Report from core faculty member, Rev. Dr. Clinton McNair
On February 25th, the annual Seattle Black Clergy Luncheon with Seattle University's School of Theology and Ministry brought together members of the United Black Christian Clergy of Washington (UBCCW) and members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Community. Harry Bailey, Seattle interim Police Chief, also attended to learn about relevant issues and needs from participants.
Speakers from both community groups noted the challenges facing each of their communities, while all watched clips from several Ethiopian Orthodox Worship services. The gifts of spirit, culture, and traditions shared by both groups were richly significant. As the groups began to discuss the challenges facing their communities, they discovered similar challenges. Each community had resources to deal with the challenges, however neither community had sufficient resources. They learned that they could share these resources, and together their gifts could support meaningful solutions. Both communities face challenges with their young people that include education in schools, as well as a lack of technical and social resources, and connections to the social services network. Black communities have been dealing with these issues for more than one generation, and bring the gift of having developed the social networks and strategies to help their young people. The Ethiopian community has the gift of strong family traditions and deep religious traditions that their young people engage in. During the conversation each group begin to imagine what could happen if they came together and shared these gifts with each other.