Courage for Community Esther 7:1-6, 9-10, 9:20-22

American Indian Ministry Sunday; United Samoan Ministries Stewardship Sunday

Esther’s story is hidden history for most modern United Church of Christ congregations. Readings from the Old Testament book that bear her name only appear once in the three-year cycle of the lectionary, which is the calendar of Bible readings used by many congregations to guide worship. And there are several readings to choose from each Sunday, so unless a congregation is very thoughtful and deliberate in choosing to share her story, you might not know anything about her.

This is not so for our Jewish brothers and sisters in faith. Each year in the festival of Purim, her story is celebrated with joy and gratitude as one of the great heroes in the centuries-long battle against anti-Semitism.

Hidden histories are those stories from the past that have either been forgotten or deliberately suppressed as a way to center only one telling of history. On this day in the UCC, as we bring Esther out of hiding, we celebrate the voices of two significant groups whose stories have too often also been hidden.

American Indian Ministry Sunday is an opportunity to hear the voices of our Native American siblings. According to caimucc.org, American Indian congregations “are an integral part of the life of the United Church of Christ. We maintain our Indian traditions by employing our Native values and cultures to witness in our communities through authentic and postcolonial Indian expressions of the Christian faith.”

United Samoan Ministries Stewardship Sunday is a chance to recognize the UCC’s Samoan congregations. You can find their web presence on Facebook at /united-samoanministriesucc/, where they proclaim: We are the body of Christ, gathered and scattered in various states and cultural environments, proclaiming our faith in our Risen Lord Jesus Christ! The United Samoan Ministries of the UCC is established to provide a setting for members of Samoan congregations to gather for fellowship, spiritual nurturing, mutual support, and communications, and strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ.

Learn about Esther, and then join these two organizations in keeping language alive and telling stories that reveal hidden histories.

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