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From Our Nation’s Capital for Ecumenical Advocacy Days

Greetings WAC Community,

The last three days have been full and fulfilling with hundreds gathered here to be advocates for the dried bones of those who have lost hope and to enable us to lift our voices regarding racism, class and power.  The first evening, the Rev. Dr. William Barber inspired us based on the above passage from the Book of Ezekiel.  God told Ezekiel to go to the valley of the dry bones.  Barber reminded us that if we are to restore life to the hopeless in the valley of the dry bones, that we first must go and live in the valley.  It is betrayal of God to be silent and allow only the voices of the rappers and the politicians.

I attended intense workshops including, One Human Family: Bridging the Racial Gap; The Black Lives Matter Movement and the Church;  Face to Face with Racism and Strategic Faith Coalition Building.  There were materials from information tables (I am returning with a bumper sticker that says, “Questioning Authority for 2,000 years”), conversations in the hallways and even the chance encounters while waiting to catch the train – one with an attorney from San Diego who had come to D.C. to attend the U.S. Supreme Court hearing about President Obama’s executive order on immigration and another with a young woman originally from India who now lives here and is advocating for families through civil disobedience with Democracy Spring for which she had previously been arrested.

I have challenged Wyoming’s churches to engage in acts of justice. The last couple of days, I have been challenged to go even deeper as to what that means, especially as it relates to racism.  One speaker, a young black woman who is actively involved in the Black Lives Matters movement, several times asked us, “Where is the church?”  In Ferguson she had struggled to find even two churches where demonstrators could gather to be safe.  She suggested that a church is not a church that is not engaged in civil disobedience.  One participant asked what she should do because she knew those in her church did not care.  The presenter’s response: “Find another church!”  What about your church?   Are we to leave it to the young to do the work of the church and without the support of the church?

Tomorrow (Monday) we go to Capitol Hill to ask our Representatives and Senators to support the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015 and to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement that elevates corporate rights over human rights and democracy in addition to negative implications for workers and the environment.

Tuesday, I return to Wyoming to wrestle with how I use the tools for ending racism home to Wyoming’s churches.  Racism is not a problem for people of color; it’s a white problem and one our predominately white churches as congregations and institutions need to own.

Thanks to those who sent money this past week to help cover my costs for going to D.C.  It’s not too late to still contribute toward those costs and for the future work of the Wyoming Association of Churches.  It’s hard work, but fulfilling work because it’s what God calls us to do.

Make a contribution now by clicking here.  Or mail your contribution to WAC, PO Box 1473, Laramie, WY 82073.  Your support makes a difference.

Fear not.  Be bold.  Do justice.

Blessings,

Chesie

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