Regular worship services are each Sunday
at 10:30 a.m.
Rev. Kristi Denham
Congregational Church of Belmont
January 21, 2017
Rev. Kristi Denham was invited to speak at the Women's March in Redwood City on January 21. Here is the text of her speech.
I am so deeply honored to have been asked to speak here today. This is an important time in our nation’s history and I am so grateful to be a part of it.
Martin Luther King said, “The arc of history is long but it bends toward justice. May this day signal the opening of all our hearts to work with commitment and unfailing love toward the achievement of justice and love, so that together we can turn the tide from fear and totalitarianism, from violence and greed, toward the caring and oneness, the unity and interconnectedness that will allow all of life on this planet to prosper.
This nation has a dark and shadowed past, but its values and the good it proclaims cannot be extinguished. We are facing our shadow now and in shining a light upon it ~ the greed, and racism, the homophobia and xenophobia and Islamophobia and Misogyny that have plaguds our world for too long ~ we can finally begin to claim our true birthright as children of the Universe, as children of God.
Across our planet we gather to honor the dignity and integrity of all people. We do not value walls. We work together to build bridges of understanding and service and acknowledge our shared values.
Every world religion was founded by teachers and prophets who stood for compassion and justice. We do not need to simply tolerate each other; rather we are invited to respect and honor those values and the religious teachings and institutions that support them.
I have been honored in my years of commitment to community here on the Peninsula to have worked side by side with people of many different faith traditions – Muslims and Jews and Hindus and Buddhists, Catholics, Protestants, Evangelicals and Mormons. The Peninsula Multifaith Coalition just held its 5th Annual Martin Luther King Day of Service on Monday. More than 24 faith houses from every world religion gathered to work side by side to help our community grow stronger. We learn from one another and inspire each other. It is an amazing event, but now we are asked to do more.
What unites us is our common commitment to justice and love. I see that same unity in this gathering today. We need to draw from the energy of this shared experience to carry us forward in the work that lies ahead.
From this day forward, may we choose to remember our common humanity.
If a Muslim neighbor is targeted, I plan to put on a Hijab and stand beside them as Muslim. If my immigrant neighbor is targeted, I plan to be an advocate and provide a Safe Haven in my congregation for them, as I know many of our faith houses are planning to do. My children are bi-racial so I have long been standing for justice for our African American community.
If a woman is targeted, as I have been in the past, she will not stand alone.
Maya Angelou’s powerful poetry whispers in my ear:
“You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies.
You may trod me in the very dirt,
But still, like dust, I’ll rise!”
Now is our time to rise! Now is our time to remember we are part of something so much bigger than ourselves. Our planet is depending on us to end the insane history of rape and pillage that has dominated our human story. We were born for this time. We cannot fail. We must not fail.
There may be dark roads ahead. Remember the candle shining in your heart. Remember the circle of love and justice that surrounds you this day. You are not alone. We are never alone. Reach out for support when you need it. Build on the communities of connection you already have. If they don’t serve, find new ones. Start letter writing groups, prayer groups. Find others to share the work with you. Now is our time to rise. Can I get an Amen?
I invite all of you gathered here today to look around and really see each other, take a hand or touch a shoulder in solidarity and experience the powerful energy of oneness and common purpose that unites us. We may have come to this rally for a multitude of different reasons, but we are here together, sharing this moment in history that I pray and deeply believe may be a tipping point. Thank you! God bless you!