On the 401st anniversary of the start of Black enslavement in the American colonies, Word&Way Editor Brian Kaylor offered a time of confession and lament at the tombstone of the first pastor of his Baptist church, a man who enslaved three persons while serving as pastor. His five-minute reflection at the graveyard can be viewed below.
Before confessing the history about the pastor and reading a psalm of lament (Psalm 90), Kaylor also encouraged others to confess and lament their own church’s legacy of slavery, segregation, and more.
For this anniversary last year of the start of Black enslavement in Virginia on Aug. 20, 1619, Kaylor participated in a service at First Baptist Church in Jefferson City, Missouri, to confess and lament that congregation’s ties to slavery and the Confederacy. That followed the three-year “Angela Project” initiative by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, National Baptist Convention of America, and Progressive National Baptist Convention to reflect on that legacy of 1619. The effort in 2019 included a service at 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, a service during the Baptist World Alliance gathering in the Bahamas that Kaylor helped lead, and other events.