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  • Writer's picturePastor Stephanie Jaeger

24/7 Christian: Faith and Civic Engagement

Being Christian is not something we are only an hour a week during worship, or only when we are in the church building, or only when interacting with church friends. Being Christian is who and what we are at all times and in all situations. Being Christian is a way of life.

As Christians, we seek to treat ourselves with self-compassion and self-forgiveness so we might grow, as well as practice self-discipline and care to prevent harm to ourselves and be all that God endows us to be.

In our interpersonal relationships, we seek to embody compassion, love, kindness and joy, When the relationship goes off track, where possible, we pursue reconciliation and repair. 

In our professional lives we seek to conduct ourselves with integrity and a sense of service and justice.

As 24/7 Christians, we also need to discern how we each are called to live out our faith in the wider community and society.   A new draft social statement by the ELCA on “Civic Life and Faith” reminds us that what God seeks for creation is shalom. “God’s power and love seeks shalom, the fullness of peace, well-being, goodness, truth, beauty, justice, freedom, wholesomeness, and love woven together for all.”  As Christians we engage in civic life in pursuit of the “commonwealth,” the common good of all.  As participants in civic life, we are called into personal discernment through the lens of faith to vote, to contribute to our communities with our time, treasure, and talents, to speak up and act when we believe something is not in alignment with God’s intention of shalom.

This Sunday after worship, during the fellowship time at Trinity, you will have two opportunities to practice civic engagement as an expression of faith.  Trinity has been a Staten Island site for the city-wide “participatory budgeting process.”  Citizens like you developed and vetted ideas for community service initiatives that would benefit Staten Island.  Six projects were chosen for Staten Island residents to vote on.  The winning initiative will be funded with $100,000+ from the New York City Budget.  We will have ballots and you are asked to choose one of the six projects. 

You can learn about the participatory budget process on Staten Island (and see visuals of Trinity’s auditorium where the meetings were held!) here:  You can learn about the “Sunny Sculpture”—the artistic mascot of the participatory budget process—that we will be displaying at Trinity in June here:

You will also have the opportunity to sign on and send letters to the Mayor and your City Council Members regarding the plan to cut funding for feeding programs by more than 50% this year.  This would dramatically reduce the resources for critical food pantries and feeding programs like our own Feeding with TLC.  Our community engagement coordinator and administrator, Priscilla Marco, will have sample letters and sign-ons available. It is critical that we tell our elected officials that we need their financial support so we can live out the command to love our neighbor through food and meals.

There will also be copies of the new “ELCA Draft Social Statement on Faith and Civic Life” available for you to take home and read.  Later this summer, we will hold a discussion and feedback-session on the new draft social statement so we can submit feedback to the national church and be part of our church’s guidance on how we live out our faith in civic life.  You can also find the new social statement here:

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1 Comment

Jun 01

Well said and well written.

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