WHAT WE SAY, WHAT WE DO
St. Andrew’s Social Justice Ministry 2021
What we say. We say that we are called to “seek the renewal of the world.” What does that mean? What does renewal look like, and where do we find it? It is not likely hidden somewhere, already fully formed and waiting to be uncovered. Rather, we have to find ways to collaborate in making the world’s renewal. There are many ways we are already seeking and making renewal—from cultivating the church’s garden, to playing godly with our children, working with our mission partners, and revisioning a new use for the parking lot. We are also trying to seek renewal through the Social Justice ministry in ways that focus our will and energy as an engaged community of faith.
What we do. Our pact with God and ourselves is to sound the deep currents of our faith, see where we have been and where we want to go, and enact what we believe. As Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry says, “Through the stories of our sojourn here in America…telling our own stories together, and by looking at the stories of our very faith, somehow from the travail and the reality of all those stories may emerge hope for a new day.” Guided by our liturgy, challenged and led by our rector and spiritual leaders, and infused by our music ministry, we audaciously call ourselves to make the Word become flesh by acting in our world now.
How we do. After a series of open-invitation discussions with the parish, the Social Justice Ministry has identified three areas in which we as a parish can seek and enact the renewal we profess:
- Racial Justice – In 2021, we are in a new moment of racial tension as communities throughout the country are in chaos, with new martyrs and new voices crying for justice and reconciliation that recall times past with their own martyrs and voices, often saying and demanding the same things. The General Convention of the Episcopal Church has called for action in four related areas: telling the truth about our churches and race, proclaiming the dream of Beloved Community, practicing Jesus’ way of healing and reconciliation, and repairing the breach in institutions and society. Collaborating with our mission partner The Interfaith Alliance, we will focus these lenses on legislative and social action opportunities in St. Andrew’s immediate neighborhood, the city of Denver, and Colorado.
- LGBTQ+ Rights – The rights of people to live life fully and safely regardless of the expression of their sexual orientation or declared gender identity are at the heart of this action front. Ending practices, policies, regulations, and laws that infringe on the constitutional rights of LGBTQ+ people in employment opportunities and in access to education, training, and government services; and supporting victims of gender-based violence are focal points for action. The leadership of the Episcopal Church’s House of Deputies has underscored the spiritual basis for action by saying, “We work for the equality and dignity of LGBTQ people because, like the rest of us, they are created in God’s image and likeness…As Christians, we bear a particular responsibility to speak out, because attempts to deny LGBTQ people their dignity and humanity as children of God are too often made in the name of God.”
- Housing Rights – Safe housing is a fundamental human right, not a privilege. Being grounded in a neighborhood with a concentration of unhoused people, St. Andrew’s has a long and blessed history of supporting such people and the local agencies that provide services to them, including the St. Francis Center refuge for homeless men and women, Family Promise of Greater Denver, the Women’s Homelessness Initiative, Irving Street Residence, and Lazarus Gate, in addition to the Building Our Vision project to convert our parking lot into a residence for at-risk youth in collaboration with Attention Homes and Urban Ventures. We will continue our engagement with these partners and initiatives, seek new opportunities to support housing for the unhoused, and support legislation that advances housing alternatives for low income people.