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Jan 30, 2013 | Union of Black Episcopalians

Diocese of Texas to Celebrate Absalom Jones

The John D. Epps Chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians [UBE], in concert with the Commission on Black Ministry, is inviting every parish in the Episcopal Diocese of Texas to participate in a diocesan wide celebration commemorating Absalom Jones’ Feast Day on Sunday, February 10. Each parish is invited to celebrate separately in their home church on the same Sunday to create collective worship celebration all over the diocese.


February marks the beginning of Black History Month, a federally recognized, nation-wide celebration that provides the opportunity for all Americans to reflect on the significant roles that African Americans have played in the shaping of U.S. history. It is a perfect time to highlight the contributions that persons of the African diaspora have made to this diocese and the wider communion. The pages of Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints are filled with the names of such persons in the month of February; saints like Absalom Jones, Janani Luwum, Frederick Douglass, Anna Julia Cooper and Elizabeth Wright.


Absalom Jones was first priest in America of African descent (and former slave) to be ordained in the Episcopal Church. In fact, Absalom Jones was the first Black minister of any denomination ordained in the United States. Moreover, in 1973, at the 64th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, the Reverend Absalom Jones was added to the ranks of “common saints” and appointed a feast day in our Church calendar on February 13. Jones’ ministry bore witness to Christ’s death-defying love, in service, in holiness of life and in the face of challenges from existing practices and prejudices from within our Church and our society. We celebrate Jones because he was unabashedly Christian and unapologetically Episcopalian.


“It is our hope that each parish will commit to commemorate the legacy and ministry of the Reverend Absalom Jones”, said Corlie Jackson, Feast Day coordinator. “Commemorating Absalom Jones’ Feast Day reminds us of important events in the history of the Episcopal Church, which affect all of us, not simply Black Episcopalians. It is a glorious opportunity for the Church to remember that what began over two centuries ago as a story of exclusion can begin a celebration of inclusion and our journey to the day we may all be able to see the face of God in each other.”


Holding the commemoration on the same day all over the diocese offers the Church a fabulous opportunity to celebrate its rich diversity and actualize its desire for unity as one Church, with one voice. The previous “diocesan” celebrations of the Absalom Jones Feast Day have been hosted in Houston, which limit participation and involvement to those who can travel to Houston. A special feature of this kind of event is that doesn’t require anyone to travel or miss their home church services; but participate within their congregation and the context of the local community. This way everyone can have a celebration the way their church celebrates. Each parish is encouraged to engage and create their own commemoration service.


See a list of resources below.


For more information concerning this event, contact: Carole Pinkett 713.503.6836 or Corlie Jackson 409.539.5025

Absalom Jones Pew Sheet


Absalom Jones Sermons:

Absalom Jones Observance - Sermons That Work

A Thanksgiving Sermon, by Absalom Jones (1808)

Preaching on the Feast of Absalom Jones, February, 2007

Renaissance Man: A Sermon on Absalom Jones

"Like Absalom Jones": Sermon at Absalom Jones Celebration

Feast of Absalom Jones - Sermon by Shirley Franklin on Vimeo

Absalom Jones - Bishop Sutton's Sermon on Vimeo

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburg : Absalom Jones Day 2009 – A ...

From Glory into Glory: Absalom Jones & the Gift of Difference

True Freedom; A Sermon for Absalom Jones Day - From Glory into ...


Prayers of the People: Form V Recommended


Additional Prayers:

O God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Savior, the Prince of Peace:
Give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions; take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatever else may hinder us from godly union and concord; that, as there is but one Body and one Spirit, one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may be all of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.


Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart
[and especially the hearts of the people of this land], that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.