Chapel Hill: Community

On Faith: Activist speakers to highlight Seymour symposium

The Seymour Symposium, “Righting Wrongs: Justice, the Church and Public Discourse,” runs Friday through Sunday at Olin T. Binkley Memorial Baptist Church.

The keynote speakers are the Rev. William J. Barber II and Baldemar Velasquez.

Barber, a Protestant minister, is the president of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP and is the chair of the National NAACP Legislative Political Action Committee.

Velasquez, the son of migrant farm workers, is a lifelong organizer and founder of Farm Laborer’s Organizing Committee, which achieved the nation’s first three-way collective bargaining agreement.

Symposium panelists include:

• Delores Bailey of EmPOWERment, a grassroots organization in Chapel Hill.

• Charles Coble, a national expert on teacher education programs and development.

• Verla Insko, 18 years in the North Carolina General Assembly and passionate about expanding access to health care.

• Howard Lee, first African American mayor in Chapel Hill, state senator and chair of the State Board of Education.

• Maria Palmer, minister and educator who serves on the Chapel Hill Town Council.

• David Price, former professor of Political Science at Duke University and U.S. Representative since 1986.

Registration begins at 4 p.m. Friday at the church, 1712 Willow Drive in Chapel Hill.

The opening presenters on the battle to end poverty from 4:30 to 6 p.m. are Billy Barnes and Gene Nichol.

Barnes, a photojournalist, was the public relations director of the North Carolina Fund, established by Gov. Terry Sanford to seek new ways to fight poverty.

Nichol, a constitutional scholar, former dean and college president, is a professor of law and director of the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity at UNC.

There is no charge for the symposium. Friday lunch is $10. To pre-register, call 919-942-4964.

Reaching out

Unity Center of Peace welcomed parents and family members of the Hope Harvest Christian Church from Cary last Sunday as the church’s children’s choir joined with Unity’s One Heart Singers to provide special music during the 11 a.m. celebration.

Hope Harvest counts a large number of West African immigrants as members of the congregation.

“We have reached out to this community to offer friendship to them as recent immigrants and to support them in prayer as they look on from a distance as their country of origin, including relatives and friends, is decimated by the Ebola epidemic,” said the Rev. Rosemary Hyde of Unity Center.

Hope Harvest is sending relief and support to those facing this global health crisis in their homeland. Donations on their behalf should be made payable to First Christian United Church of Christ, 415 S. Church St., Burlington 27215. Include “Ebola Liberia” in the memo line.

Shtetl author to visit

Scott Hilton Davis, publisher at Jewish Storyteller Press and former executive producer at UNC-TV, will be at The Regulator Bookshop, 720 Ninth St. at 7 p.m. Thursday. Oct. 23, to talk about “Memories and Scenes: Shtetl, Childhood, Writers,” for which he wrote the introduction.

“Memories and Scenes” is the first English translation of 11 autobiographical short stories by 19th-century Yiddish writer Jacob Dinezon. In this collection, Dinezon recalls his childhood years in the shtetl, the unusual and memorable characters he encountered along the way, and the events that led to his passion for becoming a writer.

Dinezon was a friend and mentor to almost every major Jewish literary figure of his day, including Sholem Abramovitsh (Mendele Moykher Sforim), I. L. Peretz, Sholem Aleichem, S. An-ski, and Abraham Goldfaden. He played a central role in the development of Yiddish as a modern literary language. Scott Davis’s career spans more than 30 years in public broadcasting. He has worked as a producer and director for public television stations and networks in California, New York, Ohio, Maryland and North Carolina.

‘Sudden Awakening’

Jan Frazier, author of “When Fear Falls Away: The Story of a Sudden Awakening,” will present an evening of self-inquiry and reflection Friday at Unity Center of Peace, 8800 Seawell School Road.

Until summer of her 50th year, she lived a life typical for a well-educated, middle-class American woman. A divorced mother of two teenagers, she was making a modest living writing and teaching writing.

In August 2003, she experienced a radical transformation of consciousness. Fear fell away, immersing her in a state of causeless joy that has continued in her life.

While she continues as writer, teacher and mother, she has discovered it is possible to live a richly human life free of suffering. Her wish now is to communicate her belief that every person is a pool of calm well being that waits patiently to be stirred to life.

Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. lecture are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Call 919-968-1854.

Adult Sunday classes

A series of adult classes will begin Sunday at Church of Reconciliation Presbyterian, 110 N. Elliott Road.

The 9:30 a.m. class meets in the Parish House Chapel at the church and is open to anyone who wants to attend.

Bill Peck will lead the first class in the series on English mathematician and philosopher Alfred North Whitehead. The class is titled “Whitehead Without Tears” and will deal with the challenge to Christian thinking and growth in faith.

The classes for Nov. 2 and 9 will be led by Carol Eckerman, also a church member, and will include discussions of contemplative prayer and its power.

Church member Jill Ryder Friedman will lead the Nov. 16 class and will address the Lord’s Prayer in its many versions and how these versions both reflect and inform Christian living,

Rebecca Reyes, parish associate, will conclude this series Nov. 23. She will discuss the doubt that led her to go to seminary and will share sermons and the journey she took in writing them.

Contact Flo Johnston at or call 910-361-4135.