This devotion, distributed by Richard Rohr, recalls the words of Dr. Barbara Holmes in her reflection called "Crisis Contemplation."
Here’s the link to the official resource guide for faith leaders
sent by the Governor’s office and the Virginia Department of Health’s Office of Health Equity.
This is a SYNOPSIS of a statewide webinar for faith leaders on Monday, March 23, 6:30 pm, hosted by the Office of Governor Ralph Northam and the Office of Health Equity of the Virginia Department of Health. (I cannot vouch for the 100% accuracy of my notes. Please contact the persons who presented this information to fact-check or confirm.)
On March 23, Northam issued Executive Order Fifty-Three that orders the closure of certain non-essential businesses, bans all gatherings of more than 10 people, and closes all K-12 schools for the remainder of the academic year. Governor Northam is also urging all Virginians to avoid non-essential travel outside the home, if and when possible. This order goes into effect at 11:59 PM on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 and will remain in place until 11:59 PM on Thursday, April 23, 2020. This order applies to houses of worship.
Dr. Vanessa Walker-Harris - Deputy Secretary of Health
Explained the salient points of that Executive Order.
This executive order:
Dr. Megan Healy talked about Unemployment Benefits
If you are laid off and/or NOT getting a paycheck, you are encouraged to apply for unemployment benefits here. (This advice applies to faith-based workers whose organizations have not paid payroll taxes in the past. Currently, these workers are NOT eligible to receive benefits, but that rule may change in the coming days.)
Karen Kimsey - Virginia Medicaid is Taking Action to Fight COVID-19
Heidi Hertz - Feeding Virginia during COVID19
Students and children:
Tracey Wiley - Financial Resources Update -
Visit https://www.sbsd.virginia.gov/ for information about low-interest loans for small businesses and non-profits.
Curtis Brown, VA Dept of Emergency Management (VDEM)
Disaster Funding Available through FEMA
CULTURAL IMPACT - Suja Amir, who is on the Governor’s Asian American Advisory Board - member of Asian Latino Solidarity Alliance of Central VA
CALL TO ACTION -
IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW NEEDS SUPPORT:
Cville Community Cares: Is offering mini-grants for people impacted by COVID-19. There are no restrictions regarding how funds will be used: Request up to $200 per household. Apply here. (This form will temporarily close at 8pm on Friday March 20th, in order to prioritize the 1000+ requests they have received.)
WAYS TO GIVE AND RECEIVE SUPPORT:
Support Cville - this is the most comprehensive website listing ways for people to give and receive support.
DONATE to COVID-19 SUPPORT FUNDS
BLUE RIDGE AREA FOOD BANK
FREE INTERNET ACCESS
In addition to hopping on free wifi hotspots at local restaurants and public schools, COMCAST Xfinity is now offering free hotspots to anyone who needs them for free, including non-Xfinity Internet subscribers. For a map of Xfinity WiFi hotspots, visit www.xfinity.com/wifi. Once at a hotspot, select the “xfinitywifi” network name in the list of available hotspots and then launch a browser.
(credit: United Methodist Church)
Resources for Digital Ministry
At the bottom of this page is a 60plus minute zoom class that Kim Johnson taught specifically to help people do digital ministry in the midst of the c-19 situation
Online Worship Tutorial
Pastor Sam Plymale on the Greene Charge has put together this youtube video to assist you with offering worship on FB, livestream, etc.
Live Stream your Ministry PDF
Recording Worship PDF
ONLINE FINANCIAL SUPPORT AND GIVING
Here are some suggestions about trying to continue receiving financial support while we are not physically meeting.
10 ideas for church financial leaders amid the covid-19 crisis
Understanding E-Giving Slideshow
CHURCH GIVING PLATFORMS (not an endorsement of the services below)
$0 setup cost
ACH/Bank: 1% + 30¢ | AMEX: 3.5% + 30¢
Paypal for Non-Profits -
In light of the recent debate over whether counties should become 2nd Amendment Sanctuary Cities and or Counties, the Charlottesville Clergy Collective, a group of interfaith clergy in the Charlottesville area, pledges to do the following:
Advocate at the local and national level for laws that prevent or reduce gun violence. This includes promoting universal background checks on all gun purchases and ensuring all guns are sold through licensed gun retailers. Our clergy members will advocate against laws that would increase the presence of guns in public places such as schools and houses of worship.
Connect with, and support, those who are directly impacted by gun violence. We will use our time, talents, finances, and physical presence to create a Charlottesville community that welcomes all people, and strives to keep them safe and fully included in our common life.
Draw attention to the issue of gun violence in our culture and make the prevention of gun violence a regular part of our conversations and prayer time. We further pledge to educate ourselves and our community and to frame this issue in a worshipful theological context.
Rev. Dr. Alvin Edwards
President, Charlottesville Clergy Collective
On Tuesday, October 29, 2019, the Charlottesville Clergy Collective organized the third "Conversations toward Reconciliation" dinner gathering. It was hosted by Unity of Charlottesville. Over 125 people from 23 different faith communities attended the event.
Reverends Don Lansky and Patricia Gulino Lansky, Co-Pastors of Unity welcomed us and offered a prayer to begin our time together.
Apostle Sarah Kelley, Pastor of Faith, Hope, and Love International Healing and Deliverance Center, led in the singing of "Reach Out and Touch, Somebody's Hand."
Rev. Dr. Michael Cheuk, Secretary of the Charlottesville Clergy Collective, gave an overview of the work of the CCC and a recap of previous "Conversations toward Reconciliation" gatherings.
Rev. Dr. Brenda Brown-Grooms spoke about her shift in thinking about white people in relation to her call to serve as Co-Pastor of New Beginnings Christian Community in Charlottesville.
Rev. Albert Connett of Olivet Presbyterian shared the shift in his thinking about justice in housing for African Americans and how that shift led to his advocacy for this issue in our community.
Participants around the table shared ways in which shifts in thinking and action for racial justice and equity by reflecting on these questions:
a) what can we do in our personal relationships to address racism and increase racial equity
b) what can we do in our faith community to address racism and increase racial equity
c) what can we do in the communities in which we live to address racism and increase racial equity
Apostle Sarah Kelley concluded our gathering by leading us in singing "This Little Light of Mine," and Rev. Dr. Liz Emrey adjourned us with a closing prayer
REMARKS AT AUGUST 12, 2019 INTERFAITH SERVICE
Rabbi Tom Gutherz /Congregation Beth Israel /Charlottesville, Virginia
I’ve been asked to share some reflections on the impact of August 12, 2017
on the Jewish community in our town. Most Jews in America today are here
because they, or more commonly, their ancestors, were refugees escaping religious persecution, often pogroms or genocide. Most of us carry these family stories,
and especially for first- and second- generation Americans, these stories were related
to us directly by those who experienced them, by our parents or grandparents.
We were raised to believe that America was a kind of promised land. Not a place
where all anti-Semitic attitudes would be completely absent, but a place where organized anti-Semitism, aided and abetted by the institutions of government and society, would not occur in this land of liberty and freedom.
Most of our community has experienced garden-variety antisemitism: the pennies thrown on the floor, insensitive words that convey some unpleasant attitude or some unflattering idea about Jews or Judaism. And many of us grew up with some name-calling: Kike, Hebe, Yid. But by and large the public expression of hatred towards Jews was thought by us to be a thing of the past.
And then came August 12, in Charlottesville.
Since that weekend two years ago we have had to have certain kinds of conversations with our children and our friends, that we never had before. Trying to explain to them: Why do people hate the Jews so much?
The Unite the Right Rally here was a public coming-out ceremony for a movement
that had been steadily organizing itself in the corners of the dark web, where Jew-hatred is glorified and amplified. Where the names of Jewish journalists, activists and public figures have their names bracketed with the three parentheses to signify “JEW.”
Before August 12, we did not pay much attention to this. We, like many of you, were surprised that when the Klan came to town—the Klan, whose very existence is a visceral reminder of racial terror for African Americans--and most of the signs they carried were anti-Semitic.
And we did not fully understand why the people who came here, ostensibly to protest the removal of Civil War hero statues, were chanting: JEWS WILL NOT REPLACE US”
And maybe some of you still do not know.
The reason is this: that for many on the alt-right, hatred of Jews is a part of the glue
that holds together the white supremacist worldview. This movement has cut and
pasted classic anti-Semitic tropes into their version of “the Great Replacement
Theory.” According to them, the Jews, not being truly whites and certainly not Christians, work secretly for the demise of the white race.
This myth of sinister Jewish power is what motivated the shooter at the Pittsburgh synagogue last year. He blamed HIAS--the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society--for
being behind the invasion (his words) of immigrants at our border. So he went to a synagogue to murder some Jews.
The story of HIAS and Pittsburgh is a personal one for me. My father Joseph was
born in Poland in 1924. He lost his entire family in the Holocaust. By the time he
was 20 years old, every single person who he knew growing up, every family member and friend, with one or two exceptions, was murdered because they were Jews.
They were victims of a society that whole-heartedly embraced these same theories of racial supremacy, that believed in worldwide Jewish conspiracies. My father survived. HIAS brought my own father to America in 1950, and helped him to settle in Cleveland Ohio, where I was born.
The thought that Nazi ideas are avidly discussed on the internet and neo-Nazi insignias proudly worn on our streets, makes the Jewish community uneasy. We feel that the ground is shifting, though we do not know exactly how. We are uncomfortable about being suddenly cast into the public eye. And though we are grateful for all the expressions of support we received from so many of you in this room, our synagogue
has gotten used to security measures that we never felt were necessary before. There
are moments of fear, when we see or hear about some unusual activity.
But together with our fears and uncertainties, we are also aware that Jews as a community have been embraced in a unique way by this country. Barriers that once restricted our admission to neighborhoods, universities and or organizations have mostly disappeared.
We are no longer shunned as marriage partners, as was the case only two generations ago.
I’ve told you part of my father’s story. And yet I am also aware that when he arrived
in this country, and settled in Cleveland Ohio in the 1950’s, there were certain neighborhoods he could live in, bank loans and jobs he could get by virtue of the fact
that he had been designated as white, or kind of white, in America’s either/or racial lens.
I and many in our Jewish community--the ninety percent of our community
who are not Jews of color--enjoy privileges that were not available, and still are not,
to African Americans and people of color.
We know that for every synagogue shooting, there have been dozens of attacks on African American churches and communities. And we know that much white supremacist violence is directed at Muslims and, as we saw just last week in El Paso, at the Latino community.
I had known about the violence of racism and its history in our country.
But on August 12 I, and many of you, saw it and felt it in a different way.
I may have been surprised by my exposure to the depth of the hatred and
the violence of white supremacy in this country, but African Americans have
always known it. It is as much a part of their life, of your life, as the air we all
breathe. And havin seen and felt that, I think, imposes a special obligation on
all of us.
So I have a lot of questions that need to be answered:
Why did I not feel that violence?
Was I too optimistic about the things I saw changing?
Too complacent about the pace and efficacy of those changes?
Why did I not know the history of the statues that are one block away from the synagogue, that I pass every day? Why did I not have the curiosity to find out?
Shame on me!
And what else is there that I just do not want to see?
And what is at stake in my not seeing?
What will I have to give up, to support, to change, in order to contribute to undoing
the racial injustice that some are fighting so hard to maintain?
Many of us in our town have made the commitment to answering these questions.
Part of what changed for me on August 12, was a realization that I needed to change
my way of thinking about racism in this country. That I needed to understand that
it is not just about what is in my heart or my mind. But to understand the structures
it has built: economic, educational, political, and social; to understand its tenacity, its violence, its legacy. How it has shaped almost every aspect of the world we live in.
As well as its near invisibility to me as a white person.
My generation of Jews, born after the Holocaust, was raised under the slogan “merbr Again.” This was presented to me, and perhaps to many of you, as a “lesson” of the Holocaust. It its narrow meaning, this lesson translates to this: that Jews must take seriously the words of those who seek to harm us. We have learned that history does not only go forward. It can go backwards as well.
But I understand “Never Again” in a much larger way. “Never Again” means
that on account of my personal history, on account of what I and my community has experienced, on account of what all of us here in Charlottesville have experienced,
we have a special responsibility to be vigilant about racial and ethnic hatred
and injustice wherever we see it. And to look for it, to ferret it out, when we do not see it.
To understand clearly how it works, and to look for ways to dismantle it. To be a resister and not a bystander.
The Jewish tradition teaches: You are not obligated to compete the task
But neither are you free to desist from it. Each of us must find that way that
we can best contribute to this task.
I am so grateful for those of you in this room who have taught me, and continue to
teach me. I am learning. We are all trying to learn. And I believe we will all find
our way forward together
CCC Interfaith Service, August 12, 2019
By Rev. Dr. Jill Duffield
In order for me to share the impact of August 12, 2017, I need to go back in time first. It is June, 2015. I am in South Carolina, a state I called home for nearly 20 years. It is June, 2015 and I am living in Columbia, South Carolina, the state capital, the one where the Confederate flag flew defiantly on the state house grounds from 1961 until July of 2015. On June 18th I wake to the news of the shooting at the historic, Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. The evening before, at Mother Emmanuel, nine people, including the pastor, had been murdered in cold blood while attending a Bible study, the shooter was a young man, a white supremacist, who wanted to start a race war, a young man, it will be revealed, who was raised in a white, mainline, Protestant church just down the road from mine. In other words, a white supremacist so virulent that he killed nine African American brothers and sisters in Christ, in a church, during a Bible study, after he was welcomed by them and sat beside them for an hour and waited until they bowed their heads in prayer to execute them. This man was raised in a church not unlike the one that raised me and not unlike the one I serve. How, I lamented, could this happen?
I grieved with my adopted state and wrapped in my protective white privilege, resting in the secure bubble of my white safety, wrapped in the rarified ignorance of my white obliviousness, I thought: This is an evil, horrendous, exceptional event.
Never mind that in that same state on the campus of the flagship public university sits the Strom Thurmond Fitness Center, a huge edifice on the corner of what the builder says is “the fourth most active intersection in South Carolina and not far from the state capital.” It opened not in the 1950’s or 60’s or 70’s or 80’s or 90’s but was dedicated in 2003.
Never mind that during the transatlantic slave trade about 40 percent of enslaved Africans brought into the country passed through Charleston Harbor.
Never mind that when I asked my African American colleague in that wealthy, storied, Southern city to write something a year later, in the wake of yet another police shooting of an unarmed black man, he said, “And just think - America and the world sat glued to the television in dismay again last night over yet another senseless death. My head and heart worked all night to keep the lid on my outrage as seemingly… the life and spirit of a black male has 0 value.”
Despite all of that and SO MUCH MORE, I was naïve enough, because I could be, to be surprised by racial prejudice, to be largely unaware of centuries of systemic and structural racism, and subsequently shocked by the insidious, ever present and growing white supremacy not only in this country but in white Christianity.
How utterly sinful of me. What an affront to the One Body of which I am a part, the Body that is to be so united and connected that it hurts when others hurt and weeps with those who weep.
Three years ago, I moved to Charlottesville and began to get acclimated: UVA has grounds, not a campus, Thomas Jefferson is everywhere, Vinegar Hill was once a thriving, predominately African-American neighborhood that was destroyed in the name of so-called urban renewal.
I followed the statue debate, heard the KKK was coming, got connected with the Charlottesville Clergy Collective and prepared for that mid-August weekend of two years ago.
As we met and made plans, I thought some of our group were alarmist about the potential for violence. How utterly sinful. What an affront to the One Body of which I profess to be a part, the Body that is supposed to be so connected that it knows intimately the pain of any member of it.
On August 12, I donned my stole and went to the sunrise worship service in this very space. I sang and prayed and was moved by the preachers and energized by the crowd and I marched and then took my place at First United Methodist and waited and watched and was shocked, sinfully shocked as the day unfolded, because I had the privilege of being shocked, the luxury of not subjected to the daily threat of violence or centuries long structural discrimination codified in policy and enforced by terror not only episodic but calculated, pervasive, systemic and baked into our infrastructure and institutions, all of them, including the one I serve.
God forgive me, It took the weekend of August 11 and 12th, in this historic, storied city from which liberty for all supposedly sprung, to remove the scales from my eyes, only then did I recognize that the tragedy at Mother Emmanuel was not a horrific outlier, it was emblematic of our past, representative of our present, and a loud bell weather of our future.
I owe an apology to my African American siblings and my Jewish, Muslim and Hispanic ones, too, because resting in my privilege, I not only allowed, but through my inaction and silence enabled and therefore participated in the hate that would erupt into deadly violence, again and again and again.
Historian of race and religion, Jemar Tisby, writing to white Christians, warns: “Sin in the form of white nationalism crouches at the door of every congregation.”
In the wake of August, 2017 and Pittsburgh and Poway, Christ Church and Gilroy and El Paso, I must confess that white nationalism does not only crouch at the doorway of every white congregation, but all too often worships in its pews and preaches from its pulpits.
It is not enough, however, to confess, I, and my fellow white Christians, must repent and repentance requires not just an openness to being transformed by God, but a willingness make tangible, earthly amends, to do all that is on our power to repair the damage our action and inaction have wrought.
My faith tradition is one in which we are taught that every person is a beloved child of God.
We are told that God desires life, and life abundant, for everyone.
We are reminded over and over again to work for justice and stand on the side of the oppressed.
We are admonished that God will judge us based on how we treat those being marginalized and hurt in our world.
We learn that the most basic and important tenet of our religion is love of God and neighbor…and yet…
All to often we, those like me, live as if our Lord came to bless our heritage, bolster our unearned benefits and baptize our entitlement rather than trouble the waters and upend all that robs others of their God-given dignity, humanity, and worth.
God forgive me, it took August 12, 2017 with torch carrying neo-Nazis and semi-automatic wielding militias and Confederate flag wagging white supremacists and van loads of organized, vitriolic slogan shouting alt-right nationalists to see, really see, the truth of not only our history, but of our present reality of hate against others who do not look like me, and therefore don’t have the luxury of my heretofore willful ignorance and deadly complicity.
I am truly sorry and I humbly repent and that means working for real change: personal, systemic, structural, in every arena of our life together, until that day when truly we are ONE beloved community, with liberty, justice and not just equality, but equity for ALL.
The Charlottesville Clergy Collective thanks all who participated, attended, and supported the Interfaith Service, Monday evening, August 12, 2019, held at First Baptist West Main St.
We celebrated the resilience of this city. We were inspired and challenged by the testimonies. We were uplifted by song. We prayed for guidance and for the Lord to make things right. We departed with a renewed commitment to act on behalf of love and justice.
You can also read the testimonies given by
Rev. Dr. Jill Duffield and
Rabbi Tom Gutherz
Photo credit: Michael Cheuk
Below are links to local media coverage of the Interfaith Service.
On Saturday, August 10, a Charlottesville Sing Out was held at the Sprint Pavilion as part of the city's "Unity Days" initiative as we approach the second anniversary of the white supremacist rally.
Photo credit: Michael Cheuk
Jonathan P. Walton is an area ministry director for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship‘s New York/New Jersey region. He previously served for ten years as director of the New York City Urban Project. He writes regularly for Huffington Post, medium.com, and is the author of three books of poetry and short stories.
Jonathan talks to Michael Cheuk about his book, Twelve Lies That Hold America Captive: And the Truth That Sets Us Free.
Additional resources recommended by Jonathan:
Originally published (with transcript) at
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