It’s such a gift to welcome back this column. There are things we don’t have enough time to say on Sunday, stories to share, that having a space like this to give you “more of the story” is so very helpful. Today’s column hopes to give you more of the story about two specific words in Community’s shared life: Doing Justice.
Community Did Justice last Sunday and Monday, when we celebrated a fantastic turn out of donations and volunteers to support the work of Micah Ministry at Independence Boulevard Christian Church. On Sunday morning, a team of nearly 30 volunteers rolled over 700 sets of silverware for Monday’s meal and bagged over 6,000 pieces of donated candy to be handed out as holiday treats on Valentine’s Day and Easter to the clients of Micah. Then, on Monday morning, a team of 4 Community members and 6 Micah volunteers prepared large pans of Chicken Pot Pie. In the afternoon, 8 Community volunteers made Chorizo Stew, sorted fresh produce donations, bagged up donated Crumbl cookies, and organized a large pile of donated clothing so that, in the evening, 9 more Community volunteers would join with around 20 other volunteers and staff to feed 615 healthy, full, warm meals to hungry, cold folks. In all, over 50 members of Community made Monday’s meal possible- that means YOU made this day possible.
Community’s work with partners like Micah Ministry is encouraged and shepherded by our congregation’s Justice and Mercy Team. Justice and Mercy (lovingly referred to as J&M) meets regularly to discuss our commitment to Doing Justice, to pray for the partners with whom we serve, to encourage special offerings in our congregation, and to steward grant funds that are provided by Community’s investment funds for mission and outreach. J&M’s work and funding fulfill two primary purposes: they encourage and inspire members of Community to grow and engage their own faithful commitments to Justice and Mercy, and they honor partnerships within the broader KC Community and beyond with folks who help us do the broader work of justice we cannot do alone.
Last year, Community’s Justice and Mercy Team stewarded over $17,000 in grants to work inside and outside of our congregation- this is the highest amount we’ve been able to share in the last five years.
To give you a sense of how those grants inspired others to engage in the work of justice and mercy within the congregation, the Justice and Mercy team provided for the transportation of our Intergenerational Mission Trip last Summer, helped get our new Good News Crew outreach to Older Adults off the ground, and made micro-grants of $300 each to Community’s teachers to help get their school year off on the right foot.
To honor and further the partnerships we have in the Greater KC area and beyond, Justice and Mercy supported the work of the Metro Organization for Racial and Economic Equity (MORE2), sponsored the Grandparents for Gun Safety Annual Community Forum, purchased winter clothing necessities for Micah Ministry, and provided space and resources for Kansas City’s June Proclaiming Pride Service. We supported the work of compassionate relief and justice at the US/Mexico Border by supporting Southwest Good Samaritan Ministries, and we gave to the witness of relief, refugee and development ministries that is Week of Compassion. On top of all of this, Justice and Mercy was excited to help fund and found a new Mission Station for Be The Neighbor Ministries in Kansas City, which will bring Mission Trips from around the country to Kansas City for an intentional encounter with the works of Justice and Mercy during the Summer months of 2023. Our partnerships are now reproducing, increasing our impact and sharing in the gospel work of growing in justice and mercy.
Even with all that, J&M does more- we encourage and guide Community’s Food Pantry, do our best to support those experiencing homelessness who come to the church’s doors seeking help, coordinate our annual New Roots for Refugees Farmer, provide support for Community’s Welcome Home Team Refugee Resettlement Ministry, and regularly do what we can to respond to the movements of justice at work in our world.
See why we needed more space to begin to tell this story? There is so much happening in Community’s witness to J&M, and your gifts and time are working in so many ways already.
If you feel like you’d like to know more about Community’s Justice and Mercy Ministry, or feel like you might be called to share your own gifts in this vital work, our next meeting will be in-person on Sunday, February 19th, with lunch provided. And, if you’d like to know more or talk to other congregation members who lead this work, reach out to Justice and Mercy co-chairs Carol Thompson and Susan Edwards (email Rev. Ryan if you would like their contact info @ firstname.lastname@example.org).
And, if you’d just like to find a way to serve, mark your calendars now for Community’s next Micah Monday, on April 17th.
With gratitude for all Community,