Thursday, December 14, 2023

St Augustine - Conference

This year's Cabinet and Spouse retreat was held in St. Augustine. There was a learning component this year led by the REv. David Williamson, one of the pastors at Grace UMC in St. Augustine. He has done a lot of work with building Beloved Community and helping to address racism in the city - including working with a coalition to remove the Confederate statues that were downtown. He took us on a walking tour of the African American history that none of us ever learned on all those elementary school field trips to the city. 

Steps at a motel where Dr. MLK protested after the motel owner poured muriatic acid into the pool with African Americans in it. This protest helped lead to the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 

Downtown square. Where the Christmas tree is now is where one of the Confederate statues used to sit. This gazebo looking structure is where they used to sell slaves after bringing them in at the port. And there is a statue here dedicated to folks in the Civil Rights movement. 

Nearby were the Woolworths and McCrory's that were the sites of lunch counter sit ins. 

This is where the Emancipation Proclamation was first read in St. Augustine. 

The former Trinity UMC in St. Augustine (African American church, now independent) 

First Baptist Church of St. Augustine, for the African American community. 

We visited the museum in the historic black district of Lincolnville; its housed in the original high school for blacks in St. Augustine. 

St. Paul AME Church - we met with the current mayor, the former mayor, the pastor of this church and the district superintedent also. 

And at the Cabinet dinner, Daryl had this absolutely delicious piece of chocolate cake....

We worshipped on our last day in the iconic sanctuary at Grace UMC St Augustine. And our beloved David Dodge and his wife Patty came to visit with the group. David was the director of the Center for Clergy Excellence for 20 years and mentored students like Daryl and I through seminary and through the Board of Ministry. 

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