This past week 12 parishioners began an eight week journey to discern how we may use our talents and passions to work for justice. During our opening retreat last Saturday, we spent time discussing movements. While the word “movement” may feel intimidating or cause a stress reaction, for our purposes it is defined “as a group of people seeking to move policies and institutions toward justice.”
We explored the roles that are required for movements to be effective. These roles, identified by civil rights activist Bill Moyer, include Helpers, Advocates, Organizers, and Rebels. Helpers are people who see an individual in need and try to meet that need (think direct service). Advocates are people who serve as navigators of systems. Organizers identify root causes and build groups to address the systems. Rebels are the risk takers who lead us in marches and speak truth to power. I share these samples of roles because they are all required. Participants spent time reflecting on the roles that draw each of us into movement work. Not surprisingly, I identify as an organizer. The role of helper is often unfulfilling for me personally, and I lose patience with systems. I want to be a rebel, but my Southern mother would have a fit, and truthfully that role scares me.
The good news is that I don’t have to serve in all of these roles. Through discernment, I am able to appreciate who I am, my talents, and how God is calling me. Maybe at the end of the eight weeks, I will have more patience to be a “good” helper. Maybe I will receive the courage to be a risk taking rebel. At the very least, I hope I will have learned how to be a better listener to all helpers, organizers, advocates, and rebels I encounter.
What role are you called to play in justice work at Holy Trinity this year? There are many movements afoot that need your skills: the Synod; advocating with other faith congregations to address affordable housing in DC and Virginia; the weekend meals for the marginalized; bridging the education gap for students of color; becoming an anti-racist parish; welcoming Afghan families and accompanying our own migrant and refugee families; elevating the voices of women in the Church; exploring and understanding the history of race and slavery at Holy Trinity; and promoting environmental justice.
If you are unsure of how to join one of these movements, begin with a conversation with a member of the social justice ministry (fair warning though, once we have your contact information, we will contact you!). Take advantage of the retreats offered through Ignatian Spirituality or speak to a spiritual advisor. Your voice and presence are needed to live our mission and to transform lives. Please know that when you are ready, you will be welcomed.
- Ashley Klick