Workshop Title: “Hate Has No Home Here: Proclaiming God’s Word in the Public Sphere”
When waves of white supremacists, white nationalists, and Ku Klux Klan descended on Charlottesville in the summer of 2017, it took a broad cross-section of the community, including faith leaders, to plan and execute the counter protests. People came together across age, class, ethnicity, religion, and race in order to proclaim that hate has no place here.
Pastors Brenda Brown-Grooms and Elaine Ellis Thomas helped lead the coordinated efforts to stand in the breach between the sowers of hate and those they sought to harm. Grounded in prayer, trust, collaboration, and courage, what happened in Charlottesville became a symbol of love over fear.
The Rev. Elaine Ellis Thomas spent most of her life in suburban Philadelphia (although she has roots in North Carolina) and received a Master of Divinity from Berkeley Divinity School at Yale. She serves as Associate Rector of St. Paul’s Memorial Church in Charlottesville. Thomas has been principally responsible for liturgy, formation and pastoral care while forming connections across the Charlottesville region as a leader of the Charlottesville Clergy Collective.
The Rev. Brenda Brown-Grooms was born and raised in Charlottesville and is a graduate of the University of Virginia, Union Theological Seminary in New York, and Vanderbilt University’s Graduate School of Religion. She is co-pastor of New Beginnings Christian Community in Charlottesville.