Remember and Recommit
Christian Faith and the Modern Civil Rights Movement
Remember and Recommit is a new initiative, undertaken by three United Methodist faith communities in Richmond to build lasting relationships across racial lines. Moreover, it is an attempt to find lasting ways to foster spiritual growth that leads from conversation to action that addresses issues of systemic equity.
Centenary United Methodist Church, Asbury United Methodist Church in Church Hill, and the Pace Center for Campus and Community Ministry, located on the VCU campus, will engage in six workshops over a period of 18 months. Rev. Matt Bates of Centenary, Rev. Marilyn Heckstall of Asbury, and Rev. J.D. Daniely of the Pace Center are working with Key Consultant for the project, Rev. Jim Melson, a United Methodist minister who leads the Cornelius Corps, a Washington D.C. based ministry. The mission of the Cornelius Corps is to build transformed lives and relationships as disciples of Jesus through spiritual formation, education, service, and fellowship.
The commitment of these congregations and their leaders arose from an invitation from Rev. Glenn Rowley, Director of the Office of Justice and Missional Excellence for the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church, who saw in the Cornelius Corps, an opportunity to explore a model of mission that intentionally unites spiritual disciplines and practices with the work of mission, service, and justice.
The heart of the Remember and Recommit Initiative involves the six workshops that give participants an opportunity to reflect on the major events and participants of the modern civil rights movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s so that this important history of non-violent faith-based struggle for freedom and social change will be better understood especially by people who were born after these events. Moreover, an important component of the workshops will be opportunities for small group discussion that leads to deeper understanding and friendship among the participants.
Through a combination of worship, presentations, video clips, and small group discussion, we will reflect on the witnesses of Martin Luther King, Jr. and other partners in the civil rights movement and what that means for our ongoing call to equality and justice for all God’s children.
In preparation for the workshops, a covenanted small group of members from the three ministries involved has formed to encourage the spiritual growth and formation of the participants, as well as to develop plans for the six workshops. This group is itself a model of other groups that people might consider forming at the conclusion of the workshops to begin to respond to God’s call to action and spiritual transformation.