The local IMPACT (Interfaith Movement Promoting Action by Congregations Together) is a coalition of about 25 churches representing the three primary faith communities here. Westminster has been a participant for IMPACT’s entire 11 years. Indeed, former pastor Jim Baker helped found the group with other pastors. The organization works for local improvement of social justice, addressing systemic problems in our community, going beyond acts of mercy. Over the years, the focus has been on issues of pre-K access in the public schools, expanded bus routes to under-served areas, a dental clinic for those without health insurance, job training programs, drug rehabilitation center for women, housing for homeless and, lately, a better inventory of affordable housing in the city and county. IMPACT can take credit for accomplishing much in these areas.
Westminster has been a steady financial contributor to IMPACT, but our personal participation has waned lately, due to lots of reasons, including frankly some dissatisfaction with IMPACT’s confrontational style with local policy makers. Much of that style has abated,, but IMPACT still understands that forging justice is hard work, and requires persistent advocacy. I remain committed to the organization for its steadfast attention to problems in our community, and for its interfaith/interracial composition.
IMPACT’s yearly calendar involves issue identification in the fall, a period of research on the matter and meetings with local officials, culminating with a Nehemiah Action, at which IMPACT congregations hope to turn out more than 1000 people in support of justice. The name is homage to the prophet Nehemiah who spoke truth to power amid injustice of the time. This year’s action is at MLK Performing Arts Center on April 11, with the meeting beginning at 6:30 p.m. We’ll be hearing updates on the difficult issues surrounding affordable housing, and pressing for a better governmental response. Join us, and stand up for social justice. Please see me for further information.