On Mother’s Day 2016, Marlanda Dekine and Scott Neely were invited to offer a reflection on unity at North Anderson Community Church in Anderson, SC. The scripture for the morning was John 17:20-26. Together, the spoken word poetry and sermon they shared focused on “Unity through Difference”.
Dekine & Neely serve with Speaking Down Barriers, a non-profit organization that transforms our life together across our differences by facilitating community dialogue, training, performances, and consultation. The vision of Speaking Down Barriers is of a world where all people are confronting and healing the wounds of difference, including race, gender, class, religion, national identity, and sexual orientation. Rather than our differences be a source of division, they are a source of our collective strength.
“If our history has taught us anything, it is that action for change directed only against the external conditions of our oppressions is not enough. In order to be whole, we must recognize the despair oppression plants within each of us–that thin persistent voice that says our efforts are useless, it will never change, so why bother, accept it. And we must fight that inserted piece of self-destruction that lives and flourishes like a poison inside of us, unexamined until it makes us turn upon ourselves in each other. But we can put our finger down upon that loathing buried deep within each one of us and see who it encourages us to despise, and we can lessen its potency by the knowledge of our real connectedness, arcing across our differences.” (142)
Their reflection may be heard here. Communion was celebrated following the reflection.