The Episcopal Church has made some important decisions over the last several decades. One of which was to address the issue of economic injustice in our communities. In 1988 the General Convention adopted the Michigan Plan which, among other things, encourages local congregations to get involved in addressing poverty and systemic injustice in their local settings. A series of tools were provided that local congregations could use to partner with other institutions in their neighborhoods to overcome the disparity and inequality that is rampant in our society. However 30 years later how are we practicing economic justice within our churches?
At the same time the Church created a Jubilee Ministry Program inviting congregations to became engaged in the work of charity and systemic change. The Episcopal Network for Economic Justice (E.N.E.J.) brought together leaders seeking to bring about systemic change particularly focused on how to use financial resources to bring about transformation. As Dr. King proclaimed we cannot separate racism from economic injustice because until we address the systems that support poverty, disparities and economic injustices, we will not overcome the racism that is embedded in our political, economic and religious institutions.
For the past 25 years ENEJ has been resourcing the Church for this work. In 2021 we are initiating Provincial Networks; these are networks of people with like mind who are engaged in the work of economic justice. We are creating lectionary projects for local congregations that invite us to explore the possibilities for local practice. We continue to identify resources that will help local parishes engage on the ground in their local setting around the injustices and disparities we sometimes ignore or are blind too.
We believe that there are many people in our communities who celebrate the church when we engage in the work of justice. For many of them this becomes their door into a community practicing justice — Dr. King’s “Beloved Community.” As we look for ways to be the church ENEJ believes the practice of economic justice builds “the Body of Christ” and so the vitality of the local congregation.
Please help us build our network by sharing this newsletter with others and encouraging them to sign up.
Rev. Geoff Curtiss
Episcopal Network for Economic Justice, Chair