As we prepare to welcome students in just a couple more weeks, UVA and Cville are also preparing to encounter a large gathering of white supremacist hate groups meeting here on August 12th. It’s a scary time and we are called to stand up against hate and bear witness to another Way.
Bishop Sharma Lewis has written a letter encouraging clergy and laity alike to join in protest and prayer. She writes, “At Annual Conference, I announced my vision for the clergy and laity of our conference to be disciples of Jesus Christ who are lifelong learners who influence others to serve. The opportunity before us is one of influence; the influence to join together in holy resistance to groups who support white supremacy.”
I hope you will pray for the Charlottesville community now, and on August 12th. Whether you will be in town or not, whether you will be able to join in the counter-protests or not, please lift your prayers with us.
Another wonderful and creative way to get involved, whether or not you can be here physically, is to pledge to donate a certain amount to a local charity for each white supremacist that shows up on the 12th. Here’s how to turn their numbers into massive wins for our community.
If you plan to be in town or come to town to protest, here are some events and resources. Any of these folks will welcome your presence, so feel free to join in with one of these established groups, especially if you are coming to the protest on your own.
Thursday August 10 – Prepare
6:30-8:30pm – Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) is hosting a non-violent direct action training at the downtown branch of the library. Anyone participating in protest and counter-protests is encouraged to be trained before showing up to those events. This training is that opportunity!
Friday August 11 – Pray
8pm – Mass Prayer Meeting (interfaith) at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on the Corner. Get your head and heart right before the day arrives. Join with others from the local and national community to center yourself in God as you answer the call.
Saturday August 12 – Protest (and pray and make art)
How and where to protest and bear witness against hate and white supremacy: Specifics related to protesting on August 12 are fluid and evolving. Stay tuned to both the Charlottesville Clergy Collective and Congregate Cville as plans emerge. You can find out more about both of these groups and sign up to receive updates by clicking on their links. People of all faiths (and of none) are welcome to join in with these groups.
11am-6pm – First UMC (directly adjacent to the gathering and protest at Emancipation Park) will open its doors to provide our community with a safe space during the anticipated “Unite the Right” rally. During this time, different clergy members from the Charlottesville Clergy Collective and faith leaders from around town will lead our community in prayer and facilitate opportunities for witness. Please contact Pastor Phil Woodson for more information.
11am-7pm – Black Lives Matter Cville, in an effort to protect our community, and being committed to community growth and support, has partnered with Champion Brewery for a day of “Art in Action” at Champion Brewery (near the Downtown Mall). Whether you sing, dance, drum, sculpt, rap, or play an instrument, come for a beer and some camaraderie with other artists and friends.Sign up for a performance slot here.
Sunday August 13 – Pray and Process
Sunday morning worship. So many opportunities here, in many denominations and faith traditions, to restock your well, find bread for the journey, and rest in the sure presence of God and the embrace of sisters and brothers. UMC churches in Cville include: Wesley Memorial UMC, First UMC, and Hinton Ave UMC.
5:30-7pm – Together Cville Potluck at IX Art Park. Join together to hear and share stories from the August 12th events. What are the next steps in converting social passion to political power? Please bring a dish or drink to share. Invite friends, family, and colleagues!
However you participate and from wherever you pray, thank you for raising up your voice and spirit with those who are putting their bodies in dangerous places to stand up to hate and to stand for Love.
#LoveYourNeighbor #loveoverfear #cvilleclergycall #nonewKKK #DefendCville #blacklivesmatter