The work of the church: Listening and Witnessing

I was so impressed with the work done as 50 members from the Wisconsin Conference United Church of Christ headed to Washington DC for the Women’s March on Washington. They all displayed a deep faith that led to bold action. We called out time together a weekend of “Listening and Witnessing.” On Friday we engaged in several hours of listening and intentional conversation around race, gender, power, and privilege. We also attended a beautifully diverse interfaith prayer service that evening. Saturday we joined with UCCers from across the nation to march (well, mostly we stood still, but we stood strong!).

Guiding our four days together was this covenant, crafted and agreed to on the bus somewhere in Ohio…

As we set out for a weekend of “Listening and Witnessing in Washington DC” we covenant together to:

1. Be grounded in our first task: that of listening. We will listen to ourselves, cognizant of our own places of vulnerability and privilege. In turn, we will listen to one another and those we meet with an open mind and a compassionate ear. We will listen to our Still Speaking God, as we are called into the uncomfortable place of challenging our own assumptions and those of others,

2. Treat all people with respect and abundant grace. We will be kind and celebrate the kindness in others. We will treat one another and ourselves with respect.

3. Make safety a priority. Recognizing the diversity of vulnerabilities and privilege about us, we will protect our bodies, our hearts and one another even as we are challenged to enter into uncomfortable spaces of deep listening and bold witnessing. We will remain peaceful, open minded, and united as we use our voices to proclaim a word of radical love and justice.

4. “Be the Church” together. Recognizing that it is only in our personal action that our communal action becomes meaningful, we will share what we learn and experience together with those at home, and work diligently to use our voices to bring dignity to all people.

5. Unapologetically witness to the hope of our faith – that one day this place we call home will realize the the peace, love and justice God has always intended for it.

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