Bishop M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE is inviting everyone in the diocese to join in reading a book together in 2013, The Rich and the Rest of Us by Tavis Smiley and Cornel West.
He describes it as a book that "asks us to re-examine some of our assumptions about poverty" and commends a diocesanwide study of it "as a way to begin to educate ourselves about poverty, one of the root causes of violence."
"It is my hope that groups and individuals in every congregation of our diocese will take up this book study project, either in Lent or at some other time during the upcoming year, and start a conversation that, with the Holy Spirit's leading, will invite us into meaningful action that will help bring Christ's peace and healing into this world," Shaw writes in his introduction to the study guide produced for the diocesanwide project.
The book study comes in response to the shooting death last fall of Jorge Fuentes, 19, a young leader in the youth program supported by the diocese at St. Stephen's Church in Boston. Diocesan Convention in November voted to establish a task force in his memory to, among other things, "investigate methods and models to alleviate the root causes of violence, consulting with communities of faith, social service and government agencies and interfaith communities, to develop materials and programs for congregational, deanery and diocesan use in broadening this effort."
The book study is a project everyone can join now while the task force's work gets underway, Shaw said.
The study guide was written by the Rev. Thomas Brown, the Rev. Tim Crellin, the Rev. Cathy George, the Rev. Kate Malin and the Rev. Sam Rodman. It divides the book into a five-week study with Scripture passages and questions for reflection and discussion.
Groups and individuals taking part in the book study are welcome to share their insights and questions with one another using the comment form below.