Center for Ethical Living and Social Justice Renewal

You are here: Home
  • Decrease font size
  • Default font size
  • Increase font size
WORSHIP IS SACRED--Letter to the Editor PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 25 July 2014 19:56

On Sunday morning, July 20, 2014, the sacred time and space of an historic New Orleans

congregation was violated. As congregants of First Unitarian Universalist Church,

founded in 1833, held a moment of silent prayer to grieve a young woman of the church

who had died the previous week protestors from Operation Save America began to harangue

the minister and spew words of hate to and at the congregation. In shock, but with

increasing pain as these diatribes continued, the congregation listened quietly as

protestors vilified and insulted them. Soon, though, the protestors were ushered out of

the church.

As this was happening the sanctuary other protesters, holding grotesque images, massed

around the windows of the church nursery, screaming at the babies and toddlers. Youth

were told they were “going to hell” and that their family members were suffering from

illness due to their sins. The church members responded by singing words of love,

justice, and freedom to counteract this hateful rhetoric. 

For religious communities in the United States, the freedom to worship is a deeply

cherished right.  Whatever our faith, whenever we worship, the right to worship as we

choose was fought for by our ancestors and is vital to all today. Along with this

freedom comes the right to disagree, which is one part of the pluralism created by our

religious freedom. 

But all of us agree that no one has the right to desecrate the sacred worship time and

space in order to express their disagreement. The undersigned people of faith do not

agree on everything. In fact, some of us only agree that we have the right to disagree.

But that is enough. No congregation, whatever their views may be, should have their

sacred worship time and space violated. Not ever. Not by anybody. 

We (38 local religious leaders, please check the link) call on the larger community to

stand with us, with hearts joined on the side of love and in opposition to religious


Rev. Jim VanderWeele
And also:
Rev. William Barnwell
Rev. Paul Beedle
Rev. Claire Vonk Brooks
Rev. Gary Brooks
Pat Bryant, Co-Moderator, Justice and Beyond
Rev. Callie Winn Crawford
Rabbi Edward Paul Cohn
Rev. Jeff Conner
The Rev. Rob Courtney
Rev. Don Frampton
Rev. Lauren Frazier-McGuin
Rev. Joann M. Garma
Vanessa Gueringer, VP, A Community Voice
Michael G. Hackett, Deacon, Diocese of Louisiana
The Very Rev. AJ Heine
The Rev. Henry L. Hudson
Rev. Eronica C. King
Rabbi Ethan Linden
Rabbi Robert H. Loewy
Rev. Dr. Jane Mauldin
Rev. Herbert McGuin, III
Rabbi Barbara Metzger
Rev. Melanie Morel-Ensminger
Max Niedzwiecki, Convener
Tom Paine, Pastor
Rev. Fred Powell, III
Fr. Tony Rigoli, OMI
Rev. Darcy Roake
Minister Norbert Rome
The Rev. Mitchell Smith
Dr. William Soileau
The Rev. William H. Terry
Rev. William Thiele, Ph.D.
Rev. Jennie Thomas
Rev. Ron Unger
Rev. Jim VanderWeele
Rev. Deanna Vandiver
Rev. Dwight Webster, Ph. D.

Last Updated on Friday, 25 July 2014 20:09
Our Mission Statement PDF Print E-mail
The Center for Ethical Living and Social Justice Renewal is a catalyst in the New
Orleans area for promoting social, economic, environmental and racial justice.
We do this through activism, community engagement and transformational learning.
Jackson Is Rising Up PDF Print E-mail

Focus:  Economic Justice

On the first weekend in May, approximately 500 activists/organizers from around the world, including a massive delegation from New Orleans, converged on Jackson State University's campus for the Jackson Rising, New Economics Conference. The date also marked the 50th anniversary of the youth-led first freedom rides.

The purpose of the gathering was to organize, specifically the people of Jackson, to meet the economic needs of its community through solidarity economics.  Solidarity economics is the theory and practice of organizing economies that reject capitalistic principles.  It was also to help dismantle the myth that electing people of color to political office somehow uplifts their communities. The conference happened at a crucial time where we are seeing record rates of unemployment, child poverty, incarceration and land loss in black communities. The conference explored alternative economic and sustainability paradigms and strategies to challenge the oppressive realities confronting low-income and poverty-sticken communities. Through the weekend, discussion were had about why cooperative economics and civil rights are not  generally discussed hand-in-hand. There were sessions that charted how, historically in the United States, cooperative structures were used to dodge white supremacist systems.  Information was also shared about how coops are led primarily by women and people of color.

"Cooperation Jackson," a dedicated group of activists  who have or are currently laying down roots in the city, organized the conference which was conceived when Mayor Chokwe Lumumba was still in office. Chokwe Lumumba was a human rights lawyer and a member of the revolutionary movement Republic of New Africa (RNA).  RNA's primary objectives were to seek the creation of an independent nation of the descendants of slaves located in the southeastern United States and to seek several billion dollars in reparations.  The fact that such a revolutionary figure could be elected to the office of Mayor in Jackson inspired the cooperative movement.  Mayor Chokwe Lumumba passed on earlier this year after spending less than a year in office.

Towards the end of the weekend, plans were drawn for the creation of coops around the country, including healthcare, childcare, construction, farming, restaurants, just to name a very few.  The aim to form a local federation of of cooperatives was solidified and there is work moving forward to build a financial institution to assist cooperatives. So, the work for solidarity economic that values human beings and their work is in full force and ahead of us as is the dismantling of the intrinsically racist, capitalistic economy based on exploitation.  Just two weeks before he died, Chokwe Lumumba said in an interview, "The road to economic solidarity is the transition from what is to what must be."


Ruth S. Idakula

Organizing Manager

Center for Ethical Living and Social Justice Renewal

June 2014 Center Policy Updates PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 02 June 2014 20:33

We are looking forward to hosting you in our 2014-2015 season. Over the past several months, the staff of the Center for Ethical Living and Social Justice Renewal has been discussing ways to make our work more effective and to make sure your group gets the most out of a week of service learning. We want to make sure you are aware of the latest developments at the Center.

As of June 1st, 2014 the following policies and procedures will be in effect: 

For Saturday to Saturday reservations:
  • We ask that your group arrive between the hours of 8:00 a.m and 8 p.m on Saturday.  Orientation Part 1 will be offered upon arrival, including a welcome and house guidelines.
  • On Sundays, the Center will provide Orientation Part 2, including history, safety, and ethics.
  • The Center's Guided Dialogue on Systemic Racism and Solidarity will now be held on Monday
  • There will now be an optional half day of service on Monday and Friday for those who need more time to explore the Greater New Orleans area.
  • Dinner will be served Sunday-Wednesday at the Center.  Groups are welcome to use the Center's kitchen to prepare dinners on Thursday and/or Friday if you chose not to dine out on our local economy.
  • There will be $9/per person laundry deposit included on invoices.  Groups who leave clean laundry (or some portion of clean laundry) will have this deposit (or some portion of this deposit) returned.
These changes will allow CELSJR to be of better service to you and to make our work more practical and yet more powerful.  If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact the Center: (504) 866-4170

Last Updated on Thursday, 05 June 2014 09:05
Spring 2014 Newsletter PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dave Banks   
Monday, 07 April 2014 18:18

The Center's Spring Newsletter is now available!

Click here to find out what we have be up to here in New Orleans in 2014:

Last Updated on Monday, 07 April 2014 18:42
<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 Next > End >>

Page 1 of 5

Support CELSJR


Upcoming Events

View Full Calendar




Find Us On Facebook logo

Contact Information

2903 Jefferson Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70115
Phone: (504) 866-4170
Fax: (504) 866-4905

The Center for Ethical Living and Social Justice Renewal is a catalyst in the New Orleans area for promoting social, economic, environmental and racial justice. We do this through activism, community engagement and transformational learning
Contact Us > >

Directions > >