Social Justice and Public Policy

Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” (Matthew 25: 34-36)

Cincinnati Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls (speaking) and Councilman Wendell Young (center, behind banner)  were two of the many Episcopalians who attended the emergency prayer vigil Sunday Aug. 7 outside the offices of the Hamilton County Commissioners. Commissioner Todd Portune, behind banner on right, called for the vigil. The ecumenical team failed to dissuade the other two Commissioners from cutting $8 million and two years from the renewal levy for indigent health care appearing on the fall ballot.The Diocese of Southern Ohio takes seriously the Gospel imperatives to feed the hungry, care for the sick, love our neighbors. We also are guided strongly by the Baptismal Covenant, in which we promise to respect the dignity of every human being. In 2010, convention delegates from the Diocese of Southern Ohio met to approve a set of Mission Priorities for the diocese, the end product of hundreds of hours of work from committed volunteers in the diocese who engaged in the process of identifying them. These priorities are designed to help define where we believe our energy and resources should be directed in order to fulfill the imperitives of our Baptismal Convenant.  One of the priority items identified in this process is to

“Foster and serve the common good through actions and policies consistent with social justice informed by the Gospel.”

Mission is more than outreach: it is doing justice and speaking out. It requires that we become agents of social change. While outreach projects are best done on a congregational level, i.e. food pantries, mission trips, and tutoring programs, the diocese is positioned to address the underlying issues such as poverty, human trafficking, healthcare for all and inequities in education funding. This strategy seeks to serve ‘the common good’ by speaking truth to power to address community problems. The diocese has a unique role in this ministry by collectively, coordinated by the Diocesan Legislative Liaison to state and federal government, by speaking out on particular issues and by working collaboratively to effect systemic changes. The diocese also is able to forge partnerships among other faith judicatories to build stronger, more effective coalitions. The aim of this website is to provide information and resources for members of the Diocese of Southern Ohio, and any other interested people, on social justice and public policy issues affecting members of our community, as well as calls for action.