She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. – Proverbs 31:26
I want to share the good news! Rosa Salamanca will be the keynote speaker at our 40th Anniversary of the Wyoming Association of Churches.
When I became the executive director of WAC more than five years ago, she was one of the first to contact me, seeking to work with churches in Wyoming to address community tensions based on race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation or religion. She frequently calls me, as she keeps a pulse on what is happening in Wyoming, one of six states in her region, and asks for my take on situations which she has heard about and/or for a church leader’s contact information in a community where a potential concern has developed.
Rosa Salamanca is a conciliation specialist with the Community Relations Service (CRS), U.S. Department of Justice, and currently the Acting Regional Director for the Rocky Mountain Region VIII office in Denver. She served on the National Church Burning Response Team and has provided conflict resolution services for numerous situations, including facilitating the community dialogues following the tragic shootings last summer at the Center of Hope in Riverton.
Her calm, but forthright and diligent, approach has led her to be respected by people throughout Wyoming, although perhaps nowhere more than in Fremont County where she has been involved for years with community leaders in Riverton and Lander and on the Wind River Reservation.
Usually she is more of a behind-the-scenes person. But at our annual meeting, we need her to share with us her wisdom and faithful instruction. She understands how churches can make a difference in our community and wants us to have the tools to address local tensions. She respects why we need to appreciate diversity, instead of viewing diversity as a problem. She will also lead a workshop at our event to provide tools for churches to address community relations concerns in our communities, such as when a hate crime occurs.
Yes, she is a bureaucrat, and a federal one at that. I know the word bureaucrat may have some negative baggage. Webster’s dictionary defines bureaucrat in part as “follows a narrow rigid formal routine.” I also know that some mistrust the federal government. But she is more than a bureaucrat and uses her role to make positive contributions in the midst of challenging times. She personifies how church, community and government can work together to lay a path for peace and justice.
If you haven’t already, please mark your calendars now to be at the Wyoming Association of Churches’ 40th Anniversary on October 14-15 in Casper. We are putting together several workshops and activities to celebrate our 40 years of doing justice in Wyoming and to celebrate our diversity. During the coming weeks, look for more information as our plans unfold.
Fear not. Be bold. Do justice.