Hungering for Justice
“He has told you, O mortal, what is good,” Micah 6:8 reminds us. “And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
It was clear in the Social Justice series that St. John’s held in February that there is a hunger within our church for doing justice. Our involvement in so many ministries of mercy and kindness put us in touch with vulnerable people every week, people who need us to raise our voices with theirs. As we watch the nightly news or scroll down our Facebook feeds, we can become overwhelmed with the number of new attacks being made on our brothers and sisters who are immigrants, refugees, Muslims, people of color, LGBT, or poor.
While we hunger for justice, it can also be an overwhelming task to figure out what it means to do justice in the midst of our busy lives. That’s why we are beginning an official social justice ministry at St. John’s. Our goal is to provide you with straightforward actions you can participate in, both within the walls of the church and beyond.
On the second Sunday of each month, starting this Sunday, we’ll gather in the hospitality room after worship to write brief letters to elected officials on a particular justice issue each month. We’ll have simple, short sample letters to guide you if you’re not sure what to say.
This Sunday our focus will be on stopping deep budget cuts to our nation’s foreign aid programs that support hungry and poor people worldwide. The President’s proposed budget cuts foreign aid by nearly 1/3, which would have a devastating impact on people experiencing famine, sisters and brothers benefitting from HIV/AIDS programs, and take away children’s vaccinations from deadly diseases. Please stop by the hospitality room for 5 minutes to write to one of your Senators, or 10 minutes to write both of them.
In response to the presentation by Josh Spickler of Just City, we will also be taking up an offering for the organization’s Clean Slate Fund on this Sunday, April 9. Our goal is to raise $450 to expunge one person’s criminal record who has met all the strict requirements of their sentence and the expungement program. As Josh shared with us, this makes in an incredible difference in people’s ability to rebuild their lives, but the high cost of the state’s expungement fee means that many who qualify cannot take advantage of it.
Finally, we also plan to publicize community-wide efforts that St. John’s members can take part in, such as vigils, marches, or being present at important City Council meetings. We hope that by assembling small groups to attend these gatherings together, it will make it easier for people to participate.
If you would like to help organize our new social justice ministry and/or want to know about these community-wide efforts, please email me at ragienapp [at] att [dot] net and I’ll add you to our list.
Rev. Rebekah Gienapp is an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church and a member of St. John's UMC.