This is the beginning of a manifesto to give birth to a community. Some of called it "Yoga Church" or Bhakti which is a pathway to devotion that welcomes all faiths with an emphasis on love.
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What Guides Us?
Sankofa is an African word from the Akan tribe in Ghana. The literal translation of the word and the symbol is “it is not taboo to fetch what is at risk of being left behind.
The word is derived from the words:
FA (look, seek and take).
The sankofa symbolizes the Akan people’s quest for knowledge among the Akan with the implication that the quest is based on critical examination, and intelligent and patient investigation.
One of the Adinkra symbols for Sankofa depicts a mythical bird flying forward with its head turned backward.
The egg in its mouth represents the “gems” or knowledge of the past upon which wisdom is based; it also signifies the generation to come that would benefit from that wisdom.
As a community we believe that one’s past is an important aspect of one’s future. So in order to make the best of one’s future, one must visit one’s past. Sankofa: A Beloved Community is a space that creates opportunity to explore the roots of, especially but not limited too, BIPOC, Black LGBTQ+ community who are the people of the Diaspora and their expression of faith.
The rational/purpose for this Worshipping/Devotional Community Exploration is to utilize the model from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Beloved Community as a toolkit to re/form community.
1. Sankofa: A Beloved Community is rooted in the biblical notion of Agape Love (God’s unconditional love), and is to be ultimate goal for the world (creation). It, according to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is the love of God operating in the human heart, and seeks to “preserve and create community.”
2. In Sankofa: A beloved community, power is always to be expressed within the context of love. According to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, “Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.”
3. Sankofa: A Beloved community recognizes and honors the image of God in every human being. It understands everybody as somebody, and offers radical hospitality to everyone; as a part of an inclusive family, the world house. It exhibits true respect, and validation of others.
4. Sankofa: A Beloved community seeks peace with justice, righteously opposes oppression and injustice and takes direct action against racism, poverty and violence. Peace is always to be connected with justice. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stated that “true peace is not merely the absence of tension; true peace is the presence of justice.”
5. Sankofa: A Beloved community affirms the efficacy of Satyagraha (soul force) as the most effective way to enact real change in human hearts and society. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stated, “We must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force (Satyagraha).”
6. In Sankofa: A Beloved community, faith and action are interrelated. Theology and ethics are inextricably connected. Theology – what we believe and comprehend about God (how we talk about God), cannot be separated from ethics – how we behave as the human family. Our creed and our deed have to be in concert, and our talk and our walk have to interrelated. This is not solely through a Christological lens because of the history of trauma for BIPOC but our community begins to be in dialogue with practices that come from our history.
7. Sankofa: A Beloved community affirms that all of humanity is an inescapable network of mutuality among the human family. King reminded us that “all life is interrelated.” One of his fundamental beliefs was in the kinship of all persons. He believed that all of life is part of a single process; all living things are interrelated; and all persons are sisters and brothers. All of us have a place in the beloved community. Because all of us are interrelated, one cannot harm another without harming oneself.
8. Sankofa: A Beloved community depends on collaborative effort of cross-sections of people with common interests for a just society. The sentiments of Dr. King’s friend Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel resonate, “Morally speaking, there is no limit to the concern one must feel for the suffering of human beings; indifference to evil is worse than evil itself, and in a free society, some are guilty, but all are responsible." Archbishop Desmond Tutu stated that “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
9. Sankofa: A Beloved community seeks to build increasing levels trust among people across difference. It works to overcome fear of difference and fear of others through authentic human engagement and a striving toward community-building and peace-making.