At the end of 2016, Mercy Junction installed a council of elders, who are the governing body of the ministry. Below is the transcript of what the elders shared and to what they committed on that evening. The seven elders are: Samantha Bayles, Damien Crisp, Beth Foster, Kali Meister, Brian Merritt, Sadie Morgan, and Maddie Nix.
With our heritage of being founded by and now recognized as a validated ministry of the Presbytery of East Tennessee, and being recognized and supported as one of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship’s “Peace Communities,” we are an interfaith congregation committed to social justice.
In 2017, our faith community is governed by a council of elders made up of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Shamans, Buddhists and Humanists.
MERCY JUNCTION STATEMENT OF PURPOSE: “We are a community of faith, rooted in justice and peacemaking, guided by the Holy Spirit to express God’s unbiased love for all of creation by providing a sacred framework for social justice in the Southeast.”
As the Council of Elders for the interfaith congregation of Mercy Junction, we commit this faith community and ourselves to this shared work and these agreed upon values.
We practice radical hospitality, welcoming both strangers and neighbors, and offering friendship. Practicing hospitality means using our resources to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, care for the sick, and free the prisoner. We open our doors in sanctuary to human and non-human sisters and brothers in need of refuge. We use our resources to dismantle capitalism and other systems that leave our sisters and brothers with unmet needs while a few are allowed to hoard necessities. The practice of radical hospitality is one way in which we worship together.
We practice radical peacemaking, making our spaces and gatherings sacred places of non-violence. We do not allow weapons, no matter in whose hands they may be. We do not allow badges, flags, uniforms or other symbols of state violence. We maintain our spaces and gatherings as places of non-violence for all creation and allow only vegetarian foods to be served there. We use our resources to dismantle capitalism, the military industrial complex, mass incarceration, corporate animal agriculture and other systems that create violence. The practice of radical peacemaking is one way in which we worship together.
We practice radical equality, making decision using a consensus process and striving to organize all of our work in horizontal structures. Mercy Junction offers all services, membership and leadership opportunities to all people regardless of sex, gender, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, citizenship status, race or age. We require that anyone with whom Mercy Junction partners also offers all services, membership and leadership opportunities to all people regardless of sex, gender, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, citizenship status, race or age. We use our resources to dismantle white supremacy, patriarchy, heterosexism, ageism, ableism and other systems that create inequality. The practice of radical equality is one way in which we worship together.
We are radically interfaith, with our community including and welcoming Christians, Jews, Muslims, Shamans, Buddhists, Pagans, Humanists and others. We recognize our heritage of being founded by and a validated ministry of the Presbytery of East Tennessee, and of being recognized and supported as one of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship’s “Peace Communities.” We use our resources to create a spiritually nourishing space and community that is inclusive of all believers and non-believers. The practice of sharing the best of the faith that each of us brings into Mercy Junction is one way in which we worship together.
We are radically committed to social justice, which we define as the equality of all humans and peace for all creation. This takes the form of striving to operate within our ideals of social justice within our own community, and engaging in public witness, protest, demonstration, organizing, and prayer, meditation and other religious practices that are aimed at creating the “world as it should be” outside our community. Social justice activism is one way in which we worship together.
The radical ministry of Mercy Junction is a justice and peace center that not only provides a home to our interfaith congregation, but that creates a community of artists, activists and people of faith where the values to which we have ascribed and the work to which we have committed can be lived out on a daily basis. Creating and maintaining this ministry is one way in which we worship together.