Stewardship Moment for Justice
by Jane Oberrender & Jock Donaldson
I am Jane Oberrender and beside me is Jock Donaldson. We are co-chairs of the Stewardship Ministry Team this year and we are here today to present the stewardship theme of Justice for the upcoming year.
Westminster’s Statement of Hope defines justice as God’s abundant love made active in the world and it envisions a just community as one that practices love of neighbors (and a world in which all people thrive in every aspect of life).
In the coming weeks you will hear from our speakers about the many ways justice manifests itself at Westminster and we hope you, too, will reflect on how you see God’s abundant love is made active in the world.
Jock: Do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
This familiar verse is our call. But what does DO JUSTICE really mean? As an employer in business, I encounter it like this:
An experienced and valued employee comes in one day and discloses that when he had come to the US many years ago, he had done so illegally, and he was using a stolen social security number. Do I honor his five years of service to the company, and operate illegally, risking fines and penalties? Or do I let him go?
If I keep him on the payroll, what do I do when this arrangement comes to light, as it inevitably will? How will this play with other employees – what will fairness look like then?
What does DO JUSTICE really mean? “Do JUSTICE” is hard.
We see the difficulty of doing justice throughout our society. Discrimination for any one of a number of reasons, endures. Discrimination in housing, education, marriage equality, employment, incarceration, and on and on. These things are not easy.
And we wrestle with it – right here – in these pews and in this church, every day.
Over time, our Westminster dialogue on racism continues, affordable housing projects are started, completed, and occupied; marriage equality becomes law, and the homeless in our midst find an Open Door and a welcome at Westminster. And little by little, our congregation practices and attitudes change, and justice sees a little more light of day, and our world is a little bit better place.
Jane: Doing Justice can be difficult but it can also be simple. As I reflected upon the many ways I see how we (at Westminster) show God’s love made active in the world, I remembered my experience last winter when we opened our doors as a warm and safe place for people experiencing homelessness during Super Bowl week. My first day of volunteering, our doors were open but where were they? Our good idea to open our doors was not working. A small group of volunteers realized we needed to do more than just open our doors. We quickly made some outdoors signs and placed them in snow banks on all corners of the church. We made flyers with clear directions & a map and hit the streets and the skyways. We handed out our flyers to many, we spoke with hospitality volunteers and lo and behold, a few were at church before we returned. Each day we welcomed a few more and now, many months later a few continue to visit us today because Westminster is viewed as a safe space for those experiencing homelessness.
Jock: Our Stewardship Theme for 2018 is Justice. In the upcoming days and weeks as you see and hear more on this theme … we ask that you please take some time to carefully consider how you will be a steward of your own resources, and respond with gratitude to God’s call to DO JUSTICE. Stewardship Sunday is November 18th. Thank you!