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Thursday, December 8, 2011

The You Need Us, We Need You speech


Thank you all for being here. We have honored the past, seen a vision of what the future can be. But if you really want to understad what the reality here is, right now, we needto look back over the last week. We hosted friends from Occupy Wall Street. But we also worked side by side with them. And worshipped with them. For us, Occupy is not a an issue or an icon, it’s people with names, Teddy, Dan, Sandy...it’s relationships.
And we facilitated a meeting between our Sweat Shop Free Campaign and the New York Foundation. They see a unique coalition of immigrant workers from China, Mexico and French West Africa. Union people. Politicians like Gale. Faith community people. Residents. And over 60 small business people. We have the opportunity to create a replicable community based model that could be used across this city to build justice, to simply see that the fair labor laws are observed. That happened because we are here.
And Laura came to series on Helen Whitney’s film, Forgiveness with Helen herself participating  and then toured the building and then said she had to do her final project here. And she did. About the intersection if spirituality, social change, art. And students and parents and church people and Occupiers all came. Because we are here.
This is not just past. Or future. It is now. And you need us.  You need us to go there, to be at the crossroads to invite, to wlecome, to interpret, to bring the word back. Yes, We go there in a  way others don’t right now. You need us.
But we also need you. When this churhc was landmarked in May 2010, we fced a momentous decision, to sell and leave or to stay and rebuild. And we chose to stay because we believed our community that you wanted us here not just as a building but as a living breathing faith community.  And that the support would be there.
We need you. Right now, Without your support, this all goes away. This building could become a conservative congregation that doesn’t honor the inclusive tradition of West-Park. It could be the world’s largest nail salon. (Interesting idea, but...) If you want what you saw tonight, if you want what already is to continue, fo rthis to eb a place of community engagement, involvement, exploration, we need that support now, in every way. On the other side of 100+, on the other side of the plus sign is you.
So 100+, let it be...

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