On September 22, leaders from our diocese joined together with hundreds others in Columbus for the Interfaith March for Peace and Justice.
Deborah Stokes, long-time leader and trainer in anti-racism, served on the planning committee and catalyzed the organizing around the pillars of Becoming Beloved Community.
Rev. Meribah Mansfield joined alongside Deborah and many others who showed up for the march.
Mark Stansbery, from the planning committee said of the event:
“As expressed, the march is a living prayer that the global and local leaders may come together in peace, and decide to work toward justice. Marchers set out to use our minds, mouths, hearts, hands, and souls (soles) to present a public expression that supports building communities of faith responding to this world’s drift towards the future. In the unity assured in our faiths, justice is the dream of creation; however, we must do the hard work for the reconciliation among ourselves and creation, and between this time and the future.As communities of faith, we must build communities based on at least four pillars, or the structures we build we be ravaged by the flood of despair and hopelessness, and the communities will not be insulated from the burning racism, oppression, and hatred that so quickly destroy what is built.The four pillars for building community shared at the Columbus, Ohio march include: 1) Repairing the breach, which causes such suffering and barriers to community building – we must do the hard work of building a structure of peace and justice that remakes a society that transcends barriers and borders that divide communities; 2) Proclaiming the Dream of a society in that all people will enjoy the fullness promised in all creation stories; 3) Practicing the Way of love, so that coming generations will know we followed the teachings of our faiths in this time and space; and 4) Speaking Truth to the powerful in our own communities that not one of us can claim the whole truth but among us rests the true nature of community.”
Several methods to build local community were shared at the Columbus event, here are four:
1. Voter Education and Registration, campaigns to increase voter participation is critical for civil engagement. go to <www.voteohio.gov> for more information.
2. Community building event each fourth Sunday at the YMCA’s Van Buren Family Shelter, contact <www.IACO.org> or <firstname.lastname@example.org> for more information.
3. Join the “More Counselors – No Cuffs” campaign (http://jjohio.org/), which will be kicking off this fall and needs more support to reclaim State money designated for the Department of Education to increase safety in schools. We believe that the best way to decrease violence is through ongoing community building efforts not from increased militarization of our schools and children.