WARREN — With the seven-day celebration of Kwanzaa concluding over the weekend, a Warren church hosted a special program to recap the African-American holiday.
Members of the Sisters of the Voices of Micah 6:8 at First Presbyterian Church in Warren on Sunday hosted a live program, which also was streamed online, for an overview of Kwanzaa. A Kwanzaa table was set up in the front of the church with candles, books and other items.
Kwanzaa is marked Dec. 26 to Jan. 1 with a focus on celebration of community, family and culture. It was established in 1966 as a means to help African Americans reconnect with their African roots and heritage.
Adrienne Adams of the Michigan Black Presbyterian Caucus, who has been a youth advocate and educator, spoke remotely during the program. She said she and many people celebrate Kwanzaa to pay tribute to their African ancestors.
“There are seven principles of Kwanzaa with one marked each day and a candle lit. The first day is ‘Umoja’ for unity. We strive for unity in our families, our churches, our community and the world. What will each of you do to unite the people of God,” Adams said.
She said the black candle in the center represents the people, the red candles represent the blood of ancestors and the green candles represent the earth, life and the ideas and promises for the future.
Adams said the seven virtues are rooted in traditional African philosophies of life. The seven are unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.
The Rev. Betty Angelini, pastor of the church, said the table was set up by the Sisters of the Voices of Micah 6:8 to allow the church congregation to gain knowledge of Kwanzaa and its traditions.
“We have been learning about our own faith traditions. The Voices of Micah committee have put this together so we can learn about other traditions in an effort to form new relationships throughout the upcoming year. We want you to open your hearts to new ideas and new relationships,” Angelini said.
She said in 2022, there will be opportunities for growth and ministry in the church.
The Voices of Micah has started a relationship with Free Indeed Ministry, a nonprofit organization.
Free Indeed is led by Rev. Walter and Martha Allen, who minister to those in prison and to those who have returned to society after being in prison. There is focus on education, family and relationship building.
“We plan to work with and walk side by side with Walter and Martha to help make a difference in the lives of those who are currently or previously were in prison,” Angelini said.
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