By Rev Jenna Zirbel

Church Within A Church Movement July 2012

I lift up Lea Sola Cordova as a person to whom this award aspires to rightly commend. Lea is a hopeful presence in the excruciating work of liberation in a time and place where there are overwhelming powers holding back access to basic life resources due to racism and anti-LGBTQ biases. In a time when incarceration holds communities of color bound in a prison as much as any plantation system, where police brutality further victimizes the oppressed, when hatred runs rampant in our political arenas and where the media produces ‘facts’ to criminalize those who step out of the male, white, heterosexist norms culturally created to hold patriarchal hierarchy in place, we need a strong, valid voice. Lea stands up visibly and with voice for those who would be silenced creating space for justice and equality to begin to be realized. Our using the courage to recognize how Church Withing A Church Movement (CWACM) has worked so passionately to BEing the church in the midst of the barriers thrown up by our religious ‘traditions’ (read ‘inculcations’) allows us this opportunity to celebrate new beginnings while we bravely acknowledge how we have  missed the mark . It is important to celebrate the ten years of CWACM’s praxis in learning in the spirit of justice and equality, as well as, the opportunities encountered learning about loving neighbor as self. Lea is a leader from whom I am learning in so many ways the real, daily work of living toward justice and equality.

As faith leaders it is a fearfully wondrous thing for us in the CWACM to face that we are part of a deadly power that is systemic and pervasive, but not all powerful. When we act with hope and courage to open to new ways we refuse to passively feed on the spoils taken from the toil of others. When we refuse to commend ourselves and our own because we have succeeded at the cost of so many others who continue to struggle for survival, we remember we have been blessed to be a blessing. And what a relief it is to remember the human dignity, for which we are all bestowed by birth, recognizes the needs of the other as our own. The pain in living in this time, while we hurt so many by our claim for privilege,  comes from that voice that tugs at our human understanding and the need to love, and that pain holds us attentive to alternatives. We have the passion and the courage to continue to act, BEing the church that we want to see in community with leaders such as Lea who offer their lives to serve others.

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