Faith and Action

The Civic Education Series is part of the greater Sunday forum series at St. Paul’s that occurs following worship (approx. 11:30 AM). We will explore topics of interest on important and systemic issues related to Civic Engagement. For each topic, we seek to learn from and be inspired to act by our guest speakers. See the listing below for past and future topics as well as additional resources and links on each topic.

Fall 2023 – Spring 2024 Series Topics:

Past Forums and Resources

October 16, 2022 – Voting Rights

As we approach November, headlines remind us that upcoming elections are pivotal to the future of Richmond, Virginia, and our country. Join this St Paul’s session to consider current issues related to our right to vote and efforts of faith-based groups to ensure voting for all. Following remarks about the status of voting rights and efforts to encourage the vote, participants will join panelists in an interactive conversation about the state of our voting franchise and how concerned citizens and congregations are making a difference.

  • Jennifer McClellanVirginia State Senator, 9th District – A Petersburg native, Senator McClellan represents the 9th Senate District in the Virginia General Assembly which includes St. Paul’s. Prior to being elected to the Senate, she served in the House of Delegates from 2006 through 2016. Her expertise, experience, and leadership are deep and wide-ranging on issues like elections, criminal justice, climate and the environment, schools and education, children and childcare, reproductive rights and thriving small business development. Senator McClellan also serves as Vice Chair of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus.
  • Kim Bobo, Executive Director Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy – Kim is a nationally known promoter of social justice who since 2016 has led VICPP’s advocacy, outreach, and development work on faith-based organizing. Her leadership team has mobilized faith-based issues like Medicaid expansion, living wages, health equity, justice reform, economic equity, and environmental stewardship. This year she joins other groups in working toward voting for all. Kim has a B.A. in religion from Barnard College and an M.A. in economics from the New School for Social Research.  She is a member of Wesley United Methodist Church.
Additional Resources

November 13, 2022 – Gun Violence Prevention

Every second Sunday the community of St. Paul’s has been wearing orange to raise awareness about gun violence and seeking an end to the unnecessary loss of life. But what does it mean to seek an end to gun violence? What can be done and is being done?

Join this St Paul’s session to hear personal stories that connect to the issues related to gun violence prevention. Learn about recent progress and the common ground remaining for future steps. Find out what faith communities and people of faith are doing to make a difference.

  • Lori Haas from the Center for Gun Violence Solutions at the School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. Lori began work in gun violence prevention after her daughter Emily was shot twice and survived the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre. Lori has been leading advocacy efforts across the Commonwealth of Virginia and beyond. She has lobbied on Capitol Hill in Washington and before the Virginia General Assembly to reduce gun violence based on evidence and research. Lori has served on panels on Capitol Hill for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives; the National Council of Jewish Women; Giffords Women’s Coalition; state and local task forces and working groups; and served two terms on the Virginia Crime Commission (2014 – 2016; 2020-2022)
  • Moms Demand Action leader from Richmond’s local chapter. Moms Demand Action is a grassroots movement of Americans fighting for public safety measures that can protect people from gun violence.
Additional Resources
  • Center for Gun Violence Solutions | Johns Hopkins | Bloomberg School of Public Health – The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, a research intermediary and founder of the Consortium for Risk-Based Firearm Policy, recently merged into the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Prevention.
  • Moms Demand Action – VA ( – The Facebook page of Mom’s Demand Action (MDA) in Virginia. A Richmond chapter is forming after hosting a kickoff event at St. Paul’s in the summer of 2022. MDA is a grassroots movement of Americans fighting for public safety measures that can protect people from gun violence.
  • Gun Violence – RISC ( – The gun violence “issue campaign” page at Richmonders Involved to Strengthen our Communities (RISC). RISC is a justice ministry organization made up of 22 congregations in Richmond, Henrico, and Chesterfield.
  • Virginia | Everytown Research & Policy – Perspective on Virginia and Gun Safety including articles and updates on legislation from
  • Virginia Tech Mom Lori Haas on Gun Violence Prevention ( – Lori’s personal story and how the mass shooting at Virginia Tech in 2007 changed her life.
  • Another Way – Virginia Public Media (VPM/NPR) series of articles and “audiogram” interviews. From the site, “Although gun violence abides by no municipal borders, our series “Another Way: How one Virginia city reckons with gun violence” largely focuses on Richmond, in part because of its concerted effort to address the crisis. During the past four months, VPM News reporters have spoken with city and school officials, support organizations, community members, and the family and friends of slain young people in Richmond.”
  • Gun-violence resources to access in and around Richmond – As part of the “Another Way” series, VPM created a page with a variety of resources and guides available to people who have suffered a death in their family because of gun violence. There are also several programs in the Richmond area that aim to prevent students and young people from becoming involved with guns.

December 11, 2022 – Affordable Housing

What is affordable housing? We often hear the term, but what does it mean in our evolving world and how does it relate to our faith stewardship? Join two Richmond housing leaders – Mary Kay Huss, Habitat for Humanity, and Sarah Hale, Urban Hope – to learn more about the evolving face of housing affordability in Greater Richmond. Be part of a conversation that includes the latest facts on housing for all citizens, updates on current local initiatives and discussion about how congregations are taking word to action in city and county neighborhoods. The session promises broad insights and will be interactive.

  • Mary Kay Huss – CEO, Richmond Metropolitan Habitat for Humanity – As CEO of Habitat for Humanity Richmond, Mary Kay directs a deep trove of work that includes housing production, management of Restore and active work with multi-sector partners in Greater Richmond. A graduate of Longwood University and the University of Richmond, her earlier experience includes being Parish Administrator for St Paul’s as well as wide experience in multiple local affordable housing initiatives. She is also an active and proud grandmother!
  • Sarah Hale – Executive Director, Urban Hope – Educated at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Sarah’s career spans 30 years working in housing, design, and communications. As Executive Director of Urban Hope, she is excited about securing permanently affordable housing for individuals and building the roots of strong neighborhoods for all people. An active community volunteer, Sarah is founder and co-facilitator of the Saints Moms’ Bible Study, a group study currently in its sixth year.
Additional Resources

February 26, 2023 – Women’s Reproductive Rights

This Forum explored the political landscape regarding reproductive rights.

  • Breanna Davis from the ACLU
  • Rae Pickett Communications Director at Planned Parenthood.
Recording of Forum

March 19, 2023 – Creation Care (Climate, Environment)

The Community Engagement team welcomes two leaders active in Virginia Environmental and Climate Justice issues.

  • Stacey Remick-Simkins | Stacey is a cradle Episcopalian. In addition to serving as chair of the Diocese of Virginia Creation Care Committee, she serves on the Creation Care ministry team and Vestry at St. Peter’s in the Woods in Fairfax Station Virginia which is an Audubon sanctuary. She is a certified Virginia Master Naturalist (Fairfax Chapter), nature photographer (, a Nature Conservancy preserve steward for both Voorhees and Fraser Preserves in Virginia, Frogwatch monitor, was a surveyor during the Virginia Bird Breeding Atlas II, state-wide Bluebird nest box monitoring projects and served on the Virginia Association for Parks board from 2016-2017. She currently conducts bird surveys both at her parish and sister Audubon sanctuary parish St. Christopher’s in Springfield throughout the year. Recently, she became the Community Engagement committee chair with the board of Audubon Society of Northern Virginia. She works at George Mason University where she has served as a program coordinator with the English Department co-founder of the Staff Senate and continues her service on the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Inclusive Excellence Council.
  • Dr. Faith Harris | Faith served as Assistant Professor of Theological Studies for The Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology, Virginia Union University (STVU), until January 2022. She taught various theological studies courses, including Creation Care, Grassroots Organizing and the Faith Community, Systematic theology, Theology and Theological Thinking, Womanist, and Feminist theologies. She resigned to take on the work “her soul must have” as Director of the nonprofit Virginia Interfaith Power & Light (VAIPL). VAIPL envisions overcoming the climate crisis, eradicating environmental and social injustices, and living in a just, thriving, and equitable world by collaborating among people of faith and conscience to grow healthy communities by advancing climate and environmental justice. In addition to her academic career, Dr. Harris has been highly active in the Richmond community for more than 17 years. She has served as Co-Chair for Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, Richmond Chapter Lead for Organizing for Action, Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, Co-Chair for the Virginia Council on Environmental Justice, Board member for the Environmental Justice Collaborative, and the Advisory Board for the Katie Geneva Cannon Center for Womanist Leadership. She is a Virginia Conservation Network member, where she serves on several committees, including Land Use and Public Transit and Grassroots Defense of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Recent Publications: Rooted Woman or Root Woman: One Black Woman’s Story at the Intersection of Earth, Faith, and Action in Walking through the Valley: Womanist Explorations in the Spirit of Katie Geneva Cannon; A Womanist and Interfaith Response to Climate Change in Religion Sustainability and Place: Moral Geographies of the Anthropocene.
Additional Resources