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Music Reparations


 Beginning this Advent, the Worship and Music committee will begin to roll out a reparations program. This will be a congregational practice to communally value the musical contributions of formerly enslaved African Americans to our worship music repertoire through financial means to broaden awareness of the systemic injustices of years bygone and to quell its continuation.

Goals of this effort:

- To provide Gethsemane an opportunity to live out its call to racial justice.

- To deepen relationships between Gethsemane and congregations of higher African American representation in a way to further realize God’s kindom.

- To assist in recalling the contribution of African American musicians to worship and seeing our interrelatedness and interdependency.

- To de-center whiteness and re-center God’s vision despite our Euro-centric hymnal.

- To provide financial support to St. Phillip’s, ELCA to grow its music program.


The primary means of attaining these goals would be by education and the collecting of monetary donations for use of all settings, arrangements, idiomatic songs, hymns, and anthems derived from “African American Spirituals.” Collecting copyright fees has been well established and practiced. However, since the pandemic, with Churches moving toward live stream, this practice gained prominence. This means that the use of “African American Spirituals” have seen increased copyright fees paid to publishers who simply arrange the music in Euro-idiomatic ways, thereby placing a newly collectible copyright on the music. Descendants or original composers have been largely ignored and unresearched. Gethsemane, by collecting, distributing, and educating would be cavalier in achieve these goals and hopefully will become a model for other area churches to do similarly.

How to give:

Electronically or by putting cash or check in the reparations basket in the Narthex on Sunday mornings

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