Forest Lake Talks

A Message from Ellen 9-13-23

September 13, 2023

Dear Friends,

If you are busy praying for things to get better in our world, but don’t know what to do beyond prayer, then I’d like to invite you to participate in the MORE Justice Process that begins at the end of September. MORE Justice is an interfaith, non-profit organization (Midlands Organized Response for Equity and Justice) that leverages the power of people to ask our elected officials for small measurable steps that are intended to make the Midlands a safer, better place to live and raise a family for everyone. FLPC has been a member of MORE Justice for over 5 years.

After being an ordained minister for over 33 years, I know that most of what I have done to alleviate the suffering of the poor and vulnerable is mercy work. FLPC does a great job of MERCY, which Jesus commands us to do. We feed, clothe, mentor, house the vulnerable. We meet needs whenever we see them. But Jesus also commands us to DO JUSTICE. Followers of Jesus are supposed to be engaged in BOTH MERCY AND JUSTICE. In my experience, Justice work is difficult, frustrating, slow, and uncomfortable. But in 33 years of ministry, I have never been offered an accountable, grass-roots way to work on justice ministry before now. For this reason, and despite the frustration and discomfort, I have stuck with the work of MORE Justice.

Prayers are non-negotiable. But our prayers are primarily to change us into those who reflect God’s love and purpose more clearly. So, if we are praying for answers, but nothing is changing, then perhaps it is time for us to look in the mirror and decide to do something about the pain, suffering, and injustice we see.

Consider attending one of the two House Meetings that Peggy Carey and I will hold in the Church Parlor. You can register to attend a meeting on either Tuesday, September 26th at 6:30pm or Thursday, September 28th at 6:30pm through the church website or by calling the church office. In the meeting everyone will be given the chance to answer two questions:
• What local community problem makes you angry and why?
• How have you or a loved one been impacted by food insecurity in the Columbia area?
What I have found is that often, I struggle to come up with a place where injustice directly affects me. But my work with the poor or struggling in Columbia remind me daily of how easy my life is and of the benefits of having been born into a stable, loving, Christian family. If you are as tired as I am of not knowing what to do to make life better for others, come and let us listen together – to each other and to what can be done in our community when God’s children all work together. Come and see what the Lord can do.

Mercy and Justice!

Ellen F. Skidmore

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