Whenever I have the chance I burn through a quick hour in the file cabinet room here at SCUPE. It’s amazing what one learns from the artifacts someone, at some point, decided should be saved.
Lately, I have been rifling through old files and photo albums over the course of the past few months uncovering a history of the Congress that has been, it seems, all but forgotten. Over 34 years and (once March of 2011 is here) 16 gatherings is a lot of time to form your own lore. SCUPE’s Congress on Urban Ministry certainly has compiled its fair share of lore but, for a large national event, I am also surprised about how well of a kept-secret it is. Well, I think that should change. It is time that this collaborative, inter-denominational, prophetic gathering gets its just dues.
Over the course of the next couple weeks I’ll share some of the lore I’ve been able to uncover and perhaps we’ll get insight into how the 2011 Congress can continue to be an impact-full gathering as we address the violence in our cities, in the way we live together, and in the way we think.
Just today I stumbled across these goals that had been lifted up at past Congress gatherings. Even though I haven’t seen this list before today it is my guess that I would have been able to guess some of these just from being involved in the visioning here at SCUPE and with the Co-chairs and through the collaborative planning process with the National Planning Committee.
- To inspire both new and experienced Urban Ministry practitioners, to celebrate their calls and accomplishments, and to challenge them spiritually and professionally.
- To teach and learn we will seek ways to create redemptive communities, release prophetic imagination, and engage in justice, reconciliation and restoration
- To teach and learn best Urban Ministry practices, to collaborate and envision breakthrough initiatives, and to study and dialogue about the deeper issues affecting communities.
- To network practitioners and national leaders for information exchange, for fellowship, and to sharpen the skills needed to transform communities.