In much of my early life, I felt powerless to make any real change in our culture. I thought about how I could change myself, and I thought about how I could change people close to me, but rarely if ever my environment or the systems that govern our human communities. My family is not particularly political, and so I suspect this was a factor. However, a number of experiences, as well as changes in my theology (thinking about God), have shifted this for me. I am now inclined to say that Christians ought to be some of the people at the forefront of environmental and societal change for good. We are the people who pray that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. We are the people who seek to discern and live by God’s “love for the Land” (John 3:16). We are the people who hear Jesus sound loudly the notes of caring for the weak and outcast.
I was happy to discover that st. Augustine’s has a connection to the Greater Edmonton Alliance. In fact, we have in our midst some of the most active members! Joe Sparling just had a meeting with the provincial Senior’s Advocate yesterday in order to update her on GEA’s work with seniors. Joe and Betty S., as well Jim and Sheila New are on the Seniors team working politically for the needs of seniors in Edmonton.
GEA has been in transition the last couple years, but there is a move to reinvigorate and revive the larger work of the alliance in Edmonton.
GEA is hosting its first “listening campaign” this next month which will serve as the foundation and direction for future work. They follow one of the most effective community organizing models that was shaped by the IAF and has been tested internationally. In basic form it is a circular model of:
a) listening widely (to the pressures facing the member organizations)
b) discerning the key issue (which is achievable and winnable)
d) acting (in a respectful and constructive manner with key leaders)
e) celebrating the achievement
…and returning to the beginning to start again
We will have a chance to share in this process and add our voice to the listening process in due time.
For now, we celebrate the invitation of God to be people working for the good of the whole human community.