Easter is not simply the most important day in the life of the church and Christians. It is better understood as a season that has the power and potential to bring forth rebirth and transformation — which continues to undergird and inspire our hope. The election of 2016 and its aftermath have revealed a crisis of politics and faith that continues to get worse in our nation. But the depth of that crisis, now revealed, holds possibility for redemption in our faith, and reform in our nation, that reaches into our churches and local communities. But to move from possibility to transformation, we must listen, learn, and act. That is why this year’s Summit for Change is so timely and why we hope you and other leaders will join us this year.
The Christian story is grounded in the radical, transforming way of Jesus Christ, who exemplified the new order of the kingdom of God that he came to bring. This heritage leads and calls us as disciples to intervene in the world in unconventional ways — into deeper relationship with and on behalf of those most targeted by oppression, as part of the radically inclusive, multiethnic, beloved community that we are called to build. Even in the face of the upheaval and deep divisions in our nation and world, we know that injustice never has the last word.
In this spirit, as we move from the season of Easter into the season of Pentecost, which is a special time in the life of Sojourners. Each June for the past six years, we have convened the Summit for Change, which brings together more than 300 faith leaders and movement makers who are committed to world change through faith and justice. The program this year includes a dynamic and diverse group of confirmed presenters and speakers, including: Rev. Ruth Padilla DeBorst, Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry, Rev. Traci Blackmon, Sr. Helen Prejean, Becca Stevens, Rev. Dr. Barbara Williams Skinner, Rev. Frank Chikane, Rev. Gricel Medina, Rev. Katey Zeh, Rev. Dr. Randy Woodley, Pastor Ada Valiente, and many others.
However, The Summit is so much more than simply a conference filled with provocative and inspiring speakers. The Summit serves as an intimate place and space in which an intergenerational cross section of leaders come together to be inspired and encouraged, build greater connection and collaboration with their peers across industries, and be spiritually nourished and sustained for the struggles ahead. We have heard from countless participants over the years that the Summit offers a rare combination of time to strengthen skills and knowledge along with deep relationship building, discernment and soul care.
That is why in these perilous and chaotic times, we want to ask you to consider applying or nominating any other faith and justice leaders that you know to join us for The Summit 2019.
We believe that both formal and informal networks of leaders help provide the necessary infrastructure and relational support that movements are based on. They build trust, provide common language and help foster complementary visions for social change. Building on this belief, this year’s Summit will feature a series of tracks to better connect and engage participants with the essential skills for movement leadership, which includes: Prophetic and Thriving Ministries, designed to provide resources for building and sustaining bold social justice ministries and local churches; Faithful Advocacy, which will equip attendees for skills for high-impact systemic change; Sacred Economy, for those actively involved and interested in building a more just and inclusive economic system; Transformative Storytelling, for training and inspiration on how to infuse your work — whether it be grassroots activism, philanthropy, or preaching — with the power of narrative; and Rising Leaders and Seminarians, which is specifically designed to empower those preparing for leadership in our churches and movements.
We are excited that this year’s Summit will begin with a day on Capitol Hill where we will have an opportunity to hear directly from congressional leaders about their vision for the country and how their faith and values impact their public leadership and political priorities. We will provide training in order to equip and empower you to engage in both pastoral and prophetic leadership as you advocate with your members of Congress around pressing policy issues like immigration, climate justice, criminal justice, violence against women and, always, poverty.
At the Summit we will discern together what true transformation might look like for our world, our nation, our organizations, and our inmost selves in a time such as this. We hope and pray that you will help us spread the word and join us.