In so many ways we stand in a singular place in history. The sister communities of Florence Congregational Church (FCC) and Beit Ahavah (The Reform Synagogue of Greater Northampton) today stand together in fellowship with one another and with the greater world.
Our joint Meeting House has its roots here in Florence, MA in a religious coalition born in 1857 among a diverse group of Protestants. We constructed our church among the very pine trees where Sojourner Truth herself preached and prayed to God above.
At our inception, FCC worked tirelessly toward justice during the Civil War that once tore apart our country. This was a fight for freedom — freedom of country, a continued freedom of religion, and a freedom for dignity regardless of background or race. Here at FCC we practice that freedom every time we pray, when we choose to bear ourselves privately and completely to our Creator, and know that God and God Alone has the right to judge us.
Beit Ahavah, who shares not only FCC’s physical space but her commitment to the One True God, has a solid history in social justice. We are an inclusionary community which welcomes members from all backgrounds regardless of race, gender, or sexual/gender orientation. Since our inception twenty years ago, Beit Ahavah has been a presence for social justice within the community, our missions not only active here in America but abroad.
America was–and we believe still is–a land to live freely without bias. While at FCC and Beit Ahavah we express this differently, through the privacy of conscience or marked campaigns toward social justice respectively, we nonetheless believe in truth, justice and freedom. We were made in the Divine’s image–and our variety and diversity reflects on the Divine’s true magnificence and inability to be confined to a single interpretation. God does not discriminate.
Reverend Averill Elizabeth Blackburn
In conjunction with Rabbi Riqi Kosovske
On Friday, JUNETEENTH (June 19 th) at 8 pm there will be a silent candlelight service at the Sojourner Truth statue. Please practice social distancing, health precautions, and wear a mask. We anticipate that candles will be provided.