You may have noticed that my weekly blog posts have dwindled down to a few posts a month. This is because there has been much action and much reflection as our team begins to grow, and as we start to reflect on the accomplishments of our first year, 2015, and prepare for 2016.
Here’s what we’ve accomplished thus far:
- I created this blog, hoping to engage you through understanding the difference between acts of mercy and action for justice, and by sharing with you what I’ve learned along the way.
- I attended the Greater NJ UMC Annual Conference, and advocated for legislation to welcome LGBT persons into our church as fully accepted members.
- I marched in GA with the NAACP “America’s Journey for Justice”, and a month later, my husband joined me in advocating in DC for legislation to address injustices in education, voting rights, economics, the environment and the criminal justice system.
- While in DC, we met with the UMC General Board of Church & Society, bringing a personal connection to this amazing resource and receiving their support in our ministry.
- I attended the NJ Anti-Poverty Network Summit and engaged with many local groups working on a series of interrelated justice issues.
- I attended meetings of the newly formed Congregations for a Better Bergen in seeking a local inter-faith connection for our team. This group was formed to engage with Metro-IAF projects. We will stay connected with this group, but will not formally engage with them at this time because we are still forming our process and approach locally.
- New members joined our team, while others have expressed an interest to help with specific justice issues in the future.
It has been an energized start for this ministry. And the connections and research continues.
Here are our plans for 2016, thus far:
- I’ve set a stretch goal for the Public Theology Advocates ministry: to engage 10% (a tithe) of the people who regularly attend Sunday worship at Hillsdale UMC. That would mean 12 people from our local church would be actively engaged in, and supporting a project or more, during 2016.
- The plan is to have a team of leaders – addressing local justice issues with our community, and supporting each other. We realize that the issues are interconnected.
- The challenge is to have a cohesive ministry working together, and not to fall into the trap of single-mindedness.
- We will be receiving some training in the fundamentals of community organizing from the UMC General Board of Church & Society.
- We will connect deeper with local groups currently working on justice issues in our area.
- We have three events in the planning stages, to be held at our local church, but open to our whole community:
- Institutional & Structural Racism – a discussion
- Consumer Fraud that creates Economic Injustices, particularly to our elder community – a presentation
- Drugs, a local Epidemic – presentation, action
Will you join us? What local justice issues worry you the most? Please respond to this blog or contact me directly through Hillsdale United Methodist Church.
Please continue to pray for us in the role of Public Theology Advocate as we take a stand for justice. Respond to this blog, or contact me directly, with your thoughts, ideas, and concerns about social justice in the Pascack Valley region.
“What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8
"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15