Black History Month–Maranatha– Part 2

March 5, 2014 at 4:54 pm Leave a comment



The chicken was delicious. Everything was good.

Over the yummy Caribbean lunch, we talked with people at our table, several who are members of Maranatha. Dana and her husband, from Toronto,  were guests of a member. Dana asked how we, who were not from one of the islands, liked the Caribbean food. I said we’d enjoyed it the year before and this year was no exception. The chicken was especially delicious.

Angie, who sat around the corner from me, said, “You can have more, if you like.”

“Thanks, I told her.  Think I’ve had enough and will save a space for dessert.”

Making my way to another table, I asked Sylma Fletcher if I might get a few of her photos for my blog and she was happy to oblige.

Dessert included a celebration cake and plenty of fresh fruit.


Celebration cake; photo credit, Sylma.


Ken Daley art

One of two pieces reproduced for the service program, and gracious permission by artist Ken Daley to  use it on my blog.

The afternoon program began back in the church sanctuary, perhaps a little later than planned, but there had been many people to accommodate in the fellowship hall and the extra time offered a good chance to meet people and chat. For me it included the mother of a child I had once taught in preschool. It’s always a treat to see Chloe and say hello.

_SYL6733Drumming  group from Cameron Heights; photo credit, Sylma

First off in the program was the Cameron Heights drumming group under the direction of their leader, Tim. He gave us some history on how these drums were made, which was fascinating. Then the group went through a drumming routine. Who would know that a drum of that size could produce such variety in sound. But then I am not a drummer.

_SYL6742                                                                                                                  Cameron Heights Concert Choir, under the direction of Mrs. Brenneman; photo credit, Sylma

After the drumming group, the concert choir filed up to the front and Mrs. Brenneman, their leader, told us about the first two African pieces they would sing. After finding their note on the piano, they began singing accapella. The third song was a piece by Bob Marley, African-American singer. The choir performed it, to our delight, and then we were given the opportunity to join them in the four parts. What a wonderful piece and so enjoyable to sing. The tune was in my head for some time after the event.

_SYL6779                                                                                                                                                                              Peter Braid, MP; photo credit, Sylma

Peter Braid, guest and Member of Parliament for Kitchener-Waterloo riding, spoke about his opportunity to attend this event. “During Black History Month, our community comes together to learn about and celebrate the achievements and contributions of Black Canadians” and how we celebrate our diversity at such an event as this. He thanked Pastor Peter Kuhnert and the Maranatha congregation “for bringing Black History Month to life.”

Braid had the opportunity to be part of the delegation to South Africa, representing Canada, for the funeral of Nelson Mandela, whose “example of courage and hope was an inspiration to many.” He said, “It was an honour for me to represent my constituents and all Canadians at Nelson Mandela’s memorial in South Africa last December… We entered the stadium to the singing and dancing of thousands of South Africans. While there was a tinge of grief in the air, the atmosphere was primarily one of celebration.  A rejoicing for what Mr. Mandela accomplished for their nation, and gratitude for his long walk.”

Braid said it rained the day of the funeral, and it was unrelenting, but “Africans consider rain a blessing, and fitting on the day of a funeral.”

“It’s as if the heavens were crying” one South African said to me. “Let freedom reign.”

Braid also brought good news about scholarships to be named after Mandela, a fitting tribute to the man. More information will be available later in the year, he said. “Education is the most important weapon you can use to change the world.”

When he had finished his greetings, Ms. Maedith Radlein, a retired school principal, shared her story of overcoming challenges when she first came to Canada and the ones her children also faced. Although she had already been a teacher, she achieved her Canadian certification and then moved on to be a principal of an elementary school. She spoke of feeling as though she was invisible at times, but after much persistence and learning she was successful. She challenged black youth to be persistent and to believe in their goals and to work toward them.

Claudette P. Smith, author of Stone Markers of Grace: A Lasting Legacy gave a short and entertaining reading from her new book. Then an audience member made an announcement about a new film, The First Grader, available in the library, and the program was complete.

Pastor Peter Kuhnert closed the service with prayer. Attendees left the sanctuary to visit with others, clean up after the meal, and go home. It was another successful event.


DSCF6839I think that Mrs. Smith’s book may be added to the book table next year. Some books of interest in their collection, ones the book club has read and discussed.


Peter Braid wrote on Twitter that day after the event: “As I do every year, I enjoyed celebrating Black History Month with the very welcoming congregation at Maranatha Lutheran Church today.”


With thanks, once more, to the artist, Ken Daley; Peter Braid, MP; and photographer Sylma Fletcher (for LINK) for permission to share  their art, photography and words on my blog.


Entry filed under: arts, authors, blogs, books, community, culture, entertainment, faith, leadership, lifestyle, movies, music, photography, relationships, school, social justice, speaking, storytelling, talent, travel, writing, writing family stories. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Black History Celebration a Success–Maranatha–Part 1 Storytelling–Carolyn R. Wilker

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