THE founder of Sojourners, the Revd Jim Wallis, is to step down after more than 50 years, to take up the inaugural Chair in Faith and Justice at Georgetown University.
Sojourners’ ministries, a cross-denominational initiative, began at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Illinois in the early 1970s, arising from students’ discussions about the relationship between their faith and political issues. It began with a magazine — The Post American — and went on to include a community based in Washington, DC, and decades of campaigning work, with a particular focus on challenging racism and poverty.
Mr Wallis has been arrested more than 20 times for acts of civil disobedience (Features, 13 September 2013). During Donald Trump’s Presidency, Mr Wallis and the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Most Revd Michael Curry, led the “Reclaiming Jesus” movement, which warned of a “resurgence of white nationalism and racism” (News, 1 June 2018).
In an addition to his chair in the McCourt School of Public Policy, Mr Wallis, a Baptist minister, will serve as founding director of a new campus-wide Centre on Faith and Justice. The two will examine the relationships between faith and public life in the US and internationally and Mr Wallis will be teaching, writing and conducting outreach to policymakers and practitioners.
“We plan to go deeper into the integration of faith and moral public policy, showing how and why budgets are moral documents, for example, or how America’s original sin of racism must lead us into the kind of repentance that includes repair,” he said last week. “The center will try to help reshape the nation’s political narrative by advocating for policies that prioritise the needs of historically marginalised people and communities and increase their ability to thrive and flourish. . .
“In this time of extreme polarisation and partisan obstruction, we plan to convene regular public and private dialogues — large and small — committed to promoting civil discourse and public policies in pursuit of a more compassionate and just society.”
He will be succeeded as President of Sojourners by the Revd Adam Russell Taylor, a Baptist minister who has previously worked in the White House Office of Cabinet Affairs and Public Engagement.