By Rex Cole, Chairperson of the Outreach and Social Justice Committe of Church of the Good Samaritan, Corvallis
The Church of the Good Samaritan and so many churches throughout the Diocese of Oregon are tremendously generous in our financial support of programs to help those in need: the homeless, the poor, the immigrant stranger, the vulnerable, and others. When we see people who are hurt or suffering, we reach out to help them. We need to continue these efforts. But wouldn’t it be even better if we could help resolve some of the problems that cause the hurt? These include inadequate housing, income inequality, healthcare, criminal justice, and immigration, to name a few.
The Outreach and Social Justice Committee of Good Samaritan struggles to figure out how we, as a small faith community, might best help reduce the root causes of some of the social ills our society faces. One approach is to consider how we might better effect change through our society’s democratic legislative process. We are blessed to live in a place where the voices of those aware of God’s love can be part of the conversation to help our democratic society better reflect that love. Perhaps we could do a better job of speaking up.
“Oh no!” my inner voice says, “That sounds like messy politics; that sounds like lots of work; that sounds like something I don’t have time or energy for!” Or, “It seems too difficult, too complicated; I have to focus on the small things I can do.”
Well, here’s a small step we might take: on Monday, March 4, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon and a host of other religious organizations are sponsoring “Interfaith Advocacy Day 2019” in Salem at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church. This annual event is a learning opportunity, offering the following invitation:
“Join with others from around the state in ‘Raising Diverse Voices of Faith to Strengthen Oregon Communities.’ We make it easy for you! Attend issue briefings and workshops on advocating for compassionate legislation on issues such as housing, hunger, health care, immigration, gun violence prevention, criminal justice reform, and climate justice.”
The morning program begins at 9:00 am and includes options for:
- A keynote address (past speakers have included Oregon’s Secretary of State)
- An “Advocacy 101” Session
- An Issue Workshop
Each workshop goes over the issuespecific legislation being advanced in 2019 as well as positions that interfaith study groups are advocating.
After lunch, you have the option of processing to the Capitol to be welcomed by the Legislature and to visit your legislator.
Interfaith Advocacy Day
March 4th, St. Mark’s Church, Salem
$20 (general), $10 (student)
Fee includes lunch
Registration due February 25th
Register at: http://emoregon.org/event/2019-interfaith-advocacy-day/7