Forest Lake Talks

A Message from Ellen 3-13-24

March 13, 2024

March 13, 2024

Dear Friends,

Each year, for the past five years, our congregation has participated in the work of MORE Justice [Midlands Organized Response for Equity and Justice]. And on Monday, March 18th many from this congregation will gather in the gym of Eau Claire High School to attend the Nehemiah Action. The Nehemiah Action is the big event of the MORE Justice year. All year long, committees of volunteers from local congregations have been doing research and identifying small measurable steps that may be taken to make our community a better place for everyone. Local officials, who have the power to make the decisions, are asked to attend the Nehemiah Action and to make commitments to small, measurable steps to address one of three areas of concern: Gun Violence, Safe Affordable Housing, or Healthy Food Access. The meeting always has some tension, as elected officials are asked to make specific commitments. But, through the slow, patient work of MORE Justice we have made some improvements in our community.

If you’d like to know more, consider attending the Nehemiah Action. This Sunday, March 17th, Peggy Carey and Jodi Beckham will be in the Connecting Point Lobby immediately following worship to answer questions, to identify people who want to attend, and to give more details.

Jesus commands us to do BOTH Mercy (meeting needs) and Justice (setting systems up so that people can meet their own needs). But for my whole life as a minister, most of what I and the Church of Jesus Christ have done is mercy. Mercy is good. But mercy does not solve the problem. Mercy is a band aid. There is no end to the need for mercy. But Justice helps put an end to the need for mercy. Why have we not done more Justice work?

Because it is hard and slow. Those who have the power to change the systems don’t like to be questioned about how things get done. Nor do those who have power like to be directed to make commitments that they don’t think of first. I cannot think of a single instance when those who had the power to make changes to make our systems more equitable did so without some resistance and because change was demanded. As a woman I would not be able to drive, own property, have a bank account, or serve as your pastor unless someone ahead of me had demanded it. At no point did anyone say, “you know what, giving women the right to vote is the right thing to do. Let’s do this before anyone asks.” The only person, throughout history, who reliably used power for the good of the less powerful was Jesus. Now, Jesus’ followers need to do the same. We are to advocate for the widow, the orphan, and the alien (as our Scriptures call us to do)! That is justice work.

Yes, it is slow. Yes, it is frustrating. Yes, it causes tension. Yes, justice is commanded of us. Consider attending the Nehemiah Action on Monday, March 18th. We will carpool from the church parking lot, leaving at 5:30, so meet us at FLPC – or at the Eau Claire High School Gym. Come and go with us. I hope to see many of you there.

Ellen F. Skidmore

Share this :

  • Latest Posts