by Walt Wiltschek
More than half a dozen Brethren attended the major “Reclaiming Jesus” witness event held at National City Christian Church in Washington, D.C., on May 24. The event, organized by a variety of progressive-leaning Christian leaders, was centered around a series of declarations against lying, misogyny, authoritarianism, xenophobia, and other issues that recently have dominated cultural discourse.
“Sojourners” editor Jim Wallis, one of the lead organizers, said, “We face in this nation right now a moral test.” Episcopal presiding bishop Michael Curry called it “a Jesus movement” and a “Pentecost moment,” and said it boils down to Jesus’ command to “Love your neighbor. That’s why we’re here.”
Other speakers included author/theologian Walter Brueggemann, Riverside Church senior minister emeritus James Forbes, author/spiritual leader Tony Campolo, author and Franciscan friar Richard Rohr, and former president of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Sharon Watkins.
Organizers estimated about 2,000 people in attendance. Following the service at the church, the group processed with candles to the White House about six blocks away for a vigil and prayer. “May we walk with confidence and clear love in our hearts,” Rohr said.
The Brethren and many others at the event were in Washington for the week-long Festival of Homiletics, which focused on the theme “Preaching and Politics.”
-- Walt Wiltschek is pastor of Easton (Md.) Church of the Brethren and at-large editor for “Messenger,” the Church of the Brethren magazine.