Since the time of slavery, the histories of Gilboa and Philippi Christian Churches have been intertwined. Located a stone’s throw from one another, the churches have always had a connection, despite the fact one is a white church, and the other, black.
But religious gatherings in America tend to be among the most racially segregated of events, and that reality prevailed at the two Cuckoo-area churches. Then, about a decade ago, Gilboa and Philippi began gathering the Tuesday before Thanksgiving for a joint service.
Bruce Stone, a white member at Gilboa, thought the two churches should do more together. So in 2014, he asked Philippi’s leaders to join him in founding a men’s ministry. They called it Christians Serving Christ in Unity.
Since then, multiple Louisa County churches, some white, some black, have enlarged the group. The men meet the second Tuesday of the month for dinner at Roma’s, where they socialize, talk about issues of the day, and plan activities together to serve people in need. Through their interaction, these men are working across the often polarized racial divide.
In the past three months, the group has talked a lot about what happened in Charlottesville in August, when white supremacists holding a rally clashed violently with counter-protestors. The group talked about white and black perspectives on the Confederate flag and monuments, and racial differences in general.
To read the entire story, see the Nov. 2 edition of The Central Virginian.