Swedenborgians in Action Against Racism
Hi everyone. This newsletter is for Swedenborgians (and friends) who want to learn how to support anti-racism. But we are not going to pretend that we are experts here; we are learning alongside you. There are lots of activists and educators who have been working in the anti-racism field for a long time. Our plan (in the words of Meera Mohan-Graham) is to Absorb and Amplify those voices, and follow their lead. So, the items in this newsletter are mostly links and excerpts pointing you towards other resources.

As we all strive to learn, change, and act together, we invite you join the Manifold Angels Facebook group for connection throughout the journey. The work is just beginning. 

This is an (approximately) bi-weekly newsletter. One issue per month will be a deep dive into a particular issue (you can find links to these at the end of the newsletter). The alternating issues will be more personal/devotional, aiming to help build stamina and commitment for the ongoing work for racial justice. Thanks for joining us!
Lobby Training & How to Engage Congress

As part of SAAR’s Spirit in Action: Civic Engagement and Religious Life series, Sarah Freeman-Woolpert and Julia Rademacher-Wedd from FCNL (Friends Committee on National Legislation), led a very informative and inspiring Zoom training on the topic of Lobby Training & How to Engage Congress on March 28. Sarah generously summed up the key takeaways on interfaith lobbying for us below:

People of faith can often bring moral weight into policy discussions and decisions. For almost 80 years, the Friends Committee on National Legislation—the oldest faith-based peace lobby in the U.S.—has brought Quaker values into the halls of Capitol Hill, seeking that of God in each person—including members of Congress with whom we strongly disagree. Understanding the core skills to effectively lobby Congress can transform public policy, and this practice allows us to challenge ourselves to identify common values and connect across disagreement, with our legislators and our community members alike.

At FCNL, we train advocates to lobby using specific methods and a structure of long-term engagement. We know this work takes time, and we emphasize the need to remain persistent, prophetic, and pragmatic to make the changes we want to see. We encourage people to schedule meetings directly with members of Congress and their staff by reaching out to the office, sharing information about your group, and suggesting a specific time to meet and discuss an issue of concern. Groups then conduct a pre-meeting where they practice the conversation they will conduct with their legislator using the Lobby Visit Roadmap. We train advocates to apply the RAFT Principles when conducting a lobby visit: Respond, Ask, Facts, Tie in your story. These meetings start with one group member responding to your member’s recent actions, especially by thanking them for something they have done in the past. Another group member then makes an “ask,” or one specific action you want your member to take on a piece of legislation. Next, you provide enough facts and supporting information to show that you have done your homework. Finally, members of your group should share personal stories about why this issue matters to them and connects to their values. At this point, we leave time for discussion, questions, and hearing how the member or staffer responds to these messages, and we ask them, “How can we support you to take the action we have requested?”

This does not always lead to immediate results—although many groups have received a phone call from the Congressional staffer a few days later to let them know they have taken the requested action. As one FCNL Advocacy Team member recently put it, we approach this work as “radical relationship,” seeking to sustain conversations and find ways forward to some of our society’s most difficult challenges. In many cases, we draw inspiration from a quote by the founder of FCNL, E. Raymond Wilson, who said, “We ought to be willing to work for causes that may not be won now, but cannot be won in the future unless the goals are staked out now and worked for energetically over a long period of time.” Whether seeking a world free of war, or an Earth restored, we believe in speaking directly with lawmakers to bring prophetic witness into the policy-making process.

If you want to lobby in community with other people of faith, you can connect with a local FCNL Advocacy Team in your community!


One may wonder, how is interfaith advocacy even possible when faith-based positions on legislative actions can vary as much as faith communities themselves do? 

According to journalist Edie Gross in the Faith and Leadership article, Interfaith Advocacy Groups Collaborate To Help The Nation's Vulnerable, “In the case of WISC [Washington Interfaith Staff Community], hot-button topics that generate headlines and fierce debate are not generally addressed through networkwide advocacy, because of the different stances of the individual religious groups and denominations. Member organizations are free to engage those topics on their own, and some join forces to address them.

But faith-based advocates say it’s not hard to find common ground on most issues around core theological tenets: feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, loving the neighbor, caring for the Earth, promoting peace.”


Following the presentation, Sarah shared some additional resources for those interested in learning more about environmental justice lobbying, an issue many in SCNA, according to the recent Social Justice Committee survey, feel passionate about, and FCNL Advocacy Teams. 


In addition to FCNL, there are many other interfaith advocacy groups. These are just a few. 

Interfaith Alliance Mission: Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism.

ICCR (Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility) Mission: Through the lens of faith, ICCR builds a more just and sustainable world by integrating social values into corporate and investor actions.

Interfaith Power & Light is a national leader in engaging faith communities in environmental stewardship and climate action.

Washington Interfaith Staff Community (WISC) is a network of over 70 Washington offices of national religious bodies and faith-based organizations, encompassing Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and Humanist faiths. WISC offices collaborate on advocacy for U.S. government policies that advance a more just, peaceful and ecologically sustainable world.


Session Four: How do I raise my voice? Where do I go from here? (led by the Friends Committee on National Legislation)

Monday April 25th, 7:30-9pm EST on Zoom

  • What does success look like?
  • How to build meaningful partnerships for advocacy in my community
  • How to lift up these issues in the media

Register here:
or contact Rev. Shada Sullivan at

We praise and thank you, Holy Spirit of God,
for the men and women you have called to be saints;
from your first fallible, frightened friends
who followed you to Jerusalem,
through the centuries of discovery and growth,
people of every class and temperament
down to the present day.

We praise you, Holy Spirit, for calling us 
to serve you now,
for baptizing us to represent you
in this broken world.
Help us to be Christ's united body to heal and reconcile;
help us to share Christ's life with everyone.

(A New Zealand Prayer Book)

Photo by Jens Johnsson on Pexels
Police Brutality
Intersectionality and LGBTQ Rights
White Privilege/White Fragility
Voting Rights and Voter Supression
Indigenous Rights
Racism in Education
Racism in Healthcare

Images of God

Anti-Racism Resources for Kids
Black History Month
Intersectional Feminism/Anti-Asian Racism
Environmental Racism
Critical Race Theory
Immigration Rights and Xenophobia
Restorative Justice
Civic Engagement
Interfaith Advocacy

Just a note: the various viewpoints included in these newsletters (either by authors of content or the organizations they represent) do not necessarily represent the viewpoint or position of the Swedenborgian Church of North America (SCNA). The editors present them in the spirit of learning and reflection. 

(Editors: Rev. Shada Sullivan and Lori Gayheart)

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