Two Episcopal churches in Del Ray beach lie within three blocks of each other, one white, one black. But they’ve barely encountered one another. But that’s been changing.
For the first time, St. Paul’s and St. Matthew’s Episcopal churches conducted an Easter vigil service together Saturday. “There was a time when I never thought I would see this,” said St. Matthew’s member Celestine A. Cartwright, 76. “It makes me glad.” For most of their long histories, the two churches stood close together and yet worlds apart – like the water fountains with “white” and “colored” signs Cartwright recalls at an Atlantic Avenue ice cream shop.
The joint vigil on the day before Easter marked a new first after years of growing contact between the two congregations, including a shared Stations of the Cross walk between their churches since 2003. The budding Stations tradition continued Friday, with more than 75 members of the two congregations treading ground that has served as an unspoken dividing line in the city for decades.
“The churches are three blocks apart,” said Bill Hurd, the parish administrator for St. Paul’s who grew up in one of the last segregated classes at the old Seacrest High School in the 1960s. “That was a very long journey at one time.” It wasn’t so much that the members of the two churches did not get along, Hurd and Cartwright agreed. They just existed on different sides of an invisible wall that ran between one church on Swinton Avenue and the other on Southwest Third Street.
Read it all in the Palm Beach Post.
The economist and expositor Tim Harford explains Thomas Schelling’s result that very mild tastes not to be outnumbered can end in complete segregation. While segregated public schooling is a clear case of institutional racism, segregated congregations or neighborhoods might not be — they require closer inspection.