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Thomas Dowdy Speaks at Annual Conference 2015 — TWICE!

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen. —Ephesians 3:20-21

At the Congregational Life and Intercultural Ministries Dinner, on Tuesday night, Rev Thomas Dowdy spoke — preached really — from Ephesians. He led a conversation that explored the faithful, Brethren response to the violence of racism. He reflected on what actions we can take based on our values of community, simple living, and peace in the context of current events and the wider national conversation. Many people came away inspired and challenged by the Martin Luther King, Jr. quote he shared, "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

We are living in challenging, controversial times — and Brother Thomas reminded us that our faith and traditions are the firm ground from which we can not only take a stand but act for social justice. Brother Thomas also preached for the closing worship on Wednesday. The whole, moving broadcast is available online and his sermon starts at 58:50.

Reverend Thomas Dowdy, pastor at Imperial Heights Church of the Brethren in California, is regularly engaged with urban ministries that are doing more work than many of us dare to ask or imagine. In addition to being a bi-vocational pastor, he has mentored youth and young adults, been active in district leadership, and raised his own family. Long before the shooting in Charleston and before the protests in Ferguson, Brother Thomas has been having conversations about the intersections of faith, social justice, and race in our nation. He has a master's degree from Fuller University.


Continuing Together: What Can I do?

It seems like every week there is another report of racialized violence. I keep hearing about new studies that reveal the deep discrepancies and injustices in our nation. On the hardest days, I am frozen to the spot. Unable to move and unable to imagine how I could make a difference. At the same time, I am asked over and over "What can I do? What should my church be doing?"

Brother Thomas reminded us that if we do not act, "we have outsourced the Great Commission to those who really don't care about Jesus." So, we are called by our faith to act, to attend to those wounded on the side of the road, to feed the hungry and clothe the naked, and to stand by women at the well, and others who are oppressed and condemned.

So, I will be sharing reflections on what we can do, what a faithful response looks like in the context of our times, and what it means to do intercultural ministries via a blog miniseries:

"Continuing Together"

From Gimbiya's Desk: Why I'm Afraid to blog—and doing it anyway

"The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people." —Martin Luther King, Jr.

I am, by nature, shy — and the seemingly permanent and potentially viral nature of online publication has made me even more hesitant to share my thoughts in a wider venue. However, in recent months so many people have wanted to hear my perspective — as an individual and as Director of Intercultural Ministries — about how the church, our churches, can respond to the current events and issues around race/ethnicity/culture/nationality/etc. I have answered these questions one at a time, but realize that in some ways I have chosen the safety of a public silence.

So the "Continuing Together" blog mini-series is my effort to speak up and widen the conversation. As always, I invite you to be in touch by writing comments, writing me by e-mail or calling 847-742-5100 ext387.

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Contact: Gimbiya Kettering
gkettering@brethren.org
847-429-4387
1451 Dundee Avenue, Elgin, IL 60120