Ohio Clergy Launch Statewide Initiative

125 leaders of congregations from across the state to gather in Cincinnati for new strategy

CINCINNATI — On May 3rd, the Ohio Organizing Collaborative will officially launch Ohio Prophetic Voices. “We are aware that the next six months will be toxic with partisan politics and vicious tactics once again blighting the democratic process. We are calling for civic engagement that reflects our shared Biblically-rooted values,” said Pastor Chris Beard of First Christian Assembly of God. “It is time to chart a new faith-rooted course as we unite unusual suspects – Evangelicals, Catholics, & Protestants, Caucasians, Latinos, & African Americans – to work courageously for racial equity and Biblical Justice.”

For over a year, two Ohio pastors have been crisscrossing the state to engage clergy in a conversation about building an organization that provides a “prophetic voice” for Ohio. Pastor Troy Jackson has helped organize due to his own frustration with partisan politics and the need to have a vehicle for action: “Ohio Prophetic Voices will strive to mobilize a different and higher voice grounded in the value of the poor and vulnerable, and the God-given dignity of every person, including those perpetuating injustice,” said Jackson. “When we call our clergy to pursue civic engagement, we do so out of our faith community and refuse to be co-opted by political parties or labels,” he continued.

The gathered clergy will have the opportunity to join working teams confronting some of the biggest challenges facing our state including human trafficking, jobs for returning citizens trying to overcome a past felony conviction, neighborhood safety, food access, and stability. There will also be training sessions around civic engagement and democracy.

The pastors said the idea for “Ohio Prophetic Voices” comes out of the Hebrew prophets who relentlessly called society to account for the well-being of the poor and vulnerable. They say that when leaders tolerated or perpetuated injustice, prophetic voices emerged to speak out against broken systems and into broken lives.