Forest Lake Talks

A Message from Ellen 4-11-18

April 11, 2018

Dear Friends,

I hope you have been hearing and reading about the new grass roots justice ministry in which FLPC has been participating. MORE Justice Ministry is a new, non-profit organization in the midlands that is working to unite congregations of faith (Christian, Jewish and Muslim) to hold elected officials accountable to take small measurable actions that will address justice concerns. This year the process – which began more than a year ago actually – has focused on justice issues in the area of education (with a focus on school discipline and out of school suspensions) and mental health (focus on training officers in Crisis Intervention as it regards dealing with individuals with mental health issues and on providing a Clubhouse outpatient support model for individuals who struggle with mental illness). A great deal of work and research has been going on for the last year to identify not only issues of justice around which there is broad consensus that improvements need to be made, but also to identify proven strategies that have made a positive difference in other communities.

If you would like to see this process in action, but have not yet been able to participate in any of the meetings, you have another chance this year. On Monday, April 23rd at 7pm we expect that there will be around 1,500 people gathered at the Brookland Baptist Church for the Nehemiah Action Event. At the Nehemiah Action, members of the MORE Justice organization (who have been trained and who will be prepared to do this) will ask our public officials for commitments to take small measurable steps to address these identified issues. If you would like to be present to witness this event, you are invited to do so. As a part of the witnessing body, we will not say or do anything, but you must have a ticket (a free ticket – it doesn’t cost anything) to get in and you will be seated with our FLPC delegation.

The FLPC Group will be leaving from our parking lot on April 23rd at 6pm. And if you would like to go, please contact one of our Network Leaders: Drew Radeker, Xan Skinner or Peggy Carey. Or you may call the church office and one of them will call you. Coming to the Nehemiah Action will allow you to witness the culminating event of all of the work that has gone on behind the scenes for the last year (plus). Our hope is that it will be a giant success and set the precedent to allow Columbia area faith congregations to work towards other small but measurable goals next year – all of our actions aimed at working on justice in ways that affect our local community.

Our congregation does amazing ministries of mercy (there are too many of those to list here)! But we have not tried before to address the systemic structures and practices that often deny the demands of justice. The Nehemiah Action is named after the Biblical event that is recorded in Nehemiah 5. And the prophets and Jesus were very clear that our task is BOTH mercy and justice. We are trying to do this through MORE Justice. If you want to go, let it be known. If you can’t go, please pray for this event on Monday, April 23rd.

See you in worship!

Ellen Fowler Skidmore

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