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Juneteenth marks the day in 1865 when the good news of liberation finally reached enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas.

As you observe this important holiday, we encourage you to use the resources below to pray, reflect, lament, and recommit to advancing racial justice and equity in your spheres of influence. 


Prayers & Reflections


JUNETEENTH, a poem by Calvin J. Walker, performed in the video below by Jasmine Shanise Gammon:


From Cole Arthur Riley, creator of Black Liturgies:

May the same God who spoke to Harriet make the sound of liberation clear as night to us. May God hold us in the same holy darkness that protected our ancestors on the journey. And as we remember, may God shield us from despair, knowing that our story is more than pain. Ours is the story of dignity. Let us reclaim it.


From Episcopal Formation in the Bay Area:

Holy and righteous God, you created us in your image.
Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil
and to make no peace with oppression.
Help us, like those of generations before us,
resist the evil of slavery and human bondage in any form
and any manner of oppression.
Help us to use our freedoms to bring justice
among people and nations everywhere,
to the glory of your Holy name through Jesus Christ our Lord.


MEDITATION IN BLACK by Dr. Kathryn E. Nelson, from The Anti-Racism Prayer Book by Trinity Church Boston:

…I find there are those who are so sure I’m inferior
goods, they don’t read my resume or listen to my ideas.
They say no before they even hear my questions.
Seems anyone can come from anywhere in the world
And get welcomed, but my people, working all these
Years, paying taxes, building this country,
are denied opportunities, told they’re not ready.

Lord knows, I’ve tried to live out my creed
I’ve tried to be a lover, a learner, your servant.
I’ve tried to be worthy of trust. I’ve tried
To make the world a better place in which to live and grow.

Read the full poem here.


A PRAYER ON PRIVILEGE by Rainey G. Dankel, from The Anti-Racism Prayer Book by Trinity Church Boston:

Merciful God, I claim Your promise
to be with us when two or three are gathered.
You know that each of us has a unique heart and history
and so I can only speak from what I have seen and known
and become as one who enjoys the privilege
of being born white in the United States.

As I try to understand the ways
in which I benefit from that history,
or deprive others of life and happiness
and all the things I take for granted,
I pray that You will open my heart, my mind, my imagination,
and my eyes to see this country as it is
and not as I want it to be or think that it is.

Read the full poem here.


From the Archdiocese of Baltimore:

We pray, O Lord, for change.
Jesus you revealed God through your wise words and loving deeds,
and we encounter you still today in the faces of those whom society has pushed to the margins.
Guide us, through the love you revealed,
to establish the justice you proclaimed,
that all peoples might dwell in harmony and peace,
united by that one love that binds us to each other, and to you.
And most of all, Lord, change our routine worship and work
into genuine encounter with you and our better selves
so that our lives will be changed for the good of all.


From a Bantu Pastor, from the Oxford Book of Prayer:

O God, we offer our thanks to thee for sending thy only Son…
In a world divided by colour bars,
how sweet a thing it is to know that in thee
we all belong to one family.
There are times when we unprivileged people weep tears…
when we think of the suffering we experience.
We come to thee, our only hope and refuge.
Help us, O God, to refuse to be embittered against those
who handle us with harshness.
We are grateful to thee for the gift of laughter at all times.

Save us from hatred of those who oppress us.
May we follow the spirit of thy Son Jesus Christ.


From St. Theresa of Avila:

Christ has no body now on earth but yours.
no hands but yours, no feet but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which Christ’s compassion
is to look out to the world.
Yours are the feet with which Christ
is to go about doing good.
Yours are the hands with which Christ
is to bless all people now.

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