Celebrating Juneteenth 2022
by the Rev. Aaron Rogers,
Trinity Episcopal Church, St. Louis
and Co-facilitator of the Diocesan Dismantling Racism Commission
2022 marks the second year that Juneteenth will be celebrated as a federal holiday. Americans celebrate June 19 as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, commemorating the date in 1865 when the abolition of slavery was announced in Texas — more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and two months after the end of the Civil War.
Nearly every U.S. state had set aside June 19 as a holiday, including Missouri since 2003, but it wasn't until President Joe Biden signed legislation in June 2021 that Juneteenth became a federal holiday. This year, June 19 falls on a Sunday, and federal workers take off the following Monday. Juneteenth was the first federal holiday established since Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in 1983.
Episcopal Church leaders recommend recognizing the date each June 19 and the our Commission for Dismantling Racism recommends using all or part of this Juneteenth Liturgy published by the Episcopal Diocese of California. Members and parishes in the Diocese of Missouri will be participating in several celebrations, including:
- The Community Gospel Choir of St. Louis, which includes members from All Saints and Ascension in Northwoods, Holy Communion in University City, and St. Paul's in Carondelet, will perform at a special event at the Missouri History Museum. That event takes place Thursday, June 16, 5:30 - 8 p.m. Learn more here.
- St. John's in Tower Grove will be serving a special Juneteenth Peace Meal on Saturday, June 18, 4 - 5:30 p.m.
- All Saints and Ascension in Northwoods will be hosting a Juneteenth Celebration along with the city of Northwoods on Saturday, June 18, 11 a.m.- 4 p.m., which will include health screenings, free food, and voter registration; and will celebrate Sunday, June 19, 10 a.m. with a worship service celebrating the church's 4th anniversary of coming together. Download a flyer with details.
- Trinity, St. Louis will join Centennial Christian Church in partnership with the Fountain Park Neighborhood Association to host their annual Juneteenth Celebration in Fountain Park on Saturday, June 18.
- Christ Church Cathedral in St. Louis and The Church of St. Michael & St. George in Clayton are also planning holiday celebrations in their parishes.
Finally, Debbie Nelson Linck of Christ Church Cathedral crafted an informative video on the history of Juneteenth as a resource for your church or program:
Thank you to all the churches of Episcopal Diocese of Missouri who are helping to lead the diocese in celebrating this landmark holiday. Let us continue to strive for justice, compassion, equity for all people as we honor this legacy of freedom and perseverance. Happy Juneteenth!
On June 19, 1865, Union Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger arrived with his troops in Galveston, Texas, announcing that enslaved people in that community were freed by order of the president in the Emancipation Proclamation. That order had taken effect on Jan. 1, 1863 — and only applied to those enslaved individuals in states that had joined the Confederacy. Two months prior to Granger's announcement, the Civil War had ended and Lincoln had been assassinated. Meanwhile, six months after Granger's announcement, slavery was officially abolished by the ratification of the 13th Amendment.
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This video from BrainPOP can be used to initiate intergenerational conversations about the history and significance of Juneteenth.