Presbytery of the James — Virginia
Following the 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, the Presbytery of the James (POJ) adopted a statement denouncing white supremacy, which reaffirmed the presbytery’s commitment to racial justice and healing. This led to the formation of a 10-member working group called “Dismantling Racism: Building Beloved Community.” That group has teamed up with Coming To the Table (a nonprofit organization promoting racial healing) and Joyful Feast (a new worshipping community in the presbytery) to offer monthly opportunities for cross-cultural meals and conversation. In January, the working group sponsored a retreat with Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove to discuss his book, “Reconstructing the Gospel: Finding Freedom from Slaveholder Religion.” The retreat was attended by 47 church leaders from 14 congregations. Thanks to a grant from the Synod of the Mid-Atlantic, the Dismantling Racism group will partner with eight churches this fall to pilot a curriculum based on biblical witness to the themes in the POJ statement.
– Charlie Summers