A weekend of successes
We give thanks to God for a wonderful series of events the weekend of March 23–26, 2012. Presbyterians from across the nation descended on Washington, D.C., to participate in Compassion, Peace and Justice Training Day, Ecumenical Advocacy Days, and “A Night of Cherry Blossoms on the Potomac.”
On Friday, March 23, more than 200 people gathered at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church to get energized and educated about the ministries of Compassion, Peace and Justice (CPJ). Director Sara Lisherness brought greetings, and the Rev. J. Herbert Nelson brought the word. Organizers from across the denomination and its ministries shared best practices, new ideas, and useful information about organizing for justice in the life of the church. The program booklet from the day provides a great snapshot of the breadth of our experience and the depth of our shared ministries.
The day’s theme was “Presbyterians and Economic Justice.” In concert with the theme for Ecumenical Advocacy Days, “Is THIS the Fast I Seek? Economy, Livelihood and Our National Priorities,” based on Isaiah 58, we spent the weekend asking questions about what economic justice is and how to organize and achieve it for all people.
Ecumenical Advocacy Days, a gathering of 800 Christians sponsored by almost 50 Christian denominations and organizations, including the PC(USA), was an uplifting weekend of worship, education on key issues, training in political organizing, and lobbying. For the second year in a row, the PC(USA) claimed the largest group of denominational participants, boasting nearly 200 Presbyterians from across the nation. Participants met with their own members of Congress on Monday, March 26, to insist on a Faithful Budget that “defends people struggling to live in dignity by funding programs that protect vulnerable populations here and abroad.”
Dr. Margaret Aymer, a PC(USA) Professor of New Testament at the Interdenominational Theological Center, delivered the opening plenary address, asking conference participants what fast God is seeking from them. “Cry justice,” she exhorted the congregation. A recording of her sermon will be posted on the Ecumenical Advocacy Days website soon.
Finally, in the midst of these exciting and informative events, Presbyterians took time together on Saturday evening to fellowship and rejoice in our collective commitment to the prophetic witness of the church. The PC(USA) Office of Public Witness hosted about 100 Presbyterians on the Virginia’s Jewel vessel to enjoy a dinner and dancing cruise down the Potomac River at the height of D.C.’s historic Cherry Blossom Festival.
We give thanks to those who traveled to Washington to participate, and to all our partners in ministry, both in the PC(USA) and in the wider church, who worked with us to present such a successful weekend.