The New Baptist Covenant featured our Cville2Jtown Pilgrimage in their August e-newsletter today!
Read the whole article written by Rev. Liz Emrey.
On two sweltering days of August last year, our community in Charlottesville experienced firsthand how the poison of racism can infect, divide and kill us.
The death of Heather Heyer and the injury of dozens more when a white nationalist willfully rammed his automobile into a crowd of anti-racist protesters left us traumatized. And though many of the Neo-Nazis and Alt-Right marchers were strangers to our community, the racial prejudice that fomented those two days of bloody conflict were not a new phenomenon to us.
Our city and county have a long history of racism.
We understand “racism” in America as prejudice sanctioned by institutional power that upholds a white supremacist value system. This racism first decimated the indigenous American Indians and then enslaved people of African and Caribbean descent. As people of faith, we know that we cannot move forward as a healed community without first telling the truth about our past, acknowledging our long history of racism, and turning from it.
We also know that until we have healed these wounds we cannot reconcile or build life-giving relationships that reflect and honor the magnificent diversity of creation. Without reconciliation and repair, we cannot begin to re-envision together what is possible for our country.
It is with this in mind — and with the endorsement of the inter-racial, interfaith, 50-member Charlottesville Clergy Collective — that New Beginnings Christian Community and Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church, brought into covenant relationship by New Baptist Covenant, have come together to plan a pilgrimage from Charlottesville to Jamestown and then to Fort Monroe, the site of the arrival in North America of the first ship carrying enslaved Africans 400 years ago.
Open to anyone who wishes to participate, the pilgrimage, set for Oct. 6-13, will offer opportunities for education, reflection, prayer and community building, as we learn a more complete history of our nation’s founding, hear stories of suffering and discrimination, celebrate strength and resiliency, and begin to knit together communities of hope and justice.
Read the whole article here.
About the New Baptist Covenant:
Saddened by the persistent racial and theological divisions between Baptist communities and in the United States, President Jimmy Carter determined to do what he could to heal the divides. In 2007, President Carter brought together prominent leaders from across the Baptist family. These leaders represented more than 30 Baptist organizations and over 20 million people. He challenged them to explore new opportunities for fellowship and cooperation. From this effort, a ministry of action named the New Baptist Covenant was born, uniting Baptists and renewing our pursuit of unity and justice on the local and national scale.
The New Baptist Covenant creates vibrant, inclusive Baptist communities, building bridges in places previously marked by division. We are called by God to champion the weak and oppressed, honor the diverse workings of the Holy Spirit and to share the love of Christ. Our work is rooted in the words of Jesus Christ found in Luke 4:18-19.
Baptist churches from different racial and ethnic backgrounds form Covenants of Action to build relationships with each other and work together to create positive change in the community beyond their churches.
For more information about the New Baptist Covenant and Covenants of Action, visit their website:
The Rev. Jan Rivero is pastor of Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church in Charlottesville.
She is the force behind the Charlottesville to Jamestown (Cville2Jtown.com) Pilgrimage scheduled for October 6 to 20, 2018.
She speaks to Michael Cheuk about how the Cville2Jtown pilgrimage vision was birthed, what it is about, and how people can join and participate.
Having lived through “Charlottesville’s summer of hate” which filled our streets with conflict and violence, I long to affirm a different message – saying “no” to separation, racism and hate and “yes” to inclusion, justice and love. I am not alone. Many people in Charlottesville are organizing valuable activities to educate about, respond to and stake out a position on white supremacy, systemic racism and inequality. We need to recognize racism before we can dismantle it.
One response taking shape grew out of a speech Rev. William Barber gave about a week after the alt-right brawl. It spoke to my heart. This response, a Pilgrimage from Charlottesville to Jamestown, is rooted in a desire to acknowledge the immorality of racism, its origins, its history and its legacy.
Before the summer of 2017, the Charlottesville Clergy Collective, an interfaith, interracial group, had been meeting regularly to get to know one other, build trust, promote racial unity and highlight local issues of racial and social justice. This structure offered a framework from which to respond to the white supremacist rallies. Members of the Clergy Collective developed diverse responses befitting the moral underpinnings of our different faiths. But even taken collectively our actions did not adequately respond to the racist underpinnings of these rallies. While we are now consciously working on healing, many of us desire to do more to address racism.
It is time to recognize this reality: Our country was stolen from land inhabited by indigenous people and built on the backs of black people. Our history has created an American caste system that is alive today. It is time to reinvigorate the work of creating an equal and just society, one perhaps imagined but not yet realized.
October 2019 will mark 400 years since the first ships brought enslaved Africans to this continent. Those ships landed in Jamestown. To unveil the myth of the benevolent explorers and discoverers, a Pilgrimage of Transformation is being designed to close the narrative gap of our history. This Pilgrimage intends to recognize the invasion experienced by the indigenous people and humanize the enslaved Africans. Both peoples developed resilience, leadership and solidarity despite their inhumane and unjust treatment.
This Pilgrimage will occur in two phases: the first based in Charlottesville (October 6-12), the second walking from Richmond to Jamestown (October 13-20). We will honor the lives of the enslaved and those dispossessed of their land, and move toward racial healing.
Why a Pilgrimage? When taking a Pilgrimage, we open to the unknown, inviting discovery, growth and transformation. We hope to lay down the typical white response of defensiveness and denial when talking about race, and open to compassion and understanding. We will hear about realities we don’t know. While we will learn about systems and policies that perpetuate racism, we undertake this sojourn from a place of love. We will have opportunities to build new relationships, relationships of respect and trust. With open hearts, hearts turned toward each other, we will continue walking the path paved by others who have worked for equality and justice for all.
We can help America become what it must become.
Rev. Rabia Povich
Inayati Order of Charlottesville