion much of the subsequent colonization of the “new world.” I can guarantee you that our time with Mark Charles will be transformative.

Then, we will with joy anticipate our celebration of our Centennial at Fremont. I have asked Rev. Allen Buck of Great Spirit UMC to join us at the beginning of worship on October 23, to offer us a prayer and/or a blessing. We do this important work as friends in ministry and as sister congregations seeking to lift up one another in healing and reconciliation.

One of my favorite things about Fremont is your courage as a congregation. It seems that the courage that began this congregation so many years ago continues to flow through you now, and that courage will move us toward God’s preferred future. Thank you for being on this journey of faith with me.

Grace and peace,