Jun 17, 2022 | By John W. Coleman

Juneteenth, historically celebrated on June 19, will be observed as a federal holiday this year on Monday, June 20. It commemorates the delayed emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the U.S.

But more than 150 years after the first Juneteenth in 1865, inequity persists. As United Methodists, we must commit to ensure full freedom for all people. Learn more, and watch and download a video by United Methodist Communications.

In 2021 Willow Grove UMC hosted the community’s first Juneteenth celebration, a large event that filled its parking lot. St. Daniel’s UMC in Chester has celebrated Juneteenth with its community for many years. We would like to know about UM churches that will host or participate in commemorating or celebrating Juneteenth, Freedom Day, this year. Please tell us what your church is doing; and please send us photos to publish Write to communications@epaumc.org or use our Submit News web page.

Also, from UM Discipleship’s website:

Celebrating Juneteenth 2022

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Recently, the Rev. Dr. Zan W. Holmes wrote on our site that “Juneteenth is the best known and one of the oldest American holidays that celebrates the end of slavery in the United States.” We, the Worship Team at Discipleship Ministries, concur with that statement, but also declare that where Juneteenth is not known and/or not celebrated, it needs to be.

Juneteenth ought not be a celebration only for those in the Africana tradition, but for all of God’s people. In this era of debate about what should and should not be taught about our history of racial strife, this is history that needs to be remembered and celebrated. We encourage all worshiping communities to not only acknowledge this event in our history, but to celebrate the ongoing struggle for emancipation that continues to this day. As a part of the denominational efforts toward dismantling racism, Juneteenth can be an observance of solidarity and hope for God’s people and a sign of unity within the body of Christ.

Here are links to Dr. Holmes’s article on the meaning of Juneteenth today, as well as some worship suggestions and outlines for use in the local church. Let us be bold in declaring our oneness in the house of God, where there is “no longer slave or free . . . for all are one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:28 NRSV)