Go Tell It On The Mountain: Immanuel UCC is Doing the Work of Love and Justice

Go Tell It On The Mountain: Immanuel UCC is Doing the Work of Love and Justice

Rev. Darrell Goodwin interviews Rev. Kari Nicewander
Continuing his Go Tell it On The Mountain interview series, Executive Conference Minister, the Rev. Darrell Goodwin interviewed Rev. Kari Nicewander, senior minister of Immanuel Congregational UCC, Hartford, CT..

At Rev. Goodwin's invitation, Rev. Nicewander talked about how she feels that being a follower of Jesus and doing justice work is intertwined, something she learned while spending time in the Dominican Republic, and while serving with Global Ministries in Zambia.

"What the Zambian church is doing is incredible ... churches that literally don't have walls - literally there's tin roofs - those churches are doing transformative work in their community that is unbelievable on gender-based violence, on HIV AIDS, on community nutrition programs. I mean, these churches are doing things that would put most of our churches that have four beautiful walls to shame. And they aren't just doing it because it's a good thing to do. They're doing it because they love God and they're following Jesus. And that is what they believe they are created to do and to be. And so I learned from our partners in faith, our global partners in faith, how better to love God."

Nicewander said when she returned from Zambia, she felt a call toward Immanuel because of that church's commitment to knowing the church's neighbors and building relationships with them.

"They had already done 50 one-on-ones with folks in their neighborhood and one-on-ones are so foundational for building relationships and for doing organizing to create structural change," she said. "Because power comes with organized people and organized money, and our churches have organized people and organized money. And if we do this work together, we can actually build power, which is not a bad thing, Power is a good thing when it is used for justice - to change the structures of oppression."

The church has been working with other churches through the Greater Hartford Interfaith Action Alliance in order to bring about those changes, and Rev. Nicewander lifted up several legislative victories this year in Connecticut: repealing welfare liens, the clean slate act, and recognizing racism as a public health crisis. (Read more here.)

Internally, Immanuel has done deep work on becoming an anti-racist church, Rev. Nicewanter said. All the leaders have gone through intensive anti-racism training, the church formed a "congregant of color caucus" for accountability, and they have been looking at reparations.

Watch the full interview here:



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Tiffany Vail

Tiffany Vail is the Director of Media & Communications for the Southern New England Conference.

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