National Action Network Ministers Division
“Empowering agents of change to transform the world”
NAN’s Ministers Division comes to fruition as a vision of the Rev. Al Sharpton to galvanize and organize a network of socially conscience clergy and religious organizations around issues of social justice. The Minister Division is birthed at a historic time or what many in the church call — an “appointed” time. It is no coincidence that the major conversation of our generation centers on the issue of economic inequality and is bookmarked by the connection between labor and civil/human rights. The attempted muzzling of voices that cry out for justice is rampant and the delegitimizing of struggles for equality is pervasive. It is at this cultural moment that NAN’s Ministers Division is charged to generate a web of religious communities whose collective purpose is to create environments people have reason to value. For the National Action Network this includes, but is not limited to, activism against racial profiling, police brutality, women’s issues, economic reform, public education, and HIV/AIDS awareness. The Ministers Division includes these foci. However, the Ministers Division also includes a spiritual dimension that speaks to how people imagine themselves in relationship with one another as they participate in struggles for justice.
Martin Luther King, Jr. once argued that in order to adequately foster environments that provide people with the capabilities to live a life they have reason to value, all people must see themselves, and be seen by others, as active agents of change — the dynamic promoters of social transformations that can alter lives. For NAN’s Ministers Division, this means that persons who take God seriously must love and work for justice, hate and fight against injustice and walk humbly before God and God’s creation.
With a mission to empower agents of change to transform the world, NAN’s Ministers Division seeks to bring clergy together to develop a global vision for justice that affirms the dignity of all human beings. Jon Sobrino, the Jesuit Catholic priest and theologian once wrote: “Fundamental change consists of an awakening, but from another type of sleep, or better, from a nightmare- the sleep of inhumanity. It is the awakening to the reality of an oppressed and subjugated world, a world whose liberation is the basic task of every human being, so that in this way human beings may finally become human.” This is the Ministers Division’s task; this is our hope- to create a world where human beings may finally become human.
Ministers Division Core Values
- Lifelong Engagement: Civic engagement is a lifelong adventure. NAN’s Ministers Division will create engagement opportunities that ignite and reignite participants’ passion for intellectual excellence and spiritual growth – an excellence that furthers participants’ commitment to ministerial and civic engagement.
- Contextual Engagement: The place that a person or organization occupies within a set of social relationships are often shaped by such factors as nation, locale, social class, gender, race, language, religion, sexual orientation, age and physical ability. NAN’s Ministers Division maintains that these factors should always be held in a critical light in order to ensure a continued self-actualization, as well as to ensure that the ethical stances taken on an issue allow a person or organization to speak to particular problems with a sense of responsibility and accountability to oneself and others.
- Collaborative Engagement: NAN’s Ministers Division believes that people often learn best in groups in which they learn from one another. Collaboration brings people together who possess varied interests around a given topic and encourages constructive engagement. Conversation with others makes it easier to gain a critical perspective on an issue or topic and increases possibilities for integrative practices of ministry that meets the common good.
- Transformative Engagement: NAN’s Ministers Division believes in a strong and abiding connection between reflection and action. We seek to explore the why and how of what happens in people’s everyday lives as well as focus on what is occurring and how to effectively respond. We believe that a strong theoretical focus undergirds progressive action and progressive action informs theoretical perspectives and assumptions. NAN’s Ministers Division’s goal is to foster opportunities where a critical and inclusive public can generate ideas and plans that create environments people have reason to value.