- by Susan Butler, Parish Delegate for Cathedral Church of St. Paul
Being a fan of the work of the Episcopal City Mission, I accidentally made a reservation for the Annual Meeting, mistaking it for the annual awards ceremony. What luck! The meeting began with Executive Director Arrington Chambliss pronouncing that there is no Christian witness without justice and urging us to make our daily choices impactful for justice, rooted in right relationships. This was what my congregation’s Social Justice Witness Group from St. Paul’s Cathedral Church needed to hear as we struggle to discern what we CAN do about the issues we care deeply about—supporting sanctuary, criminal justice reform, climate change, global justice…
After a year of intense planning and prayer, ECM has broadened its mission to include protections for immigrants and action against racism. Their new organizational model is not just on paper. It was clear through the presence of young people from Grace Chapel Brockton, and the congregational support offered (visits, training, and email contact, etcetera) that ECM is really ready to BE funders, mobilizers, and prophetic leaders.
Though I didn’t know many people there, it became clear that this was an open, active community intent on making a difference. As the room brainstormed a new relationship between ECM’s Board and ECM members, I had a vision of the power that emerges from communication among people of faith and ECM’s call to effective action. I felt a rising in my spirit because our Justice Group was no longer just six people trying to sort out the many wrongs in the world to be righted, the many compassionate relationships calling for our attention. Instead we could be yoked with others, Episcopalians with other faith communities and ECM partners, all pulling together toward justice and mercy. It gives me great hope.