Where do you find God? Some of you might say, in our Sunday services — listening to music, prayers, and liturgy. Some of you might say, in nature — experiencing God’s creation. Others might say, in community — gathering together and sharing life. In my own life, one of the ways that I have felt most connected to God is being connected with those that find themselves on the margins of our society.
Matthew 25:35-36, 40 says this: "'For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me. Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these siblings of mine, you did it to me.'”
This is the distinction. When we care for our neighbors in this way, we aren’t just doing what Jesus would do, but are actually serving Christ himself.
When I came on staff, I was given two focus areas — youth formation and community partnerships. Within community partnerships was the expectation of working with our Mission & Outreach group to explore new models and new partnerships. For the past year, we have been discerning where God might be calling us next, in this new chapter that is unfolding here at Epiphany. In meetings, forums, book groups, and listening to you, there is a strong desire to be connected to our neighbors in a more authentic way.
After much thought and discussion, we are excited to embark on a journey, a Journey To Justice. Mission & Outreach (M&O) will now be called Journey To Justice (J2J). We feel it is time to have the courage to let go of old priorities and to trust God leading us to new understanding and new action.
We will continue to serve in many of the same ways, but with a justice lens to identify ways to work to transform the systems that exacerbate inequity and injustice in our world. For example, along with serving at the St. Luke’s feeding programs we will learn about food insecurity and what systems need to change in order for everyone to have enough. We will pair our service in the community with learning and advocacy work.
For this program year, we feel called to focus on these areas: food justice, immigration justice, and racial justice. Focusing will help us define where we serve, how we spend funds and what we learn about. This will allow us to think more deeply and act more intentionally as we strive to live God’s justice, God’s righteousness, God’s shalom in this world.
Monthly gatherings will kick off on Sunday, October 22 and will consist of a topic presentation and thoughtful discussion that will help guide us along our journey. We will meet on Sundays after church instead of on a weeknight hoping that this will allow greater participation. We will devote most of our time to formation and learning together.
The Journey begins on October 22 after the 10:00 am service. We are excited to welcome the Rev. Edwin Johnson as our preacher at our services that morning along with Episcopal City Mission as we embark on this new Journey to Justice. We would be thrilled to have you join us!
If you have questions, please contact Betsy Walsh or Janelle Hiroshige.