Last week our summer intern, Kya, and I rifled through old flip-chart notes preparing them for transcription and filing. We found flip-chart notes from a 2009 board meeting that decided NYFJ’s top five-year strategic goals. We found dialogue group notes from the 2010 Food Faith and Health Disparities Summit, Action Form notes from the 2009 and 2010 Conversations for Change, and notes from the spring 2007 retreat where the NYFJ founders crafted our NY Faith & Justice vision statement.
Paper and memories splayed across the floor of our office, it was holy ground. We were both kind of speechless. Each sheet rife with over-sized scribbling was evidence of the movement of God among us years ago…movement that laid the ground work for our action and impact today.
Five years ago, this month, I met four strangers who changed my life … and the rest is history.
Scanning the notes I was struck once again: poverty must end.
Last month I flew to Nashville, TN to sit down with Tony Campolo on the set of his new TV show Red Letter Christians. We talked about poverty, environmental justice, and the Ryan Plan.
On the flight back I sat next to a trucker with a cowboy hat. We’ll call him Ed. Ed shared how he was pulled from his rig one day a few years ago and beaten almost to death by a gang of teens. He lost his job and with that his health insurance.
He and his wife would have been destitute if it weren’t for his disability benefit, which took two years to kick in. Ed knows he will eventually lose one leg from the injuries sustained that fateful day. To stave off depression he visits a hospital for child burn victims each year; spending a week each time. He just wants to make sure they know they’re loved.
We talked about Rep Paul Ryan’s Plan to end Medicare. This white trucker with a cowboy hat sighed deep: “I don’t understand them,” Ed said.
Together we considered what life without a safety net would be like for him and all the most vulnerable people in our nation, whose lives teeter one pay check, one job loss, one medical diagnosis, one tragic accident from financial ruin, if the Ryan Plan passed.
With ideological battles threatening the most vulnerable in states across the nation the fight to protect the poor is serious. In response, I have accepted an invitation to move to Washington DC to serve as Sojourners’ new national Director of Mobilizing. I’m excited and honored to join Jim Wallis and his awesome team in the effort to mobilize networks of faith leaders to form circles of protection for the poor in cities across the nation. I am full of vision for this national fight to end poverty, protect the environment, and end the wars that suck resources from domestic anti-poverty programs every single day.
The work of New York Faith & Justice is also needed now more than ever and it will continue!
- This Fall NY Faith & Justice will convene four days of Faith-Rooted Organizing Training in partnership with churches and organizations across New York City!
- This Fall the Food, Faith, and Health Disparities Working Groups will launch several city-wide initiatives to engage faith communities in the broad fight for food justice.
- January ’12 NY Faith & Justice church partners are planning to bring me back to conduct The NYC Shalom Pilgrimage, a one-week training in Transformational Civic Engagement for pastors and their leadership teams!
God moved in amazing ways in the first five years. Now we see God preparing the way for NY Faith & Justice to make deeper impact over the next five! “Greater things have yet to come! Greater things have still to be done in this city!”
*** You can help NY Faith & Justice do greater things for the next five years! Take a moment right now and consider becoming a member, a patron, or an organizational partner with New York Faith & Justice! ***
On a personal note: “Thank you.” Your support, encouragement, and partnership over the last five years made it possible for me and the NY Faith & Justice team to follow Christ, united the church, and work toward the end of poverty in our city. Your words, actions, and shared resources made every event, every meeting, every partnership we forged possible. Because of you, our eyes have seen glory!
To show our appreciation, we would like to invite you to our 5-Year Celebration and sending ceremony for me. We will also enjoy a staged reading of my one-act play, Catch.
The NY Faith & Justice board, staff, interns, and volunteers thank you for your prayers and partnership for five more years of wonder!
Don’t forget to follow nyfj on , , and on the new nyfj website and blog for up to the minute action alerts, program changes, and details.
In Faith & Justice,