Black Alumni Association News | August 2023


Although it’s only recently been declared a federal holiday, Juneteenth is an important day in history.
Learn more at this excellent article online.


Gems for the Journey: Scripture with Practical Meaning

by Rev. Veronica M. Thomas
MSW, Virginia Commonwealth University ’73; M.Div, Union-PSCE ’07

I came across these practical words of wisdom with scripture backing and wanted to share them with you. The scripture, the Old and New Testaments, God’s written Word is durable and universally available and has remained fundamentally, basically essentially unchanged in its message since it was first inspired by God. The Word will always meet the needs of the seeker.

Hear your words of wisdom:

Be happy, not because everything is good, but because you can see the good side of everything. Jeremiah 29:11

Commitment in the face of conflict produces character. Proverb 16:3

Happiness is not having what you want; it is appreciating what you have. Galatians 6:9

No one has become poor by giving. Philippians 4:4

A bend in the road is not the end of the road…unless you fail to make the turn. Habakkuk 3:19

Find joy in the journey. Ephesians 2:10

All people make mistakes; only fools repeat them. 2 Timothy 1:7

Faith is not without worry or care; faith is fear that has said a prayer. 1Thessalonians 5:17

You don’t have to be great to start but you have start to be great. Psalm 145:13

Here now, my prayer for you from Ephesians 3:14-21 of the Message Bible:

“My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit – not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength–that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all Christians the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.

God, you can do anything, you know–far more than we could ever imagine or guess or request in our wildest dreams! God does it, not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

Glory to God in the church!

Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus!

Glory down all the generations!

Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes!”

In the Name Lord Jesus! Amen.


On Giving

By Rev. Dr. Helen Bessent Byrd
M.Ed., Temple University ’65; M.Div., Union-PSCE ’07; Ph.D., UConn ’72

In her book, No Greater Love, Mother Teresa wrote a chapter entitled, “On Giving” in which she included several vignettes about giving. Each one of them told of the spirit and heart of individuals who gave to others. Mother Teresa began the chapter by telling the story of a man who came to her house and told her of a family with eight children who had not eaten for days. She took food to them. The children did not look sad, just pained by hunger. She said she gave rice to the mother who divided it in half and went out carrying one half of it with her.  When the mother came back, Mother Teresa asked her where she had gone. The answer was, “To my neighbors; they are hungry also.” Mother Teresa commented that she was not surprised–“poor people are really very generous.” She was surprised that the mother knew her neighbors were also hungry and continued, “as a rule, when we are suffering, we are so focused on ourselves, we have no time for others.”

Another story told by Mother Teresa in No Greater Love is about a wealthy Hindu lady who came to see her and told her that she wanted to share in the work of Mother Teresa who said more and more people like this lady want to share in her work. The woman confessed her weakness saying, “I like elegant saris (Indian long dresses).” After prayer to Virgin Mary asking how to help the lady, Mother Teresa said, “I would start with the saris. The next time you buy one, instead of paying 800 rupees, buy one that cost 500. Then with the 300 rupees, buy saris for the poor.” The woman, “confessed that she had changed her life and now knows what it means to share and she has received more than she has given.” Mother concluded, “Kindness has converted more people than zeal…. If everybody there is a tremendous hunger for God. If everyone were capable of discovering the image of God in their neighbors, do you think that we would still need tanks and generals?”

(See the website for giving opportunities. Consider giving to support the furnishing of Blount Hall at Westminster. When you give, write BAA on the line with your name if you give online and on the memo line of your check for tracking purposes!)

“Let’s experience the joy of loving God and also one another.” –Mother Teresa