Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Update on Hope Scholarship House from Rev. Copeland Nkhata


Dr. Christensen and Rev. Nkhata 'break ground" for new Hope House in 2011
These photos show how much progress we have made in constructing the HOPE SCHOLARSHIP HOUSE to make our dream sustainable in empowering many souls that God has placed in our care.   


The ring beam is next and then the roofing in January.  The house should be ready for occupancy in just a few more months.


What began in 2007 as a charitable educational project of Mzuzu United Methodist Church and WorldHope Corps to support selected youth who otherwise could not attend secondary school, will now become a self-supporting, sustainable, on-going scholarship program for boys and girls motivated to complete their education.   By building a beautiful, 4-bedroom family house in a new development area of Mzuzu that will generate monthly rental income, we will be able to support selected recipients through High School. (See previous posts on Hope Scholarship Program).  


We are grateful for all your support in 2011.  We will complete the building project in 2012, to support the next class of Hope Scholarship recipients.  Thank you for all your support through the years.

Rev. Copeland Nhkata, Program Director

WorldHope Corps Scholarship Recipients of 2009-2010

Christmas Greetings from Br. Julius and Fr. Paul in Uganda

SARS Community Development project
Dear Brothers and Sisters in America:

I send you greetings in the name of our lord Jesus Christ and I hope God is keeping you safe during this holy week of Christmas.

I have viewed the good articles, comments, and the photos on this blog which clearly describe SARS and the work we do in Uganda.  We are so happy to be part of the WorldHope Corps family.


God makes miracles in different ways, and meeting people with compassion like you is beyond my imagination.

I have attached more photos of the ministry of SARS:

God bless you.

Br Julius


Water Source before irrigation/sanitation development

Thursday, December 15, 2011

WorldHope Corps Projects in Western Uganda

Members of SARS with Fr. Paul and Br. Julius
We raised the roof of the St. George Hope Health Center in 2009.  Now lets equip the buildings, ensure clean water and sanitation, and empower young women for self-reliance. 
During the first ten days of June last summer I had the rich of experience of meeting Br. Julius Kasaija with the Sustainable Action for Rural Sector (SARS)--a Shalom-style community development work near Hoima, Uganda.  WorldHope Corps had been supporting SARS and their partner ministry, St George Hope Health Center, for three years now. Retired Judge Tom Dilts at Liberty Corner Presbyterian Church had introduced me to Julius and his brother, Fr. Paul Bigirwa, and their wonderful work in Western Uganda, but until June we had not met in person. Julius attended our ShalomZone Training in Uganda in June, and we became fast friends.
St George Hope Health Centre ready for equipment
We've tried to raise a little money each year for Fr. Paul and Br. Julius to keep their good work going.  See previous Uganda blog posts  We Raised the Roof

This month WorldHope Corps received two generous pledges totaling $7,000 in support of the St George Hope Health Centre, and I know that there are others who wish to contribute to other SARS projects the before the end of the year through WHC.  

Toward this end, I asked Tom Dilts, who deeply carries the passion and vision for this work, to summarize three SARS projects in Western Uganda worthy of support of WorldHope Corps donors.  Indeed, Julius and Paul have been praying for potential sponsors so that their faithful undertakings will be fully funded in 2012: 
SARS volunteers performing in Village
$6,170 TO EMPOWER 60 WOMEN FOR SELF RELIANCE IN KIBAALE, UGANDA

The goal is to enhance income generation capacities for 240 women and family members from 60 households by providing improved planting materials and training on more productive farming. Those to benefit include single mothers and fathers, widows and widowers, people living with HIV/AIDS, and out of school youth. The services to be provided are vast when compared with the cost of the program. Total cost is $7,175 US, of which $1,005 will be provided by local contributions. The requested contribution is $6,170.  A full proposal and program details is available for review by emailing info@worldhopecorps.com 
Women collect rainwater from roadside stream


$3,600 for WATER and SANITATION PROJECT for 6000 people in BIREMBO, UGANDA
The proposed project directly address water and sanitation problems that negatively impact the rural poor communities.  Because of polluted water being the primary source for drinking in most rural villages, 70% of children who had their stool examined were found to have roundworms and whipworm.  Indeed, one out of five children die from water-borne diseases under the age of 5.  Our project goal is to promote the best hygiene and water & sanitation practices in neglected rural areas.  This through (1) mass awareness campaign and public education, (2) repairing damaged shallow wells and water springs at community level, and (3) to build capacity for community-based water resource teams.  The idea is to arouse community consciousness, perceptions and attitudes about clean water and appropriate sanitation.  An increase demand for clean water will not only promote a sense of ownership of the water sources, but also responsibility and sustainability. This 6-month project seeks our support of $3,600 and will directly benefit 6,000 people and indirectly benefit 36,000 more.  A full proposal and program details is available for review by emailing info@worldhopecorps.com  
St George Hope Health Centre's three nearly completed units


Matching Dollars for St. GEORGE HOPE HEALTH CENTRE (UGANDA)
Two years ago, with your support and the support of WorldHope Corps, we helped "raise the roof" on the 3 new buildings of the future St George Hope Health Centre.  This year, the community in Hoima, Uganda, is ready and eager to outfit the principal building with equipment and instruments to open wide its doors.  Our help is needed to help make this happen!  Already, key supporters have raised $7,000 for the Hope Centre, and with other donations we can start equipping the second of the three new buildings.  A full proposal and program details is available for review by emailing info@worldhopecorps.com 

SARS projects now are part of WorldHope Corp's growing international network of sustainable community development projects focused on health, education and clean water.
Work Day for SARS in Western Uganda

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Year End Report to WorldHope Corps Donors 2011

Dear Friends and Partners,

Despite many economic hardships around the world in 2011, it was a hope-filled year for thousands of children, women and families in Malawi, Uganda, Ethiopia and Haiti—thanks to you!  Together we raised so far this year a total of $108,485 to sustain the Hope programs in Malawi and support relief and development projects in Uganda, Ethiopia, Haiti and Belarus. On behalf of all these children, women and families, I want to extend a heartfelt thank you for your generous contributions to WorldHope Corps.
Specifically this year, we continued to provide food and clothing for 100 vulnerable orphans through the Hope Homes program in Malawi.  We also provided educational scholarships for 16 additional youth who otherwise could not complete High School though Hope Scholarships, and graduated the third class of 12 young seamstresses in Hope Tailoring School, so that they can become self-sufficient and contribute to their local economy. Building on the success of our Hope Scholarship and Hope Tailoring School programs, and seeking ways to sustain the good work of orphan care, educational support, and women’s economic empowerment in Malawi, WorldHope Corps, in partnership with Mzuzu United Methodist Church--broke ground in May and made progress over the summer for a new Hope House in Mzuzu!
And there is more good news:  We also put in six new village wells—deep water wells – to provide clean, safe drinking water to over 10,000 people in these remote areas.  WorldHope Corps has funded and installed a total of 18 Village Wells since 2007, with only two more to go to reach our commitment for a total of 20 village wells.  Then we may turn our attention to securing our own well-drilling equipment to sustain this important program.


We also provided HIV/AIDS training to religious leaders in Malawi, co-sponsored Camp Dembe Youth Camp in Kampala, Uganda, and community development training in Uganda in partnership with Communities of Shalom at Drew University.  


Before the end of the year, we hope to sponsor more food and medical aid for our Malawi Mission which has been hit particularly hard this year with famine, civil unrest, fuel shortages, and economic distress.  Continue our support of the St George Hope Health Centre in Hoima, Uganadaand seek new sponsors for economic community development in Jinja, Uganda.  I will post details of these active projects in the posts that follow with the hope that  Friends of WorldHope Corps will find one particular opportunity to sponsor or help fund in 2012. 
As we enter this Holiday Season of Sharing, we once again have the opportunity to share the blessings which have been bestowed upon us. Through good stewardship and leveraging your gifts, your contributions have had significant impact (scroll down to see some of our projects).  
Thank you again for your compassion and generous support.  (A receipt for your total tax deductable charitable contributions in 2011 will be sent to you in January).  If you are able to provide another gift before the end of the year, you can use PayPal at our website www.worldhopecorps.org  or write a check payable to WorldHope Corps, Inc. and send directly to
WorldHope Corps, Inc.
P.O. Box 295
Madison, NJ 07940

I hope you will also consider going with us on an annual WorldHope Corps Mission Trip.  

Grace and Peace to you,

Dr. Michael J. Christensen, Ph.D.
Founder and CEO, WorldHope Corps, Inc.

  
WorldHope Corps, Inc. is a not-for-profit charitable organization registered in the State of New Jersey in 2007.  Its 501 (c) 3 status with the IRS was recognized in 2008.  All donations are fully tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.  WorldHope Corps, Inc. acknowledges that no goods, property or services were given in return for your donation. Due to our size, structure and low overhead, WorldHope Corps often is able to leverage 20:1 (e.g. $100 worth of food and medicine for each $5 donated).  We limit our administrative, fund-raising and capacity building costs to 15% of whatever amount is donated annually.  We subscribe to best practices of non-profit management and financial accountability.  Annual financial reports are available upon request.  WorldHope Corps, Inc. currently has no paid staff.  Board members and volunteers do the work and raise all the funds.  Mission Teams travel to areas of greatest need and contribute time and money to special projects. We invite you to participate in whatever ways you can.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Time to Occupy Christmas

An usually large, warm, Full Moon was visible and clear in the sky today over Madison, NJ.

According to earthsky.org "the big and bright waning gibbous moon shines directly in front of the constellation Gemini the Twins, the radiant point for the Geminid meteor shower (going on tonight). Gemini’s two brightest stars are Castor and Pollux. They shine quite close to the moon tonight." 

I looked up and down, all around, and inside and out, and though I did not see the Twins of Gemini, suddenly I knew what Time it was.

Time to go home to San Diego for the holidays (on Friday).

Time to leave Occupy Wall Street behind for awhile and focus on other things.

TIME TO OCCUPY CHRISTMAS with family and friends.

"There is a time to every purpose under heaven..." (Ecc. 3)

There's a time to cook and clean and mend.
And there's a time for crying with a friend.
Look around, do you see what time it is?
Put down your pots and pans awhile.


There's a time to do what's proper and polite.
But there's a time to break away and do what's right
Look around, do you see what time it is?
Put down your pots and pans awhile.

Are you bound to mop and broom and stove?
Are you bound to walls that will not move?
You try so hard to please and still you find no peace.
Stop and listen, cause there's another voice a'calling.


There's a time to work without delay.
But there's a time for putting work away
Look around, do you see what time it is?
Put down your pots and pans awhile.
Put down your pots and pans awhile.



Song Can You Believe It? by Ken Medema

Saturday, December 10, 2011

What Time is it?

While returning to Newark on a 6am flight from Tulsa, the pilot woke up the passengers to alert us to an an astronomical sight not to be missed. I looked out the window and sure enough, the Moon over Tulsa was full and bright and larger than life, with no clouds obscuring the view.  The softer lunar light directly opposed the more radiant light of the Sun which was just starting to rise. In this strange twilight, I beheld that final phase of the lunar eclipse after the moon had turned red at its midpoint.

Since I teach apocalyptic eschatology at Drew (where I discuss biblical texts where the “moon turns to blood”), I could not help but wonder what this astronomical/astrological sign may mean at such a time as this? Perhaps this natural phenomenon, like all solar and lunar eclipses, at least in retrospect, portents or points to important human events of crisis and opportunity, or sometimes to the need for relief and re-balancing—as the ancients believed.  
But for now, I simply delight in the marvel of a lunar eclipse in the shadow of planet earth while cruising 3000 feet in the air on my early morning flight from Tulsa, and wonder what time it is (in kronos and kairos).  
"Look around and see what Time is it?" (Ken Medema song)






 

Drew Today--Full Spectrum

Rev. Jesse Jackson Joins United Methodist Leaders at Occupy Service
What do Drew, Jesse Jackson and Newt Gingrich have in common?

Here are two video clips from Drew Today, the university’s online news channel, illustrating the political spectrum of faculty, students and alumni:  (http://drew.edu/today)
 
Prayers and Protest
Social justice is integral to the mission of the Theological School and its Shalom initiative, so it wasn't so out of the ordinary that they led last Sunday’s worship service at Occupy Wall Street in New York City, led by Drew's Communities of Shalom. The surprise came when Rev. Jesse Jackson joined them. Video Journalist Ted Johnsen has the story.

Alumnus Propels Gingrich toward White House
With only a few weeks to go before the presidential primaries, Newt Gingrich is emerging as the GOP frontrunner. We thought that was a good reason to reprise this 2010 “Life After Drew” feature with alumnus Joe DeSantis C’00. DeSantis, who is now playing a key role with Newt’s campaign, was then Gingrich’s communications director and had just co-authored a book with the former speaker. Find out why he thanks Drew in this Ted Johnsen exclusive. Newt Gingrich taps Drew Alum for Campaign

For background on Communities of Shalom occupying Wall Street with faith, read my blog:
 

Politics of Jesus

Jesse Jackson support Obery Hendricks speaking at OSW
Dr. Obery Hendricks, Professor of New Testament Intepretation at New York Theological Semianry, Scholar in Residence at Columbia University, and author of The Politics of Jesus, attended the Occupy Advent service with Jesse Jackson and was invited to speak.

Treat the people’s needs as holy...” is one of seven strategies Jesus used to
give a voice to the voiceless” and “expose the workings of oppression” —to challenge the established order of things.

Hendricks is Professor of Biblical Interpretation at New York Theological Seminary and author of the book The Politics of Jesus: Rediscovering the True Revolutionary Nature of Jesus’ Teachings and How They Have Been Corrupted.

The 7 Political Strategies of Jesus are these:

  1. Treat people needs as holy.
  2. Give a voice to the voiceless.
  3. Expose the working of oppression.
  4. Call the demon by name.
  5. Save your anger for the mistreatment of others.
  6. Take blows without returning them.
  7. Don't just explain the alternative, show it.

To say that Jesus was a political revolutionary, is to say that the message he proclaimed not only called for change in individual hearts but always demanded sweeping and comprehensive change in the political, social, and economic structures in his setting in life: colonized Israel. It means if Jesus had his way...” he would “radically change the distribution of authority and power, goods and resources, so all people—particularly the little people, or the “least of these” as Jesus called them—might have lives free of political repression, enforced hunger and poverty, and undue insecurity.” (The Politics of Jesus, p. 5)
\

To say that Jesus was a political revolutionary is to say that the message he proclaimed not only called for change in individual hearts but also demanded sweeping and comprehensive change in the political, social, and economic structures in his setting in life: colonized Israel,” Hendricks writes.

Followers of Jesus and politicians themselves—should use Jesus’ teachings as a way of evaluating the government’s work, according to Hendicks. “...every policy and policy proposal must be judged by Jesus’ yardstick of love and justice.”

Three Stories of Shalom at Drew

Friends of Shalom:  

I want to share with you three shalom stories that were posted this week on Drew's Homepage:  http://www.drew.edu/

  • Feature on Drew Shalom intern, Gaius Charles, on how he balances his acting career and seminary studies.

  • $85,000 grant received last month from Jessie Ball duPont Fund for ShalomZone Training enhancements.

  • Jessie Jackson Joins us at OWS video clip   


I posted more news coverage, video clips, content, and reflection on our Occupy Advent service last week.  
http://michael-christensen.blogspot.com/search/label/shalom%20zone

There is growing interest in the Shalom network about about how we can create shalom zones in connection to OWS.

Taking a break from Occupy for Christmas, but will be in touch as things develop in the New Year.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Occupy Church on Wall Street

Occupy Advent 'congregation' at Zuccotti Park
United Methodist Bishops, clergy, members, Ministers of Shalom, Drew faculty and students, and other people of strong faith and good will..."Occupied Church" on the Second Sunday of Advent, December 4, 2011.

Occupy Advent article

Here are some of the video clips and news stories about OccupyFaith weekly services at Zuccotti Park and United Methodist support of the Occupy Movement for separation of Corporations and State, exposure of systemic greed, and proclamation that a new world is possible--Shalom for All.

Watch 2 minute video:
Jesse Jackson Joins Communities of Shalom to Occupy Wall Street

Watch longer video of Bishop Jeremiah Park and Bishop J preaching at Occupy Wall Street, Sunday December 4.


News article: Occupy Advent, Occupy Shalom

News article: Church of the Village Occupies Wall Street

News article United Methodists Who Support Occupy Movement

News article: More United Methodists Occupying

Melissa Hennin's Photos of Shalom Occupy Advent Service on December 4

I've also posted excerpts of what the clergy leaders said during the Shalom Occupy Advent service:
Occupy Shalom Wall Street

Eric Jackson, Althea Spencer Miller, Michael Christensen, Bishop J, Bishop Park, Tanya Bennett

Common Prayer for OWS

Minister Annie Allen, Program Associate and Coordinator of Training for Communities of Shalom at Drew, asked the Occupy Wall Street protest crowd to hold hands and pray this prayer together: 

There is Power in Prayer

Let us hold hands, touch 


somebody


Let us Pray all Together


Holy, Gracious, Loving God


You want Justice for your people


We want Justice for your people


Holy God you act though your children


We are your Children


Rain your spirit into this place


Lord Rain your spirit into our souls


Your Spirit is blowing – Hallelujah!


Lord, we need your justice and your peace.


Please Raise the Lowly and bring down the mighty


As you love us – Let us love one another


As you provide for us – let us provide for one another


We pray for all who are suffering


We ask for your patience, wisdom and strength


Help us create your kingdom on earth


Thank you God, for loving us


Thank you God, for being with us


And the Church says…


Amen. Amen. Amen!


Rev. Christensen and Rev. Eric Jackson help form the circle of prayer

"Occupy Till I Come" Jesus said (Luke 19:13)

Bishop Alfred Johnson, Ret. Bishop of Greater New Jersey Annual Conference and currently Senior Pastor of Church of the Village Church in lower Manhattan, offered these bold and prophetic words  at the Occupy Advent Service at Zuccotti Park:

"...This Sunday's lectionary ushering us into the Advent season, featured the fiery and inspired "John the Baptist." 


Taking editorial liberties and paraphrasing a bit to embody our occasion here, the Gospel of Luke(3) boldly testifies: "right in the middle of a matrix of mighty military and conspiring religious institutional power, the interrupting Word of God "Occupied" John the Baptist, who "occupied" the wilderness with words that "occupied" and even overflowed into the public and political economy of that day, and declared, a change is gonna come! God's change of Justice and fairness for all."


Even with this, John was clear, that water was not enough to baptize the moment, for water only "occupied" the space it found itself in. But, that One was coming this Advent, who would not only bring water, but would overflow beyond the space with the Holy Spirit and Fire, and that with that power, would flow wherever it chose to go, - even Wall Street and beyond. 


May our "occupation"  be only a sign of the journey, whose real destination is Shalom, God's Shalom in Jesus, indeed! Shalom is born at Christmas and busting loose! AMEN!"
Bishop J invites Rev. Jackson to share his time at street pulpit

'To Give You a Hope and a Future'

Bishop Jeremiah Park, Resident Bishop, New York Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, offered these prophetic words with great passion on Sunday, December 4, at the Occupy Advent church service with the OccupyWall Street congregation:

Long ago, the prophet Jeremiah heard God speaking:
For I know the plans I have for you,”….
plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.”(Jeremiah 29:11)

God’s plan for us is clear: hope and a future.

Our hearts are broken to know that God’s plan is denied to so many people. God’s heart is broken when any one is denied hope and a future.

What is missing in our society is hope. The absence of hope has moved so many people around the globe to occupy their public centers following the example of our own Occupy Wall Street.

Something is seriously wrong in America when the land of the greatest opportunity cannot inspire hope among its citizens, particularly the young! Something is seriously wrong in America when the so-called richest nation on earth has one of every four children living in poverty. Something is seriously wrong when people have to choose between food and medicine or medical care. Something is seriously wrong when so many people are living on the streets. 

Something is seriously wrong when young people graduate from college with a heavy load of debt but can find no employment. Something is seriously wrong when the dream of a decent living becomes beyond reach to people, even though they work hard. A decent living must be a basic human right.

Something is seriously wrong in America with the way we’ve been doing economics and life. We are polarized; we are paralyzed. And, as usual, those with the least are suffering the most. Now, thanks to Occupy Wall Street, we’re being compelled to confront this reality and to do something about it. The United States of America has been found guilty of reckless practices of a greed driven economy that benefits mostly the richest at the peril and expense of the rest. This leads me to ask, “What has happened to the America of my dreams that inspired a future with hope for all people?” The economic system that feeds and satisfies the untamed greed of the most powerful who possess the most resources so that the richest get richer, while the poor stay poor and the middle are squeezed, is not God’s plan. A future with hope! That’s God’s plan for all of us. When hope is missing, we have the God given right to demand it.

In eighteenth century England, a young Anglican priest named John Wesley, looked upon his society with horror. People were suffering in their poverty and oppression. Wesley was determined to do something about it. A movement called Methodism was born to offer new life and hope to people of all ages and stations. It was John Wesley who said, “There is no religion except social religion; no holiness except social holiness.”

What’s social religion all about? A religion that brings hope to everyone. What’s social holiness all about? A holiness that brings hope to all people, particularly to the most underprivileged.

Thanks to Occupy Wall Street, we are being reminded that unless we are looking out for the poorest among us, we are not being faithful to our God. If we are not in the hope-giving business to the marginalized among us, our business model is all wrong!

I call upon our church to be a house of hope. I call upon our people to be agents of hope.

For Christians, we are in the season of Advent, a season of hope.
Let me end with a prayer:
We are waiting for the One who is the Healer of our brokenness,
the Prince of shalom, and Hope of the world. Come to us until hope occupies our hearts, our wills, and our streets. Amen.
To hear the Bishop and others of us speak, click to view 2 min. video clip: 

Occupy the Temple

Rev. Dr. Tanya Linn Bennett
The following "Advent sermon" was offered by the Rev. Dr. Tanya Linn Bennett, University Chaplain, Drew University, on Sunday at the Occupy Wall Street church service:
In the Christian tradition

This is the season of Advent
The time of year when Christians
Wait for the Messiah, Jesus, to come
Despite our fairy tale images,
Jesus was no meek and mild child
Jesus came to turn the world around
To bring justice and freedom to those oppressed
To make the rich lowly, and to raise up the poor.
In one story in the Bible,
Jesus enters the temple in Jerusalem
Where the moneylenders and merchants
Had set up shop
And he calls them cheaters and liars
Robbers of the poor
Exploiters of the vulnerable
And he turns over the tables
One of the first occupiers--
Jesus occupied Jerusalem
In this season of waiting
Let us turn over the tables
Bringing low the rich
And raising up the poor
Bringing justice, freedom and a powerful, holy love
To those who need it most.
To those who need us most.
Occupy Advent Now!
Rev. Dr. Tanya Bennett, Drew University



 

Occupy--Down By the Riverside

Rev. David Best leads in prophetic song with Bishops and Chaplain at his side
Rev. David Best of Towell and Basin ministries offered an adaption of the prayer-song "Down By the Riverside", with new verses of repentance for three evils of our time--militarism, racism, and poverty-- that obstruct the creation of the Beloved Community of Shalom:

Here we are Lord,
Down by the riverside.
By the rivers of Babylon we hung our guitars and drums;
our horns and harps.
How can we sing in a strange land?
But sing we must . . . and sing we shall!!
So here we are Lord,
Down by the riverside.
And we prayerfully protest and protestantly pray…
For the evidence of your just rule and saving shalom;
For the elimination of war-making, race-hate and poverty-producing
practices;
That in this bleak winter of affluence, the fruit of your just rule and
saving shalom may blossom.
But, we remember the words of the old African-American spiritual:
“It’s me, oh Lord, standing in the need of prayer.”
So help us - help me - be the change we seek…
Let the song of shalom ring in my heart.


I’m gonna lay down my sword and shield,
Down by the riverside, down by the riverside, down by the riverside,
I’m gonna lay down my sword and shield, down by the riverside and
Study war no more
Ain’t gonna study war no more
Ain’t gonna study war no more
Ain’t gonna study war no more
Ain’t gonna study war no more
Ain’t gonna stiudy war no more
Study war no more


I’m gonna lay down my prejudice
Down by the riverside, down by the riverside, down by the riverside
I’m gonna lay down my prejudice down by the riverside and
Study hate no more.

Ain’t gonna study hate no more
Ain’t gonna study hate no more
Ain’t gonna study hate no more
Ain’t gonna study hate no more
Ain’t gonna study hate no more
Study hate no more

I’m gonna lay down my avarice
Down by the riverside, down by the riverside, down by the riverside
I’m gonna lay down my avarice, Down by the riverside and
Study greed no more.

Ain’t gonna study greed no more
Ain’t gonna study greed no more
Ain’t gonna study greed no more
Ain’t gonna study greed no more
Ain’t gonna study greed no more
Study greed no more
Ain’t gonna study war,
Ain’t gonna study hate,
Ain’t gonna study greed,
But sing your shalom ever more.

Traditional, African-American Spiritual
New verses by David M. Best
© 2011 David M. Best

Occupy Shalom during Advent

Dr. Michael J. Christensen and Bishop Alfred Johnson
Here's a copy of my Occupy Advent Prayer and Statement of Support for Occupy Wall Street, delivered as a Call and Response at Zuccotti Park on December 4, 2011 for the Second Sunday in Advent: 

Communities of Shalom
is a network of community development sites—
known as Shalom Zones—scattered across the country.

We are here today to Occupy with Faith
in direct solidarity with OWS
because we share your frustration with the System--
the possessed structures of oppression and domination 
that Bible calls “Principalities and Powers...”
at work for ill in the world...

We are here today because we agree with you who are occupiers:
that our democracy has been coopted and corrupted,
that the few are enriched at the expense of the many,
that greed is wrong, and selfishness is sin.

We are here today—occupiers and allies—together proclaiming
that a new world is possible, a new world is coming, a new world of God's Shalom!

Occupy Advent
is about being willing and waiting,
waiting and working,
watching and praying,
for the coming Change,
the pending Shift,
the sure Turning,
and long-Dawning
of the Age of the Spirit!

Advent is a time of new Beginnings.
We're hoping and praying
working and waiting
for the Change that must come,
so that the scripture might be fulfilled:
those that gathered much did not gather too much,
and those who gathered little did not gather too little,
so all may have what they need.” (Exo 16:18)

How long, O Lord, how long?"  I hear the Psalmist David say.
How long must we wait for the the world to Turn?
For the Shift to take hold and the Wrong made right?
How long, O Lord, how long?
For the valleys to be exalted and the mountains brought low?
How long, O Lord, how long?
Will the wicked prosper and the poor live in despair?

How long?--Not long!” I hear the prophet Martin say:
because “the arc of the moral universe is long,
but it bends toward justice."

For thus it is written, and thus is shall be:

On the mountain of greed
ON THE MOUNTAIN OF GREED

From the ashes of despair
FROM THE ASHES OF DESPAIR

In the chaos of these times
IN THE CHAOS OF THESE TIMES

Will arise
WILL ARISE


New communities of hope and faith
NEW COMMUNITIES OF HOPE AND FAITH

New communities of love and daring
NEW COMMUNITIES OF LOVE AND DARING

New communities of God’s Shalom
NEW COMMUNITIES OF GOD’S SHALOM

AMEN. (adapted from original Shalom Litany of first Shalom Team in Los Angeles, 1992)