The Beloved Community

Black History Month Celebration 2018

The History of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church

On February 25, 2018 the Church and Society Committee of Nardin Park UMC and the First African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church of Farmington Hills presented “The Beloved Community” featuring storyteller LaRon Williams in the Nardin Park sanctuary.  LaRon and a group of readers  from several communities and congregations presented a brief history of the struggle of African Americans in the U.S. and the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church.  LaRon added some of his personal stories of growing up Black.

Following the presentation the audience met in small groups around tables in Mercer Hall to discuss their personal experiences relating to the reader’s theatre  experience.

The prompts for the table discussions led by team facilitators included:

  1. “Identify one important concept or idea that you learned from the presentation.”
  2. “Why do you believe that this concept or idea is important?”
  3. “Apply what you have learned from this presentation to some aspect of your personal, church or spiritual life. [For creating the Beloved Community]”
  4. “What question(s) has the presentation raised for you? What are you still wondering about?”

Participants were encouraged to explore diverse “voices” as follows:

Tell The Whole Story!

  1. Fill in the gaps in our knowledge of each other by correcting previously distorted and/or omitted history, and by telling the heretofore untold stories of those who are not the rich and powerful.
  2. Tell the story from the point of view of those who are the “least” among us: the poor, the disenfranchised, the “outsiders” in every category of diversity.
  3. Tell the story in the “outsider’s” own, authentic voice.
  4. Redirect the focus, away from over-examination of the suffering of the outsider, onto understanding the ways of the “insiders” and what they did to establish the hierarchies of the society under which we live today. 

The evening was capped off with a Lenten Dinner prepared by caterers Cliff Donovan and Lisa Merritt.