DURHAM — Clergy in Durham are meeting to build support for a June 10 gathering near the Legislative Building in Raleigh in protest of the Republican-led General Assembly’s agenda.
Rev. Jimmie Hawkins of Covenant Presbyterian Church hosted a clergy meeting at his church Friday with fellow organizer Rev. William Turner Jr., pastor of Mt. Level Missionary Baptist Church and professor of the practice of homiletics at Duke Divinity School. Hawkins said the purpose is to rally clergy across denominational and faith lines to speak out on General Assembly actions that hurt the poor.
Clergy will gather at 5 p.m. June 10 at Bicentennial Plaza on Jones Street. It is a separate gathering from the NAACP Moral Mondays protest, and clergy may acknowledge the NAACP protestors in some way but do not plan to cross the street or be arrested.
On Friday, interested clergy included Rev. Mark Davidson of the Church of Reconciliation, a Presbyterian Church in Chapel Hill. He thinks the General Assembly “isn’t the old Democrat/Republican divide in North Carolina, but part of a national movement to make statehouses as regressive as possible.”
“Our Lord identified himself totally with the least of these,” Davidson said. “Our people feel powerless, but faith is always powerful.”
Rev. Susan Dunlap, a parish associate at First Presbyterian Church in Durham, said what motivated her to come was North Carolina’s turning down federal Medicaid funding. It upsets her, she said, “because I see the fallout.” Dunlap is also chaplain at Urban Ministries of Durham, a homeless shelter.