Social Justice

The Social Justice Committee supports the congregation in working out its commitment to justice and reconciliation in the world through organizing, advocacy, education, and nurturing public relationships for the common good. An essential part of this work is better understanding how systemic racism permeates our lives and institutions, but we also seek to move from education and dialogue to action, identifying concrete steps we can take to overcome injustices in our community.

Broad-based Organizing

What is broad-based organizing?

Broad-based community organizing builds relational power to address systemic injustice at its roots. The foundation of organizing, the face-to-face, one-on-one meeting, forges relationships across diverse groups of people and institutions who then work together to identify areas of common concern, develop leaders, and tackle community problems through citizen-led action.

How is Westminster involved?

In October 2020, Westminster, through our relationship with the Micah Center, joined with nine other area congregations and civic organizations to create a Grand Rapids Sponsoring Team. This dues-paying team is working to recruit ten more organizations by the end of 2021. We will then become an official affiliate of the Industrial Areas Foundation, the nation’s largest and longest-standing network of local faith and community-based organizations.

With twenty West Michigan institutions connected through relationships of trust, we will act publicly on a variety of issues, bringing the power of organized people to decision makers in our community.

How does organizing work?

  • We contract with the IAF for consultation and leadership training from an experienced professional organizer.
  • We raise a budget from the dues of member organizations and fundraisers. Membership is open to any institution who shares our mission to work for equity and justice in West Michigan.
  • We hold hundreds of one-on-one meetings within our member groups and across institutions to build relationships of trust and identify areas of concern.
  • We assign teams to research chosen community issues and develop potential solutions.
  • We present our agenda to local decision makers and assert the power of organized people to achieve lasting change.

Why "Black Lives Matter"

It's a Church issue.

To insist that black lives matter, for followers of Jesus, is to believe that all are created in the image of God. We have done all kinds of things to distort this image, but God is restoring it and reconciling the world. We are called to join in that work.

It's about equality.

To insist that black lives matter is to insist that persons of color deserve equal dignity and concern as all other persons, without exception.

It's contextual.

To insist that black lives matter is not less than insisting that all lives matter. We specifically insist that black lives matter because the historical and contemporary injustice done to people of color demands it.

It's everyone's—and no one's.

To insist that black lives matter is not to endorse individual groups or positions or to oppose police as persons. It is not a justification of violence but a rejection of violence in every form.

It's not enough.

To insist that black lives matter means we must be willing to have difficult conversations with others—and with ourselves. We must listen. We must acknowledge. We must repent. We must speak up. We must act.

Latest Social Justice Posts

Anti-Racism Reading and Resources

These resources are intended to serve white people and parents in deepening their anti-racism work. If you have not engaged in anti-racism work in the past, start now.