I attended Sojourners’ inaugural THE SUMMIT in Washington, D.C., in late June, an intentional and invitational gathering of faith leaders committed to conversation and collaboration.I was invited because of WELCA’s justice work. I was also invited to nominate others to attend and two of the women in our Today’s Dream Tomorrow’s Reality network were able to accept the invitation, Kimberly Schafer and Patricia Davenport.
I went to THE SUMMIT depleted.
The very first night Jim Wallis spoke on leadership, and Tim King invited us to write down three goals we hoped to reach that weekend. I wrote, “rekindled hope, renewed energy, and revived vision”. Always aim high, I like to say. We all placed our goals on the table and left them there.
What followed were days of paneled plenaries, skill-building workshops, salon style discussions and receptions all focusing on one of their five identified summits: Creation Care, Economic Opportunity, Women & Girls, Immigration and Racial Justice. The food was plentiful as were the opportunities to network. I came home with new allies for both our racial justice work and our gender justice work.
We looked at the challenges straight-on and one thing that was driven home to me is how difficult it is to build coalition when one or more of us cleave too firmly to the answers we believe we have found. This increased my weariness as it reminded me of those who, in the early years of WELCA’s anti-racism training, felt they had the right to dictate how the work should be done even though they could not provide empirical evidence for their position.
On the other hand, I met people honestly looking for collaboration. I was able to share some of the work we do, and I have a stack of business cards of people who want to learn more about what we are doing. These are also people to call on for “rekindled hope, renewed energy, and revived vision.”
What networks do you belong to that do this for you?
Inez Torres Davis is director for justice.
Photo by William Warby. Used with permission.