ICARE Justice Ministry
Since late this summer, the justice ministry at Christ Church has done the following —
- We sent a letter by email to people who have attended Nehemiah Assemblies in the past and inviting them to take part again. Our new ICARE organizer, Donovan Brown, then began calling and meeting with these people to learn their personal stories about justice issues.
- Next, we identified those who have led our justice ministry in the past and those who might want to be leaders in the future. Mark Barrett and Kathy Blackman are two of our prior leaders who agreed to re-commit to lead our justice ministry.
- We held “house” meetings in September (actually at Christ Church) to listen to our community and discover what we feel are the pressing issues we need to address. ICARE offered some priorities for our consideration. Our feedback was then forwarded to ICARE.
- We then attended the Community Problems Assembly (CPA) at Christ the King Catholic Church in Arlington. We heard updates about each of the possible focus areas and then we caucused as congregations to decide which issues we would vote for. There were sixteen members of Christ Church at this meeting, a significant increase from last year.
- The approximately three hundred people in attendance at the CPA decided to focus on Mental Health and Health Care issues. Based on that consensus, new research groups were assigned to investigate what the critical issues are for our community, especially around mental health. ICARE will also focus on the other research projects from prior years.
- Members of Christ Church have joined with members of other local congregations to do research about best practices.
- Several of us (as well as members of other DART organizations throughout Florida) held a video conference call with Judge Steven Leifman to learn about Miami-Dade’s Criminal Mental Health Project. His team’s work is truly making a difference and provides some excellent options for us to consider in Duval and statewide. There is pending legislation at the state level that deserves our attention and support.
- We also met with two leaders of the Mental Health Resource Center in Duval County in order to identify what are the most pressing problems from their perspective; and what they recommend as solutions.
These are some of the steps we have been working on behind the scenes. Several of your fellow parishioners are taking part in this work for justice based on their faith. I will give you additional updates including important dates in my next post. Until then, please contact me if you have any questions or if you want to get involved in this exciting and important work.