By Francesca Norsen Tate, Religion Editor
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Historic Plymouth Church Presents Juneteenth Celebration Concert
The landmark Plymouth Church in Brooklyn Heights will host an early Juneteenth Celebration featuring performances from Daptone recording artist Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens alongside Asthmatic Kitty’s The Welcome Wagon –whose albums were produced by Sufjan Stevens and released on his critically acclaimed label. Both groups have strong Brooklyn bonds.
Juneteenth, in its 144th year, is a nationwide celebration of the end of slavery in the United States, and is celebrated on June 19. (Plymouth’s celebration this year takes place 10 days earlier, on June 9.) This has special significance to Plymouth Church, which was a leader in the abolitionist movement, and home base for Henry Ward Beecher. Plymouth was also a champion of the Fisk Jubilee Singers, who were credited with the early popularization of the Negro spiritual. Because of its rich history in music and the emancipation movement, the church is a fitting place for this Juneteenth Celebration.
Both Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens and The Welcome Wagon are renowned for their performances of gospel music peppered with soul (Naomi) and indie pop (The Welcome Wagon). Having begun her singing career as a child in the South, Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens hail from Brooklyn and perform their soulful gospel music all over the world. In addition to her band, Naomi is an emcee and active participant every Sunday at the Greater Crossroads Baptist Church in Brooklyn.
Also based in Brooklyn, The Welcome Wagon (composed of married couple, Rev. Thomas Vito Aiuto and his wife Monique) execute a style of gospel music that is refreshingly sparse. They began their career at home when Vito decided that he wanted to learn how to play the guitar and the duo would play sacred music in their living room. Currently Vito, as he is known, is the senior pastor of Resurrection Presbyterian Church, a church he planted in Williamsburg in 2005.
Juneteenth Celebration takes place on Sunday, June 9 at 7 p.m. in the Plymouth Sanctuary, 57 Orange St., between Henry and Hicks streets. TICKETS are $20 in advance, $25 day of show. Visit ticketfly’s website to reserve tickets. http://www.ticketfly.com/event/269819.
Plymouth Church is a vibrant community of faith in historic Brooklyn Heights. For 166 years, the church has been a vital presence in New York City, and in 1961, the church sanctuary was designated a National Historic Landmark. Aware of its unique history and influence, Plymouth continues to serve the community with regular worship services, the Plymouth Church School (preschool) and summer camp, choral music for adults and children, Christian spiritual development classes for all ages, and charitable programs for those in need. Plymouth is a member of the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches.
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Brooklyn for Peace Rallies For Better Environmental Protection Near President Obama’s Fundraiser
As this column went to press, a delegation from Brooklyn for Peace was taking part in an environmental-protection rally in conjunction with President Obama’s visit to New York City.
The group’s aim was to tell the President “NO to pipelines! NO to fracking! YES to renewables!”
The BFP contingent gathered at Bryant Park on Monday afternoon and then marched to the Waldorf Astoria several blocks further uptown and to the east. There they participated in a rally to protect the environment, particularly water, which is the only renewable natural resource. They distributed flyers and signs explaining “how climate change relates to war (War Abroad, War at Home, War on the Planet).” Co-sponsors included United for Action, 350.org and Brooklyn For Peace.
An increasing number of groups are calling for a permanent ban on hydrofracking, both at the state and national levels. Several weeks ago, this newspaper published an article about a group of more than 300 clergy/faith leaders who sent a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo urging him to ban hydrofracking.
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St. Paul’s Church Hosts Talk On Halting Further Climate Change
“Our planet is heating up, and carbon pollution is to blame,” say the Leadership Corps for the Climate Reality Project and member Keith Edwards. They will give a talk at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Carroll Street on what Christians and people of faith—“stewards of God’s creation”—can do to save the earth from the far reaching consequences of global warming.
Edwards, who is also a parishioner at St. Paul’s, points out, “Despite overwhelming international scientific consensus on climate change, the global community still lacks the resolve to implement any meaningful solutions. Climate change is already happening, and it has entered our daily lives.”
He and the Leadership Corps for the Climate Reality Project have as their mission saving the planet. Last year, Edwards attended the conference that former Vice President of the U.S., Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Chairman of the Climate Reality Project Al Gore presented.
Keith Edwards will speak at St. Paul’s Church (Clinton & Carroll streets) this Sunday, May 19, at 12:30 p.m. following Mass.
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First Unitarian Church Plans Annual Jazz Service
First Unitarian Church’s much anticipated annual Jazz Service will be the highlight of the worship hour this Sunday, May 19. The Jazz Service features the Ron Vincent Quartet, which will play several selections. The ensemble will also perform works that incorporate the First Unitarian Church Choir and soloists, under the direction of longtime organist and choir master William Peek. The Rev. Ana Levy-Lyons, Senior Minister, will preach. All are welcome.
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E-Waste Drive at First Unitarian Called ‘Awesome’ Success
This year’s Electronic Waste drive, hosted for the past several years at First Unitarian Church, has been called an “awesome” success.
Nancy Wolf, one of the organizers and visible hosts at the First Unitarian’s Donald W. McKinney Chapel, recalls that “it was busier on Sunday than I have ever seen it. Over 150 people participated.”
Ms. Wolf expressed appreciation to all the churches and synagogues in Brooklyn Heights for helping with outreach, and to the apartment buildings, particularly the Cadman Towers and Concord Village, for posting the flyer.
Special thanks go to Brooklyn Heights Association and the Brooklyn Heights Blog, which win the “prize” for top notification.
Pick-up of the collected electronics was courtesy of the Lower East Side Ecology Center, an outstanding environmental organization that has focused on recycling wastes beyond the normal DOS listing.