Happening 71: Love Unstoppable

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Happening is a Christian experience presented by teenagers, for teenagers with the help of clergy and lay adult leadership. It seeks to achieve this purpose by bringing young persons and adults to fuller personal knowledge of and relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and to a deeper level of commitment and apostleship.

Our most recent weekend, Happening 71, was February 15-17, 2019. Led by St. Patrick’s senior, Autumn Toms, 175 youth and adults gathered for a renewal weekend at Camp Mikell. With the theme Love Unstoppable, the youth met both in small groups and as one body to discuss topics like piety, sacrificial love, apostles, how to bring the love back down the mountain, and many more. 

A big thanks to Autumn Toms, Rector, Sophie Alexander, Observing Rector, Spiritual Directors, Rev. Bonnie Underwood and Clayton Harrington, Lay Directors, Sally Benton and Matthew Bowers, and especially to all our youth that served on team for this transformational weekend! It couldn’t have been done without all of these dedicated people!

Circle of Stewardship Workshop Dates have been Announced

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The Commission on Stewardship for the Diocese of Atlanta have announced upcoming Circle of Stewardship dates, a workshop for clergy and lay stewardship leaders.

The mission of Circle of Stewardship is to mobilize clergy and lay leaders to develop stewardship resources, enabling parishes to worship joyfully, serve compassionately, and grow spiritually. Workshop leaders will present:

  • Scriptural building blocks of Christian stewardship

  • Practical resources for organizing your annual stewardship program

  • Designs for tailoring stewardship communications to multigenerational groups

  • Reasons for giving

  • A detailed framework for implementing a comprehensive year-round stewardship program

  • A systematic approach to membership growth

  • Ways to start holy stewardship conversations in your parish

 There is no charge for this workshop and lunch will be provided. If you have any questions, please contact Tammy Pallot at tammypallot@gmail.com.

Be an Everyday Hero

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You can provide invaluable service to children in your local community by volunteering as a Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)!

CASA volunteers are everyday heroes from all walks of life who advocate for the well-being of children in foster care by giving them a voice and a chance for a better life.

Being a CASA volunteer allows you to provide service to children close to home! Georgia CASA’s 47 affiliate CASA programs across the state serve 151 of Georgia’s 159 counties.

Volunteers receive a 40-hour, pre-service training, including court observations, along with ongoing supervision by CASA staff once they are sworn-in and assigned to serve children.

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Those who have served as CASA volunteers say it is one of the most rewarding services that a person can provide to the community. Oftentimes, the lives of CASA volunteers are changed and impacted as much as the lives of the children they serve.

To learn more about Georgia CASA and the CASA organization, visit https://www.gacasa.org.

To get started exploring the CASA volunteer opportunity, visit https://www.gacasa.org/get-involved/#become-a-volunteer. You can complete the online contact form and be connected to an affiliate CASA program in your community.

For more information, contact Diocesan Community Engagement Facilitator Don Plummer at dplummer@episcopalatlanta.org.

Scott Gunn, E.D. of Forward Movement, to preach on Day1

The Rev. Canon Scott Gunn, executive director of Forward Movement, is the featured preacher March 10 on “Day 1” with host Peter Wallace, the nationally broadcast ecumenical radio program also accessible online at Day1.org.

Gunn is the executive director of Forward Movement, based in Cincinnati, Ohio. An independent agency of the Episcopal Church, Forward Movement publishes books and pamphlets and offers a variety of ministry resources for clergy, lay people, and churches. Gunn served churches in Rhode Island before coming to Forward Movement in 2011. A frequent church and conference speaker, he spends Sundays when he is not on the road at Christ Church Cathedral in Cincinnati where he is an honorary canon.

“My Life Has Never Been the Same,” his sermon for March 10, is based on the story of the temptations of Jesus found in Luke 4:1-13. “We are still very early in this season of Lent. There is still plenty of time to decide how you might use this time to turn to Jesus,” he says. “If you don’t yet have a plan, perhaps you will take a suggestion. Find a Bible. Or find a Bible app or a Bible website.”

Gunn is co-author with Melodie Shobe of two books, “Walk in Love: Episcopal Beliefs and Practices” and “Faithful Questions: Exploring the Way with Jesus.” A graduate of Luther College, he earned M.Div. and M.A. degrees from Yale divinity school, with Anglican Studies at Berkeley Divinity at Yale. He also earned an M.A. from Brown University. 

The program includes interviews with Gunn conducted by Wallace, who is also executive producer.


“Day 1” has been broadcast every week for 74 years, formerly as “The Protestant Hour.” Featuring outstanding preachers from the mainline denominations, “Day 1” is currently distributed to more than 200 radio stations across America and overseas. The program is produced by the Alliance for Christian Media, based in Atlanta, Ga. For more information, check the program’s website, http://day1.org

Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution

The Commission on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST) was met with an abundance of volunteer support from parishes around the Diocese of Atlanta on January 26, 2019. At All Saints’, volunteers partnered with S.O.A.P Project, founded by human trafficking survivor Theresa Flores, to wrap soap with the national hotline number and deliver soap and educational material to the hotels around the Mercedes Benz Stadium in preparation for the Super Bowl. It is believed that these efforts helped saved multiple adolescents from being trafficked.

For more information about the S.O.A.P Project and the impact of human trafficking check out this article from AJC.

Bishop Wright Inducted to Atlanta Magazine’s Top 500 Leaders List

We are proud to announce our very own Bishop Robert Wright was recently inducted to Atlanta Magazine’s inaugural 500 most powerful leaders list. This first-of-its-kind guide celebrates the metro area’s top executives and influencers in a myriad of industries. This guide includes local experts in a variety of fields that are making an impact in the metro Atlanta area. To compile this list, editors at Atlanta Magazine have consulted dozens of experts in various fields, studied corporate and community boards, gathered relevant data and relied on their own institutional knowledge. Atlanta Magazine has a long and storied history at the center of Atlanta’s business community with humble beginnings in 1961. The Magazine, started by the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, was created for the sole purpose of driving business and commerce to the Atlanta area.

Bishop Appoints New Campus Missioner

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We are pleased to announce that Bishop Wright has appointed Ms. Chelsi Glascoe as Campus Missioner for the Atlanta University Center, which covers Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, and Spelman College.

Chelsi is a vibrant scholar and teacher from Silver Spring, MD. She earned a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology from Clark Atlanta University and matriculated through college serving most notably as Miss Clark Atlanta University 2014-2015. In 2020 she will graduate from Mercer University with a Masters of Divinity degree. Her favorite things to do include traveling (she has studied cross-culturally in India and several countries in the Caribbean) and swimming. Chelsi teaches with an upbeat and down to earth tone, and reaches young adults through simple but un-sugarcoated presentations. She is passionate about nurturing the God given call on the lives of young adults and is committed to loving, leading, and laboring with students.

Share the Love 2019 Supports Path To Shine® 

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A unique small-ratio mentoring and tutoring program,  Path To Shine® has become a beacon of hope and possibility for elementary-school children across middle and north Georgia. With nearly 200 actively enrolled children and 140 dedicated volunteers in 18 different locations, Path To Shine is excited to announce the kick-off of its 2019 Share the Love fundraising campaign. 

Share the Love runs throughout February, the “Month of Love”,  to raise funds and awareness for Path To Shine (PTS). You can support  Share the Love in two simple ways. 

  1. "Like" and "Follow" us on Facebook and Twitter. Throughout the 28 days of February, we'll share fun facts, great photos and important information with the hashtag #PTSShareTheLove

  2. Make a Donation of $28 That's just $1 per day for the month of February. We're working with about 200 children to provide books, enrichment activities, and educational support, while teaching life skills. Donate here!

  3. Share the Love! Spread the word across your social networks. The more people who know about us, the more children we can encourage to graduate from high school. Forward this email to a friend as a first step

Path To Shine’s desire to love like Jesus is rooted in the ministry’s founding belief that children can benefit from relationships with caring, trusted adults who are not family members. Since 2010, the ministry has worked to foster dreams in children such that they are motivated to graduate from high school. 

What makes Path To Shine Unique?

Small ratios and small groups differentiate Path To Shine (PTS) from other programs. With no more than two children per adult volunteer, and a guideline of no more than 20 children in a program, PTS is set up to create community. This sense of community is reinforced with a commitment of 90% attendance for the children and 85% attendance for the mentors, and this consistency means a reliable presence in each of the local communities where PTS takes place. Smaller programs are more sustainable and several  have been running for five  years or more.  Additionally, PTS developed their own curriculum with a big emphasis on life skills.
PTS’s Whole-Child Approach: Character Building, Guest Speakers, Life Enrichment.

A typical PTS afternoon includes quiet time for Mentors to work with the same one or two students each week, helping with homework, reading together, catching up on the week's events, and building trusting relationships. Snack and play time are also valuable parts of the program. Research shows that play empowers kids to explore what they enjoy, and play time strengthens mentor-student bonds. 

Another key element of PTS is the curriculum which centers on structured group time. Through stories told using books or guest speakers, group time is an opportunity to practice attentive listening, comprehension and learn valuable life skills. Sometimes, older children read aloud to the younger ones. Other times, guest speakers from different backgrounds and professions share their life journeys and the choices they made growing up that helped them become successful adults. During presentations, children practice their manners of listening attentively, sitting quietly, and not interrupting. Afterwards, there’s time to ask questions and practice introductions. Social skills and graces in action! 

Finally, there is only so much a child can learn in the classroom. A lot of what we learn is outside the school building – experiences and adventures many people take for granted. For Path To Shine children, an outing to a horse stable, a museum or a Braves game offers a rare opportunity to experience something new.  

Path To Shine’s 2019 Share the Love Goals

We have $12,000 budgeted for enrichment activities, books (every child gets brand new books to keep every May and December), and book-store gift cards (for our 5th graders who will be going on to Middle School). Support our campaign with a donation, and Share the Love by encouraging a friend to do the same.

ECF Grants Small Acts of Charity Grants for First Quarter of 2019

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Atlanta, GA, January 10, 2019 — Today the Episcopal Community Foundation for Middle and North Georgia (ECF) announces its first Small Acts of Charity grant of 2019 to Trinity Episcopal Church (Columbus, GA).

Trinity Episcopal Church will receive a grant of $4,000 to create a new room for coats and toiletries in addition to the two rooms they already utilize for men and women’s clothing. By creating this additional space, the people served by the clothing closet will have more consistent and safe access to the clothing and resources that the parishioners of Trinity have provided, and the parish will be able to ensure they have the proper equipment to handle heavy coats as cold weather is imminent.

“We are thrilled to start off our grantmaking year with a meaningful grant to the Trinity clothes closet,” said Lindsey Hardegree, Executive Director for ECF. “This effort is a clear example of a parish responding directly to a community need in a way that serves those in need while utilizing the resources that the parishioners bring to the parish. ECF is proud to support a refinement of the great work already being done in Columbus.”

About ECF’s Grant Programs:
ECF awards General Grants twice a year and Small Acts of Charity (capped at $5,000) quarterly. Applications for the Q2 Small Acts of Charity are due March 15, 2019, and General Grant Letters of Intent for Fall 2018 are due March 31, 2019. Those interested in applying for funding should visit ECFimpact.org/grants for information regarding both funding opportunities as well as links to the applications. Applicants are encouraged to contact Lindsey Hardegree with any questions they may have regarding eligibility or their applications.

About Episcopal Community Foundation for Middle and North Georgia 
Founded in 1982 as the Episcopal Charities Foundation, the Episcopal Community Foundation for Middle and North Georgia (ECF) provides funding, leadership and resources to enable Episcopal parishes and nonprofit partners to lift up people facing poverty and oppression and to achieve significant, long-lasting impact in the Diocese of Atlanta. Since its inception, ECF has donated more than $4.4 million to promote thriving and spiritually strong individuals, families, and communities locally. Learn more at www.ECFimpact.org.

About The Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta
The Diocese of Atlanta was created in 1907 and serves the cities, towns, and communities in Middle and North Georgia. Led by the Right Rev. Robert C. Wright, it is comprised of 110 welcoming worship communities. Our purpose is to challenge ourselves and the world to love like Jesus as we worship joyfully, serve compassionately, and grow spiritually. Learn more at www.episcopalatlanta.org.

Bishop Prays for Gov. Elect Brian Kemp

During a worship service held Monday at the Episcopal Cathedral of St. Philip The Right Reverend Robert C. Wright, Bishop of the Diocese of Atlanta, prayed for Gov. Elect Brian Kemp and his family. During the service attended by the Kemp family, Bishop Wright, prayed that those who disagree with the Republican governor “bless him when he is fair …” Following are the texts of Bishop Wright’s opening and closing prayers during Monday’s service:


Opening Prayer

Almighty God our heavenly Father, who delights in service and compassion, send down upon all those who hold elected office in this State the spirit of wisdom, charity, and justice; that with steadfast purpose and gentle boldness they may faithfully serve in their offices to promote the well-being of all people; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Final prayer and blessing

O Lord, the Governor of every soul, bless those who hold the public trust and serve the common good and especially Brian elected Governor.  

Bless his family and his home that he may know the joy and refreshment essential for effective service.

As he exercises the authority entrusted to him, bless him with the faith, wisdom and courage to do your will above all else.

Let those who oppose him bless him when he is fair. Let the foreigner and alien bless him with the title merciful. Let those who are poor bless him by saying he creates opportunity. Let those who are sick bless him when they feel his provision.

Let those who tend the health of the land and water bless him with the label, partner.  

Let the children of the state of Georgia bless him when they find life and service to be exemplary.

And let our children’s children bless us all as difference makers and good stewards of the blessings of liberty and prosperity.

Bless Brian and all of us with the love of truth and righteousness, and make us ever mindful of our respective callings to serve Your people to your glory...

And finally (leading all in singing)

Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me. Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.
Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me.
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.

Amen.

ECF Accepting Applications for All Grant Programs

The Episcopal Community Foundation for Middle and North Georgia is currently accepting applications for both of our grant programs:


General Grant LOIs: due March 31, 2019
Q2 Small Acts of Charity Grants: due March 15, 2019

Those interested in applying for funding should visit ECFimpact.org/grants for instructions and the link to each application. Applicants are encouraged to contact Executive Director Lindsey Hardegree with any questions they may have regarding eligibility or their applications.

Churchwide Bible Reading Initiative Begins in Epiphany 2019

As we prepare to celebrate the season of Epiphany, Forward Movement, along with partners from across the Episcopal Church, invites all Episcopalians to participate in the Good Book Club. A church-wide Bible reading initiative, the Good Book Club will focus on Paul’s Letter to the Romans, with participants reading a section of scripture each day during the Epiphany season, starting on January 7, 2019.

“During Epiphany, we recall how Jesus is revealed to the world,” said Richelle Thompson, deputy director and managing editor of Forward Movement. “Paul’s letter to the Romans offers a way to explore the messages of grace, salvation, and redemption through Jesus Christ. This season between Christmas and Lent is a perfect time to engage deeply with God’s Word and experience it anew.”

During Lent and Easter of 2018, tens of thousands of Episcopalians participated in the first Good Book Club, reading the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts. Survey results from participants showed a hunger and desire to continue the initiative and provide more opportunities for people to read and discuss scripture together. Romans was the first choice of participants for the next Good Book Club.

Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry supports and encourages individuals and congregations to join the Good Book Club as a way to engage in “Learn,” one of the seven Way of Love practices for a Jesus-centered life.

Several organizations are partnering with Forward Movement in the Good Book Club, including the United Thank Offering, Forma, Gathering of Leaders, and The Living Church. Partner organizations are creating resources or encouraging their constituents to take part in the effort.

ChurchNext, a ministry of Forward Movement, will offer an eight-week live Bible study led by the Rev. Jay Sidebotham, author of Conversations with Scripture: Romans and director of RenewalWorks.

The Good Book Club website lists the daily readings and partners, as well as resources to support people as they read the scriptures. Spanish resources and information are available at clubbiblico.org. Send stories of how you and/or your church are participating to Richelle Thompson at rthompson@forwardmovement.org.

Forward Movement is a ministry of the Episcopal Church that inspires disciples and empowers evangelists. With offices in Cincinnati, Ohio, Forward Movement offers online resources, digital products, books, pamphlets, and Forward Day by Day. Learn more at www.forwardmovement.org.

For more information, contact Richelle Thompson at rthompson@forwardmovement.org or 513-721-6659, ext. 315.

Making a Difference

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The staff and students of The Boyce L Ansley School thank The Diocese of Atlanta for your generosity and support. The more that $5900 that was collected for us during the Annual Council Eucharist is already making a difference in our school. Your gifts helped us to buy new uniforms and classroom supplies! We are grateful for your loving and generous hearts. For more information, check us out at theansleyschool.org.

St. Luke's, Fort Valley, Announces New Community Projects For 2019

A permanent, free standing, custom built Little Community Food Pantry has been installed on the rear grounds of St. Luke's, 1000 State University Drive, Fort Valley, 31030. Residents in need may help themselves to any available non-perishable food items supplied by our parish.

Additionally, St. Lukes' ECW, will kick-off its free Community Arts & Crafts Collective at our church, 1000 State University Drive, Fort Valley, 31030, under the direction of Eva Henderson, beginning the 1st Saturday of African-American Heritage Month, February 2, 2019 at 3 PM. 

To enroll or register as a volunteer instructor, Email: kariba911@hotmail.com.

Bishop Wright's J-Term Course at Candler School of Theology

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Bishop Wright will be teaching his annual Epiphany Class Jan 2, 3 and 4th at Candler School of Theology at Emory University.

The course will define and commend experimentation as a core competency and essential component of effective leadership and discipleship toward individual, institutional and societal change, using the practices of the Apostle Paul as a theological reference point and inspiration. Participants will be introduced to the concept of adaptive leadership as taught by Ronald Heifetz, as well as the work of Amanda Cebula and Ed O’Malley.

Continental breakfast, lunch and book will be provided. The cost is $310. Candler and the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta have partnered to offer scholarships to Episcopal lay leaders and clergy who wish to audit the course. Scholarship recipients will pay $160 for the course rather than the regular auditor tuition of $310. Those interested in the scholarship should contact The Rev. Canon P. Lang Lowrey, director of Episcopal Studies at Candler, at plangiii@msn.com.

And This Is Holy Ground

 

God Is Here.

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“For me it’s an honor because so much has been given to me and like that widow [with two copper coins] it’s just an honor to give. To help in the community whether it is just being a loyal parishioner or saying a prayer with all of us at Church of the Common Ground,” says Frank a long-time parishioner and servant leader.

An honor to give because God is here.

Twelve years ago this Christmas Eve, a small group of people gathered around a priest in an Atlanta city park and celebrated the Eucharist. They took a leap of faith together trusting that what they had was enough to change the world and all they had was a city park, each other, and God.

Twelve years later this church without walls, without pews, without candles, stained glass windows, or a lectern, continues to defy all expectations and concepts of what it means to be church.

Not to be a church. Just to be church. To defy all expectations you first have to defy the language used. With all due respect to dictionaries the world over, at Church of the Common Ground, church is not a noun. It is a powerful being verb.

So, what does it mean to make church a verb? It means to consider the trees against a pale cerulean sky as the most beautiful nave ceiling in the world. It asks us to consider that everywhere is God’s common ground and, therefore, everywhere is church. And, we church it everywhere…literally…because God is here and everywhere.


God Is Right Here with Us

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Being church begins in a sturdy white van. It’s not a fancy van. It has no power windows. It seats only two people. But, not unlike Santa’s sleigh that seems never to run out of surprises, our little white van gets around.

It hauls an altar, altar linens, chalice and paten every Sunday. It never complains no matter how many gallons of coffee are loaded in with cups, creamer and sugar tagging along for the ride. Need a few chairs for Morning Prayer? No problem. Our little white van will bring those and a few tables along with an ecclesia cross, too.

This year alone our little white van has brought the supplies necessary to worship on Sundays with more than 15 parishes, youth groups, or other organizations (some of them more than once); to wash and care for more than 900 pairs of feet at Common Soles foot clinics; to pour more than 1,500 cups of coffee at Morning Prayer on Mondays and Wednesdays; to hand out more than 1,200 bottles of water at Bible study.

And, that’s not all. This year that sturdy white van allowed us to be church at a Habitat build with St. Anne’s, to conduct a foot clinic and worship as part of the Cathedral of St. Philip’s Requiem service, to sing Christmas carols and share fellowship with those at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Home, to walk the labyrinth with our friends from St. Veronica’s guild, to be church with each other and for others everywhere. We do this because “You must love each other. And Jesus loved us so we share the love of Jesus [with] others,” as servant leader Jen M. so eloquently puts it.

Whether its Sunday worship, Morning Prayer or Bible study, our little white van brings whatever is needed to show friends, neighbors and strangers “God is right here with us.”


 

And This Is Holy Ground.

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That amazing white van pulling up is only the beginning. This Christmas Eve it will pull up as it has for many years and will signal that something special is happening. Unloading it is a community affair with members of Common Ground pitching in to help establish sacred space. Frank, Richard, Steven and Larry are often first to take the van’s heavy load of altar and supplies.

Jen, our hospitality leader, will haul the coffee and cups to the bench where fellowship hour takes place. Our sexton Annette will unload the brooms and sweep away beautiful but fallen leaves to make room for the altar. Vera will take the Sunday bulletins and hand them to those joining us for worship. Charmeka and other members of the Common Ground community will wear bright yellow buttons helping first timers know who to turn to when they have questions. And, the choir will warm up and get ready to sing.

With the first gong of the bell to signal the start of service, the pigeons will gently waddle to higher ground giving us leave to be church. This Christmas Eve we will stand on the granite of a city park and marvel once again at the beautiful manger in which we stand.

The world is our crèche, our holy ground, upon which we may all be church and God’s light for each other.

Our celebrant will announce the call to worship:

 
 

“God is here.

God is right here with us.

And, this is holy ground.”

Holy, holy, holy…holy common ground.


Christmas Eve worship takes place in Woodruff Park in downtown Atlanta at 1:00pm.

Anyone may worship with us on Christmas Eve or at any time throughout the year. All are welcome.

To learn more about Church of the Common Ground, click here. To read our blog, Common Stories, click here.

If you are interested in being a visiting church group, please contact The Very Rev. Monica Mainwaring at vicar@churchofthecommonground.org.

Welcome Sally Ulrey

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We welcome Sally Ulrey as the newest member of the Bishop's staff. Sally will be assisting the Canon for Ministry in the day-to-day responsibilities of fostering Congregational Vitality and Ministry Development in the Diocese of Atlanta. Sally enjoys spending time with her husband, Nathan, and two children, Remnant (5) and Jubilee (3). Sally is a cradle Episcopalian, who was called into lay ministry as a teenager in her parish in Florida. She is a summa cum laude graduate from Toccoa Falls College with a degree in Christian Education, concentrating in Youth Ministry and minoring in Counseling Psychology. Sally has 15 years of experience working in parish youth ministry and Christian education, and currently serves as the part-time Director of Formation and Youth Ministry at St. Columba's in John's Creek. Sally also has served in various roles in Diocesan youth ministry and writes curriculum for the Diocese, including co-authoring the Diocese's Dismantling Racism Youth Curriculum, in collaboration with the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing.