NASHVILLE (7/12/11) — Disciples Justice Action Network (DJAN) members met here today during the 2011 General Assembly to mark the passing of two long-time members and elect new members of the DJAN Decisions Team, which acts as the organization’s board of directors.
Remembering the late James L. Demus III, DJAN President Jack Sullivan noted, “Demus paved the way for the rest of us to be direct and honest,” saying, “He was a man not just of church people but of all people.”
Demus helped to create DJAN and was one of its first conveners. Sullivan used the analogy of a washing machine to explain Demus’ influence in the church, noting, “The water and detergent alone won’t clean soiled clothes. You need the agitator to engage it. Church and society were soiled by hate, racism, and sexism,” Sullivan said, and Demus was the agitator. “We need that kind of agitation today,” Sullivan said.
Demus’ widow, Eleanor Demus, recalled how her husband had been interested in helping young people. He made a habit of paying children in his church, Park Manor Christian Church in Chicago, $1 for each “A” they received on report cards, and offered students $500 if they graduated from high school with all “As.”
In that spirit, Eleanor Demus announced the James L. Demus III Dollars for Scholars Memorial Fund, to continue that tradition. The funds will be raised through the sale of a three-DVD set of videos, and a portion of each sale will go to support DJAN, as well.
In remembering May Sweet Lord, long-time DJAN member Garnett Day said, “She was a champion for justice. … It’s fair to say that we wouldn’t be here today with DJAN without May Sweet Lord.”
Lord was a founding member of DJAN, along with her husband, Harvey Lord, and worked tirelessly on its behalf for more than 20 years.
“I don’t think May ever got tired,” Day said. “We owe her a great debt of gratitude.”
DJAN members also approved by common consent a new slate of members for the DJAN Decisions Team. They are:
- Steven Baines, Director of Religious Outreach, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Washington, D.C.
- LaMarco Cable, Program Associate for Advocacy and Education, Division of Overseas Ministries/Global Ministries, Indianapolis.
- Robyn Rickes, Minister for Domestic Policy, Disciples Center for Public Witness, Washington, D.C.
- Thandiwe Gobledale, Assistant Pastor, First Christian Church, Greensboro, N.C.
- Daniel Lee Kyung-Min, Founding Pastor, Walking Faith Korean-American Christian Church, Sunnyvale, Calif.
- Rosetta Robinson, Program Director, Congregation and Community Emergency Support, Interfaith Works, Montgomery County, Md.
- Lashaundra Smith, Associate Minister, DisciplesNet Church (Disciples of Christ), in Mississippi.
- Tai Amri Spann-Wilson, Assistant Minister, First Christian Church, Oakland, Calif.
- Alexis Vaughan, Seminarian at University of Chicago Divinity School and Interfaith Youth Organizer in Chicago.
By: Sherri Emmons