During the Summer months, this column will be highlighting the good work and parishioners involved in one of our various Parish Ministries. Each week, we will feature an article from a different ministry, written by one if its members, as a reflection on the generosity and stewardship of the SMOS community.
Living Justice Ministries Reflection
by Juliann Hesed, Mike Holdinghaus, & Sarah Rebholz
I am sitting on my front porch writing a Flocknote to send on the topic of banning assault weapons on this Wear Orange weekend when a car pulls up across the street. I see it and go back to typing. Next thing I know a man is taking a photo of our Protect Lives, Not Guns yard sign. As it turns out we’ve met – he’s a local politician. He and some others are one week into working on a proposal to amend the MO constitution to allow counties to develop their own gun laws. He tells me that they have 11 months to accomplish this tall order. We exchanged emails and phone numbers. He may be calling on us for help. The oddest things can happen over a yard sign! – Juliann Hesed
You know God loves you.
You know this and, in turn, allow His love to flow through you to your family, your friends, your neighbors. You find great joy serving as this channel for God’s love. Yet, you hesitate. You know it is not so simple, so straightforward. With such great joy comes pain; pain for the friends, the family members, your neighbors who you know experience very real injustices in their daily lives.
The members of the Living Justice Ministries here at St. Margaret of Scotland feel called to respond to injustice. We notice racism. We see the needs of our immigrant and refugee brothers and sisters. We are shocked by gun violence. We mourn capital punishment. We read documents like Laudato Si and feel compelled to care for our common home. We recognize our LBGQT+ brothers and sisters as equally beloved of God and vital contributors to our community.
Part of our mission as St. Margaret of Scotland parishioners is to “[live] just lives and [work] for a more just society.” Our Living Justice Ministries members know that we can act individually to try to correct injustice but that our collective actions may be more effective. Thus, we intend to act as catalysts, hosting meals and seminars, writing letters, and marching in the streets to help love AND justice flow. Let it flow like a river, as the old spiritual calls us to do. We wish to help harness the love we experience through our faith to create a fairer and more just world for all of our neighbors.
There are five current committees within Living Justice Ministries: Racial Equity authored the Statement Against Racism our parish recently adopted and are leading an attempt to better understand our parish history in regards to race; Care of Creation coordinated parish events honoring Earth Day; Immigration and Refugee hosted meals prepared by immigrant women, facilitated seminars led by DREAMERS, and organized Just Faith reading groups; Members from Gun Sense: For the Common Good went to Jeff City with Mothers Demand Action to lobby for common sense gun safety laws, hosted gun violence awareness events, and are placing yard signs around the neighborhood to say ENOUGH; Pride of St. Margaret hosted a social gathering of friends and allies to openly recognize and honor our LBGQT+ fellow parishioners.
Supporting the vision of each of these committees is the Core Team of Living Justice Ministries, which helps coordinate, fund, and assist with various goals and initiatives. The current co-chairs of the Core Team are Julie Hesed and David Callon.
It’s so powerful to realize God loves you. Living Justice Ministries seeks to extend that love to create more justice for all. Your voice is important. Your voice is necessary. Yours may be just the voice we need to help do this work more effectively. Please contact Julie, David, or Fr. Vien at email@example.com to see how to connect to the group that most speaks to your calling.