October 2019 – Minutes

CLJP Minutes October 2019

Monticello Room, Westminster Canterbury

Present: Peter Weatherly, John Peale, Bob McAdams, Hal Horan, Ed Murray, Diane Murray, Carol Muntz, Dave Warren, Taylor Beard, Carol Muntz ,

Visitors: Dorothy Piatt, new Associate Minister for Social Justice and University Mission, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Lehman Bates, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist, and  Yoshi Takahashi, chaplain at UVA Hospital

Diane Murray opened with prayer, Ed Murray, presided.

The Minutes of the September 10 meeting prepared by Diane Murray, Acting Recording Secretary, were approved.

Treasurer’s Report: Since the September 10 balance of 2,561.85, Beard reported an increase of dues/Donations of 300.00 paid by Warren Grupe, Jean Newsom, and John and Lydia Peale, 60.00 paid in dues by Jim McDonald, totaling 360.00 and expenses of 110.00 paid as an honorarium and lunch for the Rev. Will Brown and postage expenses of 9.90, resulting in a balance as of October 8 of 2,801.95, ending the long monthly reign of the 85-cent carry-over.

Carry-over from the Minutes of September 10 regarding this year’s Festival of the Book: the help of 120.00 donations along with 240.00 increase in dues, making more affordable the 500.00 shared expense for an author addressing the issue of affordable housing. 

The speaker the Festival had hoped to get Matthew Desmond, author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City was unavailable.  Should the Festival not find another in that category, the general consensus was that the Festival has a good track record of finding authors dealing with social justice issues. 

In the meeting, Beard delivered to check to Ed Murray, who will present it to the Book’s Director, Jane Kulow.

Announcements:

McAdams: The United Nations was founded on October 24, 1945. The Blue Ridge Virginia Chapter of the United Nations Association will host a celebration this year’s 74th anniversary with a special meeting on Sunday, October 20, 3:00 pm at Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church – Unitarian Universalist, 717 Rugby Road, Charlottesville. Allana Nelson, a specialist in digital development, will speak on “Our Planet Our future.”  A reception will follow.  The event is free and open to the public.

Ms. Piatt invited the members to the 2019 Westminster Lectureship Series on this Saturday, October 12, 2019. The speaker will be Dr. Gary Dorrien, Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary and Professor of Religion at Columbia University. Dr. Dorrien is also the author of 19 books on ethics, social theory, philosophy, and politics.

Dr. Dorrien will speak in the morning at 11 a.m. on “The New Abolition: W.E.B. DuBois and the Black Social Gospel. At 1:30 p.m., he’ll discuss “Breaking White Supremacy: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Black Social Gospel.

The lectures are free and no tickets are required. Lunch will be available for purchase between the lectures. Parking is available behind the church, off 17th Street.  Westminster’s address is 400 Rugby Road, Charlottesville, VA 22911.

Beard: The 48th Annual Charlottesville Albemarle CROP WALK will be this Sunday, October 13, 2019. Last year we raised $27,074 for local and international hunger relief.

Our 6 Mile CROP WALK will follow our route that starts and ends at Westminster Presbyterian Church on Rugby Rd. We will walk past the University Corner, and on Main Street to Ridge Street, on Cherry Ave., Jefferson Park Ave., to University Avenue and back on Rugby Rd. to Westminster. Alternatively, a shorter walk of 1 and a half miles will end at Cherry Avenue Christian Church, with transportation available back to the church. 

Program: Co-Chair Peter Weatherly’s review of Jemar Tisby’s The Color of Compromise—The Truth About the American Church’s Complicity in Racism.

In the material sent out for the meeting, Weatherly quotes an apparent review of the book:

“In August of 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous ‘I have a Dream’ speech,

Calling all Americans to view others not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.  Yet King included another powerful word. One that is often overlooked. Warning against the ‘tranquilizing drug of gradualism,’ King emphasized the fierce urgency of now, the need to resist the status quo and take immediate action.”

Tisby’s book is a thorough historical study of the church’s complicity in racism, either by doing nothing to address an injustice or by contributing itself to the injustice.

In the church’s own passivity, Tisby sees the white church compromising itself to the prevailing racism not simply regarding its own black sisters and brothers as children created in the image of the God—as less, as chattel which is what the slaves were once so regarded—as property, and to be manipulated as such—like a plow or a mule.

Throughout his book, from the arrival of the first slave ship to the present cries of “Black Lives Matter,” Tisby sees such compromise, not as something inevitable, but as choices that are made by everyone. No one has to behave that way, especially the church.  It had and has choices. 

Racism did not go away with emancipation and the grafting of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the constitution, nor did it disappear with the election of the nation’s first black president.  Racism has an insidious way of morphing itself with the changing times. 

There may no longer be “Whites Only” signs, but in the 21st century there are more black men incarcerated than there were black male slaves before the civil war, the result of cries for law and order and getting tough on crime in the waning days of the last century. Add to that, the election of a president who has used race to divide and conquer by “gas lighting” the culture, and who sees no further than a world made up of winners and losers. 

Tisby points out that the greatest racial violence has taken place when the church has sought to compromise instead of confronting racism.

 “History and Scripture teach us that there can be no reconciliation without repentance,” writes Tisby.  There can be no repentance without confession.  There can be no confession without truth.” The Color of Compromise tells a hard truth, a very hard truth. But one necessary to hear if racial equity is to be achieved in the Church or in America.  (George P. Wood)

            Tisby too councils “the fierce urgency of now.”

 To see the complete video, a portion of which Weatherly showed at the meeting, here’s the link.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8ocBHDyojo

We meet again on November 12. The meeting adjourned at 2:00 pm.

Respectfully Submitted,

Hal Horan, Recording Secretary