Jim Wallis: The Role of the Church in a Politically/Racially Divided Nation

Jim Wallis: The Role of the Church in a Politically/Racially Divided Nation

9:30 am to 3:00 pm on Saturday, October 28, 2017 at

Saint Mark United Methodist Church, 1525 N. Lorraine Avenue in Wichita.

 

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There will be three concurrent workshops after the lunch break to participate in.  You may pick from the following:

Workshop # 1: Sacred Resistance: The Work of Kansas Interfaith Action

Rabbi Moti Rieber is the executive director of Kansas Interfaith Action, a statewide, multi-faith issue-advocacy organization that “puts faith into action” by educating, engaging and advocating on behalf of people of faith and the public regarding critical social, economic, and climate justice issues.

This workshop will focus on the development and work of KIFA, particularly our work on state legislative initiatives over the past two years. KIFA's role both as the faith contingent of larger alliances, and as prophetic voice when needed, will be explored. Special focus will be on KIFA's role in the development of Kansas People's Agenda, a coalition bringing Kansas into the national Poor People's Campaign coordinated by Repairers of the Breach and the Kairos Center.

Reb Moti has served as Executive Director of Kansas Interfaith Action and its predecessor organization, Kansas Interfaith Power & Light, since March 2011. A native of New Jersey, he has lived in Kansas since 2007. He is a graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Wyncote, Pennsylvania. A life-long activist on peace, social justice, and environmental issues, Reb Moti brings a variety of pulpit, interfaith, and organizational experience to the work of KIFA. Reb Moti and his wife, Suzy, live with their three teenage children in Overland Park. 

Leader:  Rabbi Moti Rieber

 

Workshop #2: Values, Justice & Power

Ben MacConnell, Lead Organizer for Justice Matters, and Shanae’ Elem, Lead Organizer for Topeka JUMP, will present a workshop entitled, "Values, Justice, and Power". Drawing on years of grassroots, faith-based community organizing experience, this discussion will explore three topics:  (1) The intersection between the core faith value - "love of neighbor as self" - and justice and power; (2) the difference between acts of mercy (showing compassion for individuals in crisis) and justice (addressing systems), and; (3) the ability of congregations to achieve power through justice ministry in relation to institutional interests in the public arena. 

Ben began his career with Green Corps, the environmental advocacy training program. In this role, he was on a national team leading strategic campaigns around national environmental issues. In 1998, he was hired by Citizens of Louisville Organized and United Together (CLOUT) to organize churches in low-income neighborhoods on the priorities they wanted addressed in their community. Leaders surfaced, researched and acted on campaigns to end gang violence among youth, to improve reading in low-performing public schools, to remove neighborhood eyesores. In 2001, Ben went on to the national staff of the DART Center (Direct Action and Research Training Center) and co-founded the DART Organizes Institute, a program to identify and train a new generation of community organizers. In 2012, Ben began organizing in Kansas, co-founding Topeka Justice and Unity Ministry Project (Topeka JUMP). In 2014, he co-founded the group Justice Matters in Lawrence. In just three years, he has led county-wide/regional organizing drives around mental health services, childhood trauma, affordable housing, and criminal justice reform. 

Shanae’ Elem has worked as the Lead Organizer for Topeka JUMP in Shawnee County, KS, since 2013. In that time, JUMP has made significant impacts in the areas of education and mental health. They are currently working on increasing access to affordable housing and public transit. JUMP is the first community organization in Topeka to successfully unite Christians in direct action across racial, theological, and denominational divides. Prior to her work in Kansas, Shanae’ served as a community organizer at the FAITH Organization in Daytona Beach, Florida. She brings eight years of experience organizing the faith community into powerful grassroots action to this workshop. Shanae’ also serves as a lay minister at El Shaddai Ministries Community Church in Topeka.

Leaders: Ben MacConnell and Shanae’ Elem

 

Workshop #3: Beyond Tolerance

No one likes to be merely tolerated.  Recognizing that there are many people who share such a feeling, community and religious leaders are coming together, challenging our community to look beyond racial and cultural tolerance.  For two years, Beyond Tolerance Wichita has organized dialogue dinners in each other’s homes, exchanged pulpits, choirs and congregations, tied black, white and brown ribbons around trees.  We have held city-wide Rallies where community leaders share what they will do, or are doing to live “beyond tolerance”.  These events help transform our community by building relationships that see the beauty in the other.

The Panelists

Mayor Jeff Longwell, Wichita’s 101st mayor of the city of Wichita is the Honorary Chairperson of the Beyond Tolerance Wichita movement.  Jeff Longwell is a businessman who cares deeply about how we live together and treat each other.

Bishop Wade Moore, Senior Pastor of Christian Faith Centre in Wichita, Kansas. Past President of the Greater Wichita Ministerial League, and co-founder of the Beyond Tolerance Wichita movement.  Bishop Moore is an educator, and is convinced it is our moral responsibility to develop relationships within our schools that see every student as an equally treated child of God.

Rabbi Michael Davis, a third generation Reform rabbi, has been the spiritual leader of Congregation Emanu-El since August 1995.  He has served on many community boards, is a past president of Inter-Faith Ministries, and actively serves on the planning committee of Beyond Tolerance Wichita.

Kameelah Alexander, is the Community Services representative for the City of Wichita.  She works to pursue peace and well-being in Wichita and beyond through partnerships, by connecting individuals, faith communities and community organizations.  Kameelah serves on the Beyond Tolerance Wichita Planning Committee.

Danielle Johnson, is a Program Coordinator for the Office of Diversity and inclusion at Wichita State University where she invites a shared learning experience for students, faculty, staff and community members.  Danielle has found ways to fold the Beyond Tolerance Wichita events into the WSU campus activities.  

Tom Wine, is Chair of Music Education and Director of Choirs at Wichita State University and a proponent for “new directions in music education”.  In February 2016 Tom arranged for a Beyond Tolerance Wichita Panel to travel to Michigan State University to present: Enacting social justice through music education.

Sam Muyskens, a retired United Methodist pastor is co-founder of “Beyond Tolerance Wichita”, and President of Global Faith In Action, an interfaith/intrafaith organization. “We will not find peace, nor learn to respect others” says Sam, “until we stop merely tolerating someone who is unknown or different from us, and take the time to respect and see the beauty in the other.

Will you be in need of childcare? If so, how many children? Please also indicate if they will be eating lunch at the event, and if they have special dietary needs.
*Please select one of the following afternoon workshops:
Workshop # 1: SacredResistance: The Work of Kansas Interfaith Action, lead by Rabbi Moti Rieber
Workshop #2: Values, Justice & Power, led by Ben MacConnell
Workshop #3: Beyond Tolerance, led by a group of panelists
I won't be able to stay for the afternoon workshop
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