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Advocacy Matters

"All advocacy is, at its core, an exercise in empathy." Samantha Power

I believe that following Christ includes advocating for the needs of others.  Our political system can make advocacy complicated, intimidating and generally challenging.  I believe our separation of Church and State is helpful; as such I refrain from endorsing a candidate or party, but instead focus on specific legislation or more broadly on particular issues.

I am grateful to serve as a member of the board for Texas Impact.  Many of you know this, as we have talked about different organizations and means to be engaged politically in the context of our faith.  Texas Impact focuses on Texas legislation, I know that several members have subscribed to their updates and have enjoyed the connection.

I am in Austin today attending a board meeting for Texas Impact.  I am happy to say that the general legislative outcome was positive.  That said, there were some substantial bills that we opposed that still passed.  Perhaps most notably SB4, the 'sanctuary cities' bill.  The fact that a federal court has an injunction against it is good news.  I have a one page summary of the bills we addressed and the outcome if you are interested.

I am grateful for the support I have experienced from Ascension for my advocacy.  I will continue my efforts and am happy to share more about how I'm engaged with this, as well as offer encouragement as to how you can be involved as you are interested.

Blessings -
Fr. Paul

Church Beyond our Walls: Sharing our Faith

"The Church is the new creation, it is life and joy, it is the sacramental fellowship in which we share the ultimate purpose of God, made real for us now in our hearing the Word and sharing the Sacrament." - Rowan Williams

The power of God is evident through the scripture and the sacraments, indeed through our following of Christ.  Even so, sharing our faith can be a tremendous challenge.  In part, the personal nature of how we have experienced God can be tender.  Sometimes we don't share out of fear of rejection or even mockery; other times we may hesitate due to the differences we may experience between our own faith and that of others.

The gap between those who attend church and those who don't is growing.  An ever increasing number of people don't go to church, many don't even know the Gospel story.  This can be good news, in that some will marvel at the power of God as we share it.  At the same time, there is an unprecedented number of people who have been offended, or worse, by the church or those professing their faith in ways that can be brash or problematic.

It is up to us to embrace this call in the Gospel, to model sharing that reflects our understanding of God's call.  Sometimes this can be daunting.  Ascension is hosting "Church Beyond the Walls" a practical workshop that provides a framework for developing an intentional evangelistic strategy for parishes.  Carrie Headington will offer insight as to how to share our faith, as we strive to be Christ to the world.  I hope that you will join us on Saturday September 23rd from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m for this event.  You can register here: http://edod.org/resources/articles/church-beyond-the-walls/

Blessings -
Fr. Paul

Dallas Hunger Summit

“Break our hearts with the things that break yours. Make us voices in the wilderness that cry out for your kingdom to come on earth.” Common Prayer, A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals

With recent hurricane events, this passage spoke out to me that God wants us to feel the pain and suffering in the world as he feels …and surely felt for his Son on the cross.  Many people in Houston and surrounding areas are devastated in ways that many of us cannot identify with…total loss of all personal possessions, lack of clean water, homelessness and hunger. The Presiding Bishop encourages us to wait for action in the flooded areas, but asks that we consider donating to Episcopal Relief and Development. This way, needed funds can be allocated to Texas Dioceses directly involved and can disperse funds in a way that addresses the most serious needs.

Many evacuees are expected to come to Dallas to seek shelter and basic needs such as water, clothes and food.  We can get involved in numerous ways as volunteer opportunities become more apparent. It is also important for us all to realize that recent events will increase the number of people who are food insecure in our state, and in our cities.

For those of you interested in food insecurity please plan to attend the 6th Annual Dallas Hunger Summit located at Cliff Temple Baptist Church.  I am please to say that the Diocese is a sponsor of this event!  Participants will enjoy listening to a variety of speakers as well as engage in breakout sessions focusing on proven ways to seriously impact hunger in the community. For more information and to register, go to:

http://2017dallashungersummit.eventbrite.com

 

Dabney Dwyer
Community Outreach Liaison
Episcopal Diocese of Dallas