Because of expected ice storm on Sunday January 9, only 8:30 worship will take place onsite.

February 10, 2022

A Pastoral Word. . .

Pastor Mark Adams

February 10, 2022
Since we are in the midst of Black History Month, I thought it would be good for us to look back and learn the story of this couple: Bill and Daisy Meyers. Bill was a WW2 vet.  Daisy had graduated from college while he was overseas.

In the early 1950’s, no doubt to help with the demand for homes for returning vets and their families, a man named William J. Levitt, invented what we now call “the suburb.” To lower costs and to speed up construction, Levitt & Sons perfected a 26-step rationalized building method that was essentially an assembly line type of home building.

They also designed their suburb with traffic-calming curved roads, in which there were no four-way intersections. Each neighborhood had within its boundaries a site donated by Levitt & Sons for a public elementary school. Locations for churches and other public facilities were set aside and also donated to religious groups and other organizations. Other amenities included Olympic-sized public pools, parks, baseball fields and playgrounds, and a shopping center (Malls weren’t invented yet!).

But this planned community wasn’t as idyllic as it seemed. You see, Levitt & Sons would not sell homes to African Americans. And the FHA supported them in this institutional prejudice by refusing financing for these homes and in other similar projects to anyone NOT of the “Caucasian race.”  Thankfully, in 1957 the Meyers family was able to get around these barriers by purchasing a home in Levittown directly from an owner.

In her book, Trailblazers: The Story of The Meyers Family in Levittown, Pennsylvania, Sarah Friedmann gives us her perspective on all this. She writes:

“In 1957, my parents moved into Levittown, Pennsylvania. It was a brand-new suburban community, and these homes were at a price that Army veterans could afford.

That August, another family moved into Levittown---The Meyers.  Like my family, their family was growing: they had three young children, and we had two.

When my family moved in, we were greeted by a smiling member of the local Welcome Wagon. When the Myers family moved in, they got a different greeting. The local newspaper reported:

‘Small groups of agitated Levittowners are already gathering in front of the Myers home. By midnight, more than 200 shouting men, women and children cluster on the Myers’ front lawn. A group of teens throw rocks through the Myers’ front picture window, and 15 police officers are dispatched to the scene. Now, with the violence increasing, the sheriff wires the Pennsylvania State Police asking for immediate assistance. His request states, ‘The citizens of Levittown are out of control.’

What can we learn from this tale of two families? It shows us that there is more than one kind of racism. There is “personal racism,” like we see in the 200 people who mobbed the Myers’ front lawn. But there is also “structural racism”---the kind of legal and financial structures that made sure whites like the Millers got a loan and a home and made sure blacks like the Myers, didn’t.”

In 1994, with the help of Redland’s share loan, Sue and I were able to buy a home--a home that built equity such that it that enabled us to put three kids through college and, if the Lord tarries, will make it possible for us to leave those children an inheritance that will bless them and their children.

But most African American families of the 1950’s and 60’s were kept from that kind of blessing--so their children and grandchildren didn’t have those benefits. Stop and think, ask God to help, but consider of all the ways that “old” prejudice continues to negatively impact people of color today.

This month---and EVERY month---Christians must remember the empathy Jesus showed for the sick, the blind, the deaf, all people who suffer. We are to imitate our Lord in this, seeking to understand the hurts of others such that we are motivated to help.

As God tells us in His Book, we are to: “Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15). We are to: “Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.” (Galatians 6:2-3).

Keep the SON in your eyes!
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