A Message from the Justice Ministry Working Group: A Memorial Justice Discovery Journey and Conversation: Learning from History and Experience in order to Shape the Future
Memorial has a rich history of involvement in seeking to live the gospel actively, engaging in acts of both justice and charity. As we Transition to a new Rector, we pause to rediscover our individual and collective history with justice and discern the role of our justice ministries going forward. Lincoln has been credited with observing, “the best way to predict the future is to create it”. Memorial seeks to contribute to creating a more just Baltimore, Maryland, United States and world.
To do so – we thought it important to seek input from all of our members past and present on what ‘Justice’ has meant for Memorial, what it means today, and where it can take us in the future. To that end, we are inviting all of you to participate in a ‘Justice Discovery Adventure’: a multi-modal conversation over the next few months to remind ourselves of the good work we have done in the past and to encourage us in the future.
What is Justice?
Everyone may have different concepts of what justice is and what part it plays in the life of our church. Some of us may not have considered it at all. Some of us are engaged in public ways; others of us may be involved in quiet personal ways.
Some current and historical examples of justice ministries at Memorial include: an early counseling program for conscientious objectors during the Vietnam War; the creation and support of the Samaritan Community; the development and support of affordable housing for older adults through Memorial (now Linden Park) Apartments; our early support of ordination and hiring of female priests, our early leadership in supporting same sex marriages and legal equity for gay and lesbian couples and individuals; the theater arts ministry; our support of Eutaw-Marshburn elementary school and summer camps for urban youth; our decision to make our church accessible for individuals with disabilities; and our more recent work with Baltimoreans United for Leadership Development (BUILD).
The conversation this questionnaire is designed to launch seeks to establish the baseline for where we are and where we want to go in addressing the causes of injustice and the daily painful symptoms faced by too many.
Every participant in the congregation will be invited to take part in this discernment through written questions, personal calls, and/or group discussions. The results will be widely shared and discussed. We believe this process will contribute to the development to renewed vibrant justice ministry.
The Justice Conversation and Survey
As you know, this spring, Memorial was deeply and successfully engaged in the BUILD voter registration campaign. At the same time a number of us were having renewed conversations about the history and future of justice ministry at Memorial.
We think it very important to invite all who are part of Memorial’s family to participate in the conversation. We propose to do that in the first instance through the answers to a short questionnaire (which you will find below). We would be happy for you to simply respond to it and email or mail your answers to Jamie Griffith at the church office. In the alternative, if it is easier or more helpful, one of the people below will be in touch with you between now and Labor Day (we hope to complete this phase by then) to think through with you the best way to secure your thoughts.
When we have had the chance to digest the thoughts of all participants, we’ll take the next step of informing all of the results and then setting up one or more ways to deepen the discussion and consider optional ways forward as we create a renewed justice ministry looking to the future.
As a first step, here are four links to videos that four of us (Father Grey was the outstanding producer) made responding to questions related to justice. They are offered simply as a way to provoke thought, not in any sense as definitive answers to the questions. What we are really interested in are your answers.
Alma Bell – http://bit.ly/2bsDTQg
David Hornbeck – http://bit.ly/2c2HOFz
Stephanie Hull – http://bit.ly/2bRKg0x
Erin Kelly – http://bit.ly/2biDTAE
Profession: (current or former)
Talents or Skills you are most proud of:
How would you define justice? How would you define charity?
How important have the justice and charity ministries that have unfolded at Memorial been in bringing you to Memorial and in building your faith?
What is your earliest memory of Memorial being a church that stands for justice and charity?
Would you please describe an activity that Memorial Church has engaged in that has promoted justice and/or charity? What was done? Were you involved? How? How did it affect your life and faith?
How many different justice efforts have you participated in as a member of Memorial?
How well do you think Memorial connects justice and charity action to our faith? Is it part of our worship? Does it speak to our life as disciples of Christ? How?
Is there an area of ‘justice’ ministry that Memorial should get more involved in? Is there an area of “charity” ministry that Memorial should get more involved in?
If you find that you still have questions, and don’t want to wait for your phone call, you can find last week’s missive from Father Grey on the Justice Events page at Memorial’s website.
Many thanks, Memorial Justice Ministry committee:
The Rev. Grey Maggiano
David Hornbeck, Co-chair
Becky Hornbeck, Co-chair