Thursday, February 14, 2019

Black History Month Reflection: Tale of Two Postal Workers

On a recent broadcast of “Travel with Rick Steves” (NPR – January 12, 2019) this travel expert interviewed Calvin Alexander Ramsey, who authored a children’s book titled Ruth and the Green Book.  This book explained how African Americans during the time of Jim Crow laws had to depend on a certain guidebook, The Negro Motorist Green Book, to locate restaurants, hotels, stores, gas stations and other services accessible and willing to serve them during their travels on the road.

The Green Book was compiled by Victor Hugo Green, a U.S. postal worker in Bergen County, N.J.  Through his contacts with other postal workers around the country he was able to compile a nationwide directory.  It was published from 1936 to 1966.

According to Ramsey’s radio interview, the distribution of this guidebook was largely supported by the Standard Oil Company and Esso Gas stations, built and owned by John D. Rockefeller, the oil industry magnate. He had connections with the Spelman family of Ohio through his wife, Laura. Her father, the Rev. Harvey Spelman, was an abolitionist instrumental in operating an Underground Railroad stop in the mid-19th century. 


Howard Olver,
Bishop Peggy Johnson’s father
I ponder the life of two postal workers during Black History Month 2019. One of them was my father, who worked for a Post Office in Baltimore, Md., for 30 years.  

I was raised in a typical middle-class, white family during the post WWII, “Baby Boomer” generation.  We went on family vacations in the South every summer, traveling with ease. We always stayed at Howard Johnson motels and ate at Howard Johnson restaurants, and we would be sure to stop at Stuckey’s convenience stores and get pecan roll candy along the way. 




Never once were we denied a hotel room or service at a restaurant. Of course, that was because we were white.  I never thought about this growing up. Never. I just did not see African American people; and I wonder now why I never wondered why.  This is the epitome of white privilege; and I see it now for what it was… and still is.

The other postal worker was Victor Hugo Green (right), whose African American family couldn’t just waltz into the Howard Johnson motel and rent a room.  His family had to pack a lot of unperishable food in their cars when on vacation because they never knew where they would be allowed to buy food on the road.  Sometimes they even had to put an additional can of gasoline in their trunk in case they could not find a gas station that would let them buy fuel.

Green did something about this racist inequity by publishing his practical and life-saving list of accessible services.  How sad that this had to be done and that white society thought that segregation was OK, or like me, never even questioned it. How sad that many in white society missed out on the chance to learn and grow from associating with people from the African American community.  Segregation deprives everyone—everyone—in profound and for some, very painful, ways.

In truth, there is much less racial segregation and discrimination in this country; but we still have a long way to go to eradicate this heinous sin. It starts with white people like me learning everything we can about our history and how an unjust legal system can create and perpetuate racism and classism.

White people have a key role to play in acknowledging that there is something wrong and naming it, especially when everyone in power is white and only white voices are heard around a decision-making table.  White people, like the Spelman family, can give means and influence to even the playing field. 


John D. Rockefeller

Later, John D. Rockefeller went on to give a large bequest to an African American women’s college. It was renamed Spelman College, in honor of his wife and her family’s commitment to racial equity.  

Finally, white people like me need to seek more meaningful and honest, personal relationships with people of color.  As people build relationships and alliances, all of us benefit. Our church, our society and our world will achieve heights of excellence and maturity that we have never before attained.  In doing so, we will get a glimpse of God’s Kingdom—and “kin-dom”—on earth, as God intended it to be.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The International Year of Indigenous Languages


The United Nations has declared that 2019 is the “International Year of Indigenous Languages.” (Check it out on www.en.iyil2019.org).  Studies have shown the following statistics: There are 7,000 languages spoken worldwide (among 5,000 indigenous cultures), 370 million indigenous people in the world, 90 countries with indigenous communities, and a whopping 2,680 languages that are in danger of extinction. 


Why is this important?  According to the U.N.,“Languages play a crucial role in the daily lives of people, not only as a tool for communication, education, social integration and development, but also as a repository for each person’s unique identity, cultural history, traditions and memory.  But despite their immense value, languages around the world continue to disappear at an alarming rate.” 
Furthermore, the United Nations suggests that “awareness and respect for indigenous languages builds sustainable development, peace, reconciliation, and it is a fundamental human right.”  

Christians surely need to take notice if we profess that we are called to “do justice, love kindness and walk humbly before God.” (Micah 6:8)
As the former pastor of a congregation that used American Sign Language as its primary means of communication, I learned quickly the power of language for an individual’s ability to grow personally and professionally.  The “majority” hearing world largely had the upper hand in decision-making settings. The sign-language-user was often forced to accommodate and take a lesser role in leadership and influence.

The same is true for indigenous people and their languages. There is an inequity issue whenever the majority culture uses its language power to control the minority when it comes to the distribution of benefits and opportunities. “English-only” initiatives are oppressive because they tilt power toward the majority and create a “them” and “us” dynamic. This minimizes the giftedness of all people and negates their unique and empowering languages.
The United Methodist Church’s Social Principles speaks loud and clear about social justice (Paragraph 162 2016 Book of Discipline “The Social Community”).   “We affirm all persons as equally valuable in the sight of God…” it states. “We support the basic rights of all persons to equal access to housing, education, communication, employment, medical care, legal redress for grievances, and physical protection.”     
As the people called Methodist, we should learn about these precious language issues that are a source of empowerment and equality for our sisters and brothers.  Around the United States Native American tribes are teaching their indigenous languages with faithfulness. They yearn for support and affirmation. 


Brett Jackson, a young adult Nanticoke Tribal leader writes: “Tribal language is important to me because it connects me to my ancestors, it teaches me their values and perception of the world, and continuing to use the language is essential to further teach my culture.”  
Kesha Braunskill from the Lenape tribe added: “I feel that tribal language is our link to preserving our culture. It’s as important as the responsibility to pass on knowledge and traditions to each generation.  Language is a part of it all.” 
More information about this can be found on the “Indigenous Language Caucus” website: http://www.yuchilanguage.org
Make it your aim to learn a new language this year, maybe an indigenous tribal language, and with it would come a whole new world of culture and community that you have never known before.  Here are a few Native American words for starters:
From the Lenape Tribe of Delaware (permission given by tribal leader Theo Braunskill):
    “A’ho” means “Hello” 
    “Wanishi” means “Thank you”    
From the Nanticoke Tribe of Delaware (permission given by tribal leader Mike Harmon):
    “Gichtishi Manito” means “God or Great Spirit”
    “Eweenetu” means “Peace”
From “Eastern Cherokee Heritage” (permission given by RagghiRain Calentine, chair of the Peninsula Delaware Conference’s Committee on Native CONAM):
    “Osiyo” means “Hello”
    “Oginalli” means “My Friend”
    “Ama” means “Water”
Listen to the beauty of the Cherokee language set to music by logging onto: https://youtu.be/Nf1SdNyB-Wc   This is a translation of the hymn: “There’s Just Something About That Name.” 
RagghiRain Calentine is hopeful. “The Cherokee words are passed on from generation to generation.  Our Native tongue isn’t going to be forgotten or lost. Our ‘Mother Tongue’ is waiting for each one of us to speak our own unique language. This is a gift from the “One and Only.”

Friday, February 1, 2019

Let us Cultivate Roses in St. Louis

By Bishop Peggy A. Johnson
(From a sermon preached at a meeting of the UMC’s Northeastern Jurisdiction College of Bishops and Episcopacy Committee, January 30 ,2019.)
During the May 2016 United Methodist General Conference, held in Portland, Oregon, the Council of Bishops was authorized to create a Special Commission on the Way Forward for our denomination. They were to wrestle with our Book of Discipline’s prohibitions against ordained ministry and marriage for our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters—whether to keep, strengthen or remove those prohibitions.
On a Sunday there in Portland’s “City of Roses,” I was invited to preach at a local church and then treated to a tour of the city’s amazing rose gardens. I learned on that spring day that the city had an excellent environment for cultivating roses.  
I am known to be the ultimate “black thumb” of plant growers. Plants just look at me and die. I am the only person who can kill a snake plant; and as a child, I would pay my sister to water my part of the family garden plot. That said, I am fond of lovely flowers that someone else cultivates and grows.  
As in plants, the art of cultivating relationships, even in navigating deep and painful church conversations, is an important art to me and should be to you as well.
In the 1400’s there was a bloody, protracted civil war known as “The War of the Roses.” Two competing, English families—the Yorks, bearing the symbol of a white rose, and the Lancasters, symbolized by a red rose—fought bitterly for control of the British crown for 32 years.  It seems that our denomination’s at times bitter controversy over homosexuality and ministry and has gone on even longer.
Our jurisdictional College of Bishops, our international Council of Bishops, and leaders and parishioners throughout our global church have been discussing and pondering, praying and fasting, and yes, even fretting, as we approach our February 23-26 special, Called Session of General Conference.  
I pray we will cultivate, in our decorum and discourse, some sturdy, beautiful roses in St. Louis, even in the cold of winter. Unfamiliar with the art of cultivating roses, I researched it using Google and found some important, transferable lessons for us:

Earth – balance of acid in the soil

Roses need a proper balance of acid and alkaline in the soil.  There are many kinds of fertilizers designed specifically for roses; and it all comes down to achieving balance.  Since not all soils are the same, the right fertilizer works to enhance what the soil is lacking, so that roses can thrive.
As we lead into this era of the life of the church, we need a balanced respect for all people and their hearts around human sexuality.  Polarization happens when we stop listening and learning from the voices of all. Bishops are called to be bishops to all. So, we must strive to respect all and honor all.
We also seek the balance provided for us by the four values of the Wesleyan Quadrilateral: Scripture, Tradition, Reason and Experience. What a gift this has been for us in navigating other struggles with acceptance or rejection of leaders based on their gender, race and marital status. The quadrilateral gives us grace to grow spiritually in our understanding of diversity.
Balance is not easy.  It calls us to patiently listen and respect others and to humbly realize that we need both acid and alkaline to be the church that Christ wants us to be.  We need everyone, even those who interpret scripture in different ways from us.
Irrigation – Water  
Roses need water to thrive. Water is the most essential thing for life itself. It is why space explorers are so excited about finding water on Mars.  One can live without food for a long time; but humans die quickly without water. When members of the General Board of Church and Society visited the southwest U.S. border last summer, the Border Patrol told us the first thing that people crossing the Rio Grande into Texas ask when they are picked up is, “Tienes agua?”  “Have you water?”
Fundamental to the Christian faith is the water of our baptism. We all stand in need of the unmerited favor of God that washes away our sins and gives us new life in Christ.  We not only find salvation through the cross of Christ; we also become one with our brothers and sisters: one Lord, one faith, one baptism. We become one body with our many different gifts.
Our unity, no matter our stand on various social issues, is found in our baptism, our oneness in Christ, our shared salvation through the same Lord.  Leading others effectively requires us to “keep the main thing, the main thing.” This is not easy, but it is by far the basic unifying factor for us to stress, teach and preach.  The salvation of the world is our mandate.

Space – air
When landscapers came to plant Rose of Sharon bushes in the front of the parsonage we moved into last year, I noticed there was a great deal of space between the plants.  It looked a bit sparse, I thought. Maybe a cost-saving decision to plant less. Was I ever wrong!
Rose of Sharon bushes grow and spread quickly. Had there been more plants placed closer together, we would have been pulling out some bushes before long. Roses need space to grow and thrive.
In the original call to the Way Forward Commission we bishops asked for as much mission, unity, space, contextualization as possible.  Space, air or gentleness with differences is another key thing our bishops strive to lead into. We are well aware of the differences among us as a global church. Space gives a chance for the Spirit, the breath of God, to move among us. Prayer and the means of grace make space come alive.
How lovely was the letter of the early church after their “General Conference” in Jerusalem, read in Acts 15. The Jewish Christian leaders said to the Gentile Christians that they did not have to be circumcised and follow every letter of the Jewish law.  That space allowed the church to thrive and grow in the Gentile context. This is true wisdom for us today as we strive to maintain unity.
Sun – fire
Obviously, a rose plant needs sun to thrive. The heat of the sun with its photosynthesis nourishment causes a plant to thrive.
In like manner, the church needs the fire of the Holy Spirit sending us into mission: mission among the poor, the neglected, the abused, the flooded, the burned up and burned out, the unemployed, the incarcerated, and the disenfranchised.  Our leadership keeps the main thing the main thing as our faithful “why.” But it also calls the church into greater avenues of outreach, mercy and justice as the “how” and “what” of our faithful works.
My late father, who was a gardener, always said I was not part of his gene pool because of my lack of interest in plants. He used to work in a community garden in the retirement community where he lived. The wonderful thing about this garden was that everyone was in it for the mission of raising vegetables and those savory Maryland tomatoes.
Their methods varied, their backgrounds were diverse; but they would take care of each other’s plots when anyone was away for surgery or vacation or other reasons. Their common mission was the unifying thing.  
Can’t the church of Jesus Christ find the grace to do mission together and work out our differences in other ways?  Leadership can’t do enough of this kind of modeling.
May we cultivate roses in St. Louis: with a healthy balance of spiritual soil; with the living water of our unifying baptismal commitment to Christ; with the freeing air and space for grace that allows for various contexts to coexist; and with the consuming, cleansing fire of our passion for mission.  

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Invincible

Lessons from the Life of Martin Luther King Jr. 


According to Webster’s Dictionary, the word “invincible” means “incapable of being conquered, overcome or subdued.”  When I ponder the life of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., as we commemorate his birth this week, this word comes to mind.  
His message, his mission, his life’s impact remain invincible.  His death over 50 years ago has not silenced his work. In fact, the movement he led has strengthened and continued with each passing year.  
This is because of some basic, important qualities of his life that are a lesson for us all. What makes a life invincible?  Three things:
1) Prayer – Dr. King was a man of prayer.  There is a powerful book titled Thou, Dear God: Prayers that Open Hearts and Spirits (edited by Lewis V. Baldwin, Beacon Press, 2012).  This is a collection of Dr. King’s prayers. According to a review by John Dear in the National Catholic Review (January 15, 2013) these prayers are characterized by a cry for strength to carry on the work of peace and justice. They ask for courage to be non-violent and blessings on the movement for civil rights. But they also petition for healing for oppressors and for the coming of God’s reign of peace.
Dr. King’s work was first and foremost centered in and fueled by the power of prayer.  God most certainly answered his prayers on many levels and continues to do so in our day.
2) Singleness of purpose – If one attempts to walk a straight line in an open field, the only way to be successful is to focus one’s eye on a distant marker of some kind, and to walk toward it. Never take your eyes off that goal, or else you will unwittingly wander off-course. And you may only perceive that misdirection when you look back in retrospect.

This is an object lesson for the invincible work of this civil rights leader.  He kept focused on the goal of achieving justice for all people. People tried to dissuade him and distract him from that work.  Even his own colleagues early on questioned his timing and his methods; but he remained steadfast in his quest.

King sought justice for people of color in this country; but he also spoke out for justice and human rights for all people in all situations of injustice. He famously wrote: 
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.  We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.  (“Letter from a Birmingham Jail”).

To that end, he fought against poverty, war and discrimination as his single mission. His short life is a testimony to what someone can do when they are disciplined to hold onto a single mission and not be distracted.
3) Willing to die for the cause – Jesus calls believers to deny ourselves, to take up his cross, and follow him. (Matthew 16:24) This is powerful stuff.  When one is willing to hold back nothing and give everything, and even to die for a cause, they can become invincible.
The early church’s fire of evangelism, to share the gospel of Christ, was fueled by those who were willing to die for the faith. The early church father Tertullian wrote, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church” (Apologeticus, chapter 50).  John Wesley wrote, “Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen. Such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of heaven upon earth. (The Life and Times of the Rev. John Wesley: London 1871).
M. L. King Jr. was willing to die for the cause; and I believe he knew his death was imminent. The night before he died, he preached at a packed church in Memphis, Tenn. “I don’t know what will happen now,” he told them. “We’ve got some difficult days ahead.  But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life; longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will.”
Still today, God is calling women and men to be invincible in this world.  The church still has the potential to be God’s change agent for the planet; and each one of us is capable of this brave adventure.  
Take a page out of the book of life of this great leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and aim to be invincible for God. Fuel your work with fervent prayer, have a singleness of purpose, and be willing to give your all, even your very life, for the cause of Christ. Then watch God work!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

To know beyond the unknown

NASA has sent a space craft far beyond Pluto that recently took pictures of a reddish rock that astronomers call “Ultima Thule” (which means “beyond the known world”). This hunk of rock and ice stretches about 20 miles across and is about 6.5 billion kilometers from the earth.
Ultima Thule is significant, according to NASA, because it could offer us insights about what the solar system was like at its first forming. It could help scientists understand how the building blocks of planets were made 4 billion years ago.
On January 1 the New Horizons spacecraft sent back pictures—images the like of which we have never seen before.  What is even more exciting is that this spacecraft has enough power to continue exploring the unknown universe for another 11 years. So, it will continue traveling further out into space and take even more out-of-this-world pictures that we have never seen before.
As Psalm 19 rejoices, “The heavens declare the glory of God.”  How amazing is our God to have created so many vast planets and stars?
“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have set in place,” asks Psalm 8:3, “what is man that you are mindful of him and the son of man that you care for him?” Compared to all this vastness of space, we on this tiny planet might seem insignificant. Yet, God does love us and care for us as precious beings in God’s creation.
Ponder the words of Ephesians 3:20: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work with us…” Or Romans 11:33: “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God. How unsearchable his judgments and his paths beyond tracing.”
Yet, beyond the known world (to borrow our new celestial discovery’s moniker) and beyond the new horizons emerging in our sciences, we know an unknowable God.  We know this Creator who cares for all creation through mighty words and deeds, through a heaven-sent Son whose birth we celebrated at Christmas, and through our own faith in the reliable evidence of things unseen.
We may continue to journey far in our search and discovery of distant, unknown worlds. But the God we know is always near, listening and peering into our searching hearts, hearing and responding with love to our prayers of faith. Let us believe in that!
Resources: www.QZ.com, www.cbc.ca

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Christmas & New Year’s Video: The gifts of God for the people of God


Let us make 2019 “The Year of Civility”
Hello, I’m Bishop Peggy Johnson, of the Eastern Pennsylvania and the Peninsula-Delaware Conferences of The United Methodist Church.

I bid you grace and peace in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.  I celebrate with you this special time of the year: Advent, Christmas and the New Year: 2019.  May your churches and homes be filled with peace.

As we look to the Scriptures, I am reminded of the words of the Apostle Paul taken from II Timothy 1:7 where he writes “God has not given us a spirit of fear.”

There is a lot of trouble happening around this world right now: natural disasters, wars, rumors of war, trouble at our border, with years of immigration concern.  There is a lot of fearful talk as well.

But God has not given us a spirit of fear.  Fear is never from God. Fear can be summed up as “False Evidence Appearing Real.”  That popular acronym reminds us that we should never fear.

God does not give us fear; but God has other, better gifts to share with us. At this time of the year we are doing some Christmas shopping and buying material gifts. However, the gifts of God are spiritual, and those gifts last forever.  Here are some of God’s gifts:

1) Power

The power of God comes from the Holy Spirit that helps us overcome difficult circumstances.  The Spirit gives us faith and strength in times of need. Also, the Spirit endows each of us with unique talents for mission and ministry, so that we all have parts to play in building up the Body of Christ.

2) Love

Perfect love casts out fear.  God’s gift of love is Jesus Christ, who was born among us long ago.  He was God’s love incarnate, but he also came to die for our salvation. His love was sacrificial, and that kind of love never fails.  The love of Jesus is available to all of us.

3) Self-Control

Self-Control is so important.  It is especially critical how you control the way you talk.  There is a lot of negative rhetoric and fearful talk going around these days.

I would like to proclaim that the year 2019 be “The Year of Civility,” tempered by the power of God. God can help us control our tongues.

Remember: before you say something, ask yourself, “Is it true?” “Is it necessary?”  “Is it kind?” If it doesn’t pass these three tests, then don’t say it. And remember to practice saying positive things about your enemies.  Even a broken clock is right two times every day. The same is true of your worst enemy.

Power, Love and Self-Control. These are the gifts of God for the people of God to help us to overcome fear and life’s challenges.

I shall close with a poem by Horatius Bonar (1861)

O love that casts out fear,O love that casts out sin,O stay no more without,But come and dwell within.

True sunlight of the soul,
Surround us as we go.So shall our way be safe,Our feet no straying know.

Great love of God, come in!Thou Spring of everlasting peace,Thou living water come.Spring up in us and never cease.

Love of the living GodOf Father and of SonLove of the Holy Ghost,Make now our hearts as one.

Monday, December 17, 2018

A culturally competent Christmas carol


By Bishop Peggy Johnson
Of all the Christmas carols and hymns in the UM Hymnal none is as important for us today as #244, “’Twas in the Moon of Wintertime.”  It is a Huron Christmas carol originally written in the language of indigenous Canadian people in 1643 by a French Jesuit priest whose name was Jean de Brebeuf (1583-1649).
About 100 years after these words were written another priest, Father de Villeneuve, copied the words; and a native notary, Paul Picard, translated the poem into French. Still later, it was translated into English (1923) by Jesse Edgar Middelton, a Canadian newspaper reporter. The tune is a French Canadian melody known as “Une Jeune Pucelle.”  
The lyrics take the Christmas story and use symbols of the Huron culture in place of biblical words.  For example, “swaddling clothes” becomes “rabbit skin.” The wise men are “chiefs from far” who brought gifts of fox and beaver pelt.  
God is known as “Gitchi Manitou.” Images of the moon, snow, light, stars and wintertime paint the picture of Christmas as northern peoples would imagine it in their climate and landscape.  

A culturally competent priest

The writer of this hymn was a culturally competent priest who literally gave his life to share the gospel with the Huron/Wendat people.  Father Jean de Brebeuf showed a gift for languages as he studied for the priesthood. He naturally understood that to communicate with people from another culture he had to learn their language, customs and religious practices.  
So great was his rapport with the Huron people that they gave him the name “Echon,” and he was considered as one of them.  He wrote volumes about their language and culture in order to train the next generation of priests that would follow him in this work.  Because he took the time to understand the Huron people he was successful in teaching them about Jesus and raising up Christian believers.  
This is still how we do ministry today.  The world is very diverse and becoming more so with each passing year. The church needs to learn with humility and respect the culture and languages of people who are different from us for us to make disciples of all nations.  

Understanding ourselves better through diversity

We also learn and grow in our understanding of ourselves as we intentionally seek out diversity.  This is not easy, but it is clearly the vision of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit gave birth to a church of much cultural and linguistic variety.
Father Jean de Brebeuf also knew another thing about ministry: that one needs to be willing to sacrifice.  His first winter in Canada he spent the whole time in a freezing cold wigwam. He had to leave the area during the French and English wars but tenaciously came back to continue his ministry under threat of war.  
Many of the native peoples contracted European diseases, and he ministered to them during mass epidemics of illness and death.  The Jesuits went out on their missions expecting to die for the cause of Christ. And indeed, that was his sad fate. In 1649 he was kidnapped by the Iroquois (who were at war with the Huron people), and he was tortured and martyred.   Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”

A cross to take up in our ministry

We would all prefer not to suffer.  But there is a cross in our ministry and a call for us to take up that cross every day.  There is a cross in evangelism and mission work.
In our Christmas story, when the baby Jesus was born, Mary laid him in a manger, a wooden feeding trough for animals. The cross of Calvary, where he would later die, was also made of wood.  
The message of Christmas is that God sent his son to the world out of God’s love for all people, all cultures and languages. He sent this son and savior so that through his death on the cross all might have access to forgiveness and to life abundant and everlasting.  There is pain in the offering, but great is the reward.
I hope you will sing this Christmas carol. But more important than that, I hope you will find ways to celebrate Christmastide this year with people from other cultures and languages. There is so much more we can be doing to spread this great good news to all people.
“Twas in the moon of wintertime, when all the birds had fled,
That mighty Gitchi Manitou sent angel choirs instead.
Before their light the stars grew dim, and wondering hunters heard the hymn,
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born, in excelsis Gloria
O children of the forest free, O seed of Manitou,
The holy Child of earth and heaven is born today for you.
Come kneel before the radiant boy, who brings you beauty, peace and joy
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born, in excelsis Gloria.

Sources:
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer The Cost of Discipleship
  • “History of Hymns” “’Twas in the Moon of Wintertime” Discipleship Ministries   C. Michael Hawn
  • “Huron Carol” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huron_Carol
  • United Methodist Book of Hymns #244