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Spirit and Flesh: Our Bodies, Our Blackness, Ourselves

Cole Arthur Riley

Lecture and Book Talk featuring Cole Arthur Riley
September 29 and 30, 2023

Grace Church and St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church and Pro-Cathedral in Brooklyn Heights are pleased to announce plans to co-host two events this fall featuring Cole Arthur Riley, the acclaimed author and creator of Black Liturgies.

Cole’s stunning 2022 New York Times best-selling debut, This Here Flesh: Spirituality, Liberation, and the Stories That Make Us, is an unforgettable book of stories and reflections on discovering the sacred in her skin. Writing memorably of her own childhood and coming to self, she boldly explores some of the most urgent questions of life and faith: How can spirituality not silence the body, but instead allow it to come alive? How do we honor, lament, and heal from the stories we inherit? How can we find peace in a world overtaken with dislocation, noise, and unrest? At once a compelling spiritual meditation, a powerful intergenerational account, and a tender coming-of-age narrative, This Here Flesh speaks potently to anyone who suspects that our stories might have something to say to us.

Cole is also the creator of Black Liturgies, a space that integrates spiritual practice with Black emotion, Black literature, and the Black body, and is a project of The Center for Dignity and Contemplation in Ithaca, New York, where she serves as Curator.

On Friday, September 29, at 7:00 pm, at St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church, 157 Montague Street, Cole will headline a Brooklyn Book Festival Bookend Event, joined by fellow author Tracey Michae’l Lewis-Giggetts, whose books Then They Came for Mine: Healing from the Trauma of Racial Violence and Black Joy: Stories of Resistance, Resilience and Restoration celebrate Black Americans’ resilience in the face of racially-motivated violence and explore joy as a path to healing. The amazing East Coast Inspirational Singers kick off this spirited event. A reception will follow immediately afterward.

On Saturday, September 30, at 12 noon, at Grace Church, 254 Hicks Street, Cole will give a lecture and be joined for a Q&A facilitated by the Rev. Adriene Thorne, Senior Minister of historic Riverside Church in Upper Manhattan. A reception with a light lunch will follow.

Both events are free and open to the public. All are welcome and we hope you’ll join us!

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