A Reason to Hope, Again

A Reflection on Ecumenical Advocacy Days

By Claudia Aguilar

I was born and raised in a time and place where people’s claims for justice were more like loud cries, but no one would listen to them and nothing would change. The voices of millions were silenced with money, censorship, or guns. These cries demanded justice not only for internal affairs, but also for international politics and the role of developing countries in history: Latin America has been the victim of oppression by hegemonic powers since her birth. We would cry out and our voices would be silenced. My trust in the power of our voice as a people and my voice as a citizen was lost.

When I moved to the United States to go to seminary, I was expecting apathy from citizens who were too comfortable with their privilege to care about those without it. Sadly, that was often the case even among the future leaders of the Church. But this weekend, Ecumenical Advocacy Days (EAD) proved me wrong: seeing almost a thousand people of faith claiming justice through their worship, knowledge, actions, and their whole lives, was one of the most redeeming experiences I have ever had. It healed the part of me that was angry at the apathy, the contentment with the status quo, and the hypocrisy of a society that, since its foundation, has considered true and inalienable the rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” The fast that was sought at EAD was a lifelong fast, a commitment to the shalom that will allow life in all creation to flourish. Everywhere, people were asking, “Is this the fast I seek?” Everywhere, people were pledging to ask that question every day of their lives. EAD gave the silent voices of millions a clear sound, loud as a trumpet. Praise be to God.


ecumenical advocacy days logo
Ecumenical Advocacy Days

is an annual three-day train­ing event on jus­tice and polit­i­cal advo­cacy. It interactively pre­pares peo­ple to go back into their com­mu­nity to be informed and active advo­cates for justice.

In this era of eco­nomic and polit­i­cal urgency, as crit­i­cal deci­sions are being made about U.S. fed­eral budget pri­or­i­ties and as national elec­tions are fast approach­ing, 2012 Ecu­meni­cal Advo­cacy Days (EAD) asked, “Is This the Fast I Seek?”

The 10th annual EAD took place on March 23–26, 2012, in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., where almost a thousand Christians explored econ­omy, liveli­hood, and our national pri­or­i­ties through the lens of Isa­iah 58. They came together seek­ing a global econ­omy and a national bud­get that break the yokes of injus­tice, poverty, hunger, and unem­ploy­ment through­out the world—heeding Isaiah’s call to become “repair­ers of the breach and restor­ers of streets to live in.”

Speak­ers included Dr. Mar­garet Aymer, Dr. Gary Dor­rien, Ellen Nis­senbaum, and Con­gress­man Emmanuel Cleaver, II.

The training concluded with the thousand Christians gathered convening on the Washington, D.C., to advocate for a Faithful Budget. Read more about that action here.

You can go to EAD too! Check out the EAD website and save the date for the 2013 conference.


Claudia Aguilar

Claudia Aguilar was born and raised in Mexico City. In 2006, she moved to Decatur, GA, to attend Columbia Theological Seminary, where she earned her Master of Divinity. She is currently serving as Admissions Intern at Columbia Theological Seminary and works part-time at Mercy Community Church, a congregation that welcomes everyone but shows a preferential option for those living in the margins.
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