Presbyterians Today

JUN-JUL 2018

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22 JUNE/JULY 2018 | Pr e s by te r i a n s To d ay its impact on multiple issues, like homelessness, food justice, public safety, policing and public education. "I didn't live here before the Ferguson uprising," said Counihan, "but I know faithful people have been working on the layers and layers and layers of systemic racism for years and years and decades and decades. But once people took to the streets, the movement has been relentless in continuing to demand for change." Counihan says the movement has created an honesty that's needed — but not always seen — in churches. "People on the street are fighting for the person next to them. It's about wanting the absolute best for each other and our community," she said, adding, "In this moment, the city is willing to face the issues of our time. It's exciting and faith-giving. God is doing something new in this place." Counihan hopes General Assembly attendees who participate in Hands & Feet will take the lessons they learn in St. Louis back home with them. And also ask these questions: Where are there similar issues and problems? How might we address them in our context? Indeed, the "Show Me" state has shown the world that racism is still an evil needing to be confronted and eradicated. But while the shooting of Michael Brown, the riots in Ferguson and the ensuing public scrutiny are now part of Missouri's history, a new narrative is being written. It's a narrative of hope that is being told through the work of many Presbyterian hands and feet, and it will continue being written long after General Assembly is over. Paul Seebeck is a communications strate- gist for the Presbyterian Mission Agency. Donna Frischknecht Jackson is editor of Presbyterians Today and a rural ministry network pastor in Washington County, New York. CALL TO ACTION Tips for becoming the hands and feet of Christ in your community: » Don't go solo. Team up with others who are already assisting those in need. Remember, mission is not about reinventing the wheel — and many groups would welcome the extra hands. » Offer more education. Tap into the many resources offered by the Presbyterian Mission Agency. There are resources for gun control, dismantling racism, fighting hunger. Go to presbyterianmission.org/programs-services. » Get out into the community. Hold meetings in a local coffee shop, go on a prayer walk in the neighborhood and notice who is on the street. LISA THOMPSON COURTESY OF ERIN COUNIHAN Erin Counihan, left, and Melanie Smith join others at a protest in 2017. Counihan hopes those who have participated in Hands & Feet, whether protesting at the 2017 "Blue Silence Is Violence" march or sorting clothing, will take what they have learned back to their communities.

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