Judson Memorial Church marks Black History Month with special service

Nehemoyia Young mingles the secular and the sacred, creating an altar with natural items, tech, and printed quotes. (Photos by Tequila Minsky)


In a very special service, Black Women as Sacred Text, Judson Memorial Church community members paid homage to Black History Month this past Sunday.

Judson is known to intermesh the arts with the spiritual. In its adaptive sanctuary, rows circled an open space where Nehemoyia Young moved and spoke around the altar she created incorporating images, fruits, and important quotes. The altar became in part a hub for service.

Nehemoyia Young mingles the secular and the sacred at the Judson event.

Circle singing by SPACE—three creatives—involved extemporaneous vocalizing and harmonies of sounds, while encouraging the congregation to join with them. Spoken word artist/poet Nia Calloway (Judson Artist-in-Residence) used movement to offer reflection.

SPACE vocalizes and encourages the congregation to vocalize with them.
Spoken word and movement reflections from Nia Calloway.
Spoken word and movement reflections from Nia Calloway.
Nia Calloway’s reflection, more than mere words, when describing the middle passage.

Vanisha Gould, with her jazz trio, completely entranced the congregation with her jazz rendition entitled Song of Songs.

Vanisha Gould’s trio and Song of Songs.
Entranced by Vanisha Gould’s Song of Songs, the congregation is seated surrounding the artistic creation of Nehemoyia Young’s altar.

In the most respectful and inspirational way, the special service (lasting one hour longer than usual), wove together reflections, dance, music and prayer, engaging, challenging and inspiring the community as it marked Black History Month.

Brooklyn-based Michelle Y. Thompson, a singer-songwriter, photographer, and cultural worker, and Director of Arts and Community Engagement at Judson, was instrumental in the inspirational morning.
“Celebrate with Me,” by Lucille Clifton, read by Jamya Montrevil and Janay Cauthen.