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From the Executive Director’s Pen …

During one of my moves from one house to another, a favorite piece of furniture of mine was broken by the movers. It was a rocking chair, one that was precious to me as I rocked my children to sleep in it on many nights.

I had the impression that almost all parts of this chair were made of solid wood. Yet when the movers broke my prized possession, I discovered the broken part was actually made of wood products that resembled sawdust mixed with Elmer’s glue, covered with a thin layer of solid wood called a veneer.

The veneer was perfectly crafted to cover the wood product inside and give the appearance of being solid wood. Yet when that part snapped, its true composition was revealed.

Ours is a society that lives under an unspoken, unwritten social contract, one that says it is extremely important to keep personal things personal, tucked away out of sight and covered by the perpetual veneer of wellness. We have been nurtured to protect our privacy and to project an image of strength and perfection. Ask someone the simple question, “How are you?” and more often than not, the answer comes back, “Fine, just fine,” even though sometimes we really do not feel fine at all, but miserable. Or you ask, “How are things going in your community?” The response is, “Fine, just fine,” when in reality, things are not fine, at least not for everyone.

Seventh-century prophet Habakkuk reported to God he had witnessed actions and events that were both violent and vicious, unjust and unthinkable. “Destruction and violence are before me,” he said. “The law becomes slack and correct behavior, justice never prevails.”

All of this served as a theological or spiritual dilemma for Habakkuk, and soon thereafter, his patience with God ran thin. He cried out, “O Lord, how long shall I cry for help and you will not listen? Or cry to you ‘Violence!’ and you will not intervene? And God, why do you make me witness wrongdoing and observe oppression? Everywhere I look, the wicked surround the righteous and unjust policies masquerade as legitimate, thus causing the system of justice and fairness to come forth as perverted.”

If you are like me, you are probably impressed by Habakkuk’s willingness to reject the veneer of wellness and approach God with the full weight of his frustration. Habakkuk, being human like you and me, had to discard the veneer-like covering that often gives safe harbor to dishonest views of reality. Dishonest views that reflect our disinterest in being vulnerable enough to share our truest experiences and deepest feelings publicly, if at all.

Habakkuk had to cast off that veneer in order to be clear with God about how he felt. Maybe he believed that God, being God, could handle his frustration, so why not just lay it on the line?

Instead of continuing his complaint, Habakkuk elects to invest in the irrational: He reaffirms his faith. He chooses to stand on the firm foundation of his holy trust and wait on God. And the moment Habakkuk does this, God speaks to Habakkuk.

Rather than answer Habakkuk’s inquiries, God instead gives Habakkuk divine instructions: “Write the vision. Make it plain on the tablets, use a large font, so that those who in their hurried and harried pace run by it may read it with or without their bifocals. And Habakkuk, in case you have any doubts; in case you have any reservations, let me be perfectly clear: There is still a vision for the appointed time.

“By linear human standards and daylight savings time, it may take a while, but wait on it, for it will surely come.”

Society needs a vision, and I believe God has called and equipped the church to be instruments of God in articulating God’s vision, made known to us through Jesus Christ our Savior, and to do so without apology.

Ours is a vision that is not dependent on arms that kill and maim, but arms that embrace and heal. It is a vision that affirms and proclaims the dignity and value of every human being, not as determined by the dictates of governments, but by the design of God, the God who created human diversity as a sign of divine love, not as a social liability.

What the world needs now is not systems of political or racial supremacy covered by a veneer of exceptionalism nor a system advancing mechanics of humiliation and subjugation.

Instead, we need a holy vision that makes clear there are eternal and uplifting values of love, justice, and peace on which we should order our lives, and these sustainable and renewable values flow not from political parties or platforms but from God.

And once we capture this holy vision, and once this vision captures us, we will find strength to live in hope. Amen!

With Hope,


The Rev. Dr. Jack Sullivan Jr.

Executive Director

The Ohio Council of Churches

(Adapted from the sermon “Stand and Deliver,” by Rev. Dr. Jack Sullivan Jr.)

The Center for Historical Research at Ohio State University invites you to

“Merchants of the Right:

Gun Sellers and the Crisis of American Democracy”

With Jennifer Carlson, Associate Professor

Dept. of Sociology, University of Arizona

Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023

4-5:30 p.m.

165 Thompson Library, Ohio State University

Gun sellers sell more than just guns. They also sell politics. From the research behind her book, Merchants of the Right, award-winning author Jennifer Carlson sheds light on the unparalleled surge in gun purchasing during one of the most dire moments in American history, revealing how conservative political culture was galvanized amid a once-in-a-century pandemic, racial unrest, and a U.S. presidential election that rocked the foundations of American democracy. Drawing on a wealth of in-depth interviews with gun sellers across the United States, Carlson takes readers to the front lines of the culture war over gun rights, offering crucial lessons about the dilemmas confronting us today, arguing that we must reckon with the everyday politics that divide us if we ever hope to restore American democracy to health.

About Jennifer Carlson

Jennifer Carlson is an Associate Professor of Sociology and a MacArthur Fellow (Class of 2022). Her work examines the politics of guns in American life. She is the author of Citizen-Protectors: The Everyday Politics of Guns in an Age of Decline (2015, Oxford University Press), Policing the Second Amendment: Guns, Public Law Enforcement and the Politics of Race (2020, Princeton University Press), and Merchants of the Right: Gun Sellers and the Crisis of Democracy (Forthcoming 2023, Princeton University Press). She is currently the principal investigator on a National Science Foundation grant examining the experiences of gun violence survivors in Florida and California.



First Community Church

Where Everyone is Accepted

1320 Cambridge Boulevard, Columbus

JOB TITLE: Minister of Mission and Community Justice

REPORTS TO: Senior Minister

EFFECTIVE DATE: September 2023

FLSA STATUS: Fulltime-Exempt

HOURS: 40 hours

LOCATION: South Campus

JOB SUMMARY: Creates/implements initiatives and community justice project opportunities at First Community (FC), including community partnerships and engagement; provides leadership, oversight, guidance, and program management to social justice initiatives. Creates/implements a cohesive vision for mission at FC, including interdisciplinary collaboration, community outreach and engagement, oversight of missions spending, guidance, and oversight to mission experiences.



·  Collaborates with other FC program areas to provide mission and community justice opportunities to all members of the worshipping community at FC.

·  Creates and strengthens Central Ohio community partnerships/opportunities for the FC membership to be visible, present, and engaged in ministry to the wider community.

·  Provides staff/pastoral leadership to mission and community justice teams including:

o Refugee Welcome

o  Death Row

o  Community Garden

o  Heart to Heart Food Pantry

o  Trading Post

o  Gun Violence Prevention

o  Racial Equity

o  Environmental Justice

o  LGBTQ+ Advocacy

o  Veterans Advocacy

· Leads mission and community justice volunteer teams and groups.

·  Provides oversight and direction of missions and the community justice ministry spending to Senior Leadership and Governing Board.

· Works with various community leaders and partners in the greater Central Ohio Area.

· Leads Sunday worship to include prayers, scripture readings, welcomes, children’s moments, etc.

· Provides content for and occasionally leads church gatherings.

· Preaches when scheduled by Senior Minister.

· Officiates funerals, weddings, and baptisms as scheduled/requested.

· Direct reports include: Director of Mission



· Seminary degree – Master of Divinity Degree preferred.

· A minimum of 5 years of experience in a local church setting.

· A minimum of 3 years working with community organizations and/or NGO experience.

· Preferred candidate will be comfortable working autonomously and in community ministry settings including evening and night opportunities.

·  Ability to lift 50 pounds.


SETH STEARNS, Executive Director of Operations


First Community Church is an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, veteran status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status or disability (in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act) with respect to employment opportunities.

This position description is not to be construed as an exhaustive statement of accountabilities, duties, responsibilities of requirements. Any individual may be required to perform any other job-related activities or functions requested by his/her manager, subject to reasonable accommodation. First Community Church reserves the right to modify this job description to reflect changes in essential job duties made necessary by changing organizational needs, subject to reasonable accommodation.