What words do you equate with Jesus? Our Board of Directors recently held a planning retreat to develop our strategic direction for the next few years, and we had conversation about the nouns, verbs, and descriptive words we hoped would characterize the future of the Council. One portion of the conversation went like this:
“For me, Jesus equals communion.”
“Really? For me, Jesus equals justice.”
A thoughtful silence followed.
We continued to work with words and concepts throughout the day. We spoke about whether the word ‘communion’ would have resonance for those outside the church. We identified a hunger for holy imagination, and opportunities for concrete action in the world. We affirmed that we are stronger together. With diverse voices in our network, we are more creative, making new connections. Sharing resources and strength, we have more capacity than we do alone.
The words we surfaced together are bold, fitting the work Jesus set before his followers: Courageous. Relevant. Connect. Advocate. Challenge. You can see these priorities already at work in the efforts of the WCC, as we experiment with living into them together:
- The WCC is launching an ecumenical racial justice conversation in Wisconsin with a trip to Washington DC, Unite to End Racism, April 3-5. In addition to building relationships along the way, participants will join others from around the nation for education and advocacy. Learn more and register.
- Our Peace & Justice Commission has begun development of a study-action guide on gun violence which will equip churches and communities to have these important, timely conversations based in faith, not fear. Add your name to our interest list.
- Dr. Peter Bakken, WCC Public Policy Coordinator, recently testified with a panel of other faith-based advocates at a public hearing regarding public benefit reform, particularly its impact on those receiving FoodShare benefits. You can watch the video (panel begins at 5:48.20) or read Peter’s testimony. We’ll be sending out an e-alert shortly to mobilize our advocacy network to speak out. As Peter said in his testimony, “failing to take into consideration the real situations of people in poverty is punitive and unfair. We can and we must do better.” Sign up for e-alerts.
I invite you to join in this exciting time in our ministry, to pray with us through this time of planning, and to offer your feedback. Where does holy imagination lead? Whom does it gather together around the table? Where does it send us? What is your Jesus equation?
Peace & blessings,
Rev. Kerri Parker
Read more reflections from Rev. Parker here