Yesterday the Episcopal Farmworker Ministry hosted a collaborative Father’s Day celebration with the AME Zion Church from Fayetteville.
Yesterday I got a taste of what solidarity feels like in practice.
What began as a trickle of early-comers grew into a steady stream as members of the AME Zion Church and eighteen other partnered congregations made their way down long, sunbaked roads, past seemingly endless fields of tobacco and sweet potatoes to join us here at the Ministry. The event was intended to bring our two communities together in celebration and worship as a means of forging a lasting relationship of mutual respect and support.
Little did I know just how much of a joyful commotion it would be.
The outdoor sanctuary space at the ministry seemed to breathe and expand as our guests enlivened it with their presence. Traditions were shared: a stubborn piñata, a rousing performance of gospel music by groups from a number of the different Fayetteville churches. Kids from the two communities played together, shrieking as they ran through the sprinklers in the field out back. A fierce game of tug-of-war played out behind the picnic tables and men from both communities shared what fatherhood means to them.
Our guests from Fayetteville offered free haircuts and generous donations of clothing and household items. They showed up with plentiful material support, but even more powerfully, they sent a clear message that true solidarity means showing up for one another’s spirits as well. And show up they did. With warm smiles, helping hands, and celebratory songs that all were invited to join.
So from all of us here at the ministry, I wish to extend our deepest gratitude to our guests from the AME Zion Church in Fayetteville. We hope to continue building a bridge between your community and our own for many years to come.