Bearskin Missionary Baptist Church will show appreciation to God and those who led to the freedom from slavery as they celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. A special worship service on Sunday, Dec. 23 will be focused on the historic anniversary. The service begins at 11 a.m. and will reflect on the progress made in achieving America’s promise of liberty and justice for all.
Church historian Larry Sutton will assist in leading the pre-anniversary celebration.
“We are gearing up to celebrate this historic anniversary. This early special program is to remind the entire community to find ways to become a part of this historic event,” stated Sutton.
President Abraham Lincoln issued the order on Sept. 22, 1862 that freed enslaved Americans. It became effective Jan. 1, 1863.
“The Emancipation Proclamation turned the Civil War into a crusade for freedom. It brought a great sense of hopefulness to blacks throughout the United States as blacks received it with great joy and thanksgiving. This is partly why we are beginning this celebration during the Christmas season,” explained the church historian.
The proclamation also opened the Union Army and Navy to black men, allowing them to fight for a new dignity and self-respect, stated Sutton. “Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was the first step in America’s journey toward ‘a more perfect union.’”
The Bearskin Church family is using the historic anniversary to reflect on the progress that has been made in fulfilling America’s promise of liberty and justice for all. Furthermore, the church’s celebration of the historical event will be a time for them to rededicate themselves to continue the American journey toward that “more perfect union.”
“We will also honor the millions of American who have continue to ‘march toward complete freedom.’ In the word of civil rights icon John Lewis, ‘We must never, ever give up on our march toward complete freedom,’” expressed Sutton.
It is the church’s hope, Sutton stressed, that the celebration of the 150tj anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation will inspire discussion in the home, churches and communities across the county, state and nation.
“It is our desire that our city, county and community leaders will become a part of this historic celebration throughout 2013,” stressed Sutton.
Beginning on Jan. 1 and throughout the entire year of 2013, Sutton and the church are urging everyone to join together and celebrate the common humanity and each other so that the community will truly become more united.
“In American, 150 years later, Abraham Lincoln would be proud to see the progress we have made. However, there is still more work to do. Together, we are to continue moving Lincoln’s vision forward,” asserted Sutton.
Sutton shared that recently President Obama invited a small group of Black Americans with their grandchildren into his office to view a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Lincoln. During the visit, the elderly Mabel Harvey remarked to the President, “This must be the Lord’s doing because we’ve come a mighty long way.”
Sutton and the members of Bearskin Missionary Baptist Church and their pastor and first moderator of the Western Union Association, the Rev. Mark D. Powell, invite everyone to attend the Western Union Jubilee Celebration on New Year’s Eve. The Western Union will host a community watch night service to celebrate freedom and The Emancipation Proclamation at 150 years old. The event will start at 9 p.m. and will be held at the Agri-Exposition Center in Clinton. It is open to the public.
“This special service will commemorate the signing of the official version of the Emancipation Proclamation of President Abraham Lincoln on Jan. 1, 1863. We hope everyone will join us for this most historical celebration,” urged Sutton.