By Lee Gagen
Fundraising and Development Specialist
While it may be difficult for many of us to admit that Jim Antal will be retiring from his position as Minister and President in just a few short months, this time has proven to be a moment of reflection. For the past twelve years, Jim has been a source of faith and guidance for UCCers in Massachusetts and beyond. He has embodied the MACUCC’s commitment “to support a more just, compassionate and peaceful world that honors all of God's creation” long before his tenure as Minister and President.
Whether he is taking a knee or sitting in, Jim is and has always been devoted to a more just world. With this in mind, the Massachusetts Conference staff and Board of Directors have imagined a variety of ways to recognize the profound impact of Jim’s work. During a recent discussion with Jim regarding funding, he pointed out that when money grows short, it is justice initiatives that often suffer. And to that point Jim concluded by saying, “Money should not constrain us when it comes to doing justice.” In response to and in honor of Jim, the Massachusetts Conference Board of Directors has voted unanimously to rename the Justice and Witness Fund to the Jim Antal Fund for Justice and Witness Ministries.
What a fitting tribute!
The Jim Antal Fund will continue to have the same goal of promoting Christian witness and justice-oriented action throughout the Massachusetts Conference. It will underwrite programming and staffing to help our churches respond to God’s call to “do justice, and love mercy, and walk humbly with God” (Micah 6:8). This means different things for different churches. We have congregations that discern a call to welcome immigrants, others who are passionate about racial justice, others who offer free community meals…the list goes on!
The role of the Conference is to facilitate this work, by:
- Offering opportunities for leadership training (such as the Justice LED workshop and Racial Justice Training, for example). These trainings take place at Super Saturdays, Association meetings, in local churches and at special events, and are designed to give clergy and lay leaders tools, understanding and inspiration to help make God’s love and justice real in their communities and beyond.
- Helping to build networks of UCC people from around the state who are concerned with a particular justice issue. There are task groups currently working on restorative justice, climate change, LGBT concerns, and gun safety, to name a few.
- Gathering and curating resources for use by local congregations. Many of these are available on our website.
- Facilitating cross-denominational and interfaith partnerships to strengthen the work of justice and witness.
PLEASE JOIN US IN CELEBRATING JIM!
We invite you to celebrate Jim Antal’s 12 years with the MACUCC by making a contribution to the Jim Antal Fund for Justice and Witness Ministries
Additionally, we hope you can join us on May 5, 2018 at the Sarah Wyman Whitman Gallery in Worcester, MA for an evening of merriment and celebration honoring Jim! All are welcome to attend. Please register here
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