Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The last time I was in Memphis I drove past this building and took this snapshot. It holds so many memories. From the time I was in grade school until college, I remember standing on the front lawn of this building, Mason Temple, the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee, during our Holy Convocation held every November. The “saints” gathered from all over the world. I huddled between my parents and their friends from Chicago, St. Louis, and all over the midwest. It was like one big homecoming!

My family anticipated this trip every year. We piled into our station wagon, packed out Sunday best outfits, and drove from Central Illinois to Tennessee. We could hardly wait to hear all the good preaching, the fiery evangelists, and Holy Ghost-filled gospel singers and choirs that were absolutely electrifying. I was excited to see the preacher wives dressed in their finest dresses, suits, and hats… oh my, the hats! This was the highlight of our year! 

Thousands of African American church folks poured into Memphis. My family and scores of others had to find lodging in homes because the hotels were not fully integrated, if at all. Mind you, this was mid-60s. Years later, the hotels would become more welcoming to our large denomination and Blacks could book rooms.

I remember stepping inside the vestibule of Mason Temple and reverently passing the crypt where the founder, Bishop Charles Harrison Mason, was laid to rest. The auditorium’s capacity was well over 4,000 or so, probably more, as people overflowed into the outer hallways, other assembly rooms, and the perimeter of the building; there had to have been over 10,000 on grounds. I marveled at the loud speakers mounted everywhere so that no matter where we went on the grounds the music and preaching could be heard. Even at a young age, I sensed that this was indeed a holy gathering, and it gave me an immense sense of community. These were my people!

It was years later in my adult life that I realized that Mason Temple was where Dr. King gave his last “Mountaintop” speech the night before his assassination. The Black sanitation workers had summoned Dr. King to Memphis in April 1968 in the height of the Civil Rights struggles. Mason Temple was often used for planning meetings. 

I was in and around this building so many times over the years and had roamed the grounds of Mason Temple and my lived experience had been interwoven and criss-crossed through this historical setting as history was being made. I was raised, nurtured, and given a solid foundation in the safe spaces of my spiritual community during treacherous times. We kept the faith when so many other places, even religious ones, in our society were not welcoming. We knew our sacred worth as children of God.

Today, as a Unity minister, I celebrate and commemorate the life, work, and vision of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Thank you, Coretta Scott King and all those who made sure the dream continued at the King Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

I invite you to join me in pledging to continue working to build the Beloved Community so that that we all may experience the love, joy, liberty, and justice for which we were created. I believe non-violence and love are the most powerful tools that can shape our path forward in today’s world. “Deep in my heart, I do believe!” Peace and blessings to all.

Love and joy,

Rev. Dinah Chapman

Favorite MLK Quotes:



Joy and Justice for All of Us

Two divine ideas flowing from the same heart…

Flashback! About a year ago, I created and posted this simple diagram on Instagram (May 3, 2021). I had been contemplating these two divine ideas of joy and justice. It seemed like there had been so much chaos and confusion, but thankfully in May 2020 I ran across this beautiful book, Joy Unspeakable - Contemplative Practices of the Black Church, by Dr. Barbara A. Holmes, that helped me reclaim the kind of joy that is, as she says, “as comfortable in the shout as it is in the silence."1 

In 2020, it seemed like so many people were trying to be joyful through the pain of everything that was going on, a pandemic, a nasty election cycle, the murder of George Floyd, and so much more, including our own personal losses.  It seemed like some folks just wanted to escape (to the pink fluffy cloud) - and some wanted just an absence of the tension (no noise at all).  For me, this was the perfect season to continue to focus on the sustaining power of joy, not to ignore what was going on around me, but to draw upon the inner strength of joy. Though it very much felt like a season of turmoil, grief, rage, and division (and still does), I anchored myself in faith and the richness of unspeakable joy that celebrates the truth and the light regardless of appearances to the contrary. On my morning walks, I would contemplate joy.

I recall thinking early in 2020 how much kinder and wiser we all were going to have to become with what was coming in the days and months ahead. I felt like it was the quiet before the storm. Now as I look back, the storm billowed and rolled! We might have been tossed and disheveled. But somehow, by the grace of God, joy was there all along…ever present, and we are still standing!

I’ve been a collector of joy - all things joy - for quite some time, posters, cups, shirts, etc. These are reminders to keep my own joy stirred up. And I do that by centering myself daily in prayer, affirming that divine love and joy is a part of who and what I am, no matter what; we are created with it and wondrously made. Two and a half years into a pandemic, lots of folks want joy now! But guess what...Are we willing to know the source and giver of true joy?

One thing I’ve come to realize is that there’s no “pursuit of joy”…we already have it. But we need to access it and activate it, and this is an act of our will. Oh yes, plenty has been written on how to get “happiness” from outside ourselves. But really, joy is an inside job. It must be released from the innermost reservoir of our own hearts. The good news is there are plenty ways to access it: prayer and meditation, walks in nature, sitting by the ocean, music, rhythm, dance, poetry, performing arts, spoken word, gatherings, etc. - these of some of the ways that help us reconnect with our joy. Again, if we are willing.

And if there’s one thing I’ve witnessed and felt in my very bones, my ancestors knew real joy. They HAD to know real joy to sustain them through an outer society that wanted to make us “the least” in society. My ancestors knew better. They knew their real value and true worth was rooted in joy…the joy of knowing who we really were all along… God’s very own! That’s why we used to sing this song as I was growing up in the church:

	This Joy that I have, the world didn’t give it to me
	This Joy that I have, the world didn’t give it to me 
	This Joy that I have, the world didn’t give it to me
	The world didn’t give it, the world can’t take it away.

This joy is powerful. It is our God-given birthright, the fruit of the Spirit. It can loose the chains, ward off despair, and break down walls. It is rooted in divine love and it is our choice whether we want to cultivate it, stay in the life-giving stream of it, or not. I believe when we embrace it, we can change the world for the better. We can create the beloved community. I believe all justice movements that truly seek to create a world that works for all will find joy to be a restorative, relational, renewing force for good.

I say let’s get in the stream of it together and DANCE! Let’s see what wondrous things can be re-imagined and brought into fruition in our lives and in our world. More love & joy to come. Don’t despair, my beloveds. Let’s get into the presence of deep inner joy. ASK, SEEK, KNOCK…joy is always ready to rise up and answer.

“You show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy…”
- Psalm 16:11

Peace & blessings,

Rev. Dinah

1 Barbara A Holmes, Joy Unspeakable—Contemplative Practices of the Black Church (Minneapolis:  Fortress Press, 2017), 200.

Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In my lifetime, I have experienced many struggles, challenges, and triumphs. Life is full of them! And I am glad to say, my lived experience includes watching the courage of Dr. King as a little girl. I couldn’t understand why anyone held such bitterly displayed disgust for my ancestors and for people who looked like me. He fought for justice. And now after six decades, I still cannot fathom the deeply embedded prejudices and systemic injustices that still plague our society. We must continue to work until “justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5:24 NRSV).

Today, I celebrate the legacy of Dr. King and his work for justice that we must continue.

Happy MLK Day!

Rev. Dinah


Mission: Joy – Virtual Screening Nov. 26 – 28

Gather your family and friends to watch this exciting documentary!

To join the Watch Party – Saturday, November 27, 5 p.m. Pacific – CLICK HERE

Meeting ID: 835 9392 7253

Passcode: 029656


To watch any time between November 26 – 28

CLICK HERE – use password: joy1121

Join the discussion group – Sunday, November 28, 4 to 5 p.m. – JOIN HERE

Meeting ID: 812 9011 9317

Passcode: 130371

Deeply moving and laugh-out-loud funny, Mission: JOY is a documentary with unprecedented access to the unlikely friendship of two international icons who transcend religion: His Holiness the Dalai Lama & Archbishop Tutu. In their final joint mission, these self-described mischievous brothers give a master class in how to create joy in a world that was never easy for them. They offer neuroscience-backed wisdom to help each of us live with more joy, despite circumstances.

With genuine affection, mutual respect and a healthy dose of teasing, these unlikely friends impart lessons gleaned from lived experience, ancient traditions, and the latest cutting-edge science regarding how to live with joy in the face of all of life’s challenges from the extraordinary to the mundane. Mission: Joy is an antidote for the times.


Virtual Movie Screening – Nov 26 -28, 2021

Deeply moving and laugh-out-loud funny, Mission: JOY is a documentary with unprecedented access to the unlikely friendship of two international icons who transcend religion: His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu. In their final joint mission, these self-described mischievous brothers give a master class in how to create joy in a world that was never easy for them. They offer neuroscience-backed wisdom to help each of us live with more joy, despite circumstances.

Inspired by New York Times bestseller The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in Changing World, the film showcases the exchange between these two Nobel Peace Prize winners that led to that book.

Consisting largely of never-before-seen footage shot over 5 days at the Dalai Lama’s residence in Dharamsala, the film invites viewers to join these luminaries behind the scenes as they recount stories from their lives, each having lived through periods of incredible difficulty and strife.

With genuine affection, mutual respect and a healthy dose of teasing, these unlikely friends impart lessons gleaned from lived experience, ancient traditions, and the latest cutting-edge science regarding how to live with joy in the face of all of life’s challenges from the extraordinary to the mundane. Mission: Joy is an antidote for the times.

More to come – details to view the movie will be sent Thanksgiving week! I hope you will join in to watch with us!! Blessings, love, and joy, Rev. Dinah


My September Celebration

As I drove across the bay on the San Mateo Bridge to my two-day “stay-cation” spot, I was amazed as the sky eerily got darker and darker. There was no sunlight! “What is happening?” I thought. “No, this can’t be,” I lamented. Then I snapped out of it and decided my birthday celebration would NOT be dampened by this gloomy atmosphere. 

You see, the fires on the West Coast had caused smoke to blanket the entire Bay Area (and beyond). My best laid plan to book a room with a view overlooking the Bay was crumbling, and all I could see was grey everywhere. I could barely see the water. Finally, though, I reached my destination, checked in, and relaxed in my room. At last, I could settle in and finally write this overdue blog.

It’s been almost 6 months of sheltering in place for me since the pandemic began sweeping across the country. You might have seen my social media posts with my feet “pounding the pavement” – – I have been walking, walking, AND walking. It’s one of the healthiest things I’ve done throughout the pandemic. I’m not in competition with anyone; I just like it. It’s good for my brain, my heart, and mentally, it’s quite relaxing and meditative. It relieves stress. My day job starts around 8 a.m. (I’m working at home), so I like to get outside and do some walking before my workday begins. (But not this week. Egads! We’ve got all this SMOKE!)

I haven’t blogged for a while…for a few reasons, not excuses, just reasons. For one thing, I’ve been dealing with some stuff, you know …stuff, …like everybody else at this particular time. We might have different stuff; however, there’s been this BIG major stuff going on in society these days. You know what I’m talking about, right?

I don’t ascribe ALL the things happening to a particular year (like it’s the big bad 2020 boogey monster or something). 2020 didn’t just decide to jump up and clobber us. To me, I see it as a season, a transitional season…a culmination, a big build up, a colliding of lots of unchecked, unexamined, unconscious decisions in human society, globally and collectively, and yes, individually. What will we bring to the world in this moment? Something different? Or more of the same? There’s lots to ponder! Ponder, pray, reflect…and take constructive, divinely-guided action. That’s what I’m doing.

Ok, so I’m not going to get all philosophical. I am still a person of FAITH – – and my faith is lifting me through all this. With the eyes of faith, we can see new possibilities. For me, limiting social media consumption has been helpful, especially while grieving this year. I know there are those who will never understand what it’s like to walk in my shoes. I even started setting a timer and limiting intake of social media. It’s not the source of true connection. I believe those who are really in genuine connection with me will contact me to see how I’m doing. I’ve been reaching to others out as well. I believe we all desire real connection. It’s part of our humanity. We must continue encouraging one another.

I’m not one to go and stick my head in the sand either and just wish away these challenging times. I feel that we must engage, otherwise we just feel powerlessness. I pray and ask what is mine to do. My intention is to show up and be present with the best version of myself as much as I possibly can. That’s my goal. What’s also been helpful for me is remembering to be extra, extra kind, empathetic, and compassionate. Most everyone is feeling a weight of some kind. If not, then great for you! Now is a good time to lift up others!

So, yes, it was my birthday on 9/11. As always, I celebrate AND I commemorate. I am grateful for family and friends, and I am so very grateful to be here on planet earth! A special shout out and much appreciation for all the birthday wishes coming my way and for my sister and my fellow seminary classmate joining me for dinner on my birthday!! BIG PARTY OF THREE – MASKS and all!!

Just so you know, I will not be silent on things that matter. I am here to be light, love, wisdom, and joy, and that’s what I plan to keep being and doing. I cannot worry about those who are throwing “virtual” sticks and stones when I speak up, trying to shout me down. Joy is my strength. Joy is YOUR strength, if you so choose. Don’t let anyone steal your joy! It’s time to shift into high gear and release the power of true joy! If you seek the true source of joy, you will find it. Ok, so where are my JOY warriors? Let us keep marching, y’all, and standing for the truth! We know where our help comes from!!

That’s my check-in! That’s all for now, folks! Carry on.

Love  & blessings,

Rev. Dinah

Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom.  – James 3:13

But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an overflowing stream.  – Amos 5:24

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  -Romans 15:13


Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father’s Day!

May all dad’s have a blessed day as we celebrate you!

We celebrate and lift up all the dads, and those who fulfilled the role, who have labored in love, guided in wisdom, provided in loving ways, and blessed their children with many gifts, tangible and intangible. A special shout-out to my Dad, who is getting doubly blessed for he has a birthday coming up very soon. I am so honored that he raised me up in the way I should go (Proverbs 22:6) with such a rich spiritual heritage, taught us to love God and neighbor.  Yes, I am a PK (a preacher’s kid). And if the picture above gives you any indication, he was (still is) a tremendous chef among other things! Thank you, Daddy!

Today, we also bless the memories of those dads, grand-dads, even great-grand-dads, who are no longer with us…all those who did their best and loved us the best they could.

Let us continue to appreciate the blessings of all our family relationships, including extended family and friends.  Let us continue to be kind, be compassionate, communicate, love, forgive, and show dignity and respect to all, today and always.


Rev. Dinah




Happy Mother’s Day


I have so many memories running around in my head of my mother. She is no longer on this physical plane of existence, but her memories live on me, my siblings, and all of her grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Whether you are a mom, you’ve had/have a mom, or becoming a mom, or even if you’ve had to fill in as a mom, I hope this day brings a rich, satisfying, joyful day of celebration and gratitude. Happy Mother’s Day!

Love & Joy,

Rev. Dinah


Joy in the Midst of All This?

Distancing Graphic Instagram Post

Yeah, in all this? How can we find joy?

I am in Day 32 of sheltering in place here in the Bay Area. I haven’t binged watched anything nor have I taken up a hobby. If there’s one tip I could share, it would be this. I have taken up being aware of my emotions and doing a daily check-in with myself. Nothing really stringent, just noticing. The one thing we don’t want to do is ignore the challenges and what’s going on all around us. And we don’t want to ignore what’s going on inside of us either, physically, emotionally, mentally, nor spiritually.

I’ve been wondering about how to talk about joy in the midst of all this. Where is joy in all this? After a few minutes of checking the news to see if there’s anything I should do differently, I pick up my remote and remove the noise and go for my daily walk. 

Walking has been the best way for me to not only get exercise, but it’s like rebooting to my system. It helps to refresh my perspective and clear my thinking. I can hear my own thoughts rather than being bombarded with all the stuff from the networks and social media. Once I settle my mind and breathe in fresh air, a sense of peace and joy is right there waiting for me. Ah yes! In this little piece of the world…there’s a little joy oasis. 

Joy is the ever-abiding stream of gladness and delight for living that wells up on the inside of us if we’ll allow space and time for it. As I walk, I begin to notice the beauty of the flowers, the sky, the trees, and relish in this simple noticing. As I walk, I am grateful for my legs, my ankles, my knees, my balance, my heart, everything in my physical body that allows this motion and activity to take place. Sometimes I listen to a podcast, sometimes I don’t. It is so quiet on the streets now; there’s nothing to drown out! No traffic on the streets. Hurray! The streets might be a little empty, but the information super highway is not! LOL! I feel gratitude and appreciation for this time to reflect. While centering and placing my focus on my heart, I bless all those who come to mind and pray for our world. Before you know it, I’m back at my apartment…looking forward to the next walk and allowing space for joy to rise in my awareness once again. Wash hands Quote Graphic Instagram Post

Where is joy in all this? I think it’s in every moment we choose to recognize, realize, and respond to it. Then we can express it, and it blesses others in our world and those all around us.

Whoever and wherever you are:

May we all  be well.

May we all be secure.

May we all be happy.

So be it.


Blessings & Joy,

Rev. Dinah