The phone rings. It is Jill Jacques from the NDPC Elder Nominating Committee. You have been asked to serve as an Elder. What will your answer be? What are you called to do during these tumultuous times in our communities, our states, our nation, and our world? To be asked to serve as an NDPC Elder is at once an experience in humility and honor. You have been identified as someone of character, integrity and spiritual depth. You have been called to serve this faith community that has been around for over 60 years. NDPC doesn’t just talk about Micah 6:8, “What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” NDPC acts. Humbly, prayerfully, and through the lens of love, NDPC is engaged in answering this call.
When I last served as an NDPC Elder, I served as chair of the Peace & Justice Committee. Established in the days when Joanna Adams was our pastor, it is a committee charged with education and advocacy to help God’s people, with a particular attention paid to immigrants, victims of torture, and people struggling with mental illness. On behalf of NDPC, the Peace and Justice Committee is charged with educating ourselves and our church family on vital issues: the proliferation of nuclear weapons, gun violence in our nation, the deadening outcomes of systemic racism. We are then expected to advocate for changes that will bring justice.
Since there is lots in the world we live in that needs “fixin,’” we diligently and prayerfully work to focus both on what seems to call for immediate attention, and what allows us to be most impactful. We work with other churches through Presbyterians for a Better Georgia, and support a lobbyist who represents us advocating for issues we care about in our state legislature. We support NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness); we remember the names of Georgia victims of gun violence every month; we participate in Atlanta’s annual Gay Pride event. These are just a few of the things Peace and Justice does on NDPC’s behalf. The needs are many, and learning about those needs and determining which ones we have the energy and resources to focus on can be daunting. But…God is in all of it. Without justice there is no peace. Without peace there is no justice.
When that Elder Nominating Committee member calls you to serve, prayerfully and humbly consider saying “yes.” Your own faith will grow deeper, you will get to work with people who seek to discern what it means to follow Christ in our troubled and messy world, and you will get to “do something” that matters. Yes: because God is in it all and with us always.
Stay well. Do good work and keep in touch. God bless us all.
Carol J Tveit