MCC Member Episcopal Diocese of Maine Launches Network for Justice

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MCC Board member and former State representative Charlie Priest, listens as MENJ Director John Hennessey talks with the group about how to take action rooted in Christian practice.

On Saturday, March 12, a group of fifty lay people, clergy, legislators, and social justice advocates gathered at St. Luke’s Cathedral in Portland for a faith-based advocacy training workshop presented by Bishop Lane’s new initiative “Maine Episcopal Network for Justice.” Dr. Elizabeth Parsons, professor at Boston University School of Theology, began the day with a lecture on the relationship between religion and democracy in the United States, concluding that thoughtful Christian engagement is vital to our public life. Next, Joanne D’Arcangelo, former Chief of Staff to the Maine State Speaker of the House, walked the group through the ins and outs of the Maine system of government, and advised the group on effective strategies for advocating with state legislators. During lunch, the group heard about current legislation and ballot intiatives: background checks for gun sales; fair wages; and expansion of Medicaid. Diocesan staff John Hennessey and Heidi Shott (both members of the MCC Public Policy Committee) concluded the day with prayerful reflection after encouraging everyone to feel empowered to put their faith into action for social justice. We celebrate with them and wish them continued success in this valuable project.