For a 'most-all-white Episcopal church, we do a pretty good job singing "Lift Every Voice and Sing," commonly referred to as the Black national anthem. Yesterday was no exception, except we had a little (a lot of) help from the "Singing Sisters of Ebenezer Baptist Church," who graced us with their voices in place of our own fine choir. And yes, I mean that Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King, Jr. grew and preached.
I figure it was a pretty big sacrifice for these wonderful women to give up Ebenezer for All Saints' on King's birthday. Though we were very enthusiastic and welcoming during and after the services, I'm sure the rather formal Episcopal liturgy and preaching style were sorta boring for them. (Episcopalians carry the banner "God's frozen people" with pride, though the Presbyterians are always trying to wrestle it from us.) We did break out in spontaneous applause several times during the service and sang real, real loud (we know our "Lift Every Voice," babe), so maybe they won't think we were white-beyond-all-help.
Here's to you, "Singing Sisters." You did yourselves and the holiday proud. Come back to All Saints' soon!