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September: The Month of New Beginnings

Summer has come to an end, and students have returned for a new school year. As a student and later as a teacher, I always looked forward to September. While classes and workdays typically started in August, it wasn’t until September every year that I felt like I’d settled into my new schedule and had a vision of what the new school year could be. To me, September can feel like more of a reset than January. It’s a chance to slow down from the activity-filled summer, start new routines and habits, and reset yourself for the new school year ahead. Though I am no longer in the classroom and now work through the summer, September still feels like a fresh start and a month for new beginnings.

Here at Greystone, we are embarking on our own new beginning this month. On September 10th, we kicked off the Sexuality, Gender, & Faith series with an informative session with Greystone staff. From September until May, the congregation has the opportunity to participate in educational forums and small group discussions to learn more about sexuality, gender, and faith. This will include the history of this discussion within the larger church, studying the difficult Bible passages surrounding this conversation, as well as the ethics and theology around it, and more. 

The first forum session with Dr. Bill Leonard and Marv Knox focused on history and precedent. Dr. Bill Leonard spoke about the history of exiles in the church. Gentiles, baptists, people of color, people who have been divorced, and LGBTQ+ people have all at times been excluded from the church as they were “thought to be somehow outside the boundaries for receiving the grace of God.” Marv Knox focused on case studies from five churches in North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, and Texas that had undergone a similar process to what we are doing. If you missed the forum session, I encourage you to check back to watch the recording once it’s posted. The Spirit of Justice team is excited to continue this series and we invite you to peruse the Sexuality, Gender, & Faith resources for more information in addition to the Spirit of Justice resources

Historically, there are other new beginnings that happened in September as well! From September 15 – October 15, the United States will recognize Hispanic Heritage Month. September 15th is the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico’s independence day is September 16th and Chile’s is September 18th. During Hispanic Heritage Month, we’ll celebrate the contributions, cultures, and histories of American citizens whose ancestors came from Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Spain. Here are some ways to celebrate:

We wish you luck as you reflect on your own new beginnings this month! Please reach out to the Spirit of Justice team if you have any questions.