At General Synod in July, a new initiative called "Join the Movement" was launched across all settings of the UCC. The Rev. Traci Blackmon encouraged churches and congregants to build on the UCC’s history and legacy of racial justice work (learn more here - https://jointhemovementucc.org/). This initiative challenges each of us to think of how we can join the movement in our own lives, ministries, and communities.
In my own practice as a fundraiser, I seek out the wisdom of BIPOC leaders (Black Indigenous People of Color) like the Rev. William Lamar of Metropolitan AME in Washington, D.C. He recently addressed the Wisconsin Conference's Annual Meeting with a talk on "Confrontational Generosity" that can help us imagine the ways racial justice can inform our fundraising.
Rev. Lamar spoke to my heart, beginning with new definition of generosity:
“I believe God’s spirit is calling you… to a new interpretation of what it means to be generous. Generosity beyond our culture’s penchant for automatization and individualization. Generosity beyond merciful responses to deep human pain that only justice can address. Generosity beyond sentimentality moved by the dehumanization of our siblings and the destruction of the planet that sustains us. Hear me: Generous beyond sweetness; generosity beyond niceness; generosity beyond kindness.”
Drawing on the story of Jesus driving the moneychangers out of the Temple (Luke 19: 45-48), Rev. Lamar pointed to the way necessary things – an animal for sacrifice in Jesus’ day, food or housing or education in ours – can become tools of oppression. He pointed to the way Jesus interrupted and disrupted the oppressive system. At the same time, Rev. Lamar underscored that Jesus not only confronted but remained in relationship; as Luke said, “Every day [Jesus] he was teaching in the temple.”
I encourage you to listen to all of Rev. Lamar’s speech here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9Coy8fjaH0 - And then explore within your fundraising team the question: what would our ministry of fundraising look like if we practiced a confrontational generosity?
Yours in Faith,
Rev. Andrew Warner
Director of Development
Wisconsin Conference UCC
Generous Thoughts is a collaborative effort of UCC stewardship, generosity, fundraising, and development professionals to provide our conferences and congregations with information to aid them in their fundraising efforts. The SNEUCC is represented ...