Legacies of the Transatlantic Slave Trade: Liturgical Excerpts / Michael Jagessar

Council for World Mission - USA Hearing / Birmingham, Alabama, June 25-28, 2018

Here is my question for this platform of Exploring Liturgy: how do we do liturgy in the context of the legacies of the transatlantic slave trade and ongoing notions of white supremacy; white exceptionalism, whiteness and the continuing commodification of bodies?

Consider listening to “Take me to the Alley” to Gregory Porter Sidewalk.


1 / Liturgical Collects [Downtown Birmingham, Alabama]

All photos: Michael Jagessar.

All photos: Michael Jagessar.


2 / Black icon

A Black Church (16th Street Baptist Church, Birmingham Alabama) where White Supremacist planted a bomb that killed 4 children…

Among the responses, the Welsh artist (John Petts) and Welsh people created and funded a Black Christ for the stained glass window that was shattered. It was a radical statement… it took that Black congregation three meetings and discussions before the church agreed to have the Black Christ installed…

3 / All Saints….remembering the prophets [civil rights activists’ lost voices]

Just a few of the unknown voices of activists – men women, young people of all shades...


4 / Remembering, Recalling and Confessing

•    Let us confess the lies Christians and Churches have told, the sins we have concealed and the victims we have silenced…..

•    Let us confess the part Christians and Churches play and have played in denying the rights of others until it is convenient for ourselves to grant….

•    Let us confess the part Christians and Churches play and have played in supporting unjust rule because we are complicit in its benefits and co-opted to its systems.

5 / Beyond words [a photo sermon]

The Equal Justice Initiative (Museum and Memorial)

6 / Prayers of the People — a Lament

We mourn
for the sins of the Transatlantic Slave Trade:
the profits made in body and blood,
the complicities in evil and injustice.

We lament
for the chains of enslavement still bind
in persisting racism, homophobia, poverty and violence
and an economic system in which only profit matters.

And we pray:
Slave Jesus: Lead us.
Rebel God: Rouse us.
Maroon Spirit: Fire us.
Let justice roll down like waters
and righteousness like a mighty stream,
for we are called,
in the face of Babylon
to join the struggle for freedom.

Michael Jagessar / June 2018

Michael Jagessar / June 2018