A JUST WORLD – FOR ALL
Teenagers are leading the way as so many others stutter and flutter with indecision. Slogans such as “Not One More” and “Enough is Enough” and “Love children more than guns” summarize their drive to reduce, perhaps eliminate, killings of students in their schools.
The youth didn’t stop with slogans. March For Our Lives addressed violence on the streets, in the malls, in our homes as well. It was a protest against killing. They put the sixth commandment above the second amendment.
Many United Church of Christ students are standing together with students of other faith convictions at courthouses, statehouses, county seat buildings, city buildings and legislators’ offices in an awesome articulate display of the Three Great Loves in action.
Others, youth and grown-ups, intercede daily in behalf of immigrants and refugees, oppose the death penalty, circle around families devastated by the opioid curse, and rally support for teachers in the face of diminishing support for public education. In a time of mounting divisive social and cultural issues, love of neighbor, children and creation urges us to protest, demonstrate, and advocate with strong voices bolstered by our physical presence.
In downtown Columbus, ground is now broken for a first ever urban park dedicated to social justice ministries. In honor of its pastor emeritus, Washington Gladden, First Congregational UCC continues to live up to Dr. Gladden’s insistence that love of God and love of neighbor are grander motives for righteous living than fear of God’s retaliation.
According to Dr. Tim Ahrens, senior pastor of this growing downtown faith community, Gladden’s leadership in the early 1900s of an interfaith council of Protestant, Catholic and Jewish congregations, gathered to address vexing social issues, provided the impetus for today’s interfaith witness called B.R.E.A.D. (Building Responsibility Equality and Dignity). Thousands of Columbus area citizens including more than a hundred First Congregational members, gather at B.R.E.A.D. convocations to address school issues, fair wages, community policing, and more, as they seek “to move the world closer to the world God intends.”