Behind and Before: LDI’s Annual Report and New Job Announcement

Hello All,

One of my good friends, Tricia DeBeer, once told me that finding balance is an illusive goal. Instead, she said, balance is an ongoing movement between moving targets. I likened her words to an active Twister mat in which you’re readjusting to make sure your hands and feet stay on the colored circles. Whatever the visual that comes to mind for you, I’ve been in a constant state of finding and refinding balance over the pasts few months as LDI has simultaneously wrapped up a very active program year and completed our merge with Episcopal City Mission (ECM).

Our decision to merge with ECM was driven by the belief that LDI’s work will benefit from ECM’s clear commitment to issues of immigrant, racial and economic justice. Similarly, ECM will be stronger through the addition of LDI’s well developed leadership programs that prepare people of faith to actively seek justice. Ella Auchincloss, Co-Founder and Chair of our Leadership Team shares more about this decision in our Annual Report:

 Today, when people of faith urgently need to embody love that brings about justice LDI is again listening deeply. Over the past year, under Natalie Finstad’s guidance, we have carefully discerned where our work can best meet our community’s need, and have assessed which organizational structure can best accommodate our growing ministry in the diocese of Massachusetts and beyond.

Alongside this process, our fiscal agent, collaborator and long-time funder, ECM, has also been discerning their response to this urgent moment. It has become clear to both the LDI Leadership Team and ECM’s Executive Committee that our work is deeply integrated. LDI is drawn to ECM’s emerging mission of deepening the church’s response to immigration, racial justice and economic justice, and ECM intends to feature LDI’s formation tools and practices as a critical centerpiece of their new strategic plan. As a result LDI will become part of ECM and we will be dropping our distinct public identity

​Alongside LDI’s discernment as an organization, I have been doing my own professional discernment. At the close of LDI came an opportunity for me to apply for the Director of Programs and Engagement with Episcopal City Mission. This position would not only allow me to continue leading LDI’s formation programs but expand my work so that I am able to adapt our current program models so they strategically support grassroots movements that are building relationships of power which bring about more just communities.

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Yes, I Want to Practice – An October Reflection on the Work of LDI

And the Lord said, “Will not God grant justice to God’s chosen ones who cry to God day and night? Will God delay long in helping them? I tell you, God will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

“How would you define right-relationship?”  James’s question interrupted my well-planned presentation. My mind went blank and all the ‘correct’ answers faded away as I locked eyes with James McKim, a black leader in the Church’s work of reconciliation. My awareness of white supremacy, the authority I carried as the presenter, and the deeply complicated road we have to right-relationship overcame me. As a white woman, I felt inadequate to try and broach the subject of reconciliation with a black leader.

I ended up offering James a “good-enough” response. I said the life of Jesus of Nazareth shows us a model of right-relationship. The way he engaged with people, interpersonally and societally drew them into right-relationship with one another. When we follow his example we have hope of undoing the systems of inequity that separate us. However, I failed to speak directly to the racism, homophobia or misogyny that plague our society.

I left that presentation at Diocesan Resource Day feeling embarrassed. One of our team members, Jesse, noticed my embarrassment and asked me, “Do you want to practice talking about race?”

Yes, I responded. Yes, I want to practice because this is hard. I want to practice working cooperatively rather than enforcing authority, naming systems that hurt us and seeing people as partners rather than issues. I need to practice living this reconciled life that is inherently counter-cultural to the world in which we live. Yes, I want to practice.

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