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Reflexión de Adviento para la Víspera de Navidad 24 de diciembre de 2014

Adviento

Reflexión de Adviento para la Víspera de Navidad

24 de diciembre de 2014

Rev. Obispa Dra. Nancy Wilson

SantaLaNocha
(Foto: word.photos)

Santa la Noche

 

Me encanta la música de Navidad — todo tipo — clásica, sagrada, jazz, country, gospel, pop. Este año, estoy llevando a mi cuñada y a un amigo a un espacio en donde el público puede cantar canciones de Navidad. Una de mis ejercicios espirituales durante el Adviento es detener mi práctica de escuchar las noticias en mi coche para sólo escuchar música de Navidad, por lo general clásica ligera. Espero que esto haga de mí una conductora más amable y alegre.

 

Probablemente mi villancico favorito es aquel que yo siempre insistí, cuando era pastora, que escucháramos en un sólo en la víspera de Navidad: Santa la Noche o “Cantique de Noel ‘en el original francés. A mediados del siglo 19 el comerciante de vinos y poeta Placide Cappeau lo compuso para su iglesia, a pesar de que era anticlerical y ateo (!). Mi teoría es que algunas personas dicen que son ateos, en protesta por los abusos de la iglesia y por su mala teología. Tal vez eso era cierto de Cappeau.

 

El villancico es más extenso de lo que normalmente escuchamos, pues a menudo eliminamos el segundo verso. Es un villancico anticuado y pintoresco, y sin embargo, tiene algunos temas muy propios del siglo 21. Para mí el lenguaje de género se mitiga un poco por el estribillo, “oh santa la noche”, que suscita un sentimiento incluyente, una perspectiva de género más abierta. Admitámoslo, los villancicos son difíciles de hacer inclusivos, ya que son tan familiares en el surco de nuestros recuerdos.

 

Pero con esas limitaciones, no puedo al oírlo — con la música dramática, o incluso al leer la letra — evitar que mis ojos se llenen de lágrimas. Los ateos que traicionan su profundo amor por Jesús o por lo divino siempre me tocan. Supongo que Cappeau era “espiritual pero no religioso”. Si cada vez que escucho esto tuviera una moneda, probablemente sería rica!

 

Pensé compartir mi propia lectio divina de la letra de este villancico con usted. Tal vez lo va a escuchar en la víspera de Navidad, o cuando se está en un centro comercial, o al conducir, o sólo porque llega a su cabeza…

 

Santa la noche, hermosas las estrellas
La noche cuando nació el Salvador (querido salvador)

 

El villancico está llena de piedad y emoción. Valoro la experiencia que he tenido en ICM, cuando en la recuperación de nuestra fe, la gente común se atraganta de emoción y sentimiento al leer las Escrituras o relatos evangélicos familiares. Mis más profundas experiencias de la adoración en ICM son aquellas en que el Espíritu brotó en nosotros/ nosotras, juntos/juntas, en un momento de oír la verdad y el amor  o un momento de  profecía . Sé que usted sabe lo que quiero decir, lo que significa llamar al Cristo de la historia, “nuestro querido Salvador!” En marcado contraste con un cruel, despótico, “Querido Líder”, la vulnerabilidad, la compasión y la justicia de Jesús son los mejores regalos a todas las personas marginadas.

 

Harto el mundo estaba en pecado y error
Hasta que él apareció y el alma sintió su valor.
Un estremecimiento de esperanza, al mundo cansado
Por allá se rompe una nueva y gloriosa mañana,

 

Un mundo cansado! Oh, cómo es una verdad a más de un siglo y medio de distancia. Cansado en Pakistán y Ferguson. Cansado en Belén y Uganda. Cómo anhelamos una nueva y gloriosa mañana! Cómo estamos ansiosos/as estamos por señales de esperanza, de paz!

 

grafitti
(Foto: californiathroughmylens.com)

Caígamos de rodillas! Oh escuchemos las voces de los ángeles
O noche divina,  la noche en que nació Cristo,
Oh noche divina, oh noche, oh noche divina!

 

¿Estamos dispuestos a ser sacudidos espiritualmente por nuestros pies y ser lo suficientemente humilde para caer de rodillas? Tengo poderosas imágenes, recuerdos, de Obispos ICM literalmente de rodillas y rezando juntos, durante una crisis o en acción de gracias por algún milagro o avance. Momentos en mi propia vida, que han causado que yo ore de una manera que me acerca al suelo.

 

Liderados por la luz de la fe  radiantemente serena
Con los corazones que brillan intensamente por su cuna estamos
Así liderados por la luz de una estrella brillando dulcemente
Aquí llegaron los hombres sabios de una tierra Oriente

 

El Rey de Reyes, quedó así en humilde pesebre
En todas nuestras pruebas, nacido para ser nuestro amigo…

 

Aquí, el lenguaje anticuado nos puede hacer una mueca de dolor. Pero todo es redimido en esta línea: Jesús, nacido para ser nuestro amigo, el amigo de los pecadores, de las personas que están a la altura de la justicia y de la paz, del amor y de la gracia! Para nuestro movimiento ICM, estas palabras resuenan. En todas nuestras tribulaciones, hay Uno que nació para ser nuestro amigo, para luchar junto a nosotros/as, darnos seguridad y poder. Pienso en las tribulaciones actuales, los abortos involuntarios de la justicia. Las tribulaciones cotidianas de aquellos que aún con tres trabajos con salario mínimo no pueden sustentar a sus familias. Esta semana, tomé un minuto para sonreír al joven que empaquetó mis comestibles en la tienda, un jovencito afroamericano de sobre los 16 años, quien me respondió con una sonrisa. En el camino al estacionamiento, se me llenaron los ojos de lágrimas pensando en su madre y su tribulación diaria al enviarlo a su rutina cotidiana, sin saber lo que podría enfrentar simplemente por caminar en la calle. Oren por ella, y por nosotros/as para que podamos solucionar este dolor innecesario.

 

Él conoce nuestras necesidades, a nuestra debilidad no le son ajenas
He aquí vuestro Rey! Ante él inclinémonos con humildad!
He aquí vuestro Rey! Ante él inclinémonos con humildad

 

Verdaderamente Él nos enseñó a amarnos unos a otros
Su ley es amor, y su evangelio es la paz
Cadenas se rompen, para el hermano que es esclavo.
Y en su nombre toda la opresión cesará!

chains
(Foto: mdsrc.org)

Este es siempre el verso que me captura. Imagínese! Un villancico en donde se menciona la palabra “esclavo”, escrito en el momento de lucha abolicionista en el mundo occidental. Pero amigos/amigas, este versículo no es anticuado o pintoresco — es una acusación a mí, ya que todos estos siglos después, hay más esclavos que nunca — que son nuestros hermanos y hermanas, en la trata y la explotación, golpeados y encarcelados. Jóvenes sin hogar. En nuestras ciudades y barrios, invisibles y esperando por nosotros/as para romper todas las cadenas y poner fin a este crimen contra la humanidad y contra Dios.

 

NoALaTrata
(Foto: taringa.net)

 

Ahora un poco más inclusivo,

 

Dulces himnos de alegría se oyen en coros de agradecimiento,
Que todos dentro de nosotros alabamos su santo nombre
Cristo es nuestro Dios! Oh, alabaré tu nombre por siempre!
Tu poder y la gloria por siempre proclaman
Oh santa la noche, oh santa la noche! 

 

Que el poder de Aquel que creció para derribar la injusticia, sane toda enfermedad y que esta noche nos conecte con todo lo que es divino, santo y bueno.

 

Amén.

Bono
Aquí mi versión favorita del villancico:

 

Nota de traducción: Este villancico ha sido traducido al español y ha sido cantado en muchas iglesias, sobre todo protestantes por mucho tiempo. Sin embargo la traducción al español es un tanto diferente a la traducción al inglés, por lo que hemos hecho una traducción más literal. Abajo la traducción más común.

 

Santa la noche hermosas las estrellas
La noche cuando nació el Señor
El mundo envuelto estuvo en sus querellas.
Hasta que Dios nos envió al Salvador
Una esperanza todo el mundo siente
La luz de un nuevo día al fin brilló
Hoy adorad a Cristo reverente,
¡Oh, noche divina!¡Nació el Salvador!
Divina noche de Cristo el Señor
Hoy adorad a Cristo reverente,
¡Oh, noche divina!¡Nació el Salvador!
Divina noche de Cristo el Señor

 

Magos vinieron en real alianza
Siguiendo un astro de gloriosa luz
Hoy por la luz de fe y esperanza
Guiados veremos a Cristo Jesùs
Nació el Rey de reyes en pesebre
Amigo es El de todo pecador
Al Salvador venid con alma alegre
Postrados dad gloria al Divino Salvador
Dad gloria eterna a Cristo el Salvador.
Al Salvador venid con alma alegre
Postrados dad gloria al Divino Salvador
Dad gloria eterna a Cristo el Salvador.

 

Nos enseñó a amarnos unos a otros
Su ley amor, su evangelio trae paz
Nos enseñó que hermanos somos todos
Y de opresión El nos lleva a Su luz
Gozosos hoy con gratitud cantando
Al nombre dulce del Señor load
Hoy su poder y gloria proclamando,
A Cristo dad gloria y honor y majestad
Dad gloria eterna a Cristo el Salvador.
Hoy su poder y gloria proclamando,
A Cristo dad gloria y honor y majestad
Dad gloria eterna a Cristo el Salvador.

  • Reflexión de Adviento para el día de Navidad 25 de diciembre de 2014
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  • Reflexión de Adviento para la Víspera de Navidad 24 de diciembre de 2014
  • Advent Reflection for Christmas Eve 24 December 2014
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  • Reflection for the Second Sunday of Advent 7 December 2014
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  • Reflection for the First Sunday of Advent 30 November 2014
  • Advent Reflection for Christmas Eve 24 December 2014

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    Advent Reflection for Christmas Eve

    24 December 2014

    Rev. Elder Dr. Nancy Wilson

    OHolyNight
    (Photo: extraordinaryintelligence.com)
    O Holy Night

     

    I love Christmas music — all kinds of it — classical, sacred, jazz, country, gospel, pop. This year, I am dragging my sister-in-law and a friend to a Messiah sing-along. One of my spiritual practices during Advent is to fast from listening to news in my car and only listen to Christmas music, usually light classical. I hope it makes me a more kind and cheerful driver.

     

    Probably my favorite Christmas carol is the one I always insisted we hear as a solo on Christmas Eve when I was a pastor, “O Holy Night,” or “Cantique de Noel’ in the original French. The wine merchant and poet Placide Cappeau composed it for his home church, though he was anticlerical and an atheist (!), in the mid-19th century. My theory is that some people say they are atheists in protest of abuses from the church and its bad theology.  Maybe that was true of Cappeau.

     

    The carol is longer than we usually hear, as we often eliminate the second verse. There is much that is so dated and quaint in the carol, and yet there are some very 21st century themes. The gender language is mitigated a little for me by the refrain, “oh night divine,” that calls forth a more open, gender inclusive feeling. Let’s admit it, carols are harder to make inclusive because they are so familiar in the groove of our memories.

     

    But with those limitations, I cannot hear it — with the very dramatic music, or even read the lyrics — without tearing up. Atheists who betray their profound love of Jesus or of the Divine always get to me. I guess he was “spiritual but not religious.” If I had a dime for every time someone told me that!

    I thought I would share my own lectio divina of the lyrics with you. Maybe you will hear this carol yourself on Christmas Eve, or when you are in a mall, or driving, or just in your head…

    O holy night, the stars are brightly shining,
    It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth…

    The carol is filled with emotional, even sentimental piety. I treasure the experience I have had in MCC, when in reclaiming our faith, ordinary people will read the scriptures, familiar gospel stories, and choke up with feeling. My most profound experience of worship in MCC are those in which the Spirit welled up in us, together, in a moment of hearing truth and love, or prophesy. I know you know what I mean. What it means to call the Christ of history, “our dear Savior!” In stark contrast to a cruel, despotic, “Dear Leader,” Jesus’ vulnerability, compassion, and justice are the greatest gifts to all who are marginalized.

    Long lay the world in sin and error pining
    ‘Til he appeared and the soul felt its worth.
    A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
    For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn,

    The weary world! Oh my, how I relate, more than a century and a half later. Weary in Pakistan and Ferguson. Weary in Bethlehem and Uganda. How we long for a new and glorious morn! How eager we are for signs of hope, for peace to break out!

    grafitti
    (Photo: californiathroughmylens.com)

    Fall on your knees! O hear the angel voices
    O night divine, o night when Christ was born,
    Oh night divine, oh night, oh night divine!

     

    Aren’t we so ready to be swept spiritually off our feet and humbled enough to fall on our knees? I have powerful images, memories, of MCC Elders literally kneeling together and praying, during a crisis or in thanksgiving for some miracle or breakthrough. Times in my own life that have caused me to pray in a way that acquainted me with the floor.

    Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming
    With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand
    So led by the light of a star sweetly gleaming
    Here came the wise men from an Orient land

    The King of Kings, lay thus in lowly manger
    In all our trials, born to be our friend…

    Here, the outdated language may make us wince. But all is redeemed in this line: Jesus, born to be our friend, the friend of sinners, of people who fall short of justice and peace, of love and grace! For our MCC movement, these words ring out. In all our trials, there is One who was born to be our friend, to struggle alongside us, to comfort and empower us. I think of actual trials, the miscarriages of justice. And daily trials, like those for whom the minimum wage, working three jobs, still does not sustain a family. This week, I took a minute to smile at the boy who bagged my groceries, about age 16, African American, who smiled brightly back at me. On the way to the parking lot, I teared up thinking of his mother and her daily trial of sending him out the door, not knowing what he might face just walking down the street. Pray for her, and for us to fix this unnecessary pain.

    He knows our need, to our weakness no stranger
    Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
    Behold your King! Before him lowly bend! 

    Truly He taught us to love one another
    His law is love, and his gospel is peace
    Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother
    And in his name all oppression shall cease!

    chains
    (Photo: mdsrc.org)

    This is always the verse that gets me. Imagine! A Christmas carol that mentions the word “slave,” written in the time of abolitionist foment in the Western world. But friends, this verse is not dated or quaint — it is an indictment to me, that all these centuries later, there are more slaves than ever — who are our sisters and brothers, trafficked and exploited, beaten and imprisoned. Homeless youth. In our cities and neighborhoods, invisible and waiting for us to break every chain and to end this crime against humanity and against God.

    NotForSale
    (Photo: mdsrc.org)

    Now, a little more inclusively,

    Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raising,
    Let all within us praise your holy name
    Christ is our God! Oh, praise Your name forever!
    Your power and glory evermore proclaim
    Oh night divine, oh night, oh night divine!

    May the power of the One who grew up to turn over tables of injustice, heal every disease, and connect us to all that is divine, good and holy, this night.

    Amen.

    Bonus
    Here’s one of my favorite versions:

  • Reflexión de Adviento para el día de Navidad 25 de diciembre de 2014
  • Advent Reflection for Christmas 25 December 2014
  • Reflexión de Adviento para la Víspera de Navidad 24 de diciembre de 2014
  • Advent Reflection for Christmas Eve 24 December 2014
  • Reflexión para el Cuarto Domingo de Adviento 21 de diciembre de 2014
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    Adviento

    Reflexión para el Cuarto Domingo de Adviento

    21 de diciembre de 2014

    Rev. Obispa Dra. Nancy Wilson

    Al Dios, único sabio

     

    En este domingo de Adviento del Amor, nos centramos en la bendición del libro a los Romanos en la que Pablo glorifica al Dios “único y sabio.”

    Aunque el mundo siempre ha necesitado amor, ahora más que nunca, necesita sabiduría y de un liderazgo sabio.

    Cuando somos sabios/as, tocamos a Dios.

    La sabiduría es un don tranquilo del Espíritu. Se trata de un recipiente que contiene cosas que parecen estar en contradicción y nos ayuda a ver un camino donde no hay camino, un camino a través de la comprensión y la esperanza, hacia un futuro. La sabiduría es la presencia en templanza que respira a través del nacimiento y la muerte, a través del sufrimiento y la alegría por igual.

    Hoy en día, el mundo lucha con conflictos en todos los frentes. Cada grupo terrorista es sustituido por uno más vicioso. Niñas adolescentes son secuestradas. Los civiles son asesinados. El racismo al parecer estar resurgiendo, especialmente en los EE.UU., como si estuviéramos regresando a los años 1950 y 60. El duelo se multiplica. El salario mínimo es demasiado bajo para que la gente viva decentemente. Los derechos humanos están en juego en tantos lugares. Igualdad en el matrimonio está en una montaña rusa. Hermanos y hermanas trans siguen siendo “patologizados/as” y en alto riesgo de violencia. Economías en un sube y baja. ¿Cómo en un mundo así la iglesia es el Cuerpo de Cristo?

    3719[1]
    (Foto: scholastic.com)

    La sabiduría es un don espiritual, intercultural, interreligioso, que se extiende a través de nuestras diferencias como un puente. El apóstol Pablo era consciente de la predicación de la locura de Cristo en un mundo complicado por múltiples confluencias. ¿Cómo la sabiduría de Dios es más que el conocimiento humano, más allá de nuestros clichés y predicciones? ¿Cómo la sabiduría es el pegamento que nos mantiene unidos a través de los cataclismos, a través de los abismos de conflicto y de la disfunción? Necesitamos la sabiduría que es de la fe de que hay soluciones y vías a través de todas las dificultades! Cuando el dolor nos paraliza, la sabiduría nos susurrara para nos levantemos y sigamos adelante — en la confianza de que así como nosotros/as, el camino se revelará.

    Cuando somos sabios/as, tocamos a Dios.

    La sabiduría es la transformación intelectual / espiritual del amor.

    Recuerdo cuando hace décadas aprendí la plegaria de la serenidad en el contexto de una reunión de doce pasos, “Dios, concédeme la serenidad para aceptar las cosas que no puedo cambiar, el valor para cambiar las cosas que puedo y la sabiduría para reconocer la diferencia.” Sabiduría fue el remate, la clave de todo el resto. Gané sabiduría en esas habitaciones, en esas reuniones de los 12 pasos, de la gente común que habían aprendido el secreto de dejar ir para dejar a Dios. Me enseñaron a respirar de nuevo, para respirar en la sabiduría que está disponible, sólo si yo humillarme la pido.

    Cuando somos sabios/as, tocamos a Dios.

    3720[1]
    (Foto: mi-web.org)

    Muchos otros “dioses” compiten para gobernar nuestras vidas — fuerzas o cosas que son manipuladoras, egoístas, falsas, indignas de nuestra energía, amor y devoción. Tenemos que abrirnos al único y sabio Dios, quien es el que merece nuestra atención y conexión — el uno que no exige que nos sacrificamos, sino que se da a sí mismo por nosotros/as. ¿Cómo podemos confiar en el único y sabio Dios Creador, que nos ama más de lo que nosotros/as mismas nos amamos y más que los “dioses” que explotan nuestras adicciones?

    Cuando somos sabios/as, tocamos a Dios.

    Jesús enseñó como “uno con la autoridad” — él era sabio para su edad y experiencias humanas. La primera comunidad cristiana testificó que él encarnó esa Sabiduría. Es por eso que atrajo a tantos y atemorizó a otros. Su ser iluminaba a todos/as y a todo su alrededor. Fue una buena noticia para los/las pobres y juicio para sus opresores.

    Dejemos que la Sabiduría brille a través de nosotros/as en esta temporada de la encarnación. Que encarnemos el “único y sabio Dios,” en nuestro discurso, en nuestras acciones por la justicia, en nuestros esfuerzos para crear y sostener la comunidad en este frágil planeta.

    Cuando somos sabios/as, tocamos a Dios, y nos transformamos a medida que transformamos el mundo.

     

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  • Reflexión de Adviento para la Víspera de Navidad 24 de diciembre de 2014
  • Advent Reflection for Christmas Eve 24 December 2014
  • Reflexión para el Cuarto Domingo de Adviento 21 de diciembre de 2014
  • Reflection for the Fourth Sunday of Advent 21 December 2014
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  • Reflection for the Second Sunday of Advent 7 December 2014
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    Reflection for the Fourth Sunday of Advent

    21 December 2014

    Rev. Elder Dr. Nancy Wilson

    To The Only Wise God

    On this Advent Sunday of Love, we focus on the benediction from the Book of Romans in which Paul glorifies “the only wise God.”

    GodOnlyWise
    (Photo: sarah-marina.com)

    Though the world needs love as much as it always has, right now it needs wisdom, and wise leadership even more.

    When we are wise, we are touching God.

    Wisdom is a quiet gift of the Spirit. It is a container that holds things that seem to be in contradiction and helps us to see a Way where there is no way, a way through to understanding, to hope, to a future. Wisdom is the unanxious presence that breathes through birth and death, through suffering and joy alike.

    Today, the world struggles with conflicts on every front. Each terrorist group is replaced by one more vicious. Teenage girls are kidnapped. Civilians are murdered. Racism is resurging it seems, in the U.S. especially, as if we were revisiting the 1950s and 60s. Grief is multiplied. The minimum wage is too low for people to live decently. Human rights are at stake in so many places. Marriage equality is on a roller coaster ride. Trans brothers and sisters are still pathologized and at high risk for violence. Economies rock and roll. How is the church to be the Body of Christ in such a world?

    MLK
    (Photo: izquotes.com)

    Wisdom is a spiritual gift, cross-cultural, inter-religious, spanning across our differences like a bridge. Paul the apostle was aware of preaching the foolishness of Christ in a complicated, intersectional world. How is God’s wisdom more than human knowledge, beyond our clichés and predictions? How is wisdom the glue that holds us together through cataclysmic change, through impossible gulfs of conflict and dysfunction? We need wisdom that has faith that there are solutions and pathways through every difficulty! When pain paralyzes us, wisdom whispers to us to get up and to keep moving forward — to trust that as we do, the way will unfold.

    When we are wise, we are touching God.

    Wisdom is the intellectual / spiritual form that love takes.

    I remember first learning the serenity prayer decades ago in the context of a twelve-step meeting, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Wisdom was the punchline, the key to all the rest. I gained wisdom in those rooms, those 12-step meetings, from ordinary people who had learned the secret of letting go and letting God. They taught me to breathe again, to breathe in the wisdom that is available, if I would only humble myself and ask.

    When we are wise, we are touching God.

    TheWayOfWisdom

    Many other “gods” compete to rule our lives — forces or things that are manipulative, selfish, false, unworthy of our energy, love, and devotion. We need to open ourselves up to the only wise God, who is the one worthy of our attention and connection — the one who does not demand that we sacrifice ourselves, but rather who gave her/himself for us. How can we trust the only wise Creator God, who loves us more than we could ever love ourselves and more than the “gods” who exploit our addictions?

    When we are wise, we are touching God.

    Jesus taught as “one with authority” — he was wise beyond his human years and experience. The early Christians testified that he incarnated that Wisdom. It is why he attracted so many and terrified others. His very being illuminated everything and everyone around him. He was good news to the poor and judgment to those who oppressed them.

    Let Wisdom shine through us in this season of incarnation. May we en-flesh “the only wise God,” in our speech, in our actions for justice, in our efforts to create and sustain community on this fragile planet.

    When we are wise, we are touching God, and we are transforming ourselves as we transform the world.

  • Reflexión de Adviento para el día de Navidad 25 de diciembre de 2014
  • Advent Reflection for Christmas 25 December 2014
  • Reflexión de Adviento para la Víspera de Navidad 24 de diciembre de 2014
  • Advent Reflection for Christmas Eve 24 December 2014
  • 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
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  • Black LGBT Religious Leaders Act with Historically Black Churches: “Black Bodies Matter”

    LGBT Black Christians and faith leaders join tens of thousands of historically Black congregations/denominations and allies to wear black to church on Sunday, December 14, in response to police brutality: “Black LGBT bodies must matter, too!”

     

    Spokespersons:

    • Bishop Yvetter Flunder, Presiding Bishop of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries (TFAM)
    • Rev. Elder Darlene Garner, Director of the Office of Emerging Ministries, Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC)

    Black America faces an unspoken agenda of terror and racism. In response, tens of thousands of historically Black congregations/denominations and allies across the country will be wearing black on December 14, 2014, to protest the criminalization, disproportionate incarceration, and killing of black and brown people by law enforcement. As Black lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) religious leaders, we are all too familiar with oppressive systems that discriminate and kill.

    Over the last six years, fair minded Americans have moved the country to elect our first Black president, opened the doors of marriage to same gender loving people in over 35 states and Washington D.C., began a national conversation on the inclusion of transgender brothers and sisters, and confronted the need to finally address immigration reform. This decided shift toward progressive social values has been met with an escalating conservative backlash most abhorrently embodied in the aggressive policing of Black and Brown bodies. The conservative climate has also led to rampant unresolved murders of transgender people.

    Action: As more than 150 Black LGBT faith leaders, we commit to mobilize our LGBT led congregations, denominations, and faith communities to participate in a day of solidarity and to pray for healing, justice, and holy boldness as we respond as a united front. We call for the Black community and our allies to stand with us. In turn, we sign on to the following actions:

    • Intentionally collaborate with Black civil rights and faith-based organizations, Black church denominations, and grassroots social justice actions.
    • Participate in Black Lives Matter Sunday, December 14, by wearing black in solidarity and offering prayers to stop the violence against African Americans, to heal Ebola in Africa, and to end to the exportation of homo-hatred by conservative Evangelicals.

    We, as LGBT religious leaders across faith traditions and across our country have created an historic alliance among ourselves as we assert that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! We declare and decree our wholehearted commitment to participating in a new wave of sacred resistance to power structures, which demean black bodies, and reinforce policies, that undermine the life, and vitality of our community. We uphold that All Black Lives Matter and condemn all the ways Black bodies are marginalized, and subjected to hostility.
    To that end, we call for all Black religious voices to unite together across the diversity that exists among us to proclaim that we stand on the side of justice for all and that every life is sacred. To do so we must connect the dots between the forms of oppression that rise up from the toxic root of racism. We stand against oppressive practices wherever they exist and are committed to the practice of peace and we encourage our communities to find common ground.

    We commit to moving from the margins to the middle as we articulate an integrated multi-issue justice movement embracing the totality of concerns impacting Black and Brown bodies: police brutality, mass incarceration, violence against trans people, income inequality, immigration discrimination, malnutrition, gun violence, the assault on reproductive health, unequal pay for women, inferior education, disproportionately high HIV/AIDS, Ebola, the homeless crisis among black gay youth, and the lethal exportation of homophobia to Africa by the Religious Right.

    As demonstrators around the country are organizing themselves to speak truth to power, we join our voices to this chorus of justice seekers and stand in solidarity with all who seek to change the ways our communities are oppressed and disenfranchised.

    In response to grand jury decisions in Ferguson, Missouri, and Staten Island, New York, and in other parts of the country where Black lives are ended senselessly over minor offenses or for no offense at all, our hearts are broken by the lack of justice for the victims of violence at the hands of law enforcement. We grieve with the families in St. Louis, Cleveland, and New York City who have lost their loved ones. We are also dismayed by militaristic police tactics that try to silence the voices of peaceful protesters reacting to the lack of justice from our legal system.

    As religious leaders, we lift our voices in solidarity with the families, protesters, and all those who stand against discrimination. We affirm that the walls of racism, homophobia, transphobia and injustice must be pulled down in our communities, nation, on the continent of Africa and throughout the Diaspora.

    Sponsoring organizations:
    The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries
    Metropolitan Community Churches
    United Church of Christ
    Unity Fellowship
    Fellowship Global
    Global Justice Institute
    Many Voices
    Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies
    Bishop Tonyia Rawls

    Black LGBT Religious Leaders Statement of Unity and Purpose

    Black LGBT Religious Leaders Act with Historically Black Churches: “Black Bodies Matter”

    LGBT Black Christians and faith leaders join tens of thousands of historically Black congregations/ denominations and allies to wear black to church on Sunday, December 14 in response to police brutality: “Black LGBT bodies must matter, too!”
    Spokespersons
    • Bishop Yvette Flunder, Presiding Bishop of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries (TFAM)
    • Rev. Elder Darlene Garner, Director of the Office of Emerging Ministries, Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC)
    Black America faces an unspoken agenda of terror and racism. In response, tens of thousands of historically Black congregations/ denominations and allies across the country will be wearing black on December 14, 2014, to protest the criminalization, disproportionate incarceration, and killing of black and brown people by law enforcement. As Black lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) religious leaders, we are all too familiar with oppressive systems that discriminate and kill.
    Over the last six years, fair minded Americans have moved the country to elect our first Black president, opened the doors of marriage to same gender loving people in over 35 states and Washington D.C., began a national conversation on the inclusion of transgender brothers and sisters, and confronted the need to finally address immigration reform. This decided shift toward progressive social values has been met with an escalating conservative backlash most abhorrently embodied in the aggressive policing of Black and Brown bodies. The conservative climate has also led to rampant unresolved murders of transgender people.
    Action: As more than 150 Black LGBT faith leaders, we commit to mobilize our LGBT led congregations, denominations, and faith communities to participate in a day of solidarity and to pray for healing, justice, and holy boldness as we respond as a united front. We call for the Black community and our allies to stand with us. In turn, we sign on to the following actions:
    • Intentionally collaborate with Black civil rights and faith-based organizations, Black church denominations, and grassroots social justice actions.
    • Participate in Black Lives Matter Sunday, December 14, by wearing black in solidarity and offering prayers to stop the violence against African Americans, to heal Ebola in Africa, and to end to the exportation of homo-hatred by conservative Evangelicals.
    We, as LGBT religious leaders across faith traditions and across our country have created an historic alliance among ourselves as we assert that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! We declare and decree our wholehearted commitment to participating in a new wave of sacred resistance to power structures, which demean black bodies, and reinforce policies, that undermine the life, and vitality of our community. We uphold that All Black Lives Matter and condemn all the ways Black bodies are marginalized, and subjected to hostility.
    To that end, we call for all Black religious voices to unite together across the diversity that exists among us to proclaim that we stand on the side of justice for all and that every life is sacred. To do so we must connect the dots between the forms of oppression that rise up from the toxic root of racism. We stand against oppressive practices wherever they exist and are committed to the practice of peace and we encourage our communities to find common ground.
    We commit to moving from the margins to the middle as we articulate an integrated multi-issue justice movement embracing the totality of concerns impacting Black and Brown bodies: police brutality, mass incarceration, violence against trans people, income inequality, immigration discrimination, malnutrition, gun violence, the assault on reproductive health, unequal pay for women, inferior education, disproportionately high HIV/AIDS, Ebola, the homeless crisis among black gay youth, and the lethal exportation of homophobia to Africa by the Religious Right.
    As demonstrators around the country are organizing themselves to speak truth to power, we join our voices to this chorus of justice seekers and stand in solidarity with all who seek to change the ways our communities are oppressed and disenfranchised. In response to grand jury decisions in Ferguson, Missouri, and Staten Island, New York, and in other parts of the country where Black lives are ended senselessly over minor offenses or for no offense at all, our hearts are broken by the lack of justice for the victims of violence at the hands of law enforcement. We grieve with the families in St. Louis, Cleveland, and New York City who have lost their loved ones. We are also dismayed by militaristic police tactics that try to silence the voices of peaceful protesters reacting to the lack of justice from our legal system.
    As religious leaders, we lift our voices in solidarity with the families, protesters, and all those who stand against discrimination. We affirm that the walls of racism, homophobia, transphobia and injustice must be pulled down in our communities, nation, on the continent of Africa and throughout the Diaspora.

    Reflexión del Tercer Domingo de Adviento 14 de diciembre de 2014

    Adviento

    Reflexión del Tercer Domingo de Adviento

    14 de diciembre de 2014

    Rev. Obispa Dra. Mona West

    Éste es el testimonio de Juan, cuando las autoridades judías enviaron desde Jerusalén sacerdotes y levitas a preguntarle a Juan quién era él. Juan les contestó: Yo soy una voz que grita en el desierto: “Abran un camino derecho para el Señor”

    Juan 1:19a, 23

    Me di cuenta en la red social ‘Tumblr’ que Adviento era un tema escogido. Cuando hice clic había varias imágenes y citas de cientos de blogs sobre Adviento. Iban desde los calendarios de Adviento extravagantes, poemas místicos, pegadizos de figuras de renos hasta recetas de galletitas. Ninguna de las imágenes o temas presentó un desierto. Sin embargo, es desde un desierto que Juan nos invita y emplaza en este tercer domingo de Adviento. Él es la voz de uno que clama en el desierto, y lo que es sorprendente es que las personas lo siguen hasta allí. Algunos de ellos querían cuestionar su identidad – “¿Eres Elías, el Mesías, un  profeta???” Otros se sienten atraídos por su mensaje de arrepentimiento y la preparación para lo que habrá de venir. Se podría decir que el Adviento era un tema de tendencia en los días de Juan.

     

    De entre todas las imágenes y sonidos de nuestro tiempo de Adviento actual, el desierto no suele estar representado. ¿Cuándo fue la última vez que vio una tarjeta de Navidad con una imagen de un desierto en su portada? Pero las Escrituras nos dicen que el desierto es importante para la historia de la salvación: el Éxodo de los israelitas conduce a través del desierto y el ministerio público de Jesús comienza después de un período de ‘prueba’ en el desierto. Estas historias enseñan que el desierto es un lugar no sólo en donde Dios puede ser conocido más profundamente, pero también es un lugar donde los seres humanos pueden conocerse más profundamente.

    wilderness
    (Foto: bleon1.wordpress.com)

    Comencé este tiempo de Adviento, literalmente, en el desierto. Mi esposa, Deb, y yo fuimos acampar durante una semana en el desierto de Big Bend, Texas (EE.UU.). Durante esa semana aprendí algunas cosas sobre el desierto y sobre Adviento. Ambos nos llevan a cultivar una actitud de vigilancia. Lo que podría parecer lo mismo día tras día, año tras año (¿cuántas estaciones de Adviento han vivido?), tiene belleza y profundidad si no nos dejamos arrullar por la igualdad. Cada mañana cuando salía de nuestro camper y cada noche antes de entrar me encontraba con la misma montaña. Pero me tomé el tiempo para estar atenta durante todo el día y me di cuenta de cosas diferentes sobre la montaña y el paisaje: las formas como las sombras se movían sobre las rocas; la variedad de colores de marrón, oro y fuego; pequeñas flores que parecían venir de la nada.

     

    Es fácil quedar arrullado por la similitud de las tradiciones de Adviento, como colocar verdes o la iluminación de la corona de Adviento, incluso la historia del ‘niño envuelto en pañales, acostado en un pesebre.’ Un escritor ha dicho: “Adviento no es sólo acerca de la espera de un bebé. Se trata de la espera de una nueva realidad que se apodera de nosotros y nosotras, tomando primero de rehenes a nuestros corazones y almas para su justicia y su gracia. Y luego, porque no podemos vivir sino por su fuerza magnética, establece su demanda en todo el mundo a través de nosotros “. (John van de Laar, Sacredise.com) Seguir a Juan en el desierto durante Adviento me mantiene atenta y abierta a la nueva realidad que anuncia, que nunca se arraiga en mí exactamente de la misma manera año tras año.

     

    El desierto es también un lugar de exposición. En este paisaje austero, no sólo se puede estar expuesto al calor y a la falta de agua, también se puede estar expuesto a los temores y a las ansiedades. Recuerdo varias veces durante esa semana de acampada sentirme ansiosa por estar en un lugar tan remoto. Me despertaba por la noche y pensando: “¿Qué pasa si hay un incendio en la caravana? ¿Qué pasa si una de nosotras tiene una emergencia médica?” Las historias del desierto del Éxodo, la tentación de Jesús en el desierto, y Adviento enseñan que Dios nos encuentra en nuestra humanidad, y la única forma que realmente podemos conocer a Dios, como Santa Teresa de Ávila decía, es cuando realmente nos conocemos a nosotros mismos.

     

    Juan el Bautista nos invita a entrar en el desierto de Adviento no a experimentar algún tipo de santidad genérica o abstracta de la vida cristiana. Él nos invita a entrar en el desierto de Adviento a conocernos en verdad y a entender como el amor y la gracia de Dios se manifiesta en las particularidades de nuestras vidas.

     

    Así que a medida que avanzamos más y más hacia esa “noche santa,” ¿cómo es la práctica de Adviento para usted?

  • Reflexión de Adviento para el día de Navidad 25 de diciembre de 2014
  • Advent Reflection for Christmas 25 December 2014
  • Reflexión de Adviento para la Víspera de Navidad 24 de diciembre de 2014
  • Advent Reflection for Christmas Eve 24 December 2014
  • 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
  • Racism and Eric Garner — TAKE ACTION!

    Dear MCC members and friends,

     

    When the Ferguson decision came down, we released an “Epistle to America” challenging every person of good will to start looking directly at the inequities in the economic and legal systems that impact people of color in this country. We pray for the United States, and we grieve with the families.

     

    The bottom line is that we are all impacted by racism, whether we realize it or not.

     

    Paul’s pastoral letters to the early churches show us that, while he was always loving, he was not always gentle. He prayed for the believers and reminded them of the riches of God’s love. Still, he was forthright as he exhorted them to move beyond the cultural pitfalls of giving privilege to the rich while sending the poor away hungry from the table of Christ. He challenged believers to understand that freedom in Christ goes beyond slave and free, male and female, Jew and Gentile.

     

    Today, our pastoral letter is filled with love for each and every person. Indeed, it is out of our love that we address the situation of race in the United States. We do so with full knowledge that the treatment of African immigrants in Europe is a pressing concern, that Afro-Brazilians still live under oppression, that Hispanic and Native people in the U.S. also face massive discrimination, and that divisions by race, gender, and class are realities in all of our settings. There are lessons on human rights to learn from each situation. Right now, the world is learning the lessons of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

     

    The primary lesson from recent events is that racism is still raising its ugly head and has morphed from one form to another through each generation. Within the United States, it has moved from slavery, to Jim Crow laws, to segregation, to rampant incarceration, to death by police. Young Black men are 21 times more likely to be killed by police than young white men. Racism always marginalizes people of color and supports the ideology of white superiority and Black criminality. Racism is so suffused in dominant culture, it appears to be no one’s “fault” — just an accident of history. But when no one is responsible, we all must take responsibility. Racism will continue unless we stop it.

     

    With an unspoken agenda of terror, racism kills just enough people to silence and subdue people of color who are trying to protect their families. Parents of African American sons teach them to put their hands in plain sight WHEN the police stop them. Children are often severely punished for disobedience in the family so they learn that obedience in public could save their lives. Girls learn quickly they need to be strong and ready to raise their family by themselves, since the men in the community are targets for economic deprivation, imprisonment, and death.

     

    Everyone is vulnerable to the ideology that Black bodies do not matter and can be wasted by the police state. White police officers, as well as police officers of color, are caught in the system too. This is why national police associations have called for reforms. When policing becomes dangerous to communities, it is dangerous for the police as well.

     

    Few whites have firsthand experience of the day-to-day racism that people of color deal with. The long stare, the stalking security guard, the demand for additional identification, the forgotten names, the apologies “I’m sorry, I didn’t see you,” the caricatures on television, the rejection for jobs, just to name a few.

     

    Those of us who identify as LGBTQ know we come from all walks of life and all races; many of us have firsthand experience with people telling us we might as well die. We were told that HIV/AIDS was God’s punishment for who we are. Our people were dying in droves in the 1980s, and President Reagan did not even mention HIV/AIDS until his second term in office. Too many people — especially religious people — were indifferent to our suffering.

     

    Of all people, we should understand. Bigotry kills.

     

    There is no easy or quick answer to racism, in the U.S. or anywhere in the world. Once we address mass incarceration and police state murders, be assured that other systemic forms will surge forth. Fighting racism is as generational as racism itself. If you are a white person who chooses to stand with those who resist, be ready to make mistakes, make amends, and keep moving. If you are a person of color, you already know what bravery is required to live another day through the grace of God.

     

    Today, as the spiritual leaders of MCC, we call on all members and friends of MCC to pray for the redemption of this evil called racism. If we stay in denial about racism, we will not find redemption. We need to begin to talk and act before we can heal this wound of the spirit that affects all of us. We are believers in Christ who offers freedom to all. Like the early Christians exhorted by Paul, we must come to a fuller understanding of freedom lived through a life of a loving God and our neighbor — not as in abstract otherworldly freedom but in the ways we live loving lives each day.

     

    Right now, our sisters and brothers of African descent in MCC, The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries, the wider movement, and the world need our solidarity, our compassion, and our action. No one can walk away and pretend “this is not my issue.”

     

    Start the healing. Pray together, talk together, work together. It is time for God’s realm to come.

     

    TAKE ACTION:

    • Take time to be in conversation and relationship. Share and listen. Really listen.

    These actions will not repair the damage of recent cases, but nationwide demands for change may lay the groundwork for cases of police brutality and murder to see the light of an actual courtroom, rather than be buried behind the closed doors of grand juries.

     

    Be MCC! Be JUSTICE!

     

    The Council of Elders of Metropolitan Community Churches:

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

    MCC_BumperStickers_Justice

    Reflection for the Third Sunday of Advent 14 December 2014

    adventbanner

    Reflection for the Third Sunday of Advent

    14 December 2014

    Rev. Elder Dr. Mona West

    This is the testimony given by John, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.'”

    John 1:19a, 23

    TheVoiceInTheWilderness
    (Photo: youtube.com)

    I noticed on the social networking site ‘Tumblr’ that Advent was a trending topic. When I clicked on it there were various images and quotes from hundreds of blogs about Advent. They ranged from quirky Advent calendars and mystical poems to stick figures of reindeer and cookie recipes. None of them featured a wilderness. Yet, that is where John beckons us on this third Sunday of Advent. He is a voice of one crying out in the wilderness and what is amazing is that people follow him out there. Some of them wanted to question his identity — “Are you Elijah? The Messiah? The prophet?” Others were drawn to his message of repentance and preparation for ‘the coming.’ One could also say that Advent was a trending topic in John’s days.

     

    Of all the sights and sounds of our current Advent season, wilderness is typically not one of them. When was the last time you saw a Christmas card with a stark image of the wilderness on its front cover? But scriptures tell us that the wilderness is important for salvation history: the Exodus of the Israelites lead through the wilderness and Jesus’ public ministry begins after a period of ‘testing’ in the wilderness. These stories teach that the desert is a place not only where God can be known more deeply but it is also a place where humans can know themselves more deeply.

    wilderness
    (Photo: bleon1.wordpress.com)

    I began this season of Advent quite literally in the wilderness. My spouse, Deb, and I went camping for a week in the wilderness of Big Bend, Texas (USA). I learned a few things about the desert and Advent during that week. Both cultivate an attitude of watchfulness. What might look the same day after day, year after year (how many Advent seasons have you lived through?) has beauty and depth if we do not become lulled by sameness. Every morning when I would come out of our camper and every evening before going inside for the night I was confronted with the same mountain. But if I took the time to be attentive throughout the day I noticed different things about the mountain and the landscape: the ways the shadows moved over the rocks; the varied colors of brown, gold and tan; little flowers that seemed to come out of nowhere.

     

    For me, it’s easy to get lulled by the sameness of Advent traditions such as the hanging of the greens or the lighting of the Advent wreath, even the sameness of the story of the ‘babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manager.’ One writer has said, “Advent is not just about waiting for a baby. It’s about waiting for a whole new reality which takes hold of us by first taking our hearts and souls hostage to its justice and grace. And then, because we cannot help but live by its magnetic force, it lays its claim on the whole world through us.” (John van de Laar, Sacredise.com) Following John out into the wilderness of Advent keeps me watchful and open to the new reality he announces, which never takes root in me in quite the same way year after year.

     

    Wilderness is also a place of exposure. In this stark landscape, not only can one be exposed to heat and lack of water, one can also be exposed to fears and anxieties. I remember several times during that week of camping feeling anxious about being in such a remote place. I would lie awake at night and think, “What if there is a fire in the camper? What if one of us has a medical emergency?” The wilderness stories of Exodus, Jesus’s temptation in the wilderness, and Advent teach that God meets us in our humanity, and the only way we can truly know God, as St. Teresa of Avila would say, is when we truly know ourselves.

    YouThinkYouKnowYourself

    John the Baptist invites us into the wilderness of Advent not to experience some kind of generic holiness or abstract Christian life. He invites us into the wilderness of Advent to truly know ourselves and to understand how God’s love and grace is made manifest in the particularities of our lives.

     

    So as we move closer and closer to that ‘holy night,’ how is Advent trending for you?

  • Reflexión de Adviento para el día de Navidad 25 de diciembre de 2014
  • Advent Reflection for Christmas 25 December 2014
  • Reflexión de Adviento para la Víspera de Navidad 24 de diciembre de 2014
  • Advent Reflection for Christmas Eve 24 December 2014
  • 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
  • North Carolina Council of Churches – Executive Director

    Application deadline extended to Feb. 10, 2015

    Position Description

    Hours: Full-time, based in Raleigh and requiring some in-state travel
    Reports to: Governing Board
    Salary: $60,000-$77,000, depending on experience and qualifications
    Benefits: Excellent vacation/leave time. Health insurance (50% paid by employer), short-term disability (100% paid by employer), and reimbursement of approved travel expenses.

    The North Carolina Council of Churches, founded in 1935, is a statewide ecumenical organization promoting Christian unity and working towards a more just society. The Council enables denominations, congregations, and people of faith to individually and collectively impact our state on issues such as economic justice and development, human well-being, equality, compassion and peace, following the example and mission of Jesus Christ.

    Summary of Position

    The Executive Director of the North Carolina Council of Churches is responsible for managing the statewide organization on behalf of the Governing Board. The position includes planning, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating the programs and program areas of the Council to insure that each fulfills its mission; leading and supervising staff including recruiting, developing and motivating employees; fundraising and development in cooperation with the board and resource development committee; marketing and networking to expand the reach and impact of the Council; developing and monitoring a budget; and representing the Council in the state with judicatory heads, congregations, elected officials, and the general public. The executive director is hired by and accountable to the Governing Board.

    JOB RESPONSIBILITIES

    Specific work will include:

    Advocacy

    • Be a prophetic voice in matters involving social justice, including legislative advocacy of Council positions.

    Administrative

    • Coordinate and supervise the paid and volunteer staff in the program areas of the Council including Christian unity, farmworkers, healthcare reform, immigrant rights, food security, peace, public education and rural life.
    • Supervise Interfaith Power and Light and Partners in Health and Wholeness and other grant funded programs in coordination with their respective directors.
    • Plan Governing Board meetings in conjunction with the Governing Board President; provide staff support for the Governing Board; update the board about the overall program on a regular basis.
    • Assign or serve as staff to Personnel, Business and Finance, Legislative, Planning, Public Education, and Christian Unity committees.

    Financial/Fundraising

    • Prepare annual organization budget for Governing Board approval.
    • Oversee accounting records and financial reports, with treasurer and/or bookkeeper; monitor receipts, expenditures, and cash flow.
    • Work with the Governing Board and committees to raise funds for the support of the Council, including supervision of grant writing and annual giving.

    Communications/Marketing

    • Develop partnerships with other agencies and local programs to support Council activities and expand the reach of the organization; initiate and maintain relationships with judicatory heads and member congregations.
    • Market and promote the Council and develop and maintain program visibility and public image in the state through writing and speaking, including use of the website, media, social media and presence at events.
    • Provide leadership in organizing, implementing and evaluating public events.

    QUALIFICATIONS

    Required:

    • 4-year college degree.
    • Person of faith with a commitment to Christian unity and social witness, who is a member of a Christian community.
    • Ability to articulate the connection of Scripture and theology to social justice.
    • At least 5-10 years experience working in a related field, paid or unpaid.
    • Understanding of, commitment to, and enthusiasm for the programs and program areas of the Council.
    • Knowledge of churches and ecumenical structures.
    • Strong leadership and networking skills.
    • Strong organizational, managerial, problem solving, and analytical skills.
    • Financial skills/knowledge of budgets and financial management.
    • Fundraising/development skills and experience.
    • Computer skills.
    • Excellent public speaking/communications/interpersonal skills.
    • Ability to multi-task, work under deadlines, and manage stress satisfactorily.
    • Must live in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area or be willing to relocate.

    Preferred:

    • Post-graduate degree or equivalent.
    • Word, Excel and social networking skills.
    • Knowledge of or experience in legislative advocacy.
    • Marketing experience.

    HOW TO APPLY

    Please send your complete application package to EDSearch@outlook.com by February 10, 2015. A complete package includes a cover letter, a resume or curricula vitae, a video response and written responses to the application questions.

    1. Your video response, not to exceed three minutes, should be uploaded to Microsoft OneDrive at OneDrive.com. A shortened link to your shared video should be included in your cover letter. In your video, tell us about the origins and foundations of your vision for ecumenical ministry.
    2. Please provide written responses, in two hundred words or less per question, to each of the following:
      • Tell us about the evolution of your faith journey as it relates to your experience in a Christian faith community.
      • What changes do you see in the religious landscape, and how would that impact your work as the Executive Director of the Council?
      • How do you understand the relationship between faith and social justice?

    For more information about the Executive Director position, please email EDSearch@outlook.com. Questions are welcomed. For more information about the North Carolina Council of Churches, please visit www.ncchurches.org.