3 Native-American Melodies as set by Arthur Farwell

This coming Sunday, Lakewood UCC celebrates UCC’s Native American Ministries. As part of that liturgy, all the music for the service is based on Native American melodies: 2 hymns, 3 songs set by the American composer, Arthur Farwell (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Farwell, https://songofamerica.net/composer/farwell-arthur/, and https://www.loc.gov/item/ihas.200035729), and one setting of my own. I’ll post my own setting—one I’ve posted before—later this week, but today’s post are the 3 Farwell settings combined into one video.

The Native American melodies (of primarily the Omaha tribe)) harmonized by Arthur Farwell were drawn from the late 19th Century 20 year research of Alice C. Fletcher, holder of the Thaw Fellowship, Peabody Museum, Harvard University.

Creative folk (musicians, authors, graphic artists, dancers, etc.) create amid a world of 7,874,965,825 ideas of what we should and shouldn’t do! It’s hard enough discerning what we believe ourselves, but the cultural noise gets deafening and discouraging sometimes. One bit of that cultural noise is the prohibition against “cultural approbation.” To make matters worse—regard that issue—white supremacists have taken up against the issue. One is damned if one does support cultural sensitivity or damned if one doesn’t!

Unless we wish to discard Debussy’s pieces based on the traits of Spanish music, Brahms’ Hungarian Dances, Ravel’s music based on Asian scales, Beethoven’s “Turkish March” in his 9th Symphony, and on and on and on…then, everyone needs to find their own comfort zone as to where the boundaries are regarding the setting of “folk” material. (I realize even the term, “folk,” has a colonialist tinge to it.)

My own feeling is that if a setting of other material is…

  • respectful,
  • fully acknowledges the source,
  • isn’t intended to represent itself as anything other than what it is, and
  • makes its own contribution to the material artistically,

…then it doesn’t deserve to be condemned for cultural approbation.

I believe Farwell’s setting (and hopefully my own) fall into the “approved” category.

Here’s some info about the UCC’s Native American Ministry. I especially like the first one!

“The 29th General Synod of the United Church of Christ approved a Resolution of Witness calling for the UCC to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery, which authorized the genocide of native people and the theft of native lands. In that Resolution we recognize the complicity of the Churches, including the UCC, in the perpetration of these injustices.”


“The Council for American Indian Ministry (CAIM) is the voice for American Indian people in the UCC. CAIM provides Christian ministry and witness to American Indians and to the wider church. Justice issues that affect American Indian life are communicated to the whole UCC by CAIM.“


The Cross and the Lynching Tree

repost from https://www.ucc.org/the_cross_and_the_lynching_tree
Written by Waide Harris
May 21, 2020
The Cross and the Lynching Tree: A Requiem for Ahmaud Arbery

On February 23, 2020 Ahmaud Arbery, 25, left home and went for a jog. During his run, two white men follow Ahmaud, confront him with a loaded shot gun, assume he’s a suspected criminal, and within minutes of their encounter, according to the recorded video three shots are fired. Amhaud falls to the ground and dies.

“Racism is a virus. It infects the spirit.” (The Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III)

On Sunday, May 31, 2020 at 6 pm EST, The United Church of Christ invites you to a live viewing of Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, Jr’s cinematic sermon preached at Trinity UCC Sunday, May 17th entitled, The Cross and the Lynching Tree: A Requiem for Ahmaud Arbery. Immediately following the live video a panel discussion with four respected thought leaders, racial justice advocates, and UCC pastors will discuss the impact of historical and present day acts of racism and violence towards African Americans and how the Christian Church can be actively involved in dismantling racism.


Help Florida Farmworkers Fight COVID-19

The Pinellas Coalition for Immigration Justice, of which Lakewood UCC is a member, is asking all participating organizations to make direct appeals to Gov. DeSantis to better protect farmworkers in Immokalee during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The United Church of Christ has already signed a national petition requesting Florida’s aid for the Immokalee farmworkers.  However, little has been done.  The Governor has sent some tests to the area but much more is needed to protect the workers and to provide health care, especially at this time.

Just as LUCC has written many post cards and letters to ask our legislators for humane immigration laws and treatment, we are being asked now to take action to support the migrant farmworkers in any or all of 3 ways.  

Please let Sue Sherwood (sherwood.susan@gmail.com) know of whatever action you take so that we can give a tally of Lakewood’s action steps to the Pinellas Coalition.  Thank you for your lived faith! 

And, LUCC, thank you and be well!


Sue Sherwood 

                                                                          ACTION STEPS

1) Sign and share this petition:  bit.ly/floridafarmworkers.  (You may choose the option to share the post on FB or other media.)

2) Call Governor DeSantis at 850-488-7146, using the script below.

3)  If the Governor’s line is busy, you may email him at GovernorRon.Desantis@eog.myflorida.com, using the script.

      Hello, my name is _____.  I live in ______ (city or zip code).  I am calling because I am deeply concerned about the farmworker community in Immokalee, FL.  The combination of crowded living and working conditions for these “essential workers” – with virtually no access to healthcare – is putting the lives of those who feed us at risk.  

      I urge you, Governor, to take immediate action to protect our Florida farmworkers’ health and safety: 

           1) Build a temporary field hospital in Immokalee where people who test positive for COVID-19 can isolate and be treated.

           2) Provide personal protection equipment (PPE) – especially masks – and sanitization materials to farmworkers traveling to and from the fields.  

           3) Provide accessible COVID-19 tests for free in Immokalee, when they become available.

           4) Allocate public funds for economic support for farmworkers.

Governor, please let me know your position on this troubling issue and your plans for providing urgently-needed medical resources for the Immokalee community. Thank you and be well.