“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. . . . But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.”
Jeremiah 29:4-5, 7
We take seriously those words of the prophet Jeremiah to the exiles in Babylon that as God called them to seek the good of that city so God calls us to do the same in the community in which we live. As rewarding as the ways we directly meet the needs of others are, God calls us to go beyond that to address the underlying problems that often create those needs.
That is why we have come together with congregations ranging from Catholic to Methodist, from Baptist to 7 th Day Adventist in a broad-based organization called Bold Justice to seek to help our county of Broward to become a better and fairer place. We have sat together and heard the stories of our own congregations’ members. And out of those stories, we have seen problems in our communities that need to be addressed. Then working together, we have been able to address and successfully resolve those problems by developing solutions and challenging those in power to implement them. For example when we heard about the struggle for housing, we successfully secured from our government leaders over 2300 more units for affordable housing in Broward. When we heard of unfair hiring practices, we successfully pushed for a law that ensures when our County hires a contractor, that contractor will be required to hire Broward citizens first, and focus on those that have struggled to be hired in the past.
Right now, we are engaging in ensuring not only all our local law enforcement agencies, but all these agencies throughout the state are using, Civil Citation, a youth diversion program that successfully turns kids away from a life in crime. We are working with our County Sheriff to see all his deputies trained in ways to deal with the mentally ill in our community so they end up in treatment rather than in jail. And in addition, we are working to bring the Greenhouse Model, a new cost effective way of providing more humane nursing care for our seniors to the many care facilities in Broward.
When we come together as people of faith to address these issues, God can use us to help make our communities better and more just places, especially for the most vulnerable in our midst. And as we this work, Jesus also deepens our relationships not only with one another but with our sisters and brothers in churches all over our county. When you see thousands of people of faith gathered to stand up for what is right and just, you can feel the Spirit of God moving in such a powerful way. So come join us as we stand bold for justice in Hollywood and beyond!