Many Voices One Mission: Cultivating Collaboration
by Debby Kirk
We encourage local congregations and varied ministry settings, inspired and guided
by the Holy Spirit, to form covenant partnerships with all who work for the common
good in their local communities and throughout the world.
The Together As One
Values Statement includes a sentence about forming ‘covenant partnerships’ as a way to build up God’s realm. What might this process involve? What obstacles might be encountered? What are the blessings of forming partnerships? I believe this goal can be achieved with inspiration, imagination, invitation,
The process begins with identifying the vision. In our new conference model, we are committed to Living the love and justice of Jesus.
We first turn to the examples of Jesus’ ministry with the poor, his attention to the outcast, and his confrontation with oppressive systems. This model guides our efforts to work for racial, economic, and environmental justice.
As we dedicate ourselves to building God’s kingdom, we must define what it looks like in the local community: inclusion and respect, food and shelter, safe sanctuary, clean air and water for all. We work toward the common good and dream of a time when basic human needs are met. As individuals and as isolated congregations, we sometimes feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of injustice around us. But by linking arms with others, we are empowered to imagine new solutions for old problems
If we are to remain true to the Gospel message, we must turn our attention from the internal life of the church and look outward to our neighbors. Partnerships require careful listening, humility, and relinquishment of power. We must first honor the requests that come from the communities that are directly affected rather assuming we have the answers. We need to recognize the marginalized voices and offer a seat at the table. We should identify those who are already engaged in the work of healing our communities--non-profits, civic leaders, and other religious groups--and see how we can assist.
Covenant partnerships invest in relationships. They provide space for connection that help weave a fabric of compassion in our communities. When we take time for conversation, prayer, and learning, creative ideas and strategies emerge. Networking can draw forth a multitude of resources as well as build energy and momentum for the work.
The upcoming Reviving Justice
event on October 27th is an excellent opportunity to build partnerships with justice leaders.
This event will begin with inspiring worship to remind us of the call to God’s people to “let justice roll down like waters.” Participants will then be able to hear local and national leaders who are committed to working for the equitable change. Workshops include
Racism Repacked: The Misconception of change from the 1960s
Christian Activities Council: Lessons on Community Organizing
Immigration Justice and the New Sanctuary Movement
There will be opportunities to connect not only with other clergy and laity from sibling congregations, but also leadership in ecumenical, academic, non-profit settings. These leaders will share specific action steps that can be taken to build up our love for our neighbors and our care for the earth.
for Reviving Justice on Saturday, October 27th as we expand our partnerships and work for the common good in Connecticut and beyond.
Debby Kirk is the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the CT Conference, UCC.
Many Voices, One Mission
is a regular series highlighting the ministries of the
CT, MA, and RI Conference of the United Church of Christ.