Ekklesia Project 2019: Rise Prep, Redeemer, Dayspring

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A story of shalom…

Rise University Preparatory School, Redeemer Community Church, and Dayspring Technologies have a collective story to tell.

It is a story of shalom in a particular neighborhood told at this year’s Ekklesia Project.

The Ekklesia Project started more than 20 years ago as a gathering of theologians to discuss the church’s mission. Over the course of its existence, the conveners of this gathering in Chicago have sought partnership and dialogue with congregations and communities living out this picture of the church.

Redeemer Community Church has long been a partner congregation of the Ekklesia Project. Redeemer's members started Rise University Preparatory as part of their church's call to live as a demonstration plot community testifying to and joining in God’s reconciling work.

This year’s theme of the Ekklesia Gathering, “Church as Politics”, brought Redeemer Community Church, Rise Prep, and Dayspring Technologies to tell our story of being called by God to a neighborhood. We wanted to talk about how the three entities work together to embody a counterculture (or alternate politics) to consumerism, racism and individualism.

Rise Prep’s contribution to this plenary session in front of over 100 theologians and church leaders from across the country was provided by head of school Juliette Chien who shared about the genesis of Rise Prep and the vision to join God and our neighbors in battling the inequities in our education system. Rather than laying out a 4-step plan to transform education, Ms. Chien shared that our hope is not ultimately in scaling or in transformation based on our own human abilities, but in being where Jesus is and doing what He is doing—bringing our gifts to bless and serve as Jesus does.

She reflected on how the Christian hope differs from the humanist: “I think of Abraham clinging to the promise. But never being able to see the fulfillment, and yet he had faith, and he walked with God.”

Rise Prep has been called by God along with Redeemer Community Church and Dayspring Technologies to walk with God in the Bayview Hunters Point—not "doing for", but simply being with those on the margins of power and privilege in our society. And in so doing, we tell part of God’s story of shalom in this place God has sent us.