Social Capital

5 comments Written on July 9th, 2014     
Filed under: Testimonies and Stories
Julie Jane Capel serves as secretary of Advocates for Covenant Clergy Women ministerium board. She is a recent seminary graduate of North Park Theological Seminary and hopes to use her MDiv. as an associate or solo parish pastor in the near future. Currently she is working as a chaplain at a trauma one hospital on the west side of Chicago – where she sees the Holy Spirit show up every time she walks into a new hospital room.


In Detroit, fifty-three weeks ago I sat in the lobby of the hotel that the 128th Annual Meeting was held at. My roommate’s flight had been delayed and I was unable to get into our shared room. So I sat in the lobby in a relatively comfortable, overstuffed chair with my bags at my feet – unsure what my next move should be.

A few Covenant men and women (an assumption made because of their nametags) saw me and waved me over to their restaurant table. I vaguely recognized only 10% of the people but I still sat down. At their invitation, I told them about myself, my pastoral call and where I would hope to minister. Only after my monologue did I realize this was a gathering of the Covenant Executive Board – the women and men who cast mission, vision and action for our denomination as our elected officials. (Explained in

Fast forward a year and a few days to the Gather14 (129 Annual Meeting) when a woman came up to me and asked, “do you remember me?” I exclaimed, “Of course!” Here was the woman who had invited me to the table. She again asked where I was in the pastoral search and promised to be my advocate throughout the rest of the annual meeting. I laughed. But she meant business.

Over the next few days, she and another man from the Executive Board, made it their personal mission to introduce me to people I would otherwise not have had access to. They used their social capital to vouch for me because they believed in me, in North Park Seminary’s training, and in the Covenant pastoral call process. In my opinion, these Executive Board members enacted out the mission of the Commission for Biblical Gender Equality.

As I have reflected further I realize that this is what Jesus does for us. Jesus brings us to the Father and uses his social capital (as the Son) to vouches for us. (1 John 2:1) He advocates for us and sets an example for us to advocate for each other. I am deeply grateful that our Executive Board has done that for me. Will you follow suit, and use your social capital for someone else?


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5 comments “Social Capital”

Julie – thank you for sharing how we can all be used to spread hope and encouragement through advocacy of those who are waiting on call. As we continue to walk together as companions on this journey it is an awesome gift we can give to one another to simply open doors through conversation and introductions. I thank God for all of the men and women who advocated for me in this way. Your story helps us all to see all that advocacy is possible through invitation and inclusion of those who are waiting on God for their next steps. Thanks for sharing your story. Catherine

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What a wonderfully insightful, down to earth example of what it means to advocate for another.
How wonderful it is to know that we have such advocates within the Covenant family. Thank you for sharing your experience.

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We appreciate your metaphor concerning the use of social capital.   Yes, Jesus advocates for us, and we can reach out just a bit to do this for others.   We all have spheres of influence. 

Peggy and Allan

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Julie- great thoughts! Yes, I love how Jesus advocates for us and encourages us to advocate for others too! I was also struck by the thought that although you only knew a small percentage of the people who invited you over, you willingly answered their invitation and began to share openly about yourself. And through that experience you were blessed. This speaks to Christ’s desire that we welcome and trust His invitation to come to Him as we are, to be real, vulnerable and open, so we to can be blessed as we connect more deeply with God and each other.  
With Hope In Christ>, Becky 

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I like the term “social capital.” This is a hidden reality. One form of social capital is what is called “the old boy network.” But Julie’s article reminds us that we all have social capital, and how we use it matters. This applies not only to women in ministry. The lack of connections is one of the things that keeps poor people poor. So people in our churches can be those “connection” points for other people in the community just by stepping out with a little effort and caring. And thanks to the exec board member for walking the walk! 

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