Challenging Disparity: The Promise of God, the Power of Solidarity
2006 EAD National Gathering focused on current national and international U.S. policies with regard to disparities in wealth and income
“This is how we know what real love is: Jesus gave his life for us. So we should give our lives for our brothers and sisters…My children, we should love people not only with words and talk, but by our actions and true caring.” – 1 John 3:16-18 (NCV)
“If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.” – 1 Corinthians 12:26 (NRSV)
In 2006 Ecumenical Advocacy Days grew to over 950 participants who gathered in Washington D.C. to “Challenge Disparity.” The participants learned about current policies and advocacy strategies and reflected on the Christian call to justice within an ecumenical setting. On Monday, the gathering moved to Capitol Hill where participants raised their voices in protest to challenge the shocking economic disparity and terrible suffering endured by far too many at home and abroad. Over 257 young adults attended the event and many reflected on the powerful impact this event had on them. Some of their reflections are below.
In Their Own Words
“…just wanted to let you know how grateful I am for everything that was done to put this weekend together and make it a safe place for young adults to have a voice. I got to learn a lot from the seminars but also it was a chance for me to reconnect with Christians and learn what can be done in the US and around the world. I feel like I am being called to do something, just not sure what exactly that is yet, but something definitely did happen this weekend.” – Tiann, Young Adult participant at EAD
“Augustana College of Sioux Falls, SD, alone was able to bring 13 students because of the scholarship program, and they found the experience to be life-changing. One of their students said she was even considering a career in advocacy as a result of the conference. Wow!” – Annie, ELCA planning team member
“Being here has taught me to articulate social action to a congregation without using partisan language. That’s not something I’ve learned at seminary.” – Michael, ELCA Seminarian
“I just want to thank the planning team for the wonderful job done with Ecumenical Advocacy Days and for the scholarship money that made it possible for me to attend. In the past few years I have felt such a pull toward advocacy and this was the perfect jumping off point for me. The event helped get me up and actually doing something besides just sending form e-mails to Congress. Thank you for providing a weekend where we can tangibly experience the important role we all play in making this democracy work.” – Rev. Emily Bowen, Associate Minister, Brentwood Christian Church
We gather in Washington, D.C. from a wide range of churches throughout the United States because we hear Jesus’ call to love our neighbors – near and far – as we love ourselves. We come to challenge the shocking economic disparity and terrible suffering endured by far too many of our sisters and brothers at home and abroad. As we act in compassionate solidarity with them – impelled by our common humanity – we are confident that God is at work to empower our united efforts for a more just world.
The tragic natural disasters of the past year have demonstrated that individual generosity must go hand in hand with a vigorous government commitment. Through our government, we act together as a whole people. As Christians, we call on the U.S. government to act to end extreme inequality, build true community, uplift persons who are impoverished, ensure civil and human rights, protect the integrity of creation, end war and seek peace in the midst of global conflicts.
We stand in unity with our neighbors throughout the world and with Jesus Christ, who “will not grow faint or be crushed until he has established justice in the earth” (Isaiah 42:4).
Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, faculty member at Eden Theological Seminary, presented the Sunday Morning Sermon entitled, “A Different Vision of Human Community”
Bob Edgar, General Secretary for the National Council of Churches (USA) presented closing comments Sunday evening.
Dear Friends of EAD, Thanksgiving is a time that reminds me how grateful the Leadership Team of Ecumenical Advocacy Days is for the commitment of literally thousands of Christian advocates who have participated in a faithful public witness through EAD over the past twelve years! When we look back over our history, EAD has been an ecumenical initiative that has…