The events in Charlottesville on August 11 and 12, 2017 serve as a wakeup call to the Presbyterian Church in Virginia. The racism, hate speech and blatant advocacy of white supremacy on display those August days remind us, as members of the church of Jesus Christ, that we must refuse to be silent in the face of that which contests God’s love for all humankind.

In response to the POJ’s overture on “The Rise of White Supremacy and Racism” and guided by the desire to see our presbytery and all God’s people live more fully into the two great commandments to love God and our neighbor as ourselves:

We will investigate and propose steps that the Presbytery of the James may take to witness to the love of God for all people and the POJ’s opposition to acts of hate and discrimination. To include:

  • Avenues through which the Presbyterian Church in Virginia can study, confess and seek to repent of its own history of racism.
  • Resources that the POJ could promote for use at the presbytery, community or congregational level (e.g. books, studies, media, pilgrimages, conversation groups, speakers, seminars and more).

Members

Darren Utley, moderator

Jill Duffield

Cheryl Goode

Charles Grant

Danita Green

Mary Johns

Ashley Diaz Mejias

Lauren Ramseur

Martha Rollins

Christopher Tweel

Janet Winslow


Resources

Books

Reconstructing the Gospel
by Johnathan Wilson-Hartgrove

Publisher’s Comments
"I am a man torn in two. And the gospel I inherited is divided."
Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove grew up in the Bible Belt in the American South as a faithful church-going Christian. But he gradually came to realize that the gospel his Christianity proclaimed was not good news for everybody. The same Christianity that sang, "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound" also perpetuated racial injustice and white supremacy in the name of Jesus. His Christianity, he discovered, was the religion of the slaveholder.

Dismantling Racism Ministries Comments
A number of folks in the purpose group have read this book and believe it would make for a great book study for the Southern church. Wilson-Hartgrove works closely with Dr. William Barber in the Poor People’s Campaign movement.

Waking Up White
by Debby Irving

Dismantling Racism Ministries Comments
A number of churches have formed study groups to read this book. Groups from First Presbyterian in Richmond and Bon Air Presbyterian have had very good experiences with this text. We believe there are a couple of churches in the Charlottesville area who have also formed groups around this book.

Richmond’s Unhealed History
by Ben Campbell

Dismantling Racism Ministries Comments
Campbell, a long-time Richmond resident, presents a history of Richmond all the way back to its founding that helps us see the deep structures racial and ethnic division that still need to be addressed today if we are going to heal our city.


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