Category : Urban/City Life and Issues

(Live 5 News) The City of Charleston passes the first reading of a proposed expansive mask ordinance

The Charleston City Council has passed the first reading of a wide-ranging mask ordinance that would impact everyone in the city, including public and private schools.

City leaders passed the ordinance Tuesday night with a 10 to 3 vote. The ordinance still needs two more readings before going into effect.

The ordinance would require almost everyone over the age of two to wear a mask in public and private settings. In addition, there are built-in exceptions for certain medical conditions, eating, drinking, smoking and in situations where it is not feasible – like while exercising.

It’s the most expansive local ordinance and it applies to anyone regardless of vaccination status. The mandate would apply indoor building – both public and private – as well as permitted gathering like protests and concerts

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Anthropology, City Government, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Urban/City Life and Issues

Kendall Harmon for 9/11: Number 343

On [a] Monday [in September 2003], the last of the 343 firefighters who died on September 11th was buried. Because no remains of Michael Ragusa, age 29, of Engine Company 279, were found and identified, his family placed in his coffin a very small vial of his blood, donated years ago to a bone-marrow clinic. At the funeral service Michael’s mother Dee read an excerpt from her son’s diary on the occasion of the death of a colleague. “It is always sad and tragic when a fellow firefighter dies,” Michael Ragusa wrote, “especially when he is young and had everything to live for.” Indeed. And what a sobering reminder of how many died and the awful circumstances in which they perished that it took until this week to bury the last one.

So here is to the clergy, the ministers, rabbis, imams and others, who have done all these burials and sought to help all these grieving families. And here is to the families who lost loved ones and had to cope with burials in which sometimes they didn’t even have remains of the one who died. And here, too, is to the remarkable ministry of the Emerald Society Pipes and Drums, who played every single service for all 343 firefighters who lost their lives. The Society chose not to end any service at which they played with an up-tempo march until the last firefighter was buried.

On Monday, in Bergen Beach, Brooklyn, the Society therefore played “Garry Owen” and “Atholl Highlander,” for the first time since 9/11 as the last firefighter killed on that day was laid in the earth. On the two year anniversary here is to New York, wounded and more sober, but ever hopeful and still marching.

–First published on this blog September 11, 2003

Posted in * By Kendall, Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Police/Fire, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues

Must not Miss 9/11 Video: Welles Crowther, The Man Behind the Red Bandana

The Man Behind the Red Bandana from Drew Gallagher on Vimeo.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Marriage & Family, Sports, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues

(NYT) For a Second Year, Jews Mark the High Holy Days in the Shadow of Covid

The leadership at Central Synagogue in Manhattan had big plans this year for the Jewish High Holy Days: After celebrating via livestream during the pandemic last fall, they rented out Radio City Music Hall for a grand celebration.

But the spread of the Delta variant has upended those plans. Now, they’ll still use the 5,500-seat music hall, but only at 30 percent capacity. And everyone must show proof of vaccination and wear masks.

“In some ways, last year was easier to plan because it was so absolutely clear we would be gathering virtually,” said Angela W. Buchdahl, the synagogue’s senior rabbi. “This year we certainly expected all the way until early July that we would be able to be in person for this year’s High Holy Days.”

Many congregations plan their celebrations for the High Holy Days, which are among the most important dates in the Jewish calendar, months in advance. But the recent surge of coronavirus cases has driven synagogues across the New York region — home to the largest concentration of Jews outside of Israel — and around the country to address safety concerns they had thought had been rendered moot by the arrival of the vaccines.

Read it all.

Posted in Health & Medicine, Judaism, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

(NYT) Houses of Worship Struggle Back, and Tread Lightly on Vaccines

The weekly rhythms of Catholic life have started to return at Our Lady of Lourdes in Harlem. The pews are packed on Sunday mornings, prayer groups meet after work and the collection plate is almost as full as it was before the coronavirus pandemic began.

But parishioners are starting to worry about the virus again.

“For a little while everyone felt more free, not using masks and things like that,” said the Rev. Gilberto Ángel-Neri, the pastor. “But now that we hear all the news about the Delta variant, everyone is using masks again.”

The progress made at Father Ángel-Neri’s church, and at houses of worship across New York City, may be threatened by a rise in virus cases in the past month and by an uneven patchwork of rules governing vaccination that can differ from one place to another.

New rules that have been enacted in recent weeks to curb the spread of the virus’s more contagious Delta variant require New Yorkers to show proof of vaccination to participate in many indoor activities, including sitting inside restaurants or bars, going to a gym or nightclub and visiting a museum or zoo. But they do not apply to religious services.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

(New Scientist) World’s first 3D-printed steel bridge opens in Amsterdam

The first ever 3D-printed steel bridge has opened in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. It was created by robotic arms using welding torches to deposit the structure of the bridge layer by layer, and is made of 4500 kilograms of stainless steel.

The 12-metre-long MX3D Bridge was built by four commercially available industrial robots and took six months to print. The structure was transported to its location over the Oudezijds Achterburgwal canal in central Amsterdam last week and is now open to pedestrians and cyclists.

More than a dozen sensors attached to the bridge after the printing was completed will monitor strain, movement, vibration and temperature across the structure as people pass over it and the weather changes. This data will be fed into a digital model of the bridge.

Read it all.

Posted in Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Science & Technology, The Netherlands, Travel, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Local Paper) NOAA projections and a NASA study show Charleston, South carolina is in for more tidal flooding

At the same time, a new study led by scientists at NOAA, the University of Hawaii and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration showed that Charleston will hit an inflection point in 2025, ushering in a decade of even more tidal events because of the compounding effects of sea-level rise on top of the quirks of the moon’s orbit around the Earth.

On a call with reporters on July 14, NOAA oceanographer William Sweet said that the Southeastern United States, in particular, has consistently outstripped tidal flooding projections of late. In 2019, for example, persistently swollen oceans swamped the coast from Florida through the mid-Atlantic. Charleston’s flooding tally from 2020 to 2021 was also double what federal scientists had forecast the year before.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Urban/City Life and Issues

([London] Times) Marcus Rashford’s mural has been restored — with more than a few additions

Many of the people present were local residents, but others had travelled from across Greater Manchester and even from Merseyside to show solidarity with the footballer and campaigner for free school meals.

Claire Conway, 40, had travelled from Bolton with her two sons, aged three and nine, to leave flags at the mural. Her eldest in particular hugely looks up to Rashford and the footballer has proven a fantastic role model.

“He has fed families, he’s looked after the community, and because he missed the penalty he doesn’t deserve — well, nobody deserves – any sort of racism,” Conway said. “What they did to this I thought was absolutely disgusting.”

Gesturing to the groups of people clustered around her, as children and adults alike pinned notes to the wall, she added: “This is Manchester – this is what Manchester does. We come together like this because there is no place for [racism] anywhere.”

Read it all (subscription).

Posted in England / UK, Men, Sports, Urban/City Life and Issues, Young Adults

(NBCU) Kidnapped 6-year-old girl rescued with help from neighbors, police

“Neighbors immediately called 911 after a 6-year-old girl was kidnapped while outside with her bike in Louisville, Kentucky. Police officers quickly located the car to rescue the little girl.”

Watch it all.

Posted in Children, Marriage & Family, Police/Fire, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Washington Post front page) As homicides soar nationwide, mayors see few options for regaining control

The killings rolled over the country like a fast-moving storm. From Savannah to Austin, from Chicago to Cleveland. In six hours one night this month, four mass-shooting attacks. And in their wake, a sober recognition from city leaders that they don’t have many options left for curbing a surge in homicides that is traumatizing communities nationwide.

“We have done almost all we can do,” said Van Johnson, the mayor of Savannah, Ga.

The tools for fighting back are “limited” without state and federal help, said Austin Mayor Steve Adler (D).

“It’s going to get worse,” Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson (D) said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(CT) Supreme Court Sides with Catholic Foster Care Agency

The United States Supreme Court ruled decisively in favor of a Catholic foster care agency on Thursday, with all nine justices agreeing that the city of Philadelphia violated the First Amendment’s protection of religious liberty when it ended a contract with Catholic Social Services (CSS) over service to…[prospective adoptees with same-sex parents].

“It is plain that the City’s actions have burdened CSS’s religious exercise by putting it to the choice of curtailing its mission or approving relationships inconsistent with its beliefs,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.

Philadelphia claimed the city could not contract foster care services with a Catholic agency that only served married heterosexual couples because of an antidiscrimination law ensuring that everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, has equal access to public accommodations. The court found, however, that foster parenting is not a “public accommodation,” since certification is not available to the public and “bears little resemblance to staying in a hotel, eating at a restaurant, or riding a bus.”

According to the court, there was also no evidence presented in the record that the Catholic agency’s policies ever prevented a same-sex couple from fostering a child, or that it would have that effect.

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Religious Freedom / Persecution, Roman Catholic, Supreme Court, Urban/City Life and Issues

(KC Star front page) ‘An execution’: Kansas City faith group says video shows March 25 police shooting

A group of faith leaders in Kansas City held a news conference Tuesday announcing they have video of the fatal police shooting of Malcolm Johnson earlier this year.

Johnson, 31, was killed March 25 during a confrontation with Kansas City police officers at a gas station near East 63rd Street and Prospect Avenue, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

On Tuesday, the group of ministers gathered outside the gas station and said they had obtained video of the shooting and were releasing it to news media. The video they released did not show the shooting itself, but the faith leaders said it, and other facts surrounding the shooting, showed the initial account given by the highway patrol was not accurate.

“What I saw was an execution,” said the Rev. Darron Edwards, a leader with Getting to the Heart of the Matter, a group of local faith leaders who have been cooperating with the Kansas City Police Department.

“Regardless of the sound quality and the video not showing the actual shots, it is clear that the report does not match the video,” said the Rev. Emanuel Cleaver III. “We are demanding justice.”

Read it all.

Posted in City Government, Death / Burial / Funerals, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Parish Ministry, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(WSJ) The Tulsa Race Massacre 100 Years Later

Tulsa boomed in the early 1900s due to the discovery of nearby oil. Its population grew rapidly from 1,390 in 1900 to 72,075 in 1920, according to census records. Despite the strictly enforced Jim Crow laws at that time, Greenwood had become a “prosperous, vibrant” district and “an American success story,” according to historian Scott Ellsworth.

But in 1921, that success story was interrupted.

On May 31, Dick Rowland, a Black shoe shiner, was arrested for allegedly assaulting a white woman. She would eventually refuse to cooperate with his prosecution.

That night, a mob of over 1,000 white Tulsans gathered in front of the county courthouse where Mr. Rowland was being held. A boxer, Jack Scott was one of the approximately 75 other Black men who came to protect Mr. Rowland.

A fight broke out. The Black men retreated to Greenwood. The white mob organized an attack, and in the early morning hours invaded and burned Greenwood to the ground.

Read it all (and the 8 other articles as well).

Posted in America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Race/Race Relations, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(CNBC) Amsterdam bet its post-Covid recovery on ‘doughnut’ economics — more cities are now following suit

More and more cities are embracing a doughnut-shaped economic model to help recover from the coronavirus crisis and reduce exposure to future shocks.

British economist and author of “Doughnut Economics” Kate Raworth believes it is simply a matter of time before the concept is adopted at a national level.

The Dutch capital of Amsterdam became the first city worldwide to formally implement doughnut economics in early April last year, choosing to launch the initiative at a time when the country had one of the world’s highest mortality rates from the coronavirus pandemic.

Amsterdam’s city government said at the time that it hoped to recover from the crisis and avoid future crises by embracing a city portrait of the doughnut theory.

As outlined in Raworth’s 2017 book, doughnut economics aims to “act as a compass for human progress,” turning last century’s degenerative economy into this century’s regenerative one.

“The compass is a doughnut, the kind with a hole in the middle. Ridiculous though that sounds, it is the only doughnut that actually turns out to be good for us,” Raworth told CNBC via telephone.

Read it all.

Posted in City Government, Ecology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, The Netherlands, Urban/City Life and Issues

(AP) 10 years after quake, Christ Church Cathedral finally rising

The Christ Church Cathedral was arguably New Zealand’s most iconic building before much of it crumbled in an earthquake 10 years ago. The years of debate that followed over whether the ruins should be rebuilt or demolished came to symbolize the paralysis that has sometimes afflicted the broader rebuild of Christchurch.

As the city on Monday marks one decade since the quake struck, killing 185 people and upending countless more lives, there are finally signs of progress on the cathedral.

It’s being rebuilt to look much like the original that was finished in 1904, only with modern-day improvements to make it warmer and safer, even to add extra much-needed bathrooms. But first, workers must stabilize the remains.

Peter Carrell, the Anglican bishop of Christchurch, said reopening it will represent a key milestone.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Parish Ministry, Stewardship, Urban/City Life and Issues

(NPR) 2 Louisville Police Officers Shot After Charges In Breonna Taylor Case Spark Protests

The chief said that under the tense circumstances following the indictment by the grand jury Wednesday, he is “very concerned for the safety of [his] officers.”

Hundreds of protesters swiftly began demonstrations calling for justice for Breonna Taylor after a grand jury decided to indict just one of the three Louisville Metropolitan Police officers who fired nearly two dozen bullets into her apartment, killing the 26-year-old during a no-knock raid.

City and state officials, who have been expecting a decision from the grand jury all week after months of outrage and anticipation, were braced for widespread protests, preemptively calling for reinforcements from the National Guard.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Race/Race Relations, Urban/City Life and Issues

(CT) Atlanta’s Black Church

They say you can’t love what you don’t know, and lately, many of us are realizing just how much we don’t know. This year, my church in Augusta, Georgia, began exploring the racial history of our city, the location of one of the first and largest civil rights riots in the South. The details of the 1970 riot—chronicled in a recent Georgia Public Broadcasting podcast—resemble current events: a teen beaten to death in police custody, the black community responding with peaceful demands then rebellion, police using deadly force to suppress the uprising. But the parallels to the present aren’t striking if, like so many young people in our city, you had no idea it took place.

No wonder we feel so stuck in this racial justice fight. You can’t lament a past you don’t remember. You can’t change problems you don’t recognize. You can’t empathize with voices you ignore. Part of our call to love and serve our neighbors is to understand the lingering scars and burdens they bear.

Learning how my community downplayed the significance of its racial past made me all the more curious about the extensive civil rights legacy in the Georgia capital, the subject of this month’s cover package. Across the generations, Atlanta—with the black church as its heartbeat—has worked to honor its hard-won progress as well as to lament the cost of the ongoing fight for justice.

That practice has helped carry on a long legacy and inspire today’s leaders in Atlanta—the preachers and politicians, entrepreneurs and activists, who are working to see the principles of God’s kingdom shape every sphere of life.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

(NBC) Unique Program Helping To Save Vermont Restaurants And Feed The Community

Posted in City Government, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Poverty, The U.S. Government, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Local Paper) As holiday weekend approaches, Charleston-area restaurant workers fear what it might bring

By now, just about everyone in South Carolina is familiar with the graph charting the state’s new coronavirus cases. The trend line looks like a child’s drawing of a mountain cliff or a letter ‘L’ in repose, with a plateau followed by a sharp vertical flourish.

It also perfectly mirrors the fear and anxiety that food-and-beverage employees across downtown Charleston say they experience at work.

With positive tests for the coronavirus progressively thinning out local restaurant staffs, workers say they have less time to keep up with new sanitation protocols and more reason to worry about contracting the potentially deadly virus.

In interviews conducted over the past week by The Post and Courier, multiple employees at half a dozen leading Charleston restaurants have shared a remarkably similar story: They feel abandoned by public officials who championed reopening without restriction and endangered by patrons who mock their masks and flout social distancing rules.

Many front-of-house workers are so tired and stressed that they wish restaurants would revert to offering takeout exclusively, even if it would cost them tips.

“The restaurant industry feels unsafe,” says a former Leon’s Oyster Shop server who last month quit after learning co-workers who were exposed to the virus at a dinner party were still on the schedule.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Free Times) Columbia Fireflies won’t play in 2020 after minor league season canceled

Major League Baseball is working to begin its season in late July, with a plan to play without fans in the stands because of COVID-19. The Fireflies, along with the rest of the minor leagues, have been prevented from playing this year because of the coronavirus.

Katz, the Fireflies president who has worked in professional baseball for nearly three decades, tells Free Times the announcement that Major League Baseball wouldn’t be providing players for the minors, thus putting a nail in the coffin of the 2020 season in Columbia and 159 other cities, was a “gut punch.”

“Personally and professionally, for the 30 people who work here [full-time], it just hurts,” Katz says. “Our planning process never stops. We started planning for 2020 as soon as we closed the books on the last night of 2019.”

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Economy, Health & Medicine, Sports, Urban/City Life and Issues

(ABC4) Charleston city council unanmiously votes to pass face mask ordinance

The City of Charleston voted unanimously on Thursday evening to enact a face mask ordinance.

In the ordinance, people must wear a face mask when entering any restaurant, retail store or any other building open to the public. Employees must also wear the face masks at all times.

People don’t have to wear a face mask if they have underlying health conditions, while driving in their cars, when participating in outdoor activities and while actively drinking or eating.

It will take effect on Friday at noon.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, City Government, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Urban/City Life and Issues

(The State) Columbia, South Carolina, now requires you to wear a mask to combat coronavirus. Here are the details

[Linda Bell]….told council members she was “alarmed and disheartened” at the number of people not wearing masks, particularly young adults.

While most teenagers and young adults are most resistant to becoming seriously ill from the virus, “you’re imposing that risk . . . on others.”

She added: “These measures from the local jurisdictions are badly needed.”

Under the new emergency ordinance, masks would be required for anyone:

▪ Inside a public building or waiting to enter a public building

▪ Interacting with someone within six feet in an outdoor space

▪ Engaged in business in a private space

▪ Using public or private transportation

▪ Walking in public where maintaining a six-foot distance from others may not be possible.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Anthropology, City Government, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Urban/City Life and Issues

(WSJ) Escape to the Country: Why City Living Is Losing Its Appeal During the Pandemic

Confined to her Paris apartment with three young children, her husband and a dog during the city’s strict eight-week lockdown, Kate Gambey began fantasizing about something she never thought she would: a country house.

“I’m such a city girl,” said Ms. Gambey, an American married to a Frenchman. She made Paris her home nearly a decade ago but is now searching for a new home some 30 to 150 miles southwest of Paris.

“Right now it’s a question of how and where do we survive this best.”

In recent months, thousands of city dwellers have fled metropolises such as New York, Paris and London, moving in with family or into rentals to avoid crowds, be closer to nature or spend coronavirus lockdowns in more spacious quarters. While many have begun to return as restrictions have eased, others, like Ms. Gambey and her husband, Charles, are considering a permanent move.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine, Housing/Real Estate Market, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Local Paper) Charleston hits ‘critical’ coronavirus rate as mayor urges good hygiene, wearing masks

As Charleston reaches a “critical” rate of new coronavirus cases, Mayor John Tecklenburg urged city residents and business leaders on Tuesday to practice good hygiene and wear masks when interacting with others indoors.

Months ago, Tecklenburg said he feared Charleston would become a hot spot, similar to New York and other places in the Northeast. The city became the first in the state to establish stay-at-home restriction — with many other municipalities, and the state, later following suit. On Friday, Gov. Henry McMaster lifted one of the last statewide restrictions and allowed bowling alleys to reopen.

COVID-19 data shared at a news conference in Charleston City Council Chambers on Tuesday afternoon show things are heating up.

“We’re heading toward hot spot status unless we all take personal responsibility to help control the spread of this contagion and the virus until a real cure and a vaccine is available,” Tecklenburg said.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, City Government, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Local Paper) Racism. Violence. A slowly dying son. 5 years after the Emanuel massacre, echoes abound

For five years, they have mourned, then as now, as the country around them grappled with racism and violence.

Parents. Wives. Husbands. Sons. Daughters. They remain bound by the shared loss of nine worshippers at Emanuel AME Church when, on the sweltering night of June 17, 2015, an avowed white supremacist gunned down their loved ones.

For five years, the survivors and families of those who died have traversed uniquely uneven paths through immense grief. Many have found new meaning in different, inspiring ways.

The Post and Courier caught up with several to see how they are mourning against the backdrop of nationwide protests and the coronavirus pandemic — and where they hope America goes from here.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(Local Paper front page) The Charleston Forum’s race relations survey reveals glaring inequality, a path forward

A survey commissioned to lead the Lowcountry forward five years after the massacre at Mother Emanuel AME shows a community eager to curb systemic racism, but divided on the current climate and next steps necessary to do so.

Respondents agree race should have no role in how people are treated by police, in school and in the community, but disagree on whether law enforcement officers racially profile people of color, how schools achieve goals and encourage success and whether symbols and monuments seen as racist should remain in place.

Leaders of The Charleston Forum hope the results will help drive their conversations with local leaders over the next year as they develop policy proposals aimed at equality and justice in the region. The survey was conducted before the weeks of protest following George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis last month, but it details ongoing concerns in the community that in some ways parallel the issues raised by marchers.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, City Government, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations, Urban/City Life and Issues

(NYT Op-ed) Issac Bailey–I’m Finally an Angry Black Man

You see, for a long time I was one of the “good blacks,” whom white friends and colleagues and associates and neighbors could turn to in order to be reassured that they weren’t racist, that America really had made a lot of racial progress since its founding, that I was an example of that progress because of the success I had attained after all I had faced and overcome.

For a long time, I wasn’t an angry black man even after growing up in an underfunded school that was still segregated four decades after Brown v. Board of Education in the heart of the Deep South.

I wasn’t angry even when I watched my oldest brother, my hero, be taken away in handcuffs for murdering a white man when I was a 9-year-old boy. He served 32 years, upending our family forever. Guilt is what I felt instead of anger. It’s akin to the guilt white liberals who go overboard in their efforts feel and are often guided by as they try to appease black people because of the racial harm they know black people have suffered since before this country’s founding.

Mine was a black guilt, a guilt stemming from the knowledge that my black brother had irreparably hurt a poor white family, guilt that helped persuade me to try to make it up to white people as best I could.

That’s why for a long time in my writings, I was more likely to focus on all the white people who didn’t yell “Nigger!” out their windows as they drove by as I jogged along Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach, S.C., instead of those who did. That’s why I spent nearly two decades in a mostly white evangelical church. That’s why I tried to thread the needle on the Confederate flag, speaking forthrightly about its origins, but carefully so as not to upset my white friends and colleagues who revered a symbol of the idea that black people should forever be enslaved by white people.

Still, for a long time, none of that turned me into an angry black man….

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, History, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Police/Fire, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(NYT) Amid a Pandemic, Black and Latino Churches Offer Prayer, Hope — and Testing

Ten days in May. Twenty-four churches around New York City. Nearly 20,000 coronavirus tests.

Over the past few weeks, churches serving communities of color have been transformed overnight into mini-clinics offering free coronavirus tests to all comers. The initiative, a partnership of the churches, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office and Northwell Health, is an effort to expand testing among black and Hispanic citizens, who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

Black and Latino New Yorkers have succumbed to Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, at twice the rate of whites, a result of entrenched economic and health disparities, denser housing and a higher risk of exposure on the job.

Participants were asked to preregister by phone, but walk-ins were accommodated so long as they lined up six feet apart and wore masks. Among those who sought testing on a cool, sunny Wednesday in May were two teenage brothers who recently went to a hospital to take home their 50-year-old father, only to find he had died of the virus.

“We were expecting him to be released and were texting with him,” said one brother, who identified himself only as Angel.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

Bp Mark Lawrence–Standing in the Breach

To stand in the breach, to kneel in the place prayer is to hold all of this in our hearts before God: the young marching in peaceful protest; a looter and burglar fleeing the scene of violence perpetrated by his companion in crime; and all the George Floyds and David Dorns of the world . It is not only to stand in the breach, it is to have one’s heart enlarged. In the words of Edwin Corley, intercession “… is the principle by which praying people allow their own spiritual hearts to become enlarged enough to take on [through prayer] the care of others.” To share in the compassion of Jesus Christ for this world where so many people are like sheep without shepherds. To ask God’s Spirit to address our own “…feelings that have become calloused and remote for most of the people around [us].” May God work in us a deep feeling of love and compassion for His people. So we lift up those suffering from the Covid-19; those working for a vaccine and cure; those burying their loved ones either from the pandemic, the street violence or the normal stuff of life; for those who have lost their business and jobs from quarantine or fire, rioting and looting; for those who continue to suffer the weight of racial injustice; for police officers who risk their lives in their daily round of duty; and those for whom the killing of George Floyd makes the world feel less safe. That may sound almost like a litany. It is—or at least a prayer list. We pray for the light of Christ to come into our darkened world, and after this week of prayer and fasting to show each of us what the next step is, so we might fulfill the promise of our Lord. “You are the light of the world…let your light shine before others that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Police/Fire, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(CEN) Bishops take the knee

Bishops across the country led Anglicans in ‘taking the knee’ to mark the death of American George Floyd and to highlight injustice in British society.

The Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Rev Martyn Snow, led others in kneeling for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the length of time that a US police officer knelt on Mr Floyd’s neck.

Bishop Snow said: “I am deeply shocked by the appalling brutality we have seen against black people in America and I stand alongside those who are suffering and peacefully calling for urgent change, as well as committing to make changes in our own lives and the institutions we are part of.

“Structural and systemic racial prejudice exists across societies and institutions and we must act to change that, as well as addressing our own unconscious biases that lead us to discriminate against others.” Earlier this year he led the General Synod in a vote to apologise for racism in the Church.

Read it all (subscription).

Posted in America/U.S.A., Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence