EVANSTON, IL (June 22, 2012) – More than 25 members of Sojourner Covenant Church, which has an average attendance of 70, ran as part of the congregation’s Run for Justice racing team during a community-wide anti-hate race this past Sunday.
The Ricky Birdsong Race Against Hate attracted more than 4,000 people. Sojourner was one of two churches that were significant sponsors.
The racing team participates in three events every year. In addition to Sunday’s race, they run in the TraffickFree 5K and the Chicago AIDS Walk.
“Members of the team generally show up to church in their Sojourner or race t-shirts,” says Pastor Jo Ann Deasy. “It provides a great opportunity to talk with all the people wandering through the neighborhood who also ran the race.
Although other congregations work alongside the YWCA, which sponsors the race, getting others to participate in the race on Father’s Day was difficult, says Deasy. Due to the church’s sponsorship level, it was able to place an item in the gift bags given to each of the racers.
“We eventually decided on putting in business cards with info about the church and then, rather than spending money on publicity items related to the church, we decided it would be more just and eco-friendly to simply make an additional donation to the YWCA in honor of the racers,” says Deasy.
A grant from the Compassion, Mercy, and Justice Committee of the Central Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church provided a grant to help with the expense, says Deasy.
Some members of the church had run the race for five or six years, but a team from the church was formed three years ago, Deasy says. “It is a part of a group of partnerships we are working on forming with local community organizations including the YWCA, a Youth Job Center, and Interfaith Action of Evanston, which serves the homeless community in the area.”