Sunday, August 13, 2017

Text of Sunday sermon August 13, 2017 by Alex McGee for TJMC Unitarian Universalist in Charlottesville Virginia

(I have been asked for a text of the words I spoke this morning. Because I had prepared with handwritten notes, what you find below is a restatement of what I said this morning but might be worded differently. Please forgive lack of punctuation and typos – my computer is in the shop and so I am dictating this. An audio recording of the worship service will probably be posted on the church website. Rev.  Susan Frederick-Gray and Rev.  Carlton Elliott Smith also spoke in the service.)

---

"I've been hearing some people say "this just doesn't seem like Charlottesville".  Or, "our town has been lost." Indeed, for many of us, our beliefs about the world are challenged. And as Susan just said, the system of white privilege is designed such that many people of color and other disenfranchised people already know about hatred and violence in their daily lives. And yet for all of us :whites or not, I believe that what happened here this weekend was an invasion on a new level. 

And so, many of us are in shock. Along with the rage at injustice there is also a shock and a numbness.

The nature of shock is that each person feels it differently in their own way and time. Some people react by wanting to be alone, others by clinging to company.  Some people lose their appetite. Some experience foggy thinking, others of sharpness of focus. Some may be unable to sleep even though you are exhausted.  You may find your mind racing with images from the media or what you yourself experience, and feel unable to stop your racing thoughts.  Or perhaps your body experience something yesterday and those sensations are still with with you and you can't figure out how to shake them off?

All of these are normal reactions to an abnormal situation.

And each of us copes in unique ways.

Each of us is a whole person with whole lives although at this moment, our lives may feel fragmented, and all our attention turns towards mourning and outrage right here in our hometown.

I would like to pause and say something about this word hometown. As I crafted this sermon  I found myself using the word hometown again and again. And yet when I stood back and asked myself whether that serves the group gathered here today, I realized I needed to make a distinction.  The issue that we are up against that was made so clear this weekend is both a national and local issue.  I have heard friends and family say and I have seen on Facebook: people around this country are out raged and fearful about the Nazi rhetoric that was spoken this weekend in Charlottesville. And yet, those of us who live here face another layer of challenge: first, our self image as a town has changed. Second, we are still dealing with daily mundane tasks along with the cleanup and crisis.  Third, having one's town in national media can be an upset in and of itself. Am I the only one here who is tired of seeing our hometown in the national news?  And so I find myself living with the distance: this is both a national story and a local story – and a global story.

And so it is important to respond to these horrific acts. And yet as we do, it is also important to acknowledge that we are in shock, and to tend to our own personal well-being. In the treatment of shock, a common recommendation is to drink water. The body needs to rehydrate. This may not be the time for coffee, or Soda pop, or alcohol.  The body just needs a basic replenishment of one of its own elements, water, which is in our cellular structure.

Drinking plenty of water can also be a metaphor for other ways we care for ourselves right now: spiritual and emotional replenishment — coming to the watering hole for the soul. For example yesterday in this building people offered a sort of spiritual and emotional water, a chance to be together and share and spiritual practices: walking the labyrinth, doing art together, sharing food.

You may know what gives you your personal emotional and spiritual hydration: what the basics are for you –. Perhaps it is hugs, naps, playing with the kids, a good book, or fresh air. Or perhaps it is something that I cannot even imagine that you find nourishing. I commend to you right now these healthy replenishing basics to help your whole system rebalance after the shock. In contrast, watching more media and Facebook and talking about it more may not be what you need right now. To be clear, I am not suggesting  being self-obsessed. I'm talking about self-care, because each of us is part of Creation and we need to steward ourselves as well as all of Creation.

Congregations another part of the country have been reaching out to us on the ministry team to offer help. They have asked: "what can we do?" Here's what I have said: one, double down on your congregational efforts to understand systemic racism. Two, educate your congregation about the alt right and take it seriously to halt its spread. Three, re-devote yourself to volunteering in the religious education programs. The next generation needs intelligent information about how to be involved politically, threats to our democratic system, and how to speak up with love and courage.  The children need us to be there for them.  The UUA  has outstanding curricula for children. 

And so, as we here make it through this first stage of shock, as we literally drink water and also allow ourselves to be replenished with spiritual and emotional waters, we will then find ourselves in a next stage – going forward after the shock wears off.

And so as we look ahead, I offer you a quote from an artist. This quote is on a piece of art that I keep on the wall in the office that I share with Erik. The quote says: "she built her cathedral from the splinters of her shattering." Indeed, the image does look like it could be bits of destruction, but it could also look like a cathedral stainglass window.  My friends, history is made up of people whose hearts were broken, towns were broken, who picked up the pieces and moved on. In our own way, and time, we will do that.

Our way of moving on may be entirely different from any way we have ever done it before. We see with new eyes now, hear with new ears, feel with new hearts. These complicated times we live in require new responses, and we do have the tools, even if we don't recognize them yet.

One of our greatest gifts and greatest challenges right now is to be in touch with all parts of ourselves. And I speak here about our individual selves, and about our communal selves.  Right now, Fear would like to pull all of our attention. This fight or flight reaction is only part of who we are. Inside each of our beings, and woven through our community, is also a creativity and light and tenderness.

My friends, we are called to this wholeness. The spirit of love that pervades this universe longs for each of us to be our whole selves.

Let our creativity serve the world.

(c) 2017, Rev. Alexandra McGee


Friday, August 11, 2017

How to Make "No Response" a Helpful Response ...

Before the arrival of the Klan in July, and again in leading up to tomorrow's alt-right rally, I have said that staying away from the center of things is a perfectly reasonable response.  "Don't give them any attention," many of you have said, and there are lots of others who are recommending the same thing.  

I have also said, though, that deciding to "stay out of it" is, in and of itself, a completely faithful response.  Our Unitarian Universalist faith -- and our ancestors the Unitarians and Universalists as well -- call on us to respond.  And while "not responding" is a response, in order for it to truly be a response we need to be conscious and intentional about our decision and what we choose to do instead.  Simply putting it out of one's mind, acting as if nothing is happening, is not a response.  Something is happening downtown tomorrow, and it is important, and it affects every single one of us.  Each and every single one of us is called by our faith to do something to respond to the arrival of this embodiment of evil that is coming to our city.  (And I do not use those words lightly.)

Here is one of the ways you can consciously and intentionally respond to tomorrow's events without going anywhere near them -- wake up to the realities of the systems and structures of white supremacist culture.  I am directing this suggestion particularly at people who identify, or are identified, as white -- learn something new; deepen your understanding of what it is we are striving to dismantle and, even more of a challenge, how we, ourselves, participate and perpetuate in it.

Congregate Charlottesville has created a page of resources for learning more:


Learn More about the LOCAL CONTEXT

LEARN MORE ABOUT RACISM, WHITE SUPREMACY AND WHITE PRIVILEGE

No, I Wont Stop Saying "White Supremacy"
UCC White Privilege Curriculum
Dismantling Racism: A Resource Book
Anti-Racism Resource Packet
Invisible Knapsack
Theological Curriculum on Race and Economics
White Supremacy Defined
White Supremacy, Overt & Covert


LITURGICAL RESOURCES


WORDS WE'VE HEARD BEFORE
Over the years I have preached many sermons, and written many "musings" regarding racism in the United States, white supremacy, the call of our faith to address racial injustices, and more.  You can go to my blog -- A Minister's Musings -- and search for words like "racial justice," "racism," or "Black Lives Matter."  The search term "White Supremacy" brings up some posts that might be particularly helpful at this time.


IF YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON
If you want to be aware of what's happening in our city, without being directly involved in it, a livestream page has been set up, and will be live throughout the day. Both bit.ly/cvillestream and bit.ly/defendcville now redirect to the livestream page.


There are, of course, many other ways of responding while not putting yourself in the middle of it all. What I believe to be essential, though, is that we all recognize that simply acting as if nothing is happening will absolutely ensure that nothing really changes. We don't want the hateful, hurtful, speech and actions of the alt-right in our city. Even more, though, we should want to see the culture of white supremacy that they espouse thoroughly repudiated and erased. That will only happen if we all act -- in whatever way(s) we can -- to make sure things change.

RevWik


Friday, August 4, 2017

Let Us Pray ...



“Let us enter into that inner place of peace, that mood of meditation, that some call ‘prayer.’” 

I say this most Sundays as part of my introduction to the time of our service called Going Deeper.  This is when we take time for silence, light Candles of Hope and Remembrance and write in the Sands of Forgiveness and Atonement, share our deepest Joys and Sorrows, I try to find words to express, “all that we have heard and all that we have felt; all that we have found here and all that we have brought with us,” and our musician of the day offers a musical meditation to pull all of this together.  I call this time “the heart of the service,” and it is intentionally positioned in the place most often reserved for the sermon.  There is more time devoted to this portion of the service than to any other.

Yet I know that there are Unitarian Universalists who are uncomfortable with the word “prayer.”  “Prayer” is one of the things that they left behind, along with an interventionist God who condemns “sinners” and “non-believers” to an eternity of hell fire and damnation.  Call this time anything you want, they might say, except “prayer.”

I'd like to take a moment to remind us all that the word "prayer" is just that – a word.  “Prayer” is simply a word used to describe something that all religions recognize as ultimately indescribable.  It is, to borrow a phrase from the Zen Buddhist tradition, a finger pointing at the moon; it is not the moon itself.

So what is this word “prayer” pointing toward?  It just so happens that I’ve written an entire book on the subject. [Simply Pray:a modern spiritual practice to deepen your life, published by Skinner House Books, available both in print and as an e-book!  (Yes.  Shameless plug.)]  Simply put, though, I’d say that there’s a reason we call that “prayer” section of the service, “Going Deeper.”

Most religious traditions – and psychologists, sociologists, cultural anthropologists, etc. – agree that most of us live most of our lives with a whole lot of cacophony, both external and internal.  There is so much “noise,” so much stimulation, and we are encouraged to live (and do) at such a break-neck pace, that we lose our ability to simply be.  It’s hard for us to really notice the moments of our lives, because really noticing the moments of our lives requires us to stop, or at least slow down.  This thing "some people call 'prayer'" is an intentional practice of slowing down and trying to let go of all that busy doing so that we might put ourselves into direct contact with the deep groundedness of being.

Another benefit of taking the time to slow down and quiet the noise that so easily distracts us, is an increased ability to make sense out of life – our lives and Life itself.  This, too, is hard to do when we’re running around so much.  Whether you call it “intuition,” “inner wisdom,” “deep knowing,” or even “the voice of God,” the underlying idea is the same – when we quiet our lives we can see and hear and know in ways that simply aren’t possible when we’re caught up in the cacophony of modern life. 

All of this – the slowing down, the quieting, the noticing, the listening --  is the “moon” toward which the “finger” of that word “prayer” points.

But doesn’t prayer have to do with talking with God?  Asking for things?  Confessing our sins and begging for forgiveness?  Well … maybe.  But I truly don’t believe that those things are fundamental, essential to the understanding of prayer.  After all, couldn’t you say that “talking with God” is a way of understanding “listening to our deepest wisdom”?  And when we ask for things, doesn’t that require getting clarity about what’s really important to us?  While there are certainly people who maintain that those other ways of understanding prayer are the only ways of understanding prayer, we, as Unitarian Universalists, are not required to accept the teachings of other religions exactly as they are understood in those traditions.  Yet we are called to look for the wisdom these teachings contain.  The notion that we could all use a little more silence and stillness, a little more clarity and wisdom, and little more attention to and awareness of the moments of our existence certainly seems like wisdom to me.

I’m writing all of this because among the Charlottesville Clergy Collection’s recommendations for ways to respond to the upcoming “Unite the Right” rally, is a recommendation to engage in prayer.  There is no doubt that some in that group – perhaps even many or most – understand this to mean petitioning an actively interventionist God to protect people, or open the hearts of the white nationalists, to give comfort to those who have been most directly harmed by the systems and structures of white supremacy (and those who actively and intentionally, and dare I say joyously give them life), or to open the floodgates of justice that they might roll down “like an ever flowing stream.”

Equally certainly there are Unitarian Universalists who dismiss all of that and, therefore, see no reason to engage in “[what] some people call ‘prayer.’”  There are those who find the notion of “prayer” – as traditionally taught and understood, at least – to be as truly meaningless (literally void of any meaning) as they do the notion of “God” (as traditionally taught and understood).  When we do this, though, we once again cut ourselves off from any kind of communion with other religious traditions; we once again throw up an impenetrable “wall of separation,” this time not between church and state but between our faith traditional and all others.  And who among us, today, can say we favor the building of walls?

So while others prepare for the events of August 12th with their understanding(s) of prayer, I would encourage us UUs to do so with ours.  For some, of course, those more traditional meanings ring true.  For the rest, though, let me ask three questions:


   Isn’t there a lot of “noise” surrounding the coming of the alt-right to Charlottesville?  Isn’t there a lot of confusion about what to do, how to do it, who to do it with, and when and where it should be done?  Prayer, as I’ve suggested we can think about it, offers a tool for turning down the volume on that cacophony so as to make it possible for us to listen to the wisdom we all have within ourselves (by whatever name we know it).

   And doesn’t all the media coverage, and social media commentary, and parking lot and grocery store conversations about how scary, and infuriating, and awful this is make it hard to keep track of the day-to-day beauty in our lives?  Doesn’t this overwhelming demonstration of the worst we humans are capable of threaten our ability to see the best we are capable of?  Prayer, as I’ve suggested understanding it, can help us to see the one without losing sight of the other, for this world is both brutal and beautiful, and to make a difference we must recognize both.

   And as you think about what’s happening in our city and, indeed, our country, do you feel your pulse race and your blood pressure rise?  Can you feel yourself getting worn out, exhausted, by the stress of it all?  Prayer, as I’ve tried to define it, can help us to “find a stillness, hold a stillness, [and] let the stillness carry [us],” as the hymn puts it.  It can help us to carve out a place of rest, of calm, and “inner place of peace.”  And from this place we can recharge our spiritual batteries so that we have the strength to do what must be done.


So ... not only do the faith leaders who constitute the Charlottesville Clergy Collective recommend preparing for, and engaging with, the presence of hundreds of avowed white nationalist here in our own city with prayer, so do I.  As Unitarian Universalists we are free to understand that in ways that make the most sense to us, yet we are also encouraged to see, honor, and learn from the wisdom of the traditions from which that word comes, and the moon toward which it points.

Pax tecum,

RevWik




Tuesday, August 1, 2017

On Torches, and Crosses, and the Call of Our Faith


As we move toward the gathering storm that is the "Unite the Right" gathering of alt-right white nationalists in our city, I want to share with you some Charlottesville history, and some of our own history as a congregation.


On July 12, 1898, a man was lynched ... here in Charlottesville.  Accused of raping a white woman, John Henry James was seized by a mob of 150 people from a C&O train transporting him to the Charlottesville jail.  He was then hung from a tree at Wood’s Crossing near Ivy Depot and shot 40 times. According to a front-page article of the Daily Progress, “the people of Charlottesville heartily approve[d] the lynching.” 

In April of 1917, two African American men -- Robert Jones and "Ham" Cosby -- were indicted for, and had confessed to, the murder of a former Police Officer named Meredith A. Thomas.  They were set to be tried on the 17th, but "a mob of hundreds" made their way to the jail, determined to take justice into their own hands and lynch the two.  As they came down High Street they found their way blocked by local police and the Monticello Guard -- "hundreds ... at every corner in all directions from the jail."  When the mob refused to disburse, Mayor E. G. Haden, and Judge Archie D. Dabney were called for, and they "marched through the crowd for quite a while, exhorting all to preserve the peace and disperse to their home," which they eventually did.  The jail remained guarded throughout the night.  [All of this from a story in the Daily Progress on April 17, 1917.]

In 1956, in response to the Supreme Court's ruling mandating the integration of public schools, U.S. Senator Harry F. Byrd, Sr. called for what has come to be known as "massive resistance."  Several school districts in the South -- Charlottesville among them -- essentially closed their schools rather than see them integrated.  Many area congregations opened their buildings to provide an alternative space for (white) children to continue to receive education.


In 1976, Molly Michie, Ann Spurgin, and Gwyneth Mooney, all members of this congregation, founded the Unitarian Cooperative Preschool (now known as the Molly Michie Preschool).  It was the first parent cooperative preschool in the city and, more germane to this story, it was intentionally created to be multi-racial.  The first integrated preschool in Charlottesville was not only housed in our building, it was envisioned and created by members of our congregation.

In 1956, when area churches were enabling the "massive resistance" strategy by making themselves available to continue the education of white children, our congregation refused to do so.  (As you can imagine, this made us stand out, much as our marriage equality and black lives matter signs do today.)

In the 1950s there was no public facility in Charlottesville that would allow for integrated meetings ... except for the Unitarian Church.  We opened our doors to the local chapter of the Council on Human Relations -- an integrated group that "that worked to foster communication and improve relations between blacks and whites. It worked through a state-wide organization and established local groups to support educational programs, school desegregation, fair employment practices, and other issues of the day."  Because of this, and no doubt also because of our refusal to participate in "massive resistance,"on August 13, 1956, representatives of the Seaboard White Citizens' Council came to Charlottesville and burned a cross on our church's grounds.


There are a myriad of other stories that could be told -- some that reveal more details of an even more disturbing picture of race relations in Charlottesville, and some that don't paint us in such a heroic light.  The point, though, is that our city's full history does not support the notion that (mostly white) people often have of Charlottesville as an idyllic oasis, removed from the problems that pervade the rest of the Commonwealth, specifically, and the South, generally.  Long before Jason Kessler gathered a group of torch wielding white supremacists in, then, Lee Park, or the KKK rallied in Emancipation Park, or representatives of the "new" white nationalists come to town, race has been a painful issue here.  This is important for us -- and by "us" here I mostly mean people like me who identify as or are identified as white -- to remember.  This may be new to "us," but this is not new, and to repeatedly voice our shock and surprise at it today is to further hide the realty of the experiences of black and brown people here.

It is also not "new" for us -- those of us who claim as our spiritual home this outpost of Unitarian Universalism in the shadow of Monticello -- to take strong, even sometimes courageous, positions in support of our values and in opposition to injustice.  Our faith compelled us to do so in the past; it is compels us to do no less today.

It would be nice if there were some neat, clear-cut, outline, or program, of events on August 12th.  There just isn't, and, honestly, can't be -- the situation is too complex and, not to put too fine a point on it -- chaotic.  Things are changing both constantly and quickly, and it is hard to keep up (even for those who are planning things).  I can recommend that we -- as a congregation and as individuals -- follow the leadership of the Charlottesville Clergy Collective.  (They have a page dedicated to information about the 12th.)   There is also our own website, Act Now Charlottesville, which is regularly updated to include all sorts of racial justice related events and activities.

Our Universalist ancestor, the Rev. Olympia Brown, is remembered as saying:

“Dear Friends, stand by this faith.  Work for it and sacrifice for it. There is nothing in all the world so important to you as to be loyal to this faith which has placed before you the loftiest ideals, which has comforted you in sorrow, strengthened you for noble duty, and made the world beautiful for you. Do not demand immediate results but rejoice that you are worthy to be entrusted with this great message and that you are strong enough to work for a great true principle without counting the cost. Go on finding ever new applications of these truths and new enjoyments in their contemplation.”

That's actually the theme of the service this Sunday, the call of our faith to "work for it and sacrifice for it."  See you on Sunday!

Pax tecum,

RevWik


Friday, July 7, 2017

I invite you ...



There has been a lot of discussion, and some confusion, about what is happening tomorrow to respond to the presence of the Klan in our city.  There are lists of choices for you to consider.  Some have seen this as a sign of disunity, a disturbing demonstration of our inability to "come together as one."  Others, and I am one of these, see this panoply of possibilities as a reflection of the reality that there simply is no one way to respond.  I believe that it is a good thing that we have a diversity of responses, recognizing that there is a diversity of needs among those of us responding.  After all, a recognition of and respect for diversity is one of the things we are showing up to defend. So ... as I said last Sunday, and has been said in various ways since, please feel encouraged to engage in the events of tomorrow in ways that feel appropriate (and safe) to you.

That said, I would like to encourage all of you who can to join me at the First United Methodist Church at about 1:00.  Traffic downtown -- and parking! -- will be challenging tomorrow, so I'm suggesting trying to get to FUMC by 1:00 so that you will be there for the bystander and de-escalation training that will be going on at 1:30.  At 2:30 a contingent will leave the church and march to Justice Park.  We will be singing, and praying, and playing kazoos and vuvuzelas. We will be a presence.

When we arrive at the park there will most likely be a lot of other people there.  It is expected that only a few of these will be members of the "Loyal Order."  The vast majority will be people there to protest the klan's presence, with many coming from out of town.  Some will be there to bear silent witness; some will have come for confrontation.  Then there will be "the morbidly curious."  Those of us marching from the church, those of us representing the faith communities of our city, are being asked to engage the scene we enter in the way that feels right for you.  There will be details and suggestions at the training, but some may want to carry backpacks with water, Gatorade, granola bars, peanut butter crackers, and wet wipes.  Others will want to continue singing. Still others will be blowing bubbles. Others will be looking out for places of particular tension, and possible danger, and will move into those spaces to provide comfort and support (and, if need be, protection) to those who are feeling vulnerable. I intend to be one of these.

Yet however you choose to respond -- by attending the morning programming at the Jefferson School, going to the People's Picnic at IX Park, joining the crowd at the Justice Park, remaining at First UMC, enjoying the concerts at the Pavilion, attending the program at Jack Jouett Middle School sponsored by the NAACP, or staying home and living your life giving the presence of the klan no attention at all -- I encourage you, as I said on Sunday, to make that choice mindfully. It is not hyperbole to say that the world will be watching Charlottesville tomorrow. (We know that there will be national media coverage, and in a planning meeting this morning someone said that they'd been contacted by Al Jazeera.)  My prayer is that in the choices each of us make we both demonstrate the truth that "out of many, one" (e pluribus unum), and that we show the world how Unitarian Unversalists respond to hate.

RevWik

 

Friday, June 30, 2017

Summer of 2017: Standing Firm – Moving Forward Together

This is the official statement of the Charlottesville Clergy Collective, outlining the response(s) planned by many of the faith communities in C'ville.  (The list of signatories is at the end.)  Over the next several days I will post more information, both practical and theological.


The Charlottesville Clergy Collective is a gathering of faith leaders in the Charlottesville-Albemarle region whose mission is to establish, develop, and promote racial justice. We are committed to challenging the resurgence of groups promoting racist, white supremacist ideals this summer with prayer and action, galvanizing the community to act in a spirit of love and radical hospitality, respecting the dignity of every human being.

On July 8, the Charlottesville Clergy Collective will be present in and around downtown at events organized by the city and other community leaders in addition to hosting activities under our banner. The focal point of our activity will occur, and be launched from, First United Methodist Church

Our overall aim is to provide:

Action: Prayers begin in Justice Park in the morning and continue into the afternoon with a march from FUMC to Justice Park to bear witness as a faith community and to the Pavilion for a time of prayer, song, and celebration, surrounding the area with our presence.

Safe Space: First United Methodist Church, 1:00pm – 5:00pm, open for prayer, music, community-building, and conversation.

Accompaniment: Walking with those who might be hesitant to move around the areas between FUMC and points downtown.

Education: Training and conversation events leading up to July 8 and plans for ongoing witness in the days and weeks following.

As people of faith, we have been working together to address issues of justice and equality and to heal divisions in our region, and these events of July 8 are a continuation of that work. We have much to do to create a community in which all people feel welcome, safe, nurtured, and fully included in our common life.

We will Stand Firm in our pursuit of justice and the honoring of all peoples, and we will Move Forward Together as one community, united in our common humanity as beloved of God.

Signed:

Pastor Daniel Xisto, Charlottesville Seventh-day Adventist Church
Pastor Winn Collier, All Souls, Charlottesville
The Rev. Erik Wikstrom, Thomas Jefferson Memorial Unitarian Universalist Church
The Rev. Michael Cheuk, Charlottesville Clergy Collective
The Rev. Rabia Povich, Inayati Universal Sufi Order
The Rev. Jeff Villio, First Christian Church
The Rev. Dr. Jill Duffield, The Presbyterian Outlook
Susan Beers, Charlottesville Friends Meeting
Adam Slate, Thomas Jefferson Memorial Unitarian Universalist Church
The Rev. Neal Halvorson-Taylor, Grace Church, Red Hill
The Rev. Pamela Philips, Thomas Jefferson Memorial Unitarian Universalist Church
Ann Marie Smith, Intern, Grace Church, Red Hill/Charis Community
The Rev. Dr. Jan Rivero, Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church
The Rev. Dr. Ken Henry, Westminster Presbyterian Church
The Rev. William Peyton, St. Paul’s Memorial Episcopal  Church
Apostle Sarah A. Kelley, Faith, Hope and Love International Healing and Deliverance Center
The Rev. Phil Woodson, First United Methodist Church
Sharon Beckman-Brindley, Insight Meditation Community of Charlottesville
The Rev. Dr. Harry Kennon, First United Methodist Church
The Rev. Carol Sims, Grace Episcopal Church, Cismont
The Rev. Marilu Thomas, Christ Episcopal Church
The Rev. Josh Bascom, Christ Episcopal Church
The Rev. Dr. Susan A. Minasian, Sojourners United Church of Christ
The Rev. Alvin J. Horton, First United Methodist Church
Deacon Don Gathers, First Baptist Church – West Main Street
Pastor Brenda Brown-Grooms, New Beginnings Christian Community
Pastor Liz Emrey, New Beginnings Christian Community
The Rev. Robert Lewis, Hinton Avenue United Methodist Church
The Rev. Will Brown, University Baptist Church
The Rev. Dr. Louie Andrews, Rockfish Presbyterian Church
The Rev. Dr. David Garth, First Presbyterian Charlottesville
The Rev. Don Lansky, Unity of Charlottesville
The Rev. Seth Wispelwey, Sojourners United Church of Christ
Rabbi Tom Gutherz, Congregation Beth Israel
The Rev. Liz Forney, First Presbyterian Church
The Rev. Sandy Wisco, Charlottesville Clergy Collective
The Rev. Viktoria Halmágyi Parvin, St. Mark Lutheran Church
The Rev. Cass Bailey, Trinity Episcopal Church
The Rev. Emily Rowell Brown, St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church
The Rev. Gary Charles, Cove Presbyterian Church
Rev. Nicholas Deere, Broadus Memorial Baptist Church
The Rev. Dr. Jim Bundy, Sojourners United Church of Christ
The Rev. Dr. Alvin Edwards, Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church
The Rev. Dr. Lehman Bates, Ebenezer Baptist Church
The Rev. Elaine Ellis Thomas, St. Paul’s Memorial Episcopal Church