The first of four “Lenten Service of Lament, Hope and Call to Action for Black Lives” was held on March 8 at St. Barnabas’ Church, Pasadena. Photo: Bob Williams

All in the diocese are invited to L.A.’s Christ the Good Shepherd Church for the March 15, 7 p.m. Lenten Service of Lament, Hope, and Call to Action for Black Lives, second in a Wednesday-night series launched March 8 at St. Barnabas, Pasadena.

Canon Suzanne Edwards-Acton, co-chair of the Program Group on Black Ministries, addresses the congregation at the March 8 Black Lives Evensong at St. Barnabas’ Church, Pasadena. Photo: Bob Williams.

The Chicago-based Adrian Dunn Singers will highlight this Wednesday’s service, continuing the series co-hosted by the H. Belfield Hannibal Chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians and the diocesan Program Group on Black Ministries.

A 6 p.m. soul food supper will precede the service at Christ the Good Shepherd Church, 3303 W. Vernon Avenue, in L.A.’s historic Leimert Park district. Priest-in-charge Judy Baldwin and JoAnn Jolly-Blanks, senior warden, will welcome all attendees, joining the series coordinators, the Rev. Guy Leemhuis, priest-in-charge of St. Luke’s in the Mountains, La Crescenta, and Canon Suzanne Edwards-Acton, co-chair of the Program Group on Black Ministries.

Set to continue with a March 22 service at Advent Parish in L.A.’s West Adams district and a March 29 culminating service at St. Timothy’s in Compton, the series began with a stirring liturgy of prayer, song, and preaching hosted March 8 by St. Barnabas Church in Pasadena. Founded in 1923, St. Barnabas is the diocese’s second-oldest historically black congregation and will celebrate its centennial this June 11.

Marco White, St. Barnabas’ senior warden, greeted Lenten service participants numbering some 25 from congregations around the diocese. “We are so glad to welcome everyone this evening,” he said, inviting all to make return visits to the church, located at 1062 N. Fair Oaks Avenue.

Guy Leemhuis, priest-in-charge at St. Luke’s of the Mountains Church, La Crescenta, preaches at the Black Lives evensong on March 8. Photo: Bob Williams

In his sermon, Leemhuis underscored the importance of “truth-telling” and building inner strength to cope with unrelenting years of deadly violence perpetrated against African Americans across the nation. Leemhuis emphasized the priority of building solidarity within the diocese and offered thanks for strong participation at the recent Feb. 26 diocesan Absalom Jones evensong and in preparations for the March 11 service honoring the life and ministry of the Rt. Rev. Barbara Harris, the Anglican Communion’s first woman bishop (available on video here).

Leemhuis expressed his gratitude for the on-going advocacy and support of Bishop John Harvey Taylor who, in a video invitation to the Lenten series, called the diocesan community to continue the courageous witness of the late Rev. Absalom Jones, ordained in 1802 as the Episcopal Church’s first priest of African descent.

“My siblings in Christ, in the 21st century in a nation purportedly devoted to the dignity of every human being and freedom and justice for all, it is sad to say this Lent that Absalom’s work is not near done; it is our work to finish,” Taylor said. “Come this March to remember, to bear witness, and to know hope.”