7th Annual "Bells on the Hill" a spirited success

CRCDS hosted its 7th annual "Bells on the Hill" event on Sunday, December 11, 2016. More than a hundred people visited the Samuel Colgate Memorial Chapel to sing holiday carols, share refreshments and hear the playing of the Andrews-Hale chimes.

Thank you to everyone who came out on a chilly, but beautiful winter evening to share in fellowship and song. A special thanks to Wegmans and to Mrs. Libby Clay for providing holiday treats.

A highlight of the event was children participating in the singing of the carols. Many remarked they were one of the best parts of the event. Click here to see an enthusiastic group of children singing "Jingle Bells": https://www.facebook.com/crcds/videos/10154149431443873/


A "Unite Rochester" blog by CRCDS President Dr. Marvin A. McMickle: "Two Steps Forward, One Step Back"

CRCDS President Dr. Marvin A. McMickle reflects on the current challenges of our nation, offering words of hope in his latest "Unite Rochester" blog, recently published online:

"There is little doubt that for most African Americans, and for most persons committed to a progressive agenda for American society that the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States is proving to be a major step backward.

It is hard enough to accept the fact that the successor to our nation's first African American president was the one person who went out of his way to question the legitimacy of Obama's election, his American citizenship, and even his intelligence. However, the election of Donald Trump is bringing with it the appointment of Jeff Sessions of Alabama as the Attorney General of the United States. Sessions' opposition to expanded voting rights makes it unlikely that any attempt to end voter suppression practices across the country beginning in Alabama will be ignored or rejected.

Given the likelihood that the next four years may see two or three vacancies on the U.S. Supreme Court means that policies ranging from reproductive choice, to gun control, voting rights, affirmative action, worker's rights, and immigration policy could be established that will remain in effect decades after Trump has left office. I would never have imagined that eight years after enough white Americans cast their votes to elect Barack Obama that a rally could be held in Washington, DC, a few blocks from the White House where an Alt Right group would be celebrating the election of Donald Trump with talk of white nationalism and displays of the Nazi salute. We have gone from two steps forward to at least one step back so far as this being a country that has embraced racial and religious diversity is concerned.

I have seen these shifts in progress and suppression before. In 1967 there was elation that came with the confirmation of Thurgood Marshall as the first black Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. That appointment came after a long career as the nation's leading civil rights attorney responsible for the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision that ended segregation in public schools. That was two giant steps forward. Upon his retirement Marshall was replaced by Clarence Thomas who first benefited greatly from affirmative action and then spent the next twenty years doing everything in his power to repeal the very policies that positioned him for his appointment. That was an enormous step backward.

Despite these backward steps, I remain convinced that the words so often quoted by Martin Luther King, Jr. remain true today: "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward Justice." Despite the election of Donald Trump and all the disappointment that has come with it for more than half of the U.S. population who did not vote for him, social progress will continue in this country. In fact, after four years of a Trump administration, people may realize that our society did take a step back in more areas than they could ever have imagined. There will be two steps forward once again in the United States of America, and the journey toward a more perfect union will be resumed!"

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CRCDS M.Div. student Michael Laver and CRCDS President Emeritus Dr. James Evans participate in community forum

CRCDS Master of Divinity student Michael Laver and CRCDS President Emeritus Dr. James H. Evans participated in a panel focusing on key social issues in Rochester, NY on November 6, 2016.  "From Nightmare to Dream: Overcoming the Unholy Trinity of Poverty, Racism & Violence", moderated by WXXI's Helene Biandudi Hofer, drew a crowd of over 200 people. Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Michael Curry, was the keynote speaker. Panelists included Rochester City Mayor Lovely Warren, YWCA President and CEO Jean Carroll and Nazareth College Hickey Center Director Dr. Muhammad Shafiq.

A strong advocate for diversity and inclusion, Michael Laver, who is currently Associate Professor of History at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), will graduate from CRCDS in May, 2017. He, his wife and two boys live in downtown Rochester, are active in social justice issues and attend the diverse and welcoming Church of St. Luke & St. Cyrene. Following graduation, Michael plans on exploring chaplaincy opportunities at RIT, where he is on the college's Accreditation and Steering Committee.

To read more about the forum, click here:





CRCDS President Dr. Marvin A. McMickle: "Making Rochester White Again in Pittsford and Brighton"

CRCDS President Dr. Marvin A. McMickle addressed the distribution of racist literature in two affluent Rochester, NY suburbs in his most recent Democrat and Chronicle Unite Rochester blog post. Read the post here:

"It has been two weeks since a group of white supremacists began passing out leaflets in the middle of the night in Pittsford and then in Brighton announcing their desire to make Rochester great again. When you go to their web site you find out how they plan to make their wish come true; they will make Rochester great again by making Rochester white again. There can be little doubt that this group is a local expression of the sentiments unleashed in the broader American society by Donald Trump’s announced intention to Make America Great Again. I will leave until another time the absolutely unfocused nature of what Trump means by make America great again. The assumption is that the greatness he has in mind resides somewhere in a past where women and minorities had not yet achieved the opportunities they now enjoy.. It is amazing how some people’s glorious past was somebody else’s terrible memory of oppression, exploitation, and suffering. I don’t want to make America great again as much as I hope to see America finally become the land of equal opportunity that has been its promise since its founding in 1776. Meanwhile, here in Rochester I am intrigued by the fact that the leaflets about making Rochester white again are being passed out in two predominantly white suburban communities. One would think that if there was some concern about making Rochester white again that those leaflets would be passed out somewhere in Rochester where most of the African Americans reside. Of course, that is the problem isn’t it? If those midnight messengers came into Rochester they might actually run into some Acrican Americans who might take great offense at the message on those leaflets. To the credit of the people of Pittsford and Brighton, they have expressed outrage over someone targeting their communities for this kind of message. I wonder why those who advocate this idea of making Rochester white again are only willing to spread their message in the middle of the night when there is less chance of them being identified? That was the practice of such hate groups as the KKK who did most of their hate-mongering in the dead of night. It is probably because, like most bigots, their ignorance is exceeded only by their cowardice. My address is 1100 S. Goodman Street in Rochester. Let’s see if the people behind these leaflets has the nerve to come to Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School at any time of day with their message of hate and intolerance. I will let the whole community know about it if they do."

Click here to view the blog online: http://blogs.democratandchronicle.com/unite/2016/10/09/making-rochester-white-again-in-pittsford-and-brighton/



Kitty Van Bortel and Deborah Hughes receive the CRCDS "Women of Vision" Award

Kitty Van Bortel, President of Van Bortel Auto Group and Deborah Hughes (CRCDS '87), Executive Director of the National Susan B. Anthony Museum and House, received the Helen Barrett Montgomery Women of Vision Award at CRCDS on October 6, 2016. This award, given to women in leadership who embrace and promote the empowerment of other women, was presented during a luncheon as part of the school's Fall Lectures.

Kitty, a well-recognized role model for businesswomen in the greater Rochester area and throughout the nation, was selected as TIME Dealer of the Year in 2016. Committed to giving back to the community, The Van Bortel dealerships sponsor Camp Good Days and Special Times, the Susan B. Anthony Museum and House, Rochester Women's Foundation, the local chapter of the National Liver Foundation, AIDS of Rochester, Quad A for Kids, American Heart Association, Pluta Cancer Center, local Rotary and Kiwanis clubs, Pet Pride of New York, and Mercy Flight. A board member of the Susan B. Anthony Museum and House, Kitty has worked closely with Deborah in their shared passion to empower and inspire women.

Deborah leads the effort of the National Susan B. Anthony Museum and House to interpret the legacy of the great reformer to inspire and challenge individuals to make a positive difference in their lives and communities. She works to preserve and share the National Historic Landmark that was Susan B. Anthony's home and headquarters. As such, she oversees programs to collect and exhibit artifacts related to Susan B. Anthony's life and work, offers tours and develops interpretive programs for individuals and groups.

An ordained minister, Deborah has provided leadership for hurricane relief teams in New Orleans, flood relief in Iowa, and participated in peacemaking trips to El Salvador and the Middle East. She is a strong advocate for human rights and equal opportunities for all, especially those who suffer discrimination based on gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or economic circumstances.

Dr. Barbara A. Moore, Director of the Program for the Study of Women and Gender in Church and Society and Professor of Preaching and Practical Theology at CRCDS presented the awards.