“Why should faith communities care about justice?”
“What tells us more about the values of a community than what it spends money on?”
“In order to get from the world as it is to the world as we want it to be, we need power.”
These snippets can be heard on Thursday afternoons at The Epiphany Power Hour, a new social justice conversation series held weekly at The Church of the Epiphany in Washington, D.C. (map) Each week, we discuss systemic injustices, and ways we can affect change.
For years, Epiphany has operated homeless services such as The Welcome Table and Street Church – programs that provide meals, supplies, opportunities for creativity, and ministry to the downtown poor. Like many churches, we have operated within a paradigm of charity; that it is our duty, as people of God, to serve those who are perceived as “less fortunate” and “underprivileged.” Meals, extra socks, and a few hours of shelter are necessary for those surviving day-to-day, but they do little to combat the root causes of widespread poverty. “We believe that it is our duty to shift the charity paradigm toward one of agency and justice.” says The Rev. Glenna Huber, rector of Epiphany and host of the Power Hour.
We have an obligation to come together as a community, as people of God, to address the issues that threaten our common humanity – systemic poverty, ecological devastation, racism and militarism. These myriad overlapping issues come down to the question of power – who has it? How is it acquired? What are the best ways to empower those at the margins who are routinely left out of the conversation?
The Power Hour explores these questions each week. We regularly feature local faith leaders, nonprofit workers, and community organizers to bring their experience and wisdom; in April, we will have Nisha Patel of Robin Hood, the D.C. chapter of the Poor People’s Campaign, and Ed Lazere of the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute. Check out Epiphany’s website for upcoming events, and come join the conversation on Thursdays at 12:10 for education, empowerment, and community.
Epiphany, D.C. received a Congregational Growth Grant from the diocese to launch The Epiphany Power Hour.