Gwine Bak ta Olde Landmark: Investing in Gullah/Geechee Souls
When I heard the statement, “Because we won’t acknowledge the reality of our past, the church is losing its power,” I immediately saw replacing the word “church” with “community.” The fourth night of this journey to be a part of the Holy Convocation themed “Suddenly” was just as thought provoking as the previous three nights. However, this night caused me to look back even more than it caused me to look forward as Pastor Doe proceeded later in the sermon by saying:
“When we become a culture that denies our history, we become just another social club…”
I thought of the conversations that Pastor Doe and I have had about our historical background as a people over the decades. I recalled his presence in the audiences and as a speaker at the conferences that I produced regarding our history and culture. I can even recall one such time in Lincolnville, FL wherein the people that were to partner on the conference took the activity as one to socialize instead of one to educate. I returned to that town three years ago and an elder there apologized to me as soon as he saw me enter a meeting at a church. He announced to the group having this meeting to discuss Gullah/Geechee culture that “You all are NOT the ones to bring Gullah/Geechee here! When this young lady came here 20 years ago, we weren’t ready to understand what she was saying to us! However, she was the first one that came here and told us about Gullah/Geechee culture!” He humbly came to me and said, “I am so sorry that we were not ready to understand what you were saying to us back then.”
This instance is a prime example of what Pastor Doe stated during his sermons this week:
“We have often voted down the will of GOD and voted up our own destruction!”
“GOD’s trying to get something to you through the person you AIN’T trying to listen to!”
It is not easy to be the one in the position to speak to people because GOD has led you to be the voice and to have people not receive what you are presenting to them. It takes faith to journey on and continue to keep the charge that GOD has given you. When words like this come, I know I am not the only one that goes through this and I also know that GOD will not charge me for folks not listening, but GOD would charge me if I did not continue to keep the faith and speak.
Some of my greatest days are not the days speaking. They are actually the days just sitting with Gullah/Geechee elders. I have learned from them that part of why they do not say a lot about their own personal testimonies and their lives is because they do not believe that folks will listen, especially folks that are younger than them. Many of them have talked to me and told me things that their children are often shocked to learn, but it is because I was willing to tarry awhile and listen. These extremely enlightening teachings that I got in church and on porches in the Gullah/Geechee Nation have inspired me and taught me how to “Hold pun GAWD unchangin hand!” These testimonies have brought tens of thousands of Gullah/Geechees closer to GOD and deposited the word of GOD in many souls. This rich investment is why Pastor Doe charges us “to take the time to know some of the story of the people amongst us…” His words reminded me of what my stepgrandfather taught me, “Hunnuh hafa gwine bak ta olde landmark!”
As we often say, “Sankofa! Go bak and fetch it!” Disya da sumting hunnuh chillun need fa gwine bak ta fa tru! Going back to the traditions of hearing the testimonies of our elders and how their faith brought them through and reading the journey from enslavement to the present, helps us realize that we are of the same bloodline of those that were strong enough to have the will to survive. We have to also be of the same mind in order for us to heal our churches and our communities. We can then regain the power that we had to hold our families together and to uplift one another. As people of faith come together around this, the change will come SUDDENLY! Praise GAWD!
- Posted in: Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation ♦ Gullah/Geechee Ourstory ♦ Queen Quet ♦ Uncategorized
- Tagged: Bethesda Christian Fellowship, church, culture, Geechee, Gullah, Gullah/Geechee Nation, history, Pastor Doe, Queen Quet, revival, SC, spirituality, St. Helena Island, Suddenly, traditions