Meaningful Work

Schedule Updates:

There is a Foot Care Clinic This Saturday at 5:30pm- Dinner included.

The summer dinner schedule for kids (under 18) is from 5:15-5:45PM Mon-Fri. Through August 18th.

The Annual Block Party (in front of Amistad) is Saturday July 29th. It begins with a short prayer service at 11AM and the party continues until 9PM. EVERYONE is invited!

 

 

Meaningful Work:  Community Based Activism and Theology

by, S. Raven

On Sunday July 16th, Michael Littig with The Uprising and Mark Fisher Fitness hosted a salon featuring activist and public theologian Mark Colville in New York City.  Mark was joined by his wife Luz and his son Justin.  The subject of the salon was, “How to take meaningful action in our society.”  If anyone knows something about meaningful action it is Mark Colville, a man who has dedicated his entire life to the service of others.  Mark and Luz met in the Bronx as young adults doing community organizing at her former elementary school.  They married and together founded the Amistad Catholic Worker House in New Haven CT in 1994.

Both Mark and Luz described the challenges and blessings that come along with the work they have chosen- work that is not just professional but very personal as well.

Mark explained that his faith journey is what lead him to the work that he is doing.  He never intended to be a political player, however the actions for peace and justice that he has been involved in are often interpreted as being political.  He had to look at himself and ask, “Who am I?” “Where am I going?” “Who am I supporting?”  This deep level of introspection is not surprising for anyone who knows this self-proclaimed introvert.  Despite his introversion, Mark manages to speak out against injustice wherever he goes, and like Saint Francis he preaches the gospel all times (with his actions) and only uses words when necessary.  In recent years Mark has been a part of: the #BlackLivesMatter movement, support for the Standing Rock Sioux against the illegal oil pipeline, support for the name change of Calhoun College at Yale, on-going support for prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, worker’s rights, undocumented immigrants, and of course anti-war/anti-drone demonstrations. Whew! If that sounds like a lot, it’s because it is. On top of all of the peace and justice movements he is a part of/supports, Mark somehow finds time to cook meals at Amistad with the help of Luz and other community members.

Mark also hinted at very deep theological and philosophical positions, and unfortunately there was not nearly enough time for him to flesh those out in great detail. He described God’s preferential option for the poor with the image: “God sees the world through the eyes of the poor.” And here Mark was not only talking about the economically disadvantaged but also the poor in quality of life; the disinherited and oppressed.

During the Q&A when Mark was asked about where he sees the line between his own autonomy and surrendering to God’s divine plan, Mark struggled to answer. The struggle was there because for Mark this is a false dichotomy. He is fully an individual who operates out of his own free-will, and fully surrenders to God. There is no line of demarcation between the two. As he explained, “I meet God in my conscience.” There, in his conscience is where the impetus and mandate to act on the behalf of others comes from. But he went further to describe a community conscience whereby he discusses actions with Luz and other community members before he takes them. He therefore does not see himself as a single actor moving forward by his own steam, but a part of a broader community that supports and reinforces the work that he participates in through the grace of God.

One thing that struck me by his talk was the overwhelming humility that came through in everything Mark said. He is so modest and unassuming that I imagine he is really going to dislike the fact that I have written an entire article about the talk he gave. But it is important that this modern philosopher/theologian/activist/hash-slinger’s words and actions be passed on to the next generation and anyone that is yearning for deeper meaning in their lives, anyone who is searching for a way to live authentically and to the betterment of their community.

To find out more about the great work of the Amistad Catholic Worker House, or to get involved, contact them at:

The Amistad Catholic Worker

203 Rosette Street, New Haven, CT, 06519

amistadcwh@yahoo.com; (203)415-589619225250_10213356252522979_4799981223842511112_n

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