Mercy Junction Justice and Peace Center at St. Andrews opens

Something new started in Chattanooga on Jan. 1, and the goal of that something new is simple.

The goal is to change the world.

The Mercy Junction Justice and Peace Center at St. Andrews is devoted to supporting and building a movement of equality for all people and freedom for all of creation. At the center, the aim is to create a microcosm of the world as it should be while advancing social justice in the city and across the South.

As we strive to create the world as it should be, we turn to those who share our values to ask for support. We have a new crowd-funding campaign through which donors can receive cool Holy Heretic gear and other gifts for their support. Visit our Indiegogo campaign to learn more. Donations to support the center can also be made through Paypal at opentableexchange@gmail.com, or by mailing a check to Mercy Junction Justice and Peace Center at St. Andrews, 1918 Union Ave., Chattanooga TN 37404.

Mercy Junction is a three-year-old worshiping community, founded by the Rev. Brian Merritt and the Presbytery of East Tennessee. The primary mission of the center is to provide infrastructure and support to those organizations and individuals who are actively engaged in social justice struggles, and to educate and empower both people of faith and secular organizations who are looking for meaningful ways to engage in the work of creating a more just world.

In striving to create the “world as it should be,” Mercy Junction will have programs, campaigns and events — and organize with other like-minded faith communities and organizations — to advance social justice as informed by its faith.

Staff at the Mercy Junction Justice and Peace Center at St. Andrews are Beth Foster, Larry Fuqua Sr., Kara Tragesser, the Rev. Brain Merritt and Keely Gilliland.
Staff at the Mercy Junction Justice and Peace Center at St. Andrews are Beth Foster, Larry Fuqua Sr., Kara Tragesser, the Rev. Brain Merritt and Keely Gilliland.

The Justice and Peace Center at St. Andrews is located in the St. Andrews Center, which Mercy Junction now manages under a six-year contract with the St. Andrews Center Board. The St. Andrews Center, located at 1918 Union Ave. in Chattanooga, is a 100-year-old, 40,000-square-foot church on the National Historic Registry. Mercy Junction seeks to open that space to partners who have shared values by providing offices, meeting areas and a gathering location.

Mercy Junction works at the intersections of all oppression. The ministry is anti-racist, feminist and LGBTQ-affirming. Mercy Junction has also been active in issues of income inequality, immigrant rights, labor organizing and reproductive, housing and food justice. In answering its call to work toward justice for all of creation, Mercy Junction sees its work as extending also to seeking justice for non-human animals.

The center has a staff of five people. The Rev. Brian Merritt and Beth Foster are co-directors, with Brian focusing on worship and Beth focusing on social justice programming, events and campaigns. Keely Gilliland is the administrative coordinator. Kara Tragesser is responsible for building management, along with Larry Fuqua Sr.

Each day at Mercy Junction begins with a mid-day prayer service at 12:30 p.m., to which every one is invited. The service seeks to be welcoming to people of all faiths and is a brief pause in the day for a time of reflection and the reading of scripture.

The Justice and Peace Center is open noon to 8 p.m., Tuesdays through Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays. The main entrance during regular center hours is at the back of the building, with the front entrance only open during larger events.

A grand opening event is being planned for mid-March.

For more information about the center, or for information about how you or your organization or faith community can get involved or share space, email justice@mercyjunctioncenter.org or call 423.457.2519.

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