HARTFORD - People from around the Connecticut Conference gathered on Sunday, May 28, to celebrate the ministry of The Rev. Da Vita "Day" McCallister as she ended her nearly 10 years serving as Associate Conference Minister. Rev. Day has been called to serve as Senior Pastor of First Church Somerville, MA, beginning in July.
The service included Scripture readings and testimonials by several of the youth and young adults she had mentored, uplifting music, and a laying on of hands and formal release of Day from service.
"in 2007, the Connecticut Conference of the United Church of Christ called the Rev. Da Vita "Day" McCallister to serve as the Associate Conference Minister for Youth and Young Adult Ministries," Conference Minister The Rev. Kent Siladi recounted. "In 2014, Day left the youth and young adult ministries in the capable hands of Debby Kirk after creating a remarkable foundation for ministry with youth and young adults. Day then became the Associate Conference Minister for Leadership Development and Church Vitality. In the midst of this time, Day has created a curriculum for racial justice ministry that is being used by a number of United Church of Christ conferences today."
"God, we give thanks with a grateful heart, we give thanks for this your beloved child of God, Day McCallister, who has walked with us and among us and taught us so much and shared so much of her spirit with each one of us," Siladi said in his prayer.
The Rev. George Harris, Pastor of the First Church of Christ in Simsbury, recounted what Day had taught him and other racial justice training facilitators, and called on the entire Conference to live out God's call to justice that Day had articulated.
"We have been called to bring the living waters of Jesus Christ to all people, especially those on the margins," he said. "Black lives matter. Brown lives matter. See, know, accept and affirm the unique values of black and brown lives and name the injustices perpetrated against black and brown bodies."
"Our job is not to make everyone happy. We are not called to be everybody’s pastor. We are facilitators of justice. We are not required to honor and affirm every perspective. Take ownership. Make these words your own. And speak up. Act up. Rise up. Claim your authority and for God’s sake - for God’s sake - stand up."