Civil Rights, Race, and the Church with Congressman John Lewis

Dear GPC and beyond,  

I hope by now you have heard that Georgia Representative Congressman John Lewis will be joining us on November 15th at 9:30 a.m. for a discussion on the past, present, and future of Civil Rights in America. He will be joined by Andrew Aydin, co-author of Lewis’ trilogy of graphic novels entitled March. We are truly honored to welcome both of them to GPC, and thankful to Elder Susan Page, the Washington Bureau Chief of USA Today, who will be moderating their discussion.


This past summer, the conscience of our nation was stunned as a young man fueled by racial hatred, walked into a Bible study at Emanuel A.M.E. Church, a Black church in Charleston, SC, and killed nine people. This event was not an isolated one, but part of a larger pattern of violence against black Americans. It is painfully evident that the work of the Civil Rights Era is not complete, and that there is work that we all can do in this place and at this time.


Georgetown Presbyterian Church is in a unique place to witness to our city and beyond the possibilities of reconciliation today. Our congregation has maintained a steadfast commitment to civil and non-partisan discourse, even as we wrestle with some of the most significant challenges of our time. In a city that often appears hopelessly divided against itself; I am proud that our unity in Christ far outweighs political difference. It is with this in mind that we are investing in a discussion on Civil Rights, Race, and the Church.


After our visit from Rep. John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, on Wednesday, November 18th, we will continue the conversation over dinner. We have invited an interracial Presbyterian husband/wife couple who teach on racial reconciliation to help us grow in addressing complicated and serious questions about the role of race in our lives and institutions, including the church.


Finally, our presence in Washington affords us unique challenges and opportunities. Racial divides persist in our city and in our churches. Stepping into that challenge, we continue to develop our relationship with Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in Georgetown, a historically black congregation. Additionally, we are inviting students and families from Excel Academy in Anacostia, the first public charter school for girls in D.C. We hope to build on these relationships as we move forward, knowing that the future of our society depends on mutual collaboration and love across the boundaries of race and class.


This is a time of possibility here at GPC and in our country. We worship a God who, above all, is faithful; though we mourn the hatred and division that persists, we do not despair.


God’s Peace,

Rev. Dr. Camille Cook Murray


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