Unitarian Church Welcomes Former Pentecostal Minister as Regular Preacher; First Service October 16, 2022
Jamestown, N.Y. – Members of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Jamestown (UUCJ) are looking forward to having Verdis LeVar Robinson as their guest preacher monthly, beginning Sunday, October 16.
“Verdis’s most recent time with us was May 15, the day after the mass shooting at the Tops Market in Buffalo,” said UUCJ board president Bruce Anderson. “His presentation was so meaningful and the service so moving, that our Sunday service committee decided to invite him to be with us every month for the 2022-2023 church year.”
All those who heard one of Robinson’s previous sermons with UUCJ (“Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” “Building a Beloved Community on the Red Hills of Georgia” and “The Wrinkle in Our Time”) are looking forward to being both enlightened and inspired by his words. November through June, he will speak every first Sunday (except January 8, instead of New Year’s Day).
The title of Robinson’s sermon at the 10:30 a.m. service on October 16 is “The Storm IS Passing Over.”
The Rev. Charles Albert Tindley, an African American Methodist minister, is regarded as one of the founders of gospel music and is credited with “We Shall Overcome,” the anthem of the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. In 1905, he composed the song “The Storm is Passing Over” that begins, “Encourage my soul and let us journey on.”
Robinson asks, “How do we find courage in these times to keep journeying toward a world of greater acceptance and affirmation? Perhaps Rev. Tindley’s journey can inspire us all.” He adds, “As a Western New Yorker born and raised in Rochester, New York, I share an affinity in the struggle for justice and equity in the region and am delighted to engage the congregation more with my ministry.”
The message relates to the sixth of the seven Principles that Unitarian Universalist congregations affirm and promote: The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all.
Robinson is the Lenora Montgomery Scholar of Excellence at Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago, where he is a candidate for a Master of Divinity and the Unitarian Universalist ministry. He holds a BM in voice performance from Boston University, a BS cum laude and an MA in history from SUNY College at Brockport, and an MA in African American studies from SUNY University at Buffalo.
Robinson served the Unitarian Church of Montpelier in Vermont as Ministerial Intern from 2020 to 2022 and is now their Ministerial Coordinator of Worship Arts Production and Adult Lifespan Spiritual Exploration. He is also the new Artistic Director of the Montpelier Community Gospel Choir. Before joining the First Universalist Church of Rochester, New York, in 2008, he was a confirmed local minister in the African American Holiness-Pentecostal tradition.
During his career, Robinson was the National Director for The Democracy Commitment, the Director for Community College Engagement at Campus Compact, and is currently an Associate of the Kettering Foundation specializing in deliberative democracy in community colleges and interfaith institutions. Prior to leading community college civic engagement nationally, he was a tenured Assistant Professor of History and African American Studies at Monroe Community College in Rochester for ten years.
A social time follows the service.
Participation can be either in person at 1255 Prendergast Avenue in Jamestown or online. To join virtually, use the link at UUJamestown.org/calendar.
The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Jamestown is a progressive, liberal religious community serving the southern tier of Western New York and Warren County, Pa. The UUCJ’s mission is to support and celebrate each other, encourage spiritual and individual growth, and serve the wider community.