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Just Around the Corner - July

Pastor’s Pen

Part of our mission statement includes, “establishing our reputation and taking bold stands on issues”, and I can emphatically say that over the past week, Shady Grove has done just that.  Over the course of about 28 hours, our faith community demonstrated, in the words of Tom Walsh, “our active and creative presence in Memphis, our commitment to justice and diversity, and our vitality as a congregation.”

On Sunday, we joined over 800 Memphians at the long-awaited MICAH Issues Convention, the details of which are covered under MICAH News. I’d like to extend a special thanks to our MICAH Team - John Rutkauskas, Emily Kearney, Sonny Gentry, Mary Alice Brake, and Meghan McDevitt-Murphy - for their great work, and to all who came as delegates to Lindenwood on Sunday for the big vote!

This event was especially momentous for MICAH, but also a definitively significant event for Shady Grove. I have found myself overwhelmed with appreciation for our faith community knowing that we have been apart of this growing justice movement nearly since its inception. Our session and so many members of the church saw the potential and felt the energy, even when there was no set direction or tangible benefit. On faith, we signed on as a founding member and solidified our commitment with our annual dues. I firmly believe our instincts and passions are well placed, and we have found ourselves in a new, interconnected community of different races, faiths, and creeds bound together with a desire to ensure justice for Memphis.

Faithful use of our facilities is another major aspect of our mission at Shady Grove, and this past Monday we demonstrated that mission in a substantial way. A friend of mine and local organizer, Emily Fulmer, reached out to me early last week in the midst of widespread reports of families being separated at the southern US boarder and traumatizing detentions being inflicted upon young children. She asked if Shady Grove could open our doors for a meeting of concerned individuals to hear from local groups about how we can help in the midst of this moral crisis.

I and our session immediately agreed, and the initial planning began for use of the Fellowship Hall and about 50 participants. The event went out on Facebook, and within 24 hours, hundreds of Memphians said they were either going or interested in going. Word continued to spread quickly, and that next day, WMC News was at the church interviewing Emily and myself about the event. By the end of the week, over 1,500 people had expressed interest. We had no idea how many would come, but we knew it was going to be big!

A packed house doesn’t begin to describe Monday at the church. Over 350 people with a shared concern and shared conviction crammed our sanctuary to hear from legal experts, organizers, and activists, hoping to discern how they were called to respond. We raised over $4000 for legal fees, created signs for the ‘Families Belong Together’ march on Saturday, and found mutual support for agencies already working with and for immigrant families in Memphis.

It has already been an exhausting week, but a good exhaustion that comes from knowing we have been true to our faith and our mission, we have done good work for our shared human community, and we will continue to do what the Lord requires of us - Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly with our God.

Rev. Will

Sunday School
Adult Sunday school meets Sundays at 9:30am.
Children & Youth Sunday school meets during worship.

Join a Team
Team meetings are this Sunday, July 1st after church.

Tai Chi for Health
Can be done sitting or standing.  Improved stress reduction, well-being, pain and balance.  Classes are Mondays, at 6pm in the fellowship hall.  Call or text Cynthia Mealer 833-1746 for info.

Sausage Biscuits
The Formation Team will be offering sausage biscuits (and plain biscuits) for sale to raise funds for the annual St. Luke's Christmas Dinner.  They will be offered next Sunday, July 8th and will cost $3.00.  Your support is greatly appreciated!

Session Meeting
Will meet Monday, July 9 at 6:30pm here at the church.

MICAH’s July Meetings
The monthly meeting will be held Tuesday, July 10, at 7pm at St. Patrick Catholic Church located at 277 S 4th St. 
If you have an interest and a passion in being a part of the MICAH Task Forces, please join them at one of their next meetings!
Task Force Training:
St. Patrick Catholic - July 7 - 9am to 12pm
Shady Grove Presbyterian - July 8 - 2pm to 5pm
Task Force Meetings:
*  Education Reform - Tuesday, July 17, 7p - MCUTS (Union Ave Baptist Church, 2181 Union Ave)
*  Economic Equity - Tuesday, July 17, 6:30p - Shady Grove Presbyterian Church
*  Immigration & Intercultural Equity - Wed, July 18, 6p - Neshoba Unitarian-Universalist Church

July Gathering
We are planning a movie night at the church on Friday, July 20, at 6pm. We will be playing Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  Pizza, veggies, desserts and drinks will be provided.  Donations welcome!

Saturday Supper
On Saturday, July 21st, come serve at St. Luke's United Methodist Church on Highland @ Mynders. Plan to stay from about 3:00 pm to about 5:30 pm. Call Susan Baldwin with questions 605-7704.

Knitting Group
Will resume meeting in September.

SuperLo & Kroger Cards
Please see Shelley Gray after worship each Sunday to sign up for the Rewards programs.

Mustard Seed
If you would like to volunteer to work in the store, please see Bonnie Dodson to sign up.

Food Pantry
At this time, jars of peanut butter are needed.

Choir Practice
We will resume meeting the Wednesday after Labor Day.

Please remember Shady Grove in your will.

A landmark event for MICAH occurred this past Sunday at Lindenwood Christian Church!  MICAH At the Issues Convention - 18 months in the making, 50 founding partners, thousands of One-on-One conversations completed, and nearly 800 delegates strong - we were ready and we took our stand!

Before the convention was a choice of 10 issues to consider.
    Child/Youth Development; Criminal Justice; Economic Equity; Education Reform;  Health & Mental Health Care; Housing & Homelessness; Immigration & Intercultural Equity; Livable Neighborhoods; Public Transportation; Violence

These were not merely arbitrary issues that a small group of people decided upon. These issues came to us through the conversations taking place in each of the partnering organizations. They are issues of justice that arise in downtown and Orange Mound, in East Memphis and Midtown, in South Memphis and Hickory Hill. They are broad, systemic injustices that affect each of us in varying degrees, and injustices that can only be addressed through an intentional, committed, and powerful community organization. MICAH.

After hearing from champions of each issue, the convention paused to caucus and allow each organization to determine how to cast their votes. Shady Grove had committed to 12 delegates and we brought 20, including 3 youth! After a short discussion, we reached our conclusion. John Rutkauskas, our MICAH Team coordinator, stood at the microphone and announced, “Shady Grove Presbyterian casts 7 votes for Economic Equity, 7 votes for Education Reform, and 6 votes for Immigration & Intercultural Equity!”

Our 20 votes didn’t swing the choice one way or the other, but they did join hundreds of others naming the three primary issues for MICAH’s foreseeable future. Economic Equity, Education Reform, and Immigration & Intercultural Equity. These are the three issues that carried the day; the three issues that now have assigned Task Forces; the three issues for which the MICAH organization is now committed to finding solutions!

It’s been an intentional, sometimes slow moving, process to get to this point. It has also been a tremendous amount of work. The intensity and the amount of work from this point on will not be decreasing. Monthly meetings (2nd Tuesday of each month) will continue, and added to the mix will be the monthly gatherings of each task force.

The task forces will begin meeting in July to cut the broad issue into something that is concrete, timely, and winnable. They will determine through power analysis what public officials and others in positions of authority will be needed to bring about necessary change. Experts will be consulted and research will be done to see what has worked and what has not in other cities across the country.

As I told the delegates on Sunday, MICAH will always have an event that we will be working towards on this journey. As the work continues, our eyes are now set on October 21 and our first public meeting. At this event, hopefully 1,500+ people strong, we will invite elected leaders and candidates for office to hear our platform, and we will press them to join us in our fight to bring justice to the people of Memphis, Tennessee.

A special thanks to our Shady Grove participants:
John Rutkauskas, Claire Rutkauskas, Jenni Nettleton, Richard and Emily Kearney, Reghan Kearney, Owen Kearney, Joseph Baker, Cindy Allen, Tom Walsh, Peggy Raburn, Ron Buck, Tim Prudhomme, Sonny Gentry and Leanne Pate, Cynthia Mealer and two of her friends Cayla Jones, Caite Manual


Annette Bickers & Family
RH Rastall
Avalon and Sonny Robinson
McFadden-Holdsworth Family
Steve Alsobrook
George and Darlene Gray (Nancy Gray)
All affected by gun violence
Janet Baldwin (Susan Baldwin)
Meredith Walsh & Kyle Tingley
Sandy Smith (Ned & Sandra Smith)
Chuck Campbell (Sonny & Avalon Robinson)
Agnes Sanders (Avalon Robinson's sister)
Jane Sohm (Sarah Strong)
Polly Heimberg
Adam Cruthirds (Connie Cruthirds)
Ruth Ingram
Lynn Douglas (Shelley Gray)
Helen Wofford & Family (Kay Ericksen)
Ned and Sandra Smith
DeAnn Pace (Ann Miller)
Rosaline Walker (Ann Miller)
Amy Waddell (Ann Miller)
Lisa Mathis (Angie Wagner)
Bill Tracer
Marie Johnson
Immigrant communities and families seeking asylum

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