The Post-CHIC Guide to Partnering with CWR, part 2

Post a Comment » Written on July 28th, 2012     
Filed under: General
The following is the second of three blog posts written specially for CHIC participants who learned about Covenant World Relief at CHIC and want to know more about how to continue being involved with Covenant World Relief in their home settings. They were written by our recent intern, Kaleb Nyquist, who just graduated from North Park University with a degree in Global Studies and Conflict Transformation.


I have been to a few rallies. The kind where people rush downtown, holding up provocative posters and yell protest chants in unison, promoting this or that cause or defending this or that group of people. Sometimes I have gone because I feel-like-I-sorta-kinda-support-the-cause; once I went for extra credit on a math assignment. I have watched friends come alive within the midst of a demonstration, as if the crusade for justice is their very lifeblood. But for me, holding a sign saying “Down with such-and-such law” or the hundreds of other things such crowds do – it always makes me uncomfortable.  I don’t like it.

My mind runs through the motions: What does the other side have to say? They must have some sort of counter-argument! Can’t we sit down and have a good, civil discussion instead? Maybe you can relate to me.

My gut instinct is to avoid controversy. I want everyone to get along in harmony by pretending as if the brokenness of our world does not exist. For some odd reason, I am most afraid of my grandmother discovering that I went to such a riot, proceeding to remind me how things were back in her day, and then punishing me by taking back her oven-baked cookies and fresh-squeezed juice. Anything but the cookies and juice!

(Disclaimer: my grandmother actually is a very nice lady, who would not take away the cookies and juice, even if she were upset with me)

The problem is that the withdrawn approach I desire is anything but Christian. Proverbs 31:8-9 says, “Speak out for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all the destitute. Speak out, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.” We are to advocate for justice on behalf of those who have been oppressed and marginalized by the brokenness of our world, even though the brokenness of the world will sometimes bites back.

We know the world does not always work properly. At Covenant World Relief, we have encountered too many starving children, overworked mothers and disabled fathers, and it is obvious that their intense suffering is not because of their disobedience, but rather the sinful patterns of the world. We believe justice is joining God in making things right. We do not believe this is optional.

How then should we advocate? Depends on your giftedness.

Some of you may be the sort who go out to rallies. That’s fantastic. Try hard to pick the right causes, always be open to being corrected in what you stand for, and go, protest at the top of your lungs, speaking out for those who cannot speak.

Some of you may be more like me, in that large crowded demonstrations make you feel uncomfortable. Fortunately, two of Covenant World Relief’s partner organizations provide great resources for those interested in ministries of advocacy: Bread for the World is a Washington D.C.-based non-partisan movement of U.S. Christian citizens, devoted to encouraging public policy decisions aimed at alleviating domestic and global hunger. World Vision has established a “community of creative activists” called ACT:S that is also worth checking out.

Lastly, for those of you who belong to a Covenant church, you can also advocate for Covenant World Relief within your congregations. In order to sustain and develop our ministry, we need people to stay connected to us (by, for example, reading our blog regularly or “liking” us on Facebook) and speaking up for the work we do.

I can think of one simple way to advocate for Covenant World Relief, a way that shouldn’t be controversial yet is super helpful for us. Think about Sunday mornings at your church. Does your church have a bulletin? If so, have you ever seen the CWR bulletin inserts? There should be four each year, but we have no way of guaranteeing that churches will choose to use them. If your church does use the bulletin inserts, great, no further action needed. But if you have never seen these bulletin inserts, you now have been assigned the following mission: call up your church secretary or whoever it is that puts the bulletin together. Ask this person to put the bulletin inserts in for next Sunday’s service, so that the entire congregation can know the work that they – through Covenant World Relief – have been involved in. Insist that it is important. Do it. Do it now. You honestly have no excuse not to.

Because if, for each youth group that went to CHIC, we got one student to be an advocate in each of our churches for Covenant World Relief and our overseas partners, it could be the rally that sparks a revolution.


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