Ferguson and Faith

Ferguson and Faith is the title of a presentation scheduled at an Episcopal church here next week by the author of the book with the same title, Leah Gunning Francis, who is on the faculty of Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis.  From the book:

What many of the clergy interviewed in this book realized in the course of the Ferguson protests was that rather than sitting back in their sanctuaries and waiting for the young people to seek out the church for guidance or leadership, it was the church that needed to go out and meet the young people where they were, joining them shoulder to shoulder, on the streets, in the struggle for justice.  Equally important, the clergy did not go out there expecting automatically to lead or be listened to simply by virtue of being clergy. They understood that these young protestors were already leaders who were accomplishing extraordinary things, and that they needed allies in the clergy more than they needed the clergy to act as their leaders. At the same time, by meeting these young leaders where they were and being their allies in the truest sense of the word, these clergy were able to use their gifts, experience, and networks to complement and elevate the gifts and experience of the young activists.”

And I recently mentioned another book I’m reading, “The Beloved Community: How Faith Shapes Social Justice from the Civil Rights Movement to Today” by Charles Marsh.
Both of these books are written to explore what role faith did, and should play in social justice movements like Black Lives Matter.  Both discuss how the work of faith is being done in the streets.  Some churches and people of faith have engaged with these movements.  They, and others, are re-evaluating what it means to be a person of faith today.
As I’ve described, Ferguson resulted in some of us at North Meadow Friends getting involved with these issues.   And that led to us getting involved with the American Friends Service Committee’s (AFSC) new program, Quaker Social Change Ministry (QSCM).  Engaging with QSCM has been very rewarding for many of us, helping us become more engaged in social justice activism from a faith perspective.  At our last meeting we focused on the concept of the “Beloved Community”, and how that is what we are trying to build, with the help of our friends at KI (Kheprw Institute).

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