Sacred Ground Pilgrimage: Day 3 Digest

What a day we had here on site in Alabama yesterday! It’s hard to believe we fit it all into one day. You can review the Day 2 Digest here. We hope you’ll also tune in to our social media channels – Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube – to keep up with the experiences in Alabama as they happen. Thank you for joining us as a pilgrim through prayer and interactive learning opportunities. If you have any questions or would like to share your own reactions to the learning experiences, please reach out to Rachel, our Communications Director via email or by calling or texting 315-741-1100. You can also access this digest on our website and all the digests (once they’ve been sent!) on our Racial Justice and Reconciliation page. 

Today, our first experience will be at the Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration. 

About the Legacy Museum

“The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration is situated on a site in Montgomery where Black people were forced to labor in bondage. Blocks from one of the most prominent slave auction spaces in America, the Legacy Museum is steps away from the rail station where tens of thousands of Black people were trafficked during the 19th century.   

The Legacy Museum provides a comprehensive history of the United States with a focus on the legacy of slavery. From the Transatlantic Slave Trade and its impact on the North and coastal communities across America through the Domestic Slave Trade and Reconstruction, the museum provides detailed interactive content and compelling narratives. Lynching, codified racial segregation, and the emergence of over-incarceration in the 20th century are examined in depth and brought to life through film, images, and first-person narratives.” (Source)

Praying Together as Pilgrims 

Join us in this prayer adapted from the prayer of the Rt. Rev. Susan Goff, retired Bishop of the Diocese of Virginia, on the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved Africans being kidnapped to and arriving on North American shores. 

God our Governor, great is your name in all the world, great is your presence in this and every land through all time.  You were here when this land’s indigenous lived and loved and governed themselves without interference. You were here when the first colonizers came to these shores and held their first Legislative Assembly 400 years ago. You were here that same year when the first African people who were kidnapped and brought here, in harrowing circumstances, against their will, and with violent force, first step foot on this land.  You were with our ancestors, men and women of diverse races and cultures, through triumph and adversity, though hope and fear.  In the same way that you were with your people then, be with us now as we remember the relationships and legacies that have shaped us as citizens of this land today.  Forgive us the ways in which we have hurt and exploited one another. Give us the courage to do the hard work of real reconciliation. And bless our continued efforts for justice, freedom and peace for everyone in this land and across the world – all people without exception, all of whom are image-bearers of and beloved by you. We dream of your world healed by love, God our Creator, Sustainer and Redeemer. Help us to be about your work of seeing, understanding, and healing the deep wounds we have inherited from our ancestors. Help us to be a people who have been healed by love to heal by love. For you are a God who does wonders, and in your name we see wonders.  May it be so.  And may we be partners with you in making it so. Amen.

Join us also in this prayer for Prisons and Correctional Institutions from the Book of Common Prayer: 

Lord Jesus, for our sake you were condemned as a criminal: Visit our jails and prisons with your pity and judgment. Remember all prisoners, and bring the guilty to repentance and amendment of life according to your will, and give them hope for their future. When any are held unjustly, bring them release; forgive us, and teach us to improve our justice. Remember those who work in these institutions; keep them humane and compassionate; and save them from becoming brutal or callous. And since what we do for those in prison, O Lord, we do for you, constrain us to improve their lot. All this we ask for your mercy’s sake. Amen.

Learning Together as Pilgrims

Our next stop is the Freedom Riders Museum. 

About the Freedom Riders Museum

“In 1961 groups of volunteers made history by challenging the practice of segregated travel through the South. They called themselves Freedom Riders as they crossed racial barriers in depots and onboard buses. The 1961 Freedom Riders did not begin or end their journey in Montgomery, Alabama, but their arrival changed the city and our nation.

“Freedom Riders, black and white, male and female, none of them older than 22, stepped off a bus at the Montgomery Greyhound Station on May 20, 1961. They were prepared to meet mob violence with non-violence and courage. They prepared farewell letters and wills. Their goal was to help end racial segregation in public transportation. And they did.” (Source)

Praying Together as Pilgrims 

Join us in this prayer by Rev. Alberta McCrory, the mayor of Hobson City, Alabama, from a 2011 reception honoring the Freedom Riders: 

God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, Thou who has brought us thus far on our way, Thou who has by thy might led us into the light: keep us forever in your heart, we pray. Father God, we thank you for bringing us to this time and place, to celebrate the courage, wisdom and faith of a group of people who became known as the Freedom Riders. People who stood up against injustice, to do the will of God. And for that we stop to just thank you, to say, “much obliged” to you. We thank you, heavenly Father, that the time of healing has come, the time of reconciliation is upon us. Lord, we ask that you order our steps and direct our path; that you fill us with your Holy Spirit, so that we may do your will, that we may do all that you have called and purposed us to do and be… Help us to know that the things that separate us are not greater than the things that bind us together. Life is greater than death. Love is greater than hate. We pray against those things that separate us: race, class, status, religion, political parties, economics. We pray for our world leaders, for every nation, for every hamlet. We pray for wisdom, courage, strength and faith, as we continue to work to make… this country [and this world] a better place in which to live. Let us not be ashamed nor afraid as we work together and learn from our past, so that events that brought us to this time never happen again. Let us march on till there is no more poverty, no more suffering, no more hate. Let us march on until justice rolls down like water, and righteousness like an everflowing, mighty stream. Let us march on until victory is won. Amen. Amen. Amen.

Learning Together as Pilgrims

From there, we’ll visit the Memorial for Peace and Justice.

About the Memorial for Justice and Peace

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, which opened to the public on April 26, 2018, is the nation’s first memorial dedicated to the legacy of enslaved Black people, people terrorized by lynching, African Americans humiliated by racial segregation and Jim Crow, and people of color burdened with contemporary presumptions of guilt and police violence. (Source)

Praying Together as Pilgrims

Please join us in this prayer, based on the prayer of The Rt Rev Dr Alastair Redfern, Chair of The Clewer Initiative:

Heavenly Father, who sees the unseen and notices the unnoticed: help each of us to hear the Hidden Voices of those throughout time and space who pray for release from slavery and exploitation, so that we may give ourselves more fully to the service of your saving love, and be strengthened together as agents of your healing and hope. through Jesus Christ, who himself came to serve as a slave, so as to bring freedom and grace to all. Amen

Join us also in this Prayer for the Oppressed, from the Book of Common Prayer:

Look with pity, O heavenly Father, upon the people in this land who live with injustice, terror, disease, and death as their constant companions. Have mercy upon us. Help us to eliminate our cruelty to these our neighbors. Strengthen those who spend their lives establishing equal protection of the law and equal opportunities for all. And grant that every one of us may enjoy a fair portion of the riches of this land; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Learning Together as Pilgrims


We’ll end the day with Compline. 

Tune in on Facebook around 8:30 p.m. EST to pray with us. 

Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping; that awake we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace.

Reflecting Together as Pilgrims

Take some time to reflect and pray about the experiences from this Pilgrimage Day 3. If you’re not sure where to start, here are some wondering prompts that can help you to get started: 

  • I wonder what surprised me the most about today’s experiences. 
  • I wonder where I saw God at work in the stories and experiences today. 
  • I wonder what part of the stories I heard today will stay with me. 
  • I wonder where I am in these stories I heard today. 
  • I wonder where I and these stories are in the big story of the people of God. 
  • I wonder what’s next in this big story of the people of God. 

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