“You can cha-ange the world…”

Saturday, May 14 is the United Methodist Church’s second annual Change the World Day, how will you participate?

Not every detail is chiseled in stone yet, but here’s how the church at which I serve, Woodridge UMC, will join the effort and be counted:

  • Free T-shirts! Yep, that’s right, all Change the World participants will receive a t-shirt! (And really, what’s better than that? Do I even need to continue this list? Don’t you want to sign up right now? Everyone is welcome, just leave a comment below and you’re in!)
  • Meet at church 9:00am for light refreshments, brief orientation, divide into three teams and head out to Change the World! Return when you’re team has finished it’s work, enjoy more refreshments and share the story of your actions together. That’s really all there is too it!
  • Don’t forget, you also get a free t-shirt!   

A force to reckon with

In promotional video below (only 79 seconds long, why don’t you give it a view right now?), Rev. Mike Slaughter (who literally wrote the book Change the World) says, “The United Methodist Church as more than 11 million members; that’s a force to reckoned with! It can be a force to change the world!”

I wholeheartedly agree!

In the midst of celebrating this effort – and attempting to recruit you to join in! – I  must also renew my gentle critique that the whole idea of a Change the World day is a little, how shall we say…redundant? Ridiculous? Unnecessary?

I mean really, we need a particular day to say, “on this day church is about more than being inside the walls of our building; about more than taking care of just ourselves”? That’s what we who follow God in the way of Jesus should be doing all the time every day!

But the sad reality is that’s not how it goes for most people – myself chief among them. The mundane nature of everyday life just somehow gets in the way.

On the other hand, being part of a global program? Especially one with resources behind it producing videos and fliers and sermon series and more? Well now, that’s exciting! So I get it. I get why we’ve created this Change the World day. And I fully support it (even as I maintain my critique). And I hope you will support it to.

What kind of work will we do?

You will pick one of three teams to join:

  • Clean up the park! Doesn’t it just irk you how much trash is always lying around on bike paths and parks? This team will do their best to rectify that.
  • Help at an affordable-housing complex! Out in Batavia, Franciscan Ministry runs an apartment complex providing affordable housing for low-income families, the elderly, and residents with special needs. They need help cleaning and repairing their food pantry and other services. We’re going to drive out there, learn more about who they are and what they do, and then help with whatever projects they need done.
  • End modern-day slavery/human trafficking! Ok, so we won’t be able to fully “end” the world’s second largest criminal enterprise in a few hours on a Saturday afternoon…but we will continue to raise awareness about this ever-growing evil by distributing anti-traficking posters and fliers to area businesses. (Outreach materials courtesy of IL Rescue & Restore Coalition, of which Woodridge UMC is a proud member!) In doing so, we’ll inevitably get to talk with people who are unaware of the nature or the proximity of this great injustice. And that is how change happens.

There are so many people and groups and organizations doing such good, important work to fight modern-day slavery. You can find a couple on my sidebar, but that’s a very small sample. If you pick just one justice issue to engage with, I sincerely hope it will be this one.

Hey, did I mention you get a free t-shirt if you join our Change the World day efforts?

Let’s be the hands, feet and voice of Jesus in the world! Together with sisters and brothers in the faith from all around the globe, this May 14 let’s Change the World!

There is power in numbers. Will you be counted?

[Apologies to Eric Clapton for this post’s title. Also, this post is – as just about all of my recent posts here have been – a revised version of what I write almost-weekly for my congregation‘s eNewsletter. Over there it’s called The View from the Dance Floor.]

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