July 2019
" Where you see wrong or inequality or injustice, speak out, because this is your country. This is your democracy. Make it. Protect it. Pass it on." Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall
Dear Friends,
 
On the Fourth of July, we take time to celebrate our country’s birth with family and friends. My hope is that we will also reflect on our personal responsibility to make “our” democracy reflect the values of justice, mercy and equality for all. When anyone is denied the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” as declared in the Declaration of Independence, we must speak out. As people of faith who believe that we are all made in God’s image and that our planet home is to be protected for future generations, our collective voices are important.
 
How we state our beliefs is a crucial component in making sure that we are heard. At the very heart of democracy lies our ability to engage in difference. Bombastic rhetoric, so common in our day, is an ineffective and counterproductive way to communicate. Engaging with one another humbly and respectfully, especially when we are talking to people with whom we disagree, opens up the possibility for real dialogue that can help us find common ground.
 
Communicating with humility doesn’t mean we surrender our deeply held convictions. Humility does require us to listen deeply to the person we are in discussion with, and makes it more likely we will have a clearer understanding of the opposing viewpoint. Asking good questions helps to clarify and identify the nuances and complexities that underlie our beliefs.
 
Positive, sincere encounters with people we disagree with can begin to chip away at the stereotypes we have about others. We may not change our opinion about an issue, but if we end the conversation with more genuine compassion for the individual, we have come a long way towards building communities that can work together for the common good.

Blessings,
Jan Musgrove Elfers
EMO President
2019 Oregon Legislative Session Wraps Up
The 2019 Legislative Session came to a close on Sunday, June 30. It was certainly an unpredictable session, as the Legislature attracted national attention due to members of the Senate walking out of the Capitol on two separate occasions. It was also an exciting session, as a number of landmark pieces of legislation were heard and voted on!

Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon's advocacy efforts are driven by the neighbors and clients we serve in the our direct service programs. O ur top legislative priorities were: 1) help end child and youth homelessness, 2) welcome the stranger / stand with immigrants, and 3) fully fund Medicaid. Legislation was successfully passed in all three of these areas!

Read EMO's " Peace & Justice" enewsletter for a full wrap up of the session.
Representative Carla Piluso (right) during the 2019 Legislative Session
Take the Common Table's Hunger & Housing Survey
The Common Table is a faith-based movement to bridge the increasingly toxic political divide of our times by finding common ground at a common table. We’re starting with a little research, and to this end we could use your help. 

We know that feeding the hungry and housing the houseless are two basic values shared by most all people of faith, and we’re interested in mapping out the full impact of faith communities responding to these basic needs throughout our state. 
 
If your community is engaged in an effort to respond to food or housing insecurity, we would like to know about it. Please take some time to fill out our Hunger & Housing Survey . Likewise, if you know of other faith-based initiatives attempting to address these core needs, we hope you will forward this invitation to them.
 
As our faith-impact map grows, we hope to use it to learn more about each other, work alongside each other, and deepen our sense of community throughout the state. We're not so naïve to think this small step will heal every hurt between us, but in an era of growing division, strife and polarization, we know this is a step in the right direction. The spiritual path of friend-making isn’t flashy, and it seldom makes the news, but we believe it is the only path that can carry us forward as a society, and we hope that you will join us in walking it together. 

For more information about the Common Table , check out our website at commontableoregon.org  or email us at commontable@emoregon.org. Read our Op-Ed in the Oregonian, “ An antidote to hate crimes is deliberate ‘friend-making .’” 
Criminal Justice Sabbath
Upcoming Events
To learn more about upcoming EMO and faith community events, visit our Event Calendar . If you would like to submit an event for our website, please fill out our online Event Form .
Save the date for the 2019 Collins Summit!
Listening at the Margins: Ancestral Wisdom, Spiritual Resistance, and Hope in Times of Trauma
October 16, 12 - 9 pm at First United Methodist Church of Portland.

The 2019 Collins Summit invites us to engage in a method of listening at the margins of the global community and in our own lives in order to build resilience together in and for these times.

Listening at the margins has animated interfaith justice work in Oregon around the key issues of our time: immigration, housing, eco-justice, education, and institutional change. The afternoon Seminar will include workshop tracks led by faith leaders who will share stories of their statewide justice work on these issues. Participants will be invited into conversation and practices to listen at the margins of their own stories and communities as a resource for their passion for justice.

The guest speaker for the evening Collins Lecture will be Dr. Carlos Mendoza-Alvarez, a Dominican priest and internationally known liberation theologian. His theological investigation illuminates the ancestral wisdom, yearning for justice, and hope that emerges from the resistance and resilience of the victims and survivors of global violence. Mendoza-Alvarez’s most recent work has examined what resurrection can mean in a context of thousands of disappeared and murdered in Mexico.

Registration will open in August.
Join a Volunteer Service and Welcoming Spiritual Community for Older Adults
Jesuit Volunteer EnCorps (JV EnCorps) is now accepting applications for 2019-2020. JV EnCorps, a program of JVC Northwest, facilitates rewarding opportunities for service, community and spiritual formation for adults 50 and older who are committed to social and ecological justice. During their ten months of volunteer service, participants meet monthly for fellowship, reflection and to explore the values of community, spirituality, simple living and social & ecological justice. Our values arise from the Ignatian Spirituality and JV Encorps is an inclusive and ecumenical community.

Priority application deadline: August 31. Opening Retreat in September. For more information:  JVEnCorps@jvcnorthwest.org or jvencorps.org .
Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon
503-221-1054 | emo@emoregon.org | emoregon.org