Brittany Caine-Conley, the Outreach Coordinator for University Mission and Common Grounds, always brings fun and humor to our gatherings. She also has a deep passion for sharing God’s love and justice. Over Thanksgiving break she traveled to Standing Rock and wrote a powerful reflection on her experience. It has been published in New Sacred, an online journal of the United Church of Christ. You can read Brittany’s reflection HERE.
Archives for December 2016
Gail Hyder Wiley encourages people to come together…
In the wake of national events, many have felt called to “do something.” Not all can make the trek to D.C. for the Women’s March on Sat., Jan. 21., so I’ve decided to do something about that. I’ve given my fledgling organization the name “Charlottesville Gathers,” inspired by our own sign out front: “Westminster gathers here.”
“Charlottesville Gathers” will convene a local event at 9 a.m. Sat., Jan. 21, in solidarity with our neighbors who are going to the Women’s March on Washington. It will take place at an indoor venue yet to be determined. The gather will consist of an overview of skills to be an ally and active bystander when encountering someone being mistreated. At 10, we will watch live video from the Women’s March. Donations to defray the cost of the venue and audiovisual expenses are being collected, and any excess funds will be donated to local groups working in the areas of women’s health, respect for diversity, and protection of human rights. You can indicate your interest in this event by going to the form at this link: bit.ly/CvilleGathers1-21.
Westminster folks are helping aggregate names, contact info, and emails for area groups to contact to 1) encourage their having a table at the event and 2) to share info on the event with their members. Please feel free to email with contacts/suggestions that you have that we might not have thought about.
Many thanks for your inspiration and encouragement, Westminster family!
Announcing #EAD2017 National Gathering & Lobby Day
Confronting Chaos, Forging Community
Ecumenical Advocacy Days for Global Peace with Justice (EAD) is pleased to announce the theme for its 2017 national gathering, April 21-24, 2017. The theme is titled, “Confronting Chaos, Forging Community: Challenging Racism, Materialism and Militarism.” The theme builds open Dr. Martin Luther King’s final book and the fiftieth anniversary of his historic, final speech at Riverside Church in New York City.
“When Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. posed the question, “Where do we go from here: Chaos or Community?” in his book of the same title 50 years ago, no one could have imagined that we would still be wrestling with this question today. In that same year on April 4, 1967, a year to the day before Dr. King was assassinated, he spoke at Riverside Church in New York addressing the intersectionality of “the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism” as the principal challenges of the time. Five decades later, Dr. King’s prophetic insights and challenges – and the stark choice between chaos and community — are incredibly current.
Sadly, we have witnessed chaos in many of our communities, challenging us as people of faith to speak and act boldly and courageously to end racism, materialism and militarism.
Over the past year, our nation has experienced a divisive election in which racism, xenophobia, and religious bigotry were a constant. We still find racism an open wound in our nation, resulting in the disproportionate killing of black and brown bodies and stunting their lives through unjust economic and social structures. The militarization of our police is a reflection not only of broken communal values, but also a lopsided foreign policy that spends drastically more on defense than diplomacy or development. Militarism continues to be the United States’ overriding approach to resolving conflict, despite studies that show the effectiveness of peacebuilding and the power of non-violence. Extreme materialism threatens our souls and our very planet, as prosperity narratives and unchecked capitalism spreads despite overwhelming scientific evidence that our current path is unsustainable. As in Dr. King’s time, we teeter precariously between chaos and community.
A new time calls for new strategies. The dynamic movement of people of faith and conscience today to challenge these “giant triplets” of chaos is taking different forms from those of the civil rights era. But the same courage and commitment to bring about national and social transformation animates the new generation of activists. This year’s EAD gathering will address racism/white privilege, economic injustice and militarization at home and abroad.
Join us in Washington for “Confronting Chaos, Forging Community” from April 21-24, 2017 to grapple with the intersectionality of racism, materialism, and militarism, and learn more about the impact they have around the world, in our communities, and in our own lives. Through prayer, worship, advocacy training, and networking with other Christians, we will face the current manifestations of these ‘triplets’ and together advocate for change in public policy that better reflects the Beloved Community about which Dr. King spoke. After a weekend filled with education and training, Ecumenical Advocacy Days will culminate with a Lobby Day on Monday, April 24, 2017, where participants will converge on Capitol Hill to meet with their members of Congress. We seek to renew this revolutionary spirit as we affirm the vision of a day when ‘Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.‘” (Isa: 40:3)
Last week, as I was tapping out my sermon, I lifted my head and noticed where I was. I was in a student study carrel over in Alderman Library. But when I took note of my environment more carefully, I began reading all the student graffiti scrawled around me. Several anxiety-ridden UVA students had sat where I now sat. Writing papers and studying for exams, he or she had written (in pen and pencil and carved into wood and cinder block) existential musings. So, I composed this student psalm using their words:
Student Graffiti in a UVA Study Carrel
I need drugs.
I want nachos.
Why hast thou forsaken me?
Get busy living or get busy dying that why I’m busy studying.
God, I love physics.
I just want to graduate.
I’m here more than any other place.
Next year will be better, I hope.
Dear future UVA students who seek hope
Within the premise of this seat-
Good luck. You are going to need it.
Don’t forget to pray for our college students as they take exams and prepare for life.
Sunday, December 11—Lessons & Carols, 5:00 p.m.
Come and enjoy a traditional service of Lessons and Carols led by the Choristers and Singers choirs. Readings and carols retell the story of Christ’s birth, with candlelit singing of Silent Night. Following the service gather for a potluck meal and carol singing in the Fellowship Hall.
Sunday, December 18—Caroling, 3:00 p.m.
All are welcome to join in song and share carols with those in our congregation in need of Christmas cheer. Gather in the Fellowship Hall to get directions and song sheets. We will head out in cars to various locations and end up at Jackie Brownfield’s house for one last caroling stop and refreshments.
Saturday, December 24—Christmas Eve Worship Service, 5:00 p.m.
This child friendly service includes a pick-up Christmas pageant and candlelight. Arrive at 4:45 and gather in the Fellowship Hall to find costumes if you want to participate in the pageant. Young and old will enjoy this lively retelling of the Christmas story.
Saturday, December 24—Christmas Eve Worship Service, 8:30 p.m.
8:00 p.m. Organ prelude
8:30 p.m. Share the joy of the season in a communion service with carols and candlelight on this holiest of nights.
Sunday, December 25—Christmas Day Worship, 11:00 a.m.
Gather to celebrate the birth of Christ. Come hear the story and sing carols in morning worship.
Christmas Eve Choir
Join in the fun of being in the choir for Christmas Eve. Adults and youth grade 5 and up are invited to participate in a special choir that sings at the 5:00 p.m. service on December 24. Rehearsals are Sunday, December 18 12:15-1:15 p.m. and Thursday, December 22 6:00-7:00 p.m. in the Choir Room. On the 24th we will gather at 4:00 p.m. before the 5:00 service.