Last year we began laying the groundwork for a new group at St. Bart’s called the Faith in Action Team, designed to mobilize our parish for service and justice, across a wide range of concerns.
At our first gathering, we surrounded the vestry room with large signs representing more than twenty social issues, including climate change, gun violence, homelessness, women’s health, systemic racism, immigration, criminal justice reform, veterans’ services, mental health, and more. In an exercise intended to gauge where our congregation’s interests and passions might be the strongest, each of the 25 or so participants was allotted ten “votes” in the form of stickers to place on the causes closest to their hearts. At the time, the highest concentration of votes, by very slight margins, were garnered by climate change, refugees, and homelessness.
The broader insights gained were that our community’s passions are expansive and disparate, and that the issues confronting us are overwhelming — we felt it viscerally in the room. However, as we reflected together we also realized that the issues are all connected and intersectional, and that we are not alone in the work.
Given these realities, what is the work? The Faith in Action Team’s mission is threefold — to help discern priorities of the parish season by season, identify partners beyond the parish to maximize our social impact, and promote new and continuing service opportunities within the parish.
I invite you to prayerfully consider joining the Faith and Action Team in this vital and timely endeavor. The team serves in an advisory role to the clergy and staff, and members commit to attending our monthly strategy meetings, where we share ideas and resources and discern mission priorities. In addition, members are invited to help plan and execute service and justice initiatives and contribute to an online Faith in Action newsletter with a monthly digest of opportunities.
Upcoming meetings are scheduled for 12:30 pm in the Vestry Room on the following Sundays:
- September 24
- October 8
- November 19
- January 7
- February 11
- April 21
Why the Name “Faith in Action?”
Our Christian faith in a God who became incarnate in the person of Jesus Christ, the Word Made Flesh, is not meant to be a wholly intellectual enterprise, but an embodied reality. The Epistle of James reminds us that “faith without works is dead.” Therefore, we "work the faith" on multiple levels -- striving to provide immediate relief to our neighbors in need, with an eye always towards the broader structural and societal issues at play. The Faith in Action team engages the following three pillars:
- Aid — Offering direct service, assistance, and material goods to our neighbors in need, in our city and beyond.
- Advocacy — Standing in solidarity with the outcast, oppressed, and suffering, amplifying their voices and educating ourselves and others about.
- Activism — Working to identify the root causes of injustice and suffering and striving to imagine, create, and promote systems and policies that foster peace, justice, and human flourishing.
Can’t make the commitment? There are still myriad ways to engage:
- Consider making a gift to Faith in Action fund (formerly “Community Ministry Fund”)
- Participating in our upcoming service project on September 3, when we will be packing Welcome Backpacks for Refugees.
- Volunteer with our partners at Crossroads Community Services, which serves thousands of meals out of St. Bart's every day of the week.