‘Healing and justice for our community are themes at the heart of faith.”
Special to Iredell Free News
In an effort to achieve healing, equality, justice, access and opportunity, a group of local clergy members has formed with the aim of being a beacon of hope and a shield of compassion.
“We seek to serve as a voice of the underrepresented, disenfranchised and underserved of our community in addressing social, civic, economic, and educational disparities,” the group, called Iredell Clergy for Healing and Justice, said in a news release.
The group is made up of representatives of multiple racial groups and faith communities.
Rev. James Brunson, pastor of First Baptist Church on Garfield Street, and Rev. Nelson Granade, pastor of First Baptist Church on Davie Avenue, pastors of Statesville’s historic black and white First Baptist Churches, are in active dialogue about how their congregations can work together.
“Our faith calls us to love our neighbor and care for the ‘least of these,’ ” Brunson and Granade said in the news release. “We believe that Iredell Clergy for Healing and Justice has the potential to help us do this in tangible ways.”
Beverly Maurice, president of Congregation Emanuel, praised the initiative.
“Now, more than any other time in our history, it is imperative that we come together in interfaith and interracial cooperation using respectful dialogue, empathy, compassion, unifying and innovative thinking to bring changes that lead to healing and justice in our community,” Maurice said.
Rev. Mary John Dye, senior pastor of Broad Street United Methodist Church, said the faith community should be involved in this type of work.
“Healing and justice for our community are themes at the heart of faith. As clergy, we want to model compassion, integrity and love for others that will both inspire and encourage all to live into our highest ideals.”
Among those taking early leadership and giving early support in this new group are:
♦ James Brunson, First Baptist Church, Garfield Street
♦ David Comer, former pastor, Grace Baptist Church
♦ Mary John Dye, Broad Street United Methodist Church
♦ Jerry Ellis, United Methodist minister in the Hiddenite community
♦ Nelson Granade, First Baptist Church, Davie Avenue
♦ Maggie Hurst, Baptist minister
♦ Rob Lee, Unifour Church
♦ Beverly Maurice, Congregation Emanuel
♦ Tim Moore, United Methodist minister, Union Presbyterian Seminary, Charlotte
♦ Brad Mullis, Trinity Episcopal Church
♦ Tamir Mutakabbir, Al-Mu’minum Masjid
♦ Sifredo Rivera, Iglesia de Dios Nueva Filadelfia
♦ Steve Shoemaker, Grace Baptist Church
♦ Amy Spivey, Monticello United Methodist Church
♦ Gary West, Mitchell Community College
All clergy in the Iredell community are welcome to be part of this new clergy group. If anyone wishes to contact this group, the email address is firstname.lastname@example.org