What It’s Like Pastoring in Charlottesville After the Violent Protests

Members of the Ku Klux Klan face counter-protesters as they rally in support of Confederate monuments in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S. July 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

This week was the first anniversary of the alt-right’s violent rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Over the course of that weekend, attendees and counter-demonstrators engaged in violent confrontations and one alt-right member drove a car into a crowd, killing a woman and injuring dozens more.

The city has subsequently elected a new mayor and lost its city attorney, police chief, and city manager. Meanwhile, many in the city are divided over whether last year’s brazen racist attitudes came from those outside of the city or if they embody the town’s racist lineage.

Walter Kim was interviewing for a pastoral job the weekend of the protests and moved down to Charlottesville later that month. As the pastor for executive leadership at Trinity Presbyterian Church, Kim said his first year on staff has been radically shaped by their aftermath.

At his own church, “there has been lament. An urge to repent. A galvanizing toward action. A befuddlement about what that action should be. A desire to individually and institutionally engage. But again, a complexity in knowing what exactly does that look like?” Kim said. “It’s not a challenge where we can say, ‘Let’s do something this year and then we can move onto other issues.’”

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SOURCE: Christianity Today