Message from our Rector


From the Rector


              Two observances in the life of Otey Parish this April will observe the 50th anniversary of significant events in race relations.  Wednesday, April 4, is the anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.  On that day the Sewanee community is invited to gather at the University Quad (rain location Convocation Hall) at 6:00pm for silence at the time Dr. King was shot, prayer, spoken reflections, and singing.  The group will then process to Angel Park (rain location St. Mark's Hall) by 7:00pm for the tolling of Otey's bell at the time Dr. King was pronounced dead, silence, prayer and reflection on his legacy.  I hope you will join me in remembering Dr. King's life and ministry. 

On Sunday, April 22, we will for the second time celebrate St. Mark's Sunday, honoring Sewanee's historically African American congregation.  When Otey became one of the first integrated parishes in the South in the early 1960s, some, but not all, members of St. Mark's Mission Church joined Otey.  By 1968 the remaining members of St. Mark's asked Bishop Sanders to merge the church with Otey.  What I assume were the words of the Rev. Cecil Woods (late husband of Otey parishioner Marie Woods) survive in the worship bulletin from Sunday, June 9, 1968:

"We welcome . . . all members of St. Mark's Church, who, after the ceremony at the 11:00 AM service marking the merging of the two congregations, will be henceforth members of Otey Memorial Parish.  . . .   It is our confident hope that Christ's Church in Sewanee will be stronger in faith, clearer in Her witness to the One Lord, and more effective in carrying on the redemptive work of our Lord in this community as a result of the coming together of these two congregations.  . . .  We give special thanks to God for the unity in Christ which is made manifest in our midst today."

Taking time to look back at these two events in 1968 is important both in and of itself and for the perspective it offers us now.  Both commemorations remind us that, despite the progress that has been made, much work remains for God's vision of a reconciled humanity to be fully realized.  May the steps we walk as a community down University Ave. on April 4 inspire us to take steps constantly toward achieving the equality and justice God calls us to. 

Rob Lamborn