June 2024 Fundraising Challenge


Published 06 June 2024

A Mid-Year Report and Special Request from Nick Johnson, CLBSJ Board President

Dear Friends of CLBSJ,

I pray this note finds you well. It is hard to believe that summer is almost here. This year has already been an eventful one, and throughout the unfolding of the spring, I have been continually in awe of all that this season change brings (not the allergies, though!). Over the past few months, many of our faith traditions have celebrated sacred days like Holi, Easter, Ramadan, Passover, and Pentecost. Across our traditions, we have engaged in sustained moments of prayer, fasting, reflection, and remembrance. This season of quickening is as much a time for spiritual renewal as it is for cosmic renewal.

At the same time, this season has also already been marked by its fair share of challenges. From several active wars claiming the lives of millions to divisive and harmful forces gaining increased influence in the public sphere, it is easy to become discouraged about what the rest of the year has in store for us. Yet I remain hopeful about our collective future. And for me, CLBSJ is one of those spaces where my hope is renewed.

We started the year off with a courageous event featuring Mitri Raheb, Atalia Omer and Revelation Velunta called “The Bible and Settler Colonialism in Palestine and Beyond.” Co-organized with the Wendland-Cook Program in Religion and Justice at Vanderbilt University, this event engaged over 500 people from all over the world. For anyone who missed it, the archive is available on our website, along with a 1-page study guide. During Lent, we continued our Bible detox tradition with a new, participatory format that we hope to replicate. Drawing from the well of contemplative Christianity, we delved into Joshua 6 (the siege of Jericho) and John 14 (in which Jesus states, “No one comes to the Father except through me”). And just a few weeks ago, we held a Scholar-Activist Encounter in solidarity with Asian-American & Pacific Islander Month, in which Indonesian-American New Testament scholar Ekaputra Tupamahu and immigrant rights Activist Nelcy Garcia discussed what the Pentecost Story in Acts 2, as well as other biblical references to “speaking in tongues,” tell us about the experience of living and building people power in multilingual societies. This session is also archived on our website, and we are working on producing a version with Spanish subtitles.

Looking forward, our fourth annual Black August series this year will be focused on “Scriptural Perspectives on PanAfricanism and Internationalism.” Speakers will include Hugh Page, Musa Dube, Alice Yafeh-Deigh, and more to be announced. Check clbsj.org/events/black-august for updates.

I’m also excited to invite you to a special Scholar-Activist Encounter on June 27, in solidarity with Pride month. CLBSJ Board Member Rev. Dr. Eric Thomas will host a roundtable discussion on the role of radical biblical interpretation in the Pride tradition, from the Stonewall Uprising to today. Check out clbsj.org/events for details and to register.

I am continually impressed by all that CLBSJ pulls off with such a tiny budget. Like many justice-seeking non-profit organizations, we were not founded out of an abundance of financial wealth, but rather out of an abundance of vision. And it is that vision — of working collectively to reclaim the Bible for the building of a just society — that keeps so many offering their talent and resources. It is this generosity of spirit that propels us forward.

Would you be able to add to this momentum today by making a monetary gift? As we gear up toward the transformative energy of the summer, I especially want to encourage you to consider becoming a monthly giver. If you could set aside $15, $50, or $150 a month, it would help so much to move CLBSJ into the next phase of our growth.

In fact, knowing that we need to grow in order to be able to fully enact our visions, one of our donors has challenged us to recruit $1250/month in new recurring gifts. They will match all recurring gifts added or increased from now through next April, up to $15,000. Can you help us reach this challenge?

One-time donations are also extremely helpful. You can make a one-time or recurring gift at clbsj.org/donate, or follow the instructions on this page to send a check via mail. Gifts of all shapes and sizes will help carry us through 2024 and beyond.

I thank you sincerely for considering this request, and for all that you do for justice. As spring quickens into summer, may the wonders of creation continue to fill you with awe and hope!

Peace,

Nick Johnson

Rev. Nick Johnson
CLBSJ President/Board Chair
On behalf of the whole CLBSJ team