The Common Good

10,000 Participate In Sojourners’ First Justice Revival, Committing Spiritual, Social and Political Will to End Poverty in Columbus, Ohio

Source: Sojourners
Date: April 30, 2008

April 30, 2008

Contact: Jason Gedeik, Sojourners, (202) 745-4633, media@sojo.net

10,000 Participate In Sojourners' First Justice Revival, Committing Spiritual, Social and Political Will to End Poverty in Columbus, Ohio

WASHINGTON, DC - April 29, 2008 - Over 10,000 people participated and 40 churches unified across denominational, political, racial and socio-economic divides to support the first Justice Revival convened by Sojourners, an international social justice ministry. This historic event was held over three nights from April 16-18, 2008 at the Vineyard Church in Columbus, Ohio and featured dynamic worship led by well-known musicians and religious leaders. Justice Revival culminated in one of the largest faith community service days ever organized in Columbus with over 1,000 people participating in 50 neighborhood projects. Local churches also committed to recruiting mentors from the faith community for Project Mentor, a partnership between Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Columbus and Columbus Public Schools.

"Justice Revival is born out of the hope that the church can rise above the partisan politics that have prevented us from uniting to create lasting social change,” said Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners and author of the best-selling book The Great Awakening. Jim Wallis served as the key preacher during the three nights of worship and prayer. "Our goal is to mobilize Christians to end poverty in Columbus through conversion, discipleship, service, action and advocacy. By linking the tradition of Billy Graham with the tradition of Martin Luther King, Jr. people understand the need to connect their personal faith with a commitment to social justice.”

In Columbus alone more than one in five people live in poverty while the city suffers from a child poverty rate of 28%. To put this into perspective; all the children living in poverty in Ohio would fill up the 110,000 seats in the Ohio State University stadium four and a half times over again.

The need to address this poverty crisis through experiencing genuine spiritual revival resonates deeply within the political and faith communities in Ohio as evidenced by the broad spectrum of support for the Justice Revival. The event co-chairs were Senior Pastor Rich Nathan of the Vineyard Church of Columbus and Bishop Timothy Clarke of the First Church of God of Columbus representing the largest evangelical and African-American churches in central Ohio. Religious leaders from Evangelical, Pentecostal, mainline Protestant and Catholic denominations representing over 40 of Ohio's most diverse churches ranging from conservative to liberal of congregations helped to organize this historic event.

Supporters also varied in age with over 350 young activists under 30 years old attending an Emerging Leaders dinner to network and discuss strategies to end poverty in Columbus with a significant number of young and diverse people also attending the evening services. Building political support, the Justice Revival hosted a luncheon of 100 city leaders where the Ohio Governor Ted Strickland and Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman shared remarks and expressed their commitment to more effectively partner with the faith community to reduce poverty in central Ohio.

The long-term vision for Justice Revival is to ignite a movement across the country that leads to genuine personal and social change. To help ensure that all Justice Revival participants remain actively committed toward lasting transformation, local churches are hosting small groups following the event. These groups are leveraging a new devotional guide titled, "Hungry for Justice” that was specifically created for the Justice Revival by Sojourners.

In addition, grassroots volunteers in Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland are working with Sojourners to launch a Vote Out Poverty Campaign focused on mobilizing churches to get Congressional and Presidential candidates to commit to cutting domestic poverty in half over the next 10 years.

For more information on the Justice Revival including video footage, audience interviews and media coverage please visit: www.justicerevival.org # #

Sojourner's mission is to articulate the biblical call to social justice, inspiring hope and building a movement to transform individuals, communities, the church, and the world. Visit www.sojo.net and www.sojo.net/GreatAwakening.