Voice for progressive clergy
re-activated in Nashville

Nashville clergy re-activate the Covenant Association, originally formed to be a meeting place and voice for social justice oriented clergy who don’t endorse conservative politics. The Tennessean reports:

The clergy group billed itself as an alternative to the Religious Right and pursued a social justice agenda of desegregating the schools, advocating for the Metro Human Rights Commission and trying to end Christians’ attempts to convert Jews.

The association helped Jones, pastor of First Presbyterian Church, feel at home in a town dominated by conservative Christians.

Formed in 1993 by leaders of big mainline churches, the Covenant Association once had 100 churches, but it fell dormant when some of its leaders retired or left Nashville. But during the past year, local clergy have tried to slowly resurrect the group.

“It’s hard to resurrect something once it’s dead,” Jones said.

One problem has been defining the group’s mission. In 1993, that was easy because members wanted to provide a Christian voice that didn’t endorse conservative politics.

“We can’t be what we were,” said the Rev. Bob Abstein, one of the founders of the association and former rector at St. George’s Episcopal Church in Nashville.

… local Christian and Jewish clergy have been meeting over the past three weeks with Amy-Jill Levine, a New Testament scholar at Vanderbilt Divinity School, in a series of discussions sponsored by the Covenant Association.

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