"But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare" (Jeremiah 29:7, NRSV).
Recently, a member of our congregation gave me a copy of the Virginia Education Association magazine. One of the articles made reference to a "Educators and Clergy Conference" sponsored by the Oklahoma Education Association. In both 2008 and 2009, the OK Ed. Assn. sponsored a conference where educators and clergy could sit down in a room and find ways to work together for the benefits of students. You can learn more of this conference here: http://www.okea.org/clergy/
Instances where the world reminds the church of one of its tasks are always fascinating to me. Here is one of those times: seek the welfare of the city. "Welfare" translates the word "shalom." It describes the well-being of the whole person: mind, body, and spirit. Seeking the well-being of the city is one place where churches and schools can find common ground instead of suspicion.
Congregations in Action is one way our congregation seeks the welfare of the city. We have certainly found common ground with educators in this shared work. Along the way, we have also met some fasinating children, and learned a few things about being the church in the urban, city center.
May we continue to seek the welfare of the city (Roanoke) that is our home.