From prayer rocks to prayer flags, the creative duo of Judy Lindblad and Valerie Bernardino (pictured below) were the impetus behind Investing in a Just Future’s playful and spiritual focus to support our ambitious undertaking. Prayer is both personal and purposeful. To personalize and focus our prayers tactically, names were written on small flat rocks, exchanged with others… helping us remember to pray for each other on the journey toward a Just Future. Displaying our written and drawn prayers on over 100 flags visualized our deepest hopes, dreams, and concerns as we venture forward for the Church, the Community and the Earth.
Investing in a Just Future is Mt. Auburn’s three-year initiative to transform our earth, our community and our church, including our denomination. We celebrate that our fundraising goal of $750,000 is 91% fulfilled. Additional gifts and pledges to be paid over the next three years are welcome. Planning is underway for the Pastoral Residency and Carbon Footprint Reduction projects. Later this year, volunteer opportunities will be available to interact with our community project – Cincinnati Scholar House in Walnut Hills. Check out the bulletin board in the social hall for more information or talk with Pastor Stacey about how you can get involved.
Prayer was an important part of the journey of discernment as we planned our Investing in a Just Future initiative. Please continue to pray creatively for Mt. Auburn Presbyterian Church, the three projects, our staff and volunteers, and individual members and friends of our community. Prayer rocks are available in a basket in the narthex. You can continue to exchange rocks weekly or periodically or add your name to a rock if you don’t have one.
Thank you, Valerie and Judy, for inspiring us to pray with imagination and love. To learn more about prayer and how it can rock your world, check out these resources:
Guest post by John Tallmadge
In our time, human activity has subjected the social and ecological systems of planet Earth to unprecedented stress. Global climate change, habitat loss, extinctions, overpopulation, and pollution degrade the biosphere while epidemics, poverty, resource depletion, inequality, war, and violence degrade the human world. Present habits and trends cannot be sustained without serious and perhaps fatal damage to the Earth and its community of life.
In a sustainable world humanity and nature would flourish in mutually enhancing ways. Human communities would care for one another, using resources modestly and equitably, without impairing the ability of future generations or other life communities to meet their own needs.
How can the world’s churches help us pursue such a worthy, and indeed such a vital goal?
It may help to realize that sustainability is not something we achieve and then we’re done; it’s something that has to go on forever, requiring a deliberate transformation of our way of living. It’s not a simple problem, like baking a cake, or a complicated problem, like putting a man on the moon; rather it’s a complex problem, like raising a child or making peace in the Middle East. Complex problems have many possible solutions, none given or foreseen; they can arise only through learning and change from within, on the part of all components within the system. If you are part of the problem, you have to be part of the solution.
Gazing down this strenuous, uncertain path, we can take some light and comfort from our religious life. Faith can provide direction and purpose in the midst of uncertainty. Hope can help us cleave to more promising visions of the good life and human flourishing. Sacrifice can help us embrace the challenge to do more with less for the sake of the greater good and a deeper sense of fulfillment. And community can encourage and support us as we disentangle ourselves from the webs of privilege, entitlement, and wasteful consumption spun by industrial capitalism.
Because social change happens one person at a time, we believe that congregations can become seedbeds of transformation. A deliberate program of green faith, green learning, green living, and green outreach can foster right thinking and right action in our individual lives as well as our lives in church, neighborhood, city, and bioregion. With each other’s help and encouragement, we can become the change we wish to see in the world.
February 24 is our Commitment Sunday! We invite all of you to bring your commitment cards if you haven’t already mailed them in, as we join together in Investing in a Just Future. As of last Sunday, we already have 24 early pledges turned in for a total of $412,160 – that’s over halfway to our full goal of $750,000! Our church leadership has really gotten excited about a future in which we expand our justice seeking capacity in church, community, and creation. How will you support this important initiative?
Read more about how we’re Investing in a Just Future in our second newsletter: IJF Newsletter 2
We know you have questions about the Investing in a Just Future initiative. We’ve answered some of them here in our Frequently Asked Questions document.
Investing in a Just Future FAQ
Join the Martin Luther King, Jr. Coalition of Cincinnati for an interfaith march, prayer service, and program for MLK Jr. Day on Monday, January 21. You can participate at 10am at the Freedom Center, 11am at Fountain Square, 12pm at Music Hall, or any of the above. Pastor Stacey will be offering a prayer during the service at Fountain Square. Get more information at https://mlkcoalition.org/about/
For many months, a group of church members commissioned by Session has been exploring what’s next in our congregational life. Where can we devote our time, talent, and treasure to expand our work of love and justice? We’ve been talking about this initiative for quite some time now, but we’re delighted to present to you our first official communication about our plan for Investing in a Just Future at MAPC. Read all about it now, and look for even more information in the new year!
Investing in a Just Future Newsletter