Reparations Honorariums

Sometimes we get bogged down in the talking, so we never seem to get to the walking. Convinced of the need for Reparations, though not sure what that would look like, some of us earmarked money for that purpose. And waited for direction. 2021 is drawing to a close. What progress have we made? Perhaps we have tried, taken steps, stumbled on humility. 

When the Leadership Team created a new line item in our 2021 budget for Reparations, and then designated half of our Ministry Development money to fund it, we didn’t know what that might look like. Once we had a clearer vision, we intended to invite the congregation to contribute specifically to that effort. Like the Solar Fund that helped put panels on our roof, or the Family Fund that folks can donate to as an additional offering, Reparations goes beyond our normal giving. 

Zaccheus showed up in today’s assigned readings, prompting me, nudging me forward. Reminding me that while unjust systems may be the cause of inequities, individuals can choose to make a difference.

Zacchaeus stopped and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my possessions to the poor. And if I have cheated anyone, I repay them four times as much.” Luke 19:8 (CEB)

One person- me, you- cannot repair the wrongs of the world. But when we get a good look at Jesus, and he invites himself into our lives, we can stop waiting for the world to change and start becoming the change we want to see. 

Our first step was to seek increased input from people of color, particularly our Black family, through teachings, music, leading conversations, and writing. Coupled with that was the understanding that we need to honor that labor. Reparations means going above and beyond, like Zaccheus did. In contrast, and acknowledging that white America has benefited greatly from the unpaid and underpaid labor of black America. 

NCF began paying reparations honorariums for speakers, writers, and musicians who have labored on our behalf to teach, lead, and exhort us. We used all the money in the Reparations line item, the rest of the Ministry Development Fund, and scrimped in other areas to bolster this work. Our first step. Real money to real human beings. It feels like we are just getting started. We look ahead to 2022 and are excited for next steps. 

I personally have been waiting for NCF to tell me where I can contribute specifically for Reparations. What organization or special project or fundraising effort do I put in the memo line of that check? I am sure the irony of this does not escape you. Apparently the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing. Internal communication issues for sure. 

NCF is already paying Reparations in the form of Honorariums to Black community members laboring on our behalf to help us discern and move forward in God’s work. We are invited to participate in this first phase. We don’t have to wait; it is already begun. Next year will be more- more teaching, more learning, more opportunities to co-labor with God in repairing the world. If you, like me, have been waiting to hear how we can contribute, we are now invited to invest in this work. Like other special offerings, we just put the cause in the memo line: Reparations. 

As a Leadership Team, we have been inspired by the Biblical concept of the double portion. Not just what seems right, equitable, required, but being doubly generous with our resources. Knowing that a double portion doesn’t solve everything, for Hannah in Sunday’s teaching or for those in need of reparations, but does communicate love. 

May we participate in the raising up and the rising up of God’s people. -Renée

The Zaccheus Song

Reparations, Jesus-Style
124 W. White St, Champaign, IL 61820;  PayPal

One Comment On “Reparations Honorariums”

  1. Thanks for this inspiring message dear pastor Renée.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.