This summer was a significant step in the Call to Renewal’s evolution, as we welcomed new staff to take us forward into the future.
We’re pleased to introduce the new Call to Renewal staff members:
Mike Bruinooge of Grand Rapids, Michigan, began in June as the National Coordinator of Call to Renewal. He will be overall staff coordinator and point person to assure that the work of Call is accomplished. He has been seconded to Call to Renewal by the Christian Reformed Church, a partnership for which we are grateful. Mike previously worked for the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee for 20 years. He was Africa regional director, disaster response administrator, and most recently planning and evaluations manager.
Mike grew up in Japan in a Christian Reformed Church missionary family. He graduated from Calvin College, Rutgers University, and Princeton Theological Seminary. He has also worked as a staff person in the New Jersey state legislature. He sees this position with Call to Renewal as a coming together of the various streams in his life—public policy, social justice, bridge-building, and ecumenism.
Rev. Alice Davis of Washington, D.C., is our new National Organizer. She will be the lead person for our public events—including roundtables and summits—and will work at the national level with other organizations, leaders, and constituencies. She comes to us from Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., where she has been executive director of the Family Life Center Foundation and minister of community outreach. Despite their loss, Shiloh’s pastor, Rev. Wallace Charles Smith, and the church as a whole have given her their blessing in her new ministry, for which we are also grateful.
Alice graduated from Southern Illinois University, Northwestern University Law School, and Wesley Theological Seminary. She was the first director of the Multistate Tax Commission National Nexus Program and has also worked with Catholic Charities, the D.C. Department of Finance and Revenue, the U.S. Justice Department, and the Internal Revenue Service.
She sees Call to Renewal as reminiscent of Paul and the early church—encouraging and supporting local churches to be communities of caring where no one is left behind.
Michaela Bruzzese, who hails from Albuquerque, New Mexico, is our Program Associate. She will work with the Call to Renewal team in strengthening our organizing, communications, and special events. Michaela is a 1999 graduate of Harvard Divinity School and is a student of Catholic social teaching.
She has had experience with intercultural and interfaith issues—having worked with the Corrymeela Community in Northern Ireland, with the Jesuit Volunteers in Belize, and with the conflict resolution department of the Carter Center—all of which helped to influence and shape her interest in faith and political action.
Mike, Alice, and Michaela join Rev. Emory Searcy (National Field Organizer), Duane Shank (Executive Assistant), and forth-coming Sojourners intern Rebekah Menning to make up a Call to Renewal team that will work with me and our emerging network to substantially move Call to Renewal forward.
We have also been blessed with the work of several summer staff: Emily Dossett, a 1999 graduate of Harvard Divinity School who will be attending UCLA Medical School this fall; Chris King, a junior at Harvard University majoring in religion, politics, and public policy; and Janice Lee, a graduate student at the Kennedy School of Government working toward a master’s in public policy with a special interest in welfare reform policy.
OUR NEW CALL TO RENEWAL team has already begun work on upcoming events, local and national organizing, communications, and issues. We have begun planning a fall National Roundtable meeting and a second National Summit for next February.
As we move into the 2000 electoral campaigns, we will develop a set of issues and criteria in relation to overcoming poverty to which we will hold candidates accountable. The presidential candidates have praised the work of faith-based organizations and promised them a stronger and more substantial role in policy-making. We will work toward that goal by raising the common moral values on which our society must build and insisting on a strong standard of the common good to guide public policy.
We’ve come this far by faith and hard work, and with our team in place, we are ready to take the next steps forward in building a church-based movement that will develop a national network and voice toward overcoming poverty and the ills in our society that fuel it. —Jim Wallis
JIM WALLIS is convener of Call to Renewal and editor-in-chief of Sojourners, which is an active participant in the Call to Renewal network. Contact Call to Renewal, 2401 15th St. NW, Washington, DC 20009; (202) 328-8745; firstname.lastname@example.org; home page: www.calltorenewal.com.