United Church of Chapel Hill, 1321 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., has approved and committed itself as a congregation to a Racial Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Covenant.
The Rev. Richard Edens traces the move toward this declaration to 2008 when the church began having Sacred Conversations on Race that blossomed into hosting Racial Equity Institute workshops, having numerous Sunday school forums, participating in Moral Mondays, hosting the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, pastor emeritus of Trinity UCC in Chicago, to speak and preach about racial justice and invited the Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer, general minister and president of the United Church of Christ, to speak and preach about white privilege.
Edens said one of the goals of this multi-year effort was to craft a covenant that would serve as a promissory note for the new community that United Church is becoming.
A first draft was created during a Saturday morning retreat and then circulated to all the church boards before going to the Church Council for approval. It was forwarded to the congregation and approved unanimously at the annual meeting June 5.
Edens said that United Church of Chapel Hill is a member congregation of a denomination that has been called “a church of firsts.” It was the first historically white denomination to ordain an African-American, the first to ordain a woman, the first to ordain an openly gay man and the first Christian church to affirm the right of same-gender couples to marry.
The covenant, like a creed the church will live by, has a liturgical version that can be used in worship.
United Church of Chapel Hill will hold 10 a.m. adult forums on the next two Sundays in June, responding to HB2:
▪ June 19: Transgender 101: Understanding Transgender Experience led by Rebecca Chapin from the LGBT Center of Raleigh with Kyle Kentopp and J. Zirbel.
▪ June 26: Becoming Transgender Allies and Building Supportive Communities led by Chapin, Lester Ruth and the Rev. David Mateo.
Visitors are welcome.
‘First Woman President’
St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church and Burwell School in Hillsborough are co-sponsoring a staged reading of “The First Woman President,” a play by local playwright Keith Burridge at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, June 17, at the church located at 210 St. Mary’s Road.
In this one woman show, actress Danielle Fenton plays Edith Wilson, the widow of President Woodrow Wilson. As she prepares for the inauguration of John F. Kennedy in 1961, she recalls her whirlwind romance with Wilson 40 years earlier.
During his presidency, he suffers a debilitating stroke, which Edith conceals, not only from the people and Congress, but also from his cabinet. For a time, she takes over running the government, acting as “the first woman president.”
Burridge is a British researcher and Kenan Professor at UNC. He is ranked among the most cited scientists in the field of molecular biology and genetics and has published more than 190 peer reviewed articles.
In parallel with his scientific career, he has written several plays. His 10-minute play “Chocolates for Mr. Wolfowitz” was included in the Knutsford Little Theatre short play festival of 2008 in the UK.
Reservations and tickets at $10 are available from St. Matthew's church office and also at the door.
Vacation Bible School at Terrell’s Creek Missionary Baptist Church is set Wednesday through Friday, June 22-24.
Times are 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday and 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Classes will be offered for all ages, including adults.
The church is located at 3419 Old Greensboro Road.
Book study groups
Unity Center of Peace, 8800 Seawell School Road, is hosting two summer book study groups. The first runs from Thursday, June 16, through July 21; and the second from July 28 through Sept. 1. The groups meet from 7 to 8 p.m.
During the first six weeks, participants will read “Prayers of the Cosmos” by the Aramaic scholar Neil Douglas-Klotz as he interprets the Lord’s Prayer and the Beatitudes and other key biblical passages.
“Reading direct English interpretations of the words from the language Jesus actually spoke has a way of connecting us with the heart of Jesus' message,” said the Rev. Victoria Loveland-Coen, one of the two ministers at the center.
Deepak Chopra’s new book “God: The Story of Revelation” is the book to be studied in the second group. The book is a collection of writings of mystics of various faiths, including Job, Socrates, Saint Paul, Rumi, Julian of Norwich, Rabinadrath Tagore and others.
The Rev. Rosemary Hyde, the other Unity Center minister, said the Chopra book deals with the history of God’s divine communication with humans, “giving us front row seats for learning the evolution of consciousness through the ages.”
Unity Center of Peace is an inclusive, New Thought and Inter-Spiritual community that promotes a positive path to spiritual living. The center regularly offers opportunities, through classes, Wednesday evening events and book studies for individuals of any or no faith tradition to develop awareness of the spiritual in contemporary life.
Call 919-968-1854 for further information.