Minister Luke's Message.........
The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ abounds for you and for me and for all people. Hallelujah! Amen!
February is Black History Month, a way to remember important people and events in the history of the African diaspora. This year’s theme for Black History Month is “The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity.” honor of Black History Month, I am doing three things. First, I followed The Dad Gang on Instagram.
This group helps to redefine and reshape the image of Black Fatherhood through “random acts of dadness!” I am loving the daily images of Black dads and their children together, something grievously underrepresented in popular media. Secondly, I will share various opportunities to celebrate and learn more about Black History on Our Savior’s Facebook page. Finally, I dedicate this newsletter article to one of our own, Lutheran pastor Jehu Jones.
Jehu Jones Jr. (1786–1852) was a Lutheran minister who founded one of the first African American Lutheran congregations in the United States, as well as actively involved in improving the social welfare of Black Americans.
Jones was born enslaved in Charleston, South Carolina, and named after his father, Jehu Jones Sr., a tailor who bought his freedom (along with that of his wife, Jehu's mother, Abigail) in 1798. Although originally connected with the Episcopal Church, Jones Jr. joined the Lutheran Church and became of member of Charleston's St. John's Lutheran congregation in 1820. However, after the Denmark Vesey conspiracy of 1822, South Carolina increasingly restricted the civil rights even of free Blacks.
After a short stint as a missionary in the newly formed Liberia, in 1833, Jones received his inheritance and moved to Philadelphia. The Lutheran Church there appointed Jones as a missionary to the city's Black population. Shortly thereafter, his St. Paul's Lutheran congregation decided to build a church, and with the assistance of nearby Lutheran congregations, bought two lots. However, three years later, approximately $1300 was still owed on the mortgage, which was foreclosed and sold at auction.
Jones remained active in the Philadelphia African American congregation, as well as Pennsylvania politics and the national Colored Conventions Movement through at least 1851. In 1845, he helped organize a convention to unite freed Blacks to petition for civil rights. He and the St. Paul's congregation were also active in the Moral Reform and Improvement Society, a group of African American churches whose goal was to improve the social conditions for Blacks in Philadelphia. Jones also founded Lutheran Churches (with congregations of all races)
in Gettysburg and Chambersburg.
The Lutheran church remembers its first Black Pastor and his service annually on November 24th. Jehu Jones led the first Black Lutheran church in the U.S. He was grossly underpaid and he received
no retirement compensation for his service. He died in 1852.
Pray with me: God of all peoples and nations, we give thanks for all of the Saints, especially Jehu Jones. Teach us to fairly and equitably treat all of our pastors, deacons, and leaders of your church regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation or anything else that would separate us from one another. Guide us with your Holy Spirit as we celebrate the diversity of your people this month and always.
In Jesus name we pray, Amen.
Minister Luke’s Desk