Williams: John Shelby Spong’s bold stances helped lay the foundation for Richmond today | Richmond Local News



Meanwhile, his community, social and interfaith outreach and “fresh theology” were “invigorating and popular and attracted many young people to the church,” Graham said.

“He made people angry and he liked it because it meant they were engaged. For those of us who were young, it made it possible to question, to seek answers, to bring civil rights, the war in Vietnam, the persistence of poverty in the richest nation in history. what it means to be a Christian, ”she said. noted.

“He planted the roots in St. Paul’s so that we could focus on social justice. If Christianity is real, it must embrace the salient issues for each generation. “

Reverend Ben Campbell said Bishop Spong “brought a lot of people into Christianity who were withdrawn from fundamentalism. It was really important and it gave real energy to the church and to Christianity in Richmond. “

It was a dynamic period in the history of Richmond. Bishop Spong’s tenure roughly coincided with a race relations nadir in Richmond – the city’s racially-motivated annexation of part of Chesterfield County – and black political power that resulted from the lawsuit that followed.

Before the pandemic, Bishop Spong and his wife could often be found on Wednesdays at the Union Presbyterian Seminary, where he researched the library and worshiped in the chapel to the delight of seminary president Brian Blount, who would only introduce Bishop Spong to students. vaguely aware of his heritage

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