City and Congregation Workgroup

City and Congregation Workgroup photo

The City and Congregation Workgroup included a group of pastors, community practitioners, theologians and graduate students living in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“Frommer’s Cities Ranked & Rated 2004” rated Charlottesville the “#1 Best City to Live” in the United States and Canada. The workgroup decided, during the summer of 2004, to explore what the best city to live in the United States would look like from a theological perspective. To that end, the group met, from the summer of 2004 to the spring of 2006, to discuss and try to address the affordable housing crisis in Charlottesville.

During that time, the group consisted of the following people: Rev. Brian Vander Wel, Christ Episcopal Church; Beth Vander Wel, Christ Episcopal Church; Rydell Payne, Charlottesville Abundant Life Ministries; Peter Slade, Trinity Episcopal Church and University of Virginia doctoral candidate; Jenny McBride University of Virginia doctoral candidate; Ashley Diaz, University of Virginia graduate student; Griff Gatewood, Piedmont Housing Alliance; Bekah Menning, Project on Lived Theology project manager; and Charles Marsh, director of the Project on Lived Theology. Consultants to the group during that period were: Karen Waters, Quality Community Council; Joy Johnson, Public Housing Association of Residents; Corey Walker, University of Virginia assistant professor of religious studies; Theresa Sirois, University of Virginia law student; Rob Schilling, Charlottesville City Council member; Judy Drayer, Charlottesville realtor and member of Christ Episcopal Church; John Evans, director of accommodations for the University of Virginia Housing Division; and Mark Doherty, chief housing officer for University of Virginia.

In January 2006, using information gleaned from consultants and conversations on the problem of affordable housing, the workgroup started drafting a document for local churches to use as a resource in thinking about the affordable housing crisis in Charlottesville and beyond. Though the group disbanded prior to finalizing a draft (due to most members moving away from Charlottesville over the summer), its last draft is posted below and is intended to be used by local churches and other groups as a resource to build upon. View the document.

From July 2002 to May 2003, the City and Congregation Workgroup explored the role of lived theological commitment in the city of Charlottesville, through historical analysis, biblical reflection, site visits, conversations with community leaders and activists, readings and presentations. Participants, consultants and meeting highlights are as follows:

First Meeting – Charlottesville, Virginia

July 2, 2002

Second Meeting – Charlottesville, Virginia

September 27, 2002

Readings

Participants read the following works in preparation for this meeting:

  • Bonhoeffer, Dietrich, “On the Theological Basis of the Work of the World Alliance.”
  • “Living Legacy: Separate, but not equal,” The Daily Progress, July 30, 1995.
  • “A Community in Turmoil: Charlottesville’s Opposition to Public Housing,” from The Magazine of Albemarle County History.

Third Meeting – Los Angeles, California

November 6 – 10, 2002

Fourth Meeting – Charlottesville, Virginia

February 7, 2003

The following is the available resource from this meeting:

Fifth Meeting – Charlottesville, VA

March 7, 2003

Readings

Participants read the following works in preparation for this meeting:

  • James Robert Saunders and Renae Nadine Shackelford. Urban Renewal and the End of Black Culture in Charlottesville, Virginia. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 1998.

Meeting Resources

Sixth Meeting – Charlottesville, Virginia

May 1, 2003

Readings

Participants read the following works in preparation for this meeting:

  • Spain, Daphne. How Women Saved the City. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001.

Meeting Resources

City and Congregation Workgroup Participants

For more information about the speakers and participants, please click on their photos below.

Not pictured in gallery:
Beth Vander Wel, Christ Episcopal Church
Hope Payne, Charlottesville Abundant Life Ministries

City and Congregation Workgroup Consultants

For more information about the speakers and participants, please click on their photos below.

 

Not pictured in gallery:
Audrey Oliver, Piedmont Housing Association of Residents
Reginald Alexander Johnson, Pilgrim Baptist Church

The photo,”Rooftops on the DTM,”  featured at the top of this page was taken by Bob Mical. To find this photo and other work by Mical, please click here.