Guided by Isaiah 58:1-10, Jesus’ relational priority of the “least of these” is expressed by the Body of Christ through mercy toward our neighbors. The beauty of the Gospel is that it is the only story big enough to make sense of life’s complexity and simple enough to be expressed powerfully through tangible mercy toward neighbors. We endeavor not only to tell a beautiful story and respond to it in Spirit, but to live that story through merciful action.
Merciful Presence: Noticing the injustices around us and playing an active active role in serving the victimized.
To see this vision become a reality, our ambition must be to humbly and tangibly extend the love of Christ, especially to the overlooked. Those who are systemically marginalized in North Brooklyn must find that in every expression of this church they are honored guests with reserved seats at the table. And, those captured by the Gospel story must go on telling that story by welcoming the stranger, clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, visiting the prisoner, noticing the forgotten, and serving the orphan and widow in distress. This is a vision that speaks to the deepest longings of every New Yorker: A cosmic story to make sense of life, expressed in transcendent simplicity before our very eyes.
There are several ways to to practice merciful presence this season through our Justice and Mercy Partnerships.
Children of Promise
Children of Promise is an after-school program and summer day camp specifically designed to meet the needs, interests, and concerns of children left behind by parents serving time in prison. Their mission is to empower these children to break the cycle of intergenerational involvement in the criminal justice system.
Uni Project uses a series of custom-designed installations to bring learning opportunities to public spaces in New York City. Their pop-ups include a library on wheels that brings books to communities where kids are organically involved. Within the roaming library there are tools and tasks focused on developing spatial reasoning and math and problem solving skills. Uni Project also has an open-air science lab component.
Uni Project hosts pop-ups in Bushwick/Ridgewood, Bed-Stuy, Clinton Hill, Brownsville/East New York, South Brooklyn and Brooklyn Heights/Dumbo. To get involved, fill out this automated form and volunteer coordinator Leah Kaplan will be in touch!
Rikers Debate Project
The Rikers Debate Project (RDP) teaches competitive debate skills — including communication, conflict resolution, and public citizenship — to students held in Rikers Island jail. A criminal record makes it hard to find a job, and communication skills are invaluable to overcoming this challenge. Volunteers do not need to have any previous debate experience to help facilitate these classes. During the weekend, you can either volunteer at the Rose M. Singer Center, the only jail on the island that houses female inmates, from 11:30am - 2:30pm or you can volunteer at the George R. Vierno Center from 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM. Once you sign up for a Saturday afternoon, the lead teacher of that course will email you a few days before with a brief packet on the decision for the week.