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Reflection for the Second Sunday of Advent 7 December 2014

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Reflection for the Second Sunday of Advent

7 December 2014

Rev. Elder Darlene Garner

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.

Isaiah 40:1

comfort
(Photo: ruthfazal.com)

The Season of Advent has always been for me a time for both deep reflection and eager anticipation. The Advent themes of Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace provide weekly opportunities for Christians to prepare our whole selves (body, mind, and spirit) for fulfillment of the promise that Christ will come at Christmas.

 

The second week of Advent invites us to reflect upon Love. Love given and love received. Many of us experience love most profoundly in and through our bodies, and so we reflect now on the body in its physical rather than its emotional form.

 

I am very aware of my physical body. I know how my body feels to me — every nerve, muscle, and organ. I do not know how the various bits and pieces of the body actually work, yet I am grateful for the fact that my body still functions in a way that supports my intention to live a quality life for as long as I can. Though it was not always true for me, I can say today that I love my body and that my body loves me.

 

heart
(Photo: everywheregospel.com)

At the same time, my mind keeps me aware that this body is living in interesting times. Experiencing love in a body is not all about the body giving or receiving “love and light” all of the time. The world is far too complex for such simplistic thinking.

 

For instance, I am an American-born 66-year-old same-gender-loving Christian woman of African, Cherokee, Choctaw, and Irish descent moving in the world as a spiritual leader among a diverse global community. The skin covering this older intercultural powerful lesbian body is Black. As such, it holds the cellular memory of what it has long meant to be Black in America. At the same time, I know that the color of my skin alone does not define all of me. Indeed, I recognize that this Black body occupies some positions of power and privilege.

 

In my spirit, I know that I am not alone in having an awareness of such individual complexity. Many people have a first-hand experience of what it is to live as the victim of someone else’s bias and also what it is to be biased against and to victimize others. A lot of people know what it is to be told in subtle and blatant ways that our lives do not matter; we also know that we do things to show that we devalue another’s life. Every day, many of us pray for the extra portion of grace that is required to survive when you are the embodiment of other people’s fears even as we pray for protection from those that we fear.

weareagreatforce
(Photo: Twitter @rebeccarivas)

We are all in this complex life together — queers, straight folks, women, and children; native peoples and immigrants; peoples of color and white people; people with disabilities, people of all nations, people of different faiths and of no faith at all; the rich and poor, the elderly and those who are ill; those of all colors, beliefs, and persuasions. It does not matter who we are, how our bodies appear, or the level or cause of our fears. Each of us is called to figure out how to love ourselves and one another.

 

We must figure this thing out. Indeed, the very survival of humanity requires that we gain comfort through our co-existence as God’s beloved people. What might such comfort look like? To me, comfort looks a whole lot like justice and mercy, justice that is freely given and mercy that is not denied. The kind of comfort of which I speak comes from reconciliation, not retribution. It comes out of desire, not demand. As for me, I look forward with eager anticipation to the day when all God’s people will live in such comfort in body, mind, and spirit.

 

crying
(Photo: edward-munch.com)

Though some people cannot get along today, the good news for all of us is in knowing that our world and the quality of our relationships with one another really can get better. Actually, Christ comes just a little closer each time we choose to reject fear and instead embrace Advent’s promise of hope, love, joy, and peace prevailing among God’s people. That is all we need for Christmas. May it be so!

 

 

  • Reflexión para el Cuarto Domingo de Adviento 21 de diciembre de 2014
  • Reflection for the Fourth Sunday of Advent 21 December 2014
  • Reflexión del Tercer Domingo de Adviento 14 de diciembre de 2014
  • Reflection for the Third Sunday of Advent 14 December 2014
  • Reflexión para el Segundo Domingo de Adviento 7 de diciembre de 2014
  • Reflection for the Second Sunday of Advent 7 December 2014
  • Reflexión para el Primer Domingo de Adviento 30 Noviembre 2014
  • Reflection for the First Sunday of Advent 30 November 2014
  • Reflexión para el Primer Domingo de Adviento 30 Noviembre 2014

    Adviento

    Reflexión para el Primer Domingo de Adviento

    30 Noviembre 2014

    Rev. Elder Héctor Gutiérrez

    “¡Ojalá rasgases el cielo y bajases!”

    Isaías 63:16

     

    “Velen, pues no saben cuándo vendrá el dueño de la casa.”

    Mark 13:33

     

    Si revisamos la situación que los Judíos enfrentaron en tiempos de Isaías después de la cruel experiencia del exilio, y los grandes retos que tenían frente a ellos, podemos fácilmente comprender sus sentimientos sobrecogidos. Nosotros, justo ahora en el siglo XXI, no tenemos una vida muy diferente a la relatada por el texto. Así como ellos, tenemos dos opciones: simplemente aceptar con resignación las cosas como son y sobrevivir recordando los buenos tiempos de antaño, o podemos aprovechar este momento como una gran oportunidad para cambiar nuestra realidad y nuestro futuro, en este presente incierto y volátil.

     

    Como comunidad Cristiana, estamos entrando en el tiempo de Adviento, o Pequeña Cuaresma, como solían llamarle nuestro antepasados en la fe. En nuestras manos, tenemos la oportunidad una vez más, de transformarnos al transformar el mundo.

    Es muy claro, pienso, que nuestro mundo se encuentra en una desesperada necesidad de transformación mientras somos testigos de la locura que nuestro mundo está experimentando. Guerra en algunos países (Ucrania, etc.); devastaciones en otros lugares (el calentamiento global nos está retando a hacer algo); confrontaciones en muchas ciudades (Ferguson, etc.), la terrible realidad en mi país (México) con miles de desaparecidos entre ellos los 43 estudiantes; crímenes de odio y el Ébola y otras enfermedades que afectan a multitudes.

     

    La realidad de nuestro mundo complejo, puede sobrecoger a cualquiera, pero quiero recordar las palabras de Gerhard Ebeling quien escribió, “lo más real de lo real, no es la realidad misma, sino sus posibilidades“. Y como soñador que soy, y con nuestro bagaje humano y cristiano, debemos enfocar nuestros esfuerzos en las posibilidades que están reclamando nuestro compromiso a la trasformación. Creo firmemente que no todo está perdido.

     

    Dios necesita nuestras manos, nuestros pies, nuestros corazones, nuestras mentes para hacer posible la transformación en este mundo. No es suficiente orar por esto. Hoy más que nunca el Rev. Troy Perry, nuestro fundador, tiene razón cuando dice: “algunas oraciones necesitan de nuestros pies.”

    Hoy más que nunca, necesitamos “¡estar alertas!” con nuestros ojos y corazones, atentos al futuro que queremos dejar a las personas que vienen después de nosotros. Debemos ser conscientes del futuro que estamos dejándoles, que está directamente relacionado con nuestras decisiones y nuestras acciones justas. Necesitamos evitar la tentación de vivir en la rutina de nuestras vidas seguras. El Adviento nos llama a arriesgarlo todo.

     

    La principal importancia de este tiempo, pienso que no es la observancia del adviento en sí; la importancia es el significado y la transformación que podemos recibir para nuestros ministerios, para nuestras vidas, para nuestras Iglesias y para nuestras comunidades.

     

    esperando

    ¿Qué tipo de adviento están esperando nuestros hermanos y hermanas? ¿Cómo debemos vivir el tiempo de adviento entre muchos en nuestras sociedades, que no esperan ya nada?

     

    Como cristianos, no solamente nos estamos preparando para celebrar la Temporada Navideña, esa sería una meta muy devastadora en este Primer Domingo de Adviento; nuestro compromiso debería ser esperar y ayudar a establecer el Reino de Dios en este mundo, creando algo completamente diferente a la realidad actual.

     

    Podemos, posiblemente, rechazar el celebrar el Adviento, pero no tenemos permiso de rechazar el extender las manos para ayudar a todas las personas en esta tierra nuestra, de cualquier religión, para trabajar arduamente en traer el advenimiento de un nuevo mundo.

     

    Permítanme concluir mi reflexión sumando mi voz a la de mis hermanos y hermanas de México en su demanda: VIVOS SE LOS LLEVARON, VIVOS LOS QUEREMOS.

    43veces

     

  • Reflexión para el Cuarto Domingo de Adviento 21 de diciembre de 2014
  • Reflection for the Fourth Sunday of Advent 21 December 2014
  • Reflexión del Tercer Domingo de Adviento 14 de diciembre de 2014
  • Reflection for the Third Sunday of Advent 14 December 2014
  • Reflexión para el Segundo Domingo de Adviento 7 de diciembre de 2014
  • Reflection for the Second Sunday of Advent 7 December 2014
  • Reflexión para el Primer Domingo de Adviento 30 Noviembre 2014
  • Reflection for the First Sunday of Advent 30 November 2014
  • Ferguson and Racism: An Epistle to America

    Dear America, we greet you as Christians who believe that freedom in Christ means that all persons deserve respect and equality before God and the law.

     

    Today, we pray for Ferguson, the family of Michael Brown, and for people everywhere who are impacted by racism. We write to you as spiritual leaders of Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) and join with the millions around the world who grieve the death of Michael Brown, who shot down with eight bullets while unarmed and holding his hands in the air. We grieve that the grand jury felt there was not even enough evidence to have this case go to trial. We grieve that so many people are in denial about the realities of racism today.

     
    MCC was founded almost 50 years ago to provide a spiritual home to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people. We have been a target of hate, and we come from all races. We know all oppression must be challenged because every person is created in the image of God. It is time for all faithful people around the world to pray and act to end racism.

    Michael Brown (Ferguson, Missouri, USA)

    (Photo: coxrare.files.wordpress.com)

     

     

    As Christians, we remember how Jesus was challenged to go beyond his own cultural prejudice by a woman who was of the scorned Canaanite race. (Matthew 15:21-28) We remember the lives of so many African Americans who heard the Gospel and knew they were meant to be free. We remember all those of every race who have been willing to stand up — and even lay down their lives for freedom and justice — regardless of race, language, or identity.

     

    As citizens of the world, we decry the use of war equipment to attack peaceful demonstrators. We stand up and speak out against the systematic criminalization of people of color. Just as Jesus overturned the tables of power and exploitation, surely Jesus would condemn a system that targets people by their skin color and economic status.

     

    We must drop all pretense of so-called color blindness and pick up the mantle of prophecy to urge everyone to learn the facts about racial discrimination. In particular, to understandFerguson, we must understand the larger realities of African Americans:

    Humanity has the power to do great good. Systemic racism can be dismantled. The Berlin wall was toppled. Apartheid was overthrown. Nazi Germany was defeated. Slavery was stopped. Systems of oppression are constructed by human beings and can be deconstructed by human beings. Will it be easy? No, but like every good thing we work for, it will be worth the effort. Our only regret will be that we did not act more quickly.

     

    We urge all people of good will to ACT TODAY.

     

    The Council of Elders of Metropolitan Community Churches:

    Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, Rev. Dr. Mona West, Rev. Hector Gutierrez, Rev. Darlene Garner

    Reflection for the First Sunday of Advent 30 November 2014

    adventbanner

    Reflection for the First Sunday of Advent

    30 November 2014

    Rev. Elder Héctor Gutiérrez

    “Look out down from heaven, look at us!”

    Isaiah 63:16

     

    “Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.”

    Mark 13:33

     

    If we review the situation that the Jews were facing in Isaiah after the cruel exile experience, and the huge challenges that they had in front of them, we can easily understand their feeling overwhelmed. We, right now in the 21st century, are not living a life that is so different from the life they were living. Just like them, we have two options: just accept with resignation what is and live our lives accordingly by remembering the good old days; or we can seize this moment as a great opportunity to change our reality and our future from this uncertain and volatile present.

     

    As a Christian community, we are entering in the season of Advent, or Small Lenten Season, as it used to be call by our ancestors in the faith. In our hands, we have the opportunity once again to be transforming ourselves as we transform the world!

     

    IWantChange

    It is apparent, I believe, that our world is in desperate need of transformation as we bear witness to the madness that our world is experiencing. War in some countries (Ukraine, etc.); devastation in other places (the global climate change that is compelling us); confrontations in many cities (Ferguson, etc.); the hellish reality in my home country (Mexico) with thousands of people missing and presumed dead, like the 43 students recently found; hate crimes; Ebola and a multitude of other kinds of diseases.

     

    The reality of our complex world, of course, can overwhelm anyone, but I want us to consider the words of Gerhard Ebeling who wrote, “the most real of the real thing, is not the reality itself, but its possibilities.” And as the dreamer that I am, and with our Christian and human grounding, we must focus our efforts on the possibilities that are calling for our commitment to transformation. I stand fast in believing that not everything is lost.

     

    God needs our hands, our feet, our hearts, and our minds to bring about a transformation in this world. It is not enough just to pray about it. Rev. Troy Perry, our Founder, is right when he says: “Some prayers need our feet.”

     

    beTheChurch
    (Photo: fbctt.org)

    Now more than ever, we need to “be on guard!” with our eyes and hearts, paying attention to the future that we want to leave for the people who are coming after us. Thus, we must be mindful of the future we are leaving them, as it directly correlates to our decisions and our actions right now. We need to refuse the temptation to live in the routine of our safe lives. Advent calls us to risk it all.

     

    The importance of this season, I believe, is not the observance of the season itself; the importance is the meaning and transformation that we can receive for our ministries, for our lives, for our churches, and for our communities.

     

    expecting

    What kind of Advent are you expecting, my siblings? How must we live the Advent Season among the many in our world who do not expect anything?

     

    As Christians, we are not just preparing ourselves to celebrate the Christmas Season, as that can be a devastating goal for us this First Sunday of Advent; our commitment should be to expect and to help to establish the real Realm of God in the world, creating something completely different than the current reality.

     

    Maybe we can refuse to celebrate the Advent, but we are not allowed to refuse to lend a helping hand to all people of this earth, to work hard to bring about the advent of a new world.

     

    Let me conclude my reflection by adding my voice to my siblings in Mexico in their demand: VIVOS SE LOS LLEVARON, VIVOS LOS QUEREMOS (You took them alive from us, alive we want them back with us).

    43veces

  • Reflexión para el Cuarto Domingo de Adviento 21 de diciembre de 2014
  • Reflection for the Fourth Sunday of Advent 21 December 2014
  • Reflexión del Tercer Domingo de Adviento 14 de diciembre de 2014
  • Reflection for the Third Sunday of Advent 14 December 2014
  • Reflexión para el Segundo Domingo de Adviento 7 de diciembre de 2014
  • Reflection for the Second Sunday of Advent 7 December 2014
  • Reflexión para el Primer Domingo de Adviento 30 Noviembre 2014
  • Reflection for the First Sunday of Advent 30 November 2014
  • Statement in response to immigration reform actions by U.S. President Barack Obama

    November 21, 2014 – Metropolitan Community Churches and the Global Justice Institute applaud U.S. President Barack Obama for making bold moves to reform the U.S. immigration system.  Building on the immigrant reform actions of his nine predecessors, he announced changes that would permit children brought to the U.S. by their parents to remain indefinitely, expand the system of work permits, reduce barriers to higher education, and support family unification for certain bi-national families.  These measures constitute a major step in the right direction.

     

    While we applaud President Obama, we are reminded that these actions fall short of the comprehensive immigration reform we, along with all other fair-minded stakeholders, have been seeking for years.  We must not leave LGBT families separated across borders, isolate and marginalize LGBT asylum seekers, or exclude any immigrant group from access to health care and social services.  Money spent on border security would better serve immigrants’ need for quality health care, education, affordable housing.  Despite these shortcomings, the President’s reforms constitute an expanded foundation upon which we must pursue greater freedoms.

     

    We remind the President and Congress that immigrants are our sisters and brothers, neighbors, co-workers, friends, classmates, and fellow parishioners. They are contributors to healthy, vibrant communities. They are all children of God who deserve dignity, respect, and the freedom of opportunity that all other U.S. residents enjoy.  Because executive actions by any President are temporary, we call on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation to ensure that all who desire a better life in the United States have a permanent and legal pathway toward that pursuit.

     

    For more information on MCC/GJI’s immigration reform principles, see our statement “No Stranger to God: A Call for Sensible Immigration Reform that Supports and Reunites Families

     

    National Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath

    A diverse coalition of faith groups has come together to oppose gun violence in the U.S.  Faiths United, which MCC and the Global Justice Institute have endorsed, is inviting congregations, houses of worship, and people of faith to participate in the annual Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath Weekend (Thursday – Sunday, December 11-14, 2014).  The timing coincides with the anniversary of the elementary school shootings in Newtown,GunViolencePreventionSabbathConnecticut.  Sponsors hope to double participating from the previous Sabbath’s 1,000 places of worship. The weekend will start with a special December 11 event in the nation’s capital hosted by theWashington National Cathedral.  It will include an interfaith service honoringthose whose lives were lost to gunfire, special prayers for their families, and training sessions to help community leaders implement strategies to reduce gun violence.

     

    The Public Policy Team encourages MCC congregations to take Faiths United’s Pledge Against Gun Violence and to sign up to host a local gun violence prevention event during this special weekend.

     

    To aid you in these and other efforts, Faiths United is providing the following resources:

    Through faith, we find the inspiration to be the blessed peacemakers the world so desperately needs.

     

    For more information, contact the Public Policy Team at mccadvocacy@mccchurch.net.

    Continue The Momentum For Environmental Justice

    World leaders are gathering again to develop next steps in addressing the global climate change crisis.  Earlier this year, Rev. Elder Dr. Nancy Wilson, Presiding Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches, helped lead a diverse coalition of faith groups participating in the People’s Climate March. The march called on world leaders gathered for the UN Summit on Climate Change to take an aggressive stand against air pollution. These leaders will assemble again in Lima, Peru (1-12 December 2014) for the Framework Convention on Climate Change. As part of the 20th Convening of the Parties, they will identify the broad areas of international agreement around carbon emmissions caps, financial support for clean energy production, and workforce development for “green” economies.

    10565081_710033962365285_5278859586515675537_n

    Faith groups will be present to ensure they produce a framework that reflects our core values of justice, broad enviornmental stewardship, jobs for all, protection for the vulnerable, and relief from poverty.  We must be bold.

    Because of the work and advocacy of activists the world over, Global leaders ARE LISTENING.  This week, China and the United States of America, two of the world’s largest air polluters, announced a new program to reduce carbon emissions over the next twenty years.  We must keep up the pressure so that these nations fully implement the plan and that other nations join in the effort.

    Here are some actions you can take, wherever you live in the world, to maintain the momentum leading up to the Lima conference:

    • Contact your national government’s foreign ministry or (for expatriates) your local embassy and demand that leaders issue legally binding solutions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide meaningful support for poor and vulnerable communities.
    • Submit a personal pledge of sustainability and share it with Creation Justice Ministries on Facebook and Twitter and share your reflections every day during the meeting in Lima (1-12 December 2014), Tag @ourvoices2015 and use the hashtag #climatechorus
    • If you reside in the USA, sign Creation Justice Ministries’ petition to President Obama and the Congress and send a letter telling the Environmental Protection Agency to move forward with its Clean Power Plan.

    Reflecting our sacred duty to exercise stewardship over all of God’s creation, MCC stands in solidarity with environmental justice advocates around the world.
    For more information, contact the Public Policy Team at mccadvocacy@mccchurch.net.

    Statement: World AIDS Day

    WAD2014

    One year ago, we marked the 25th Anniversary of World AIDS Day. Who among us is better off? PReP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) protocols are becoming more widely available each month. Activists and advocates the world over have endorsed this approach as a major milestone toward ending the HIV epidemic. Earlier this year, MCC issued a statement applauding the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for its approval of PReP. We knew that it was not the cure all for which we have prayed for decades. Combined with access to the basic necessities of life (food, clothing, shelter, and systems of love and support), PRep can and has helped many. But looking back over the past year, we remain challenged by the fact that, throughout the world, the faces of AIDS remain stubbornly brown, stubbornly poor, and alarmingly female and MSM (men who have sex with men). Scripture tells us that Jesus saw himself in those around him, particularly those in need {Matthew 25}. We must, too. They are us, and we are them. Medical advances continue, but they remain out of reach for far too many.

     

    As a movement that is concerned with the holy integration of our sexuality and our spirituality, MCC holds to a positive spirituality concerning all bodies.  Positive Spirituality is a spirituality that sees our sexuality as a part of our wholeness. Living into MCC’s core values of Inclusion, Community, Spiritual Transformation, and Social Action means that no one can be left beyond the reach of our prayers, our loving embrace, and our activism.

     

    We are called to do hard work. Loving those whom they say are unlovable. Touching the untouchable. Defending those who are defenseless. Medicine alone is not the answer. Global systems of domination and exploitation rob people with HIV from meaningful access to cutting edge anti-retroviral medications. They withhold housing, shelter, employment, family, love, and spiritual companionship. There is only one fight: OUR fight. The late United States Senator Paul Wellstone famously said, “We all do better when we ALL do better.” MCC, we can continue to provide global leadership so that we ALL do better, everyone, everywhere.

     

    Perhaps more than any other global religious movement, Metropolitan Community Churches knows that Faith Is Greater Than AIDS (Faith > AIDS). The first International AIDS Vigil of Prayer was held at MCC San Diego (USA) in 1986. This later evolved into World AIDS Day.

     

    We invite you to join MCC worshipping bodies around the globe and take the following actions:

    • Take pictures of your Advent-themed worship space, with members and congregational leaders wearing AIDS ribbons and/or red attire, and post them on Facebook under the Ending HIV/AIDS One Prayer at a Time group between now and 1 December.
    • Visit MCC’s World AIDS Day page for resources to help with worship this Sunday, including litanies, prayers.
    • Include a specially-dedicated prayer around the theme of “Ending HIV/AIDS One Prayer At A Time.”
    • Contact a local HIV/AIDS service organization to start or expand use of your worship site as a testing location (global locator site).
    • Know Your Status, and help others become more comfortable in knowing their status.
    • Contact your local, state/provincial, and national government leaders and urge them to take action to end the criminalization of HIV.

     

    We are blessed to have so many other faith traditions join this work to ensure that all HIV+ persons have resources, medical care, housing, food, clothing, and family support. More will never be enough until HIV is eradicated. This work is not done.

     

    This statement is a collaboration between the Public Policy Team of MCC, the Global Justice Institute, and the HIV/AIDS Advisory Council of MCC.

    Church World Service – Grassroots Organizer

    Reports to: Associate Director for Immigration and Refugee Policy
    Team: Immigration & Refugee Program
    Location: Flexible remote location
    Grade: 4
    Starting salary: $40,000 – $45,000
    Status: Exempt, Non-Bargaining Unit

    Church World Service (CWS) is a not-for-profit organization working to eradicate hunger and poverty and to promote peace and justice around the world. CWS does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability or veteran status in employment or in the provision of services.

    To Apply:
    Please visit the link below to apply directly online to this position:
    http://cws.applicantstack.com/x/apply/a2h9xbor70c9

    Please note that CWS does not accept resumes for positions that are not posted.  All applicants are required to submit their resume using the on-line applicant tracking system.

    Communications
    CWS uses Applicant Stack for all communications, please be sure to check your e-mail frequently and please check your junk/spam folder.  Due to the volume of applications that we receive, only those individuals shortlisted will be contacted.

    Primary Purpose:

    The main responsibilities will be to develop effective grassroots organizing and education efforts as directed by CWS advocacy priorities at the local, state and federal levels. The Grassroots Organizer will take direction from the National Grassroots Coordinator and collaborate with CWS refugee resettlement offices and affiliates, communities of faith, and partners around the country; build the education and organizing capacity of CWS member communions and partners; maintain records of all grassroots activities and contacts; collaborate with key partner organizations on events in support of immigrants rights and humanitarian foreign assistance; and work with CWS advocacy staff to relate grassroots activities to relevant local, state and national decision makers. The Grassroots Organizer will function as a part of the CWS Advocacy Team and the Immigration and Refugee Program Team, and as such will participate in strategic planning and program meetings, collaborate with CWS refugee resettlement offices and affiliates and communions, and maintain frequent communication with other CWS partners and constituents at the regional levels.

    Essential Duties:

    • Assist the National Grassroots Coordinator in developing multi-issue grassroots organizing structure;
    • Map out local organizing committees throughout the country;
    • Work with CWS refugee resettlement offices and affiliates, support CWS member communions and their congregations, and other faith- and community-based partners to assess needs, identify leaders, develop resources, and organize and lead trainings and events;
    • Connect faith-based organizations with partners in their regions, including youth and community and migrant rights organizations;
    • Maintain familiarity with existing web-based, print, video, and new media resources on immigrants rights and humanitarian assistance, and develop and update resources as needed;
    • Collect information on local events to share electronically and in-person with public officials;
    • Coordinate with the Associate Director for Immigration and Refugee Policy and the Director for Advocacy to ensure organizing and education is informed and collaborative;
    • Conduct organizing and education trainings for constituents coming to DC and preparing for in-district visits to their public officials;
    • Track all events to evaluate effectiveness by region and as a consolidated report to inform future organizing work;
    • Track all relationships and manage contacts, identify and map local partners and maintain database to enhance commitments to mobilizing for immigrants rights and humanitarian assistance;
    • Organize meetings, trainings, conferences and events on grassroots organizing;
    • Work with the CWS Media Team to implement communications that generate visibility and awareness of the work of CWS and its affiliates and partners;
    • Consult with local organizing committees on strategic campaign development and implementation to educate the public and policy makers about the negative consequences of local immigration enforcement efforts and of cuts to foreign assistance;
    • Educate CWS offices and affiliate and local faith communities on civic participation initiatives such as voter registration, voter education and voter protection;
    • Assist in the implementation of the CWS seed grant program for local organizing efforts;
    • Assist the CWS Media Team with online organizing activities through social media;
    • Strengthen leadership development among CWS refugee constituents and build local organizing capacity among refugee groups so that they are educated and prepared to do effective education and organizing on issues that impact refugee communities, including immigrants rights and humanitarian assistance.

    Qualifications:

    Education: Bachelor’s degree or higher in related field

    Experience:  A minimum of three years experience in grassroots and community organizing, social justice work, immigrant and refugee rights, and/or campaigning.  Familiarity with immigration and refugee issues and international humanitarian assistance. Experience working with immigrants and refugees on community projects. Must have experience conducting trainings and developing resources, planning events, managing a budget and working with partners from diverse faith traditions, immigrant and human rights organizations, and service providers. Well organized, with excellent communication, writing and speaking skills. Ability to travel domestically.  Able to work flexible hours, some evening or weekend and off-site work may be required.  Familiarity with faith-based and humanitarian organizations. Experience working with immigrants, refugees, youth, and experience working with local print, radio, TV and/or non-traditional, new and social media a plus.

    Other Skills:  Computer literacy in new media, social media, word processing, spreadsheet and database applications, webinar technology, video editing, and Microsoft Office applications preferred. Fluency in Spanish or languages spoken by refugees in the United States (ex: Somali, Nepali, Karen, Arabic, preferred.

    Other Requirements:  This position is for one year with possibility of renewal.  The position also requires frequent travel across the country, including but not limited to Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, Missouri, Kentucky, Minnesota, Indiana, Nebraska, Illinois, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and California.

    Competencies:

    Communication
    Ensure effective exchanges of information with others.  Examples of skills and behaviors include speaking to others respectfully; expressing ideas in a logical, organized way; sharing information appropriately; and clarity and conciseness in written communication.

    Relationships
    Ensure constructive and supportive interactions with others.  Examples of skills and behaviors include being positive and supportive when working with others; sharing information and resources freely; resolving conflict constructively; and proactively working to remove obstacles to success for others.

    Job Knowledge
    Utilize and apply job related knowledge to complete job tasks at a level that meets or exceeds expectations.  Examples of skills and behaviors include utilizing job knowledge to solve problems or develop new approaches; maintaining or enhancing skills through continuing education; and taking on projects that will develop or enhance skills.

    Teamwork
    Work effectively and contribute as a member of a team.  Examples of skills and behaviors include supporting other team members by sharing information; covering the work of others during absences, vacations, etc.; and actively participating in developing ideas for ways to increase team effectiveness.

    Problem Solving
    Analyze information and develop solutions to challenges that arise during the course of performing a job.  Examples of skills and behaviors include researching and collecting facts; defining the issues and the parties affected; formulating options/solutions for addressing the problem; and engendering support for and implementing the solution.

    Operational Leadership
    Successfully lead a group to achieve operational goals.  Examples of skills and behaviors include priority setting; timely decision making; planning and organizing; delegation; and managing and measuring work.

    Building and Leading Effective Teams
    Earn the respect of team members, create strong morale and spirit on the team and utilize the unique skills of all team members.  Examples of skills and behaviors including managing diverse relationships; flexibility; being open and receptive; running effective team meetings; and exhibiting integrity and trustworthiness.

    Strategic Leadership
    Accurately anticipate future consequences and trends and translate them into the fulfillment of workable strategies and plans.  Examples of skills and behaviors include problem solving; dealing with ambiguity, creativity; innovation management and business acumen.

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