Just Act: Spring 2021, Issue 1February 22, 2021
A church that doesn’t provoke any crises, a gospel that doesn’t unsettle, a word of God that doesn’t get under anyone’s skin, a word of God that doesn’t touch the real sin of the society in which it is being proclaimed – what gospel is that? - Oscar Romero
Grounded in a ministry that is mandated in scripture, the two main goals of the CSJR are to remind seminarians of the significance of social justice work as part of ministry and to bring the activist community into the seminary.
Please join us for our next RAP TRACC hearing on Racial Inequities in Education (the Opportunity Gap).
Join us at 7pm Thursday, April 15, 2021
The Center for Social Justice and Reconciliation operates from the seminary’s Charlotte campus and is directed by Associate Professor of Bible Rodney S. Sadler Jr. Grounded in a ministry that is mandated in scripture, its two main goals are to remind people in seminary of the significance of social justice work as part of ministry and to bring the activist community into the seminary.
CSJR is governed and guided by an Advisory Board, which meets at least quarterly. The Board is comprised of sixteen members who, through diversity of race, cultural background, denomination, experience, and area of expertise, bring a range of insight, critical thought, and creativity to the Center. These members also give voice to the Center in the wider community, promote Center events, and connect the Center with key thought leaders and organizers to create opportunities for partnership and collaboration in local, regional, and national social justice work. Current Board members include:
Rodney S. Sadler Jr’s teaching experience includes courses in biblical languages, Old and New Testament interpretation, wisdom literature in the…
The Center for Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Studies, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Charlotte Clergy Coalition for Justice
The Freedom Center for Social Justice
Healthcare Justice NC
Industrial Areas Foundation (Charlotte Organizing Group)
Migrant Assistance Project
North Carolina NAACP
Stan Greenspon Center for Social Justice
Reimagining America Project: The Truth, Reconciliation, and Atonement Commission of Charlotte, NC (RAP/TRACC)
The Recruitment of God’s Dream Team, September 15, 2020Youtube
George Floyd Protests: Temporary Uprising, Movement, or Miracle? September 15, 2020Youtube
A Plea and Petition Suggested by a Black Brother in the Spirit of Lovepdf
Be Made Well: Seeking Wholeness of Life Sunday, October 20, 2019test
COVID-19: A Parable of Plagues before Deliverance September 14, 2020Youtube
On January 13, 2020 at CN Jenkins Memorial Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, Rev. Dr. Otis Moss Jr. and Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III discussed civil rights and social justice with the Union Presbyterian Seminary Center for Social Justice and Reconciliation.Watch this event
Reverend Jimmie Hawkins, Director of the Office for Public Witness of the PC(USA), discusses the work of his office as they bear witness to God's call for social justice in our nation's capital. Located in an office directly across the street from the Capitol Building and the Supreme Court, this long-term social justice advocate, who helped birth the Moral Monday's Movement with Dr. William Barber, daily works to bring the Gospel message to bear on our political leaders by advocating for justice on public policy issues and coordinating with interfaith and ecumenical partners to present God's alternative vision for what is right.
Black History Month Booklist (curated by Seminarian and Womanist Scholar, Dana Purdom)Download
Webinar - August 20, 2020 (Click image to watch this event)Watch on YouTube
The Center for Social Justice and Reconciliation formally welcomes 2020/21 CSJR Student Ambassadors, Dana Purdom and Amy Simes. Both students have shown extraordinary commitment to the Center since its inception and are dedicated to the critical social justice work we are called to as disciples of Christ. Dana and Amy will lead and coordinate the Seminarians for Social Justice, organize quarterly student-led panel discussions, assist the Center with events throughout the year, and serve as student liaisons. Interested students are encouraged reach out to Dana and Amy with ideas, questions, and concerns – we would love to hear from you!
Dana Purdom, a native of Los Angeles, California who currently resides in Charlotte, NC, is a student of Union Presbyterian Seminary pursuing her M.Div. and M.A.C.E. degrees with a concentration in Social Justice.
Dana is a Spiritual Entrepreneur and a Womanist Scholar who, through her ministry BREAK[ing]’FAST with Minister Dana, helps women seeking to embrace God’s higher purpose for their life, identify the “interruptions” in their lives preventing them from thriving through radical self-love as a transformative tool.
Dana has been named and honored in “God is Calling: Sojourner Truth Still Speaking”– 2020 November Commemorative National African American Clergy Women’s Recognition, guest preaches throughout Charlotte, NC and other States, has developed and facilitated women’s Bible studies and more. She sits on the Advisory Council for the Katie Geneva Cannon Center for Womanist Leadership and has been a guest panelist and co-moderator for several webinars during the 2020 racial-injustice uprisings.
Dana is the proud mother of three young men and a pup named Hiccup. She is a womanist scholar doing the work her soul must have!
Amy is a fourth-year MDiv student who lives in Raleigh. She comes from a long line of Presbyterians and has been a deacon, a ruling elder, and clerk of Session at her local church. She currently works as a senior program manager with the NC Division of Water Infrastructure in the Department of Environmental Quality. She has worked in the department for almost 30 years, and 22 of those years have been in water and sewer funding.
She is a Certified Public Manager and has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from NC State University. Her passion for social justice began almost 20 years ago when her eyes were opened at an event called Word and World in Greensboro, NC which combined aspects of the sanctuary, the streets and the seminary.
Many have considered the Black Lives Matter Movement of today to be the lineal descendant of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s-60s. While there is clearly a connection, BLM has a distinctive origin with its own concerns that are consistent with the contemporary concerns of African American communities of this era. In addition, there may be differences in the two movements’ perspective on nonviolence, moral vision, strategy, gender, and sexual orientational issues, that often manifest as a generational divide. Please join our first conversation of 2021 as we explore the relationships between these two successful Black social movements; one that laid to rest Jim Crow and inspired global movements for change for half a century and the other which has proven to be the largest movement for human rights in the history of the world. Sponsored by Union Presbyterian Seminary’s Center for Social Justice and Reconciliation and Katie Geneva Cannon Center for Womanist Leadership. Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29yyAL2lIJw
The racialization of incarceration is not just a problem for individuals who have been caged. It has far greater implications for their families, their neighborhoods, their health, their access to the polls, their employability ... such disproportionate representation in the criminal justice system is wholly consequential for the entire black community. Sponsored by Union Presbyterian Seminary’s Center for Social Justice and Reconciliation and Katie Geneva Cannon Center for Womanist Leadership. Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdxWEObBavs
There has been a great deal of conversation of late about differences in the brain formation of liberals and conservatives, of ideological partisans, of xenophiles and xenophobes. Here we engage in conversation about “The Neuroscience of White Fragility” where our special guest, Dr. Sarah Peyton explains the scientific dynamics of this phenomenon.
Tuesday was one of the most contentious and consequential elections in America's history. Certainly, this is not the way elections are supposed to occur in a nation that prides itself on the peaceful exchange of executive power and non-violent revolutions at the polls. Please join us for a "Just Talk/ Talk Just" biblical and theological conversation that will explore the outcome of the election and its implications for social justice, voter participation, and race relations in our nation. Sponsored by Union Presbyterian Seminary’s Center for Social Justice and Reconciliation and Katie Geneva Cannon Center for Womanist Leadership. Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3icoaO3UBLA&t=2048s
March 13, 2020, marked a day of reckoning for Americans who could no longer evade a national shutdown in the wake of COVID-19 as stay-at-home orders loomed from federal, state, and local governance. For Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old African American woman, March 13 marked a fatal ending as Louisville police barged into her home under a no-knock warrant and fired several rounds which resulted in her untimely demise. The case raises significant questions about the value of Black life and the protection, or lack thereof, of Black women, particularly as Black feminists and womanists call for intersectional activism through counter-movements such as #sayhername in the quest for Black freedom. Unprecedented protests have spawned in Louisville and throughout the country as Taylor's story shows there is no safe space for the vulnerable, even in their own home. Moreover, a grand jury decision did not charge the officers in her death. Where is justice? How might people of faith cultivate a theology of liberation when home is a dangerous place? Sponsored by Union Presbyterian Seminary's Center for Social Justice and Reconciliation and Katie Geneva Cannon Center for Womanist Leadership. Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePVy2ejqTHg
In response to the arrest and homicide of George Floyd while in Minnesota police custody, there is a new sense of resolve in cities around our nation and world to address racial disparity and systemic racialized oppression. But what should the white church do? Sponsored by Union Presbyterian Seminary's Center for Social Justice and Reconciliation and Katie Geneva Cannon Center for Womanist Leadership. Watch it here: https://youtu.be/MdbJZqXmSGc
The removal of statues honoring Confederate heroes and Christopher Columbus, and the Confederate flag has long been viewed by some as an infringement upon freedom of speech and erasing history. But what happens when that same freedom of speech is not afforded equally to all? What happens when such freedom of speech incites violence against others? What does it mean for monuments and markers that bear witness to America’s tragic racial history to remain in public places and sacred spaces? How do these symbols continue to shape the identity of our national and local communities? How are they still speaking to us? Why should they go? What should replace them? Sponsored by Union Presbyterian Seminary's Center for Social Justice and Reconciliation and Katie Geneva Cannon Center for Womanist Leadership. Watch it here: https://youtu.be/BauKfHF01ps
The police killings of George Floyd and other Black Americans have reignited debate about policing in the United States. How can the Bible and theology speak to questions of immorality and racism in law enforcement? How can people of faith bear witness to an unjust system and advocate for change? Sponsored by Union Presbyterian Seminary's Center for Social Justice and Reconciliation and Katie Geneva Cannon Center for Womanist Leadership. Watch it here: https://youtu.be/MdbJZqXmSGc
A conversation, which is designed to acknowledge and move us beyond the current broken law enforcement system. You will be challenged, along with us, to step outside political echo chambers and be uncomfortable. This is not a debate. We are pondering, “What might God have to say about community and public safety?” Sponsored by Union Presbyterian Seminary's Center for Social Justice and Reconciliation and Katie Geneva Cannon Center for Womanist Leadership. Watch it here: https://youtu.be/f5cF-1g91OE
The global coronavirus pandemic sheds a blacklight on the need for educational reform. In response to the stay-at-home orders in early March, schools, colleges, and universities across the nation shifted instruction to virtual platforms, thus exposing unequal access to the internet and computers in marginalized communities and school segregation. As federal, state, and local governments, school boards, administrators, and teachers make essential decisions about virtual, hybrid, and in-person learning for the upcoming school year, parents and students face the ethical dilemma of balancing safety with the most effective modes of instruction. This conversation will engage these questions: How does COVID-19 unveil the racial disparities in our current educational system? How might this crisis moment impact the spirituality and faith of children and youth? What is the faithful response to pandemic learning? Sponsored by Union Presbyterian Seminary’s Center for Social Justice and Reconciliation and Katie Geneva Cannon Center for Womanist Leadership. Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBhYh6Lxz24