S-R CWU Human Rights Celebration

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 22, 2015


Salisbury Rowan Church Women United held the annual Human Rights Celebration on August 7 at New Zion Baptist Church. Approximately 45 Women and a few men representing 19 different churches came together to celebrate the theme, Journey Toward Peace. Chair of the Human Rights Celebration, Catherine Rivens of Sandy Ridge AME  Zion, greeted the gathering by giving the purpose of the event. Since 1941 CWU has worked toward being an advocate and guide for those who have been deprived of their human rights. We are called together to recognize the persons in the community who have gone the extra mile in defending the rights and freedoms of individuals.

Unit President Doris Brown of Jerusalem Baptist and New Zion Representative Katherine Krider welcomed everyone to the celebration followed by Rev. Paul Jones, Sr. retired pastor of New Zion, who gave the invocation. Unit Chaplain Gwendolyn Ellis of Moore’s Chapel AME Zion led the group in the opening prayer. Dorothy Gill-Smith, Moore’s Chapel AME Zion, accompanied the group as we sang “On Our Journey” written for the occasion. Betty Jo Hardy, Milford Hills UMC, led the responsive reading from Psalm 139. Brenda Venning, St Luke Baptist, read the scripture from James 3:13-18. Catherine Rivens led the group in a Credo taken from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Jean Kennedy, Southern City AME Zion, and Tonya Cornelius, Sills Creek AME Zion received the offering. President Brown introduced the key note speaker, Rev. Carol Hallman of Christ United Church of Christ. Rev. Hallman gave an impassioned message titled Just Peace. Rev. Hallman reminded us that Justice and Peace go together like peanut butter and jelly. She quoted passages from Old Testament prophets Isaiah and Micah. She suggested the beginning of Just Peace comes to the community that works to eradicate poverty, educate it’s children and provide meaningful work for it’s residents. She challenged all present to begin by treating everyone with respect and engaging in deep listening to others.

Rev. Hallman was surprised to be the recipient of the Human Rights award given each year by the local unit. Phyllis Little of Christ United Church of Christ, who had nominated Rev. Hallman, presented the award as that she shared that Rev. Hallman sees no boundaries when dealing with people. She works to improve the human condition in any way she can. Rev. Hallman serves on the boards of Missions of Mercy; Families First; One Church One Child; Teen Moms and Terry Hess House-Prevent Child Abuse. Rev. Hallman is the mother of one adult son.

The new Director of Communities in Schools, Scott Bannister, was present to receive the collection of school supplies brought by those in attendance. Manie Richardson, Milford Hills UMC, was responsible for gathering the numerous supplies which included 7 school uniforms and a check for $345 for the purchase of school uniforms. Mr. Bannister reminded the group of the importance of volunteering in the schools.

The gathering closed with singing Let There Be Peace on Earth and a Proclamation of the Blessing from the Beatitudes: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.

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