by Shawn Plummer, President and CEO
“For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in [Jesus], and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. …[Jesus] himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one…his purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two…and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. …There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” - Colossians 1:19-23; Ephesians 2:14-18; Galatians 3:26-28
This weekend, Christians around the world remember and celebrate Jesus’ death and resurrection. My family, in particular, is looking forward to once again celebrating with church, family, and friends. We’ll take time to gather around my mom and, together, visit my father’s graveside to joyfully remember his amazing life and coming resurrection. Singing of victorious worship songs, Easter egg hunts, roast ham dinner—we love it all!
As I anticipate this joyful raucous, I also take time to think back on this past year. Experiencing firsthand the wild flooding here in the Fraser Valley of BC, but straining from the sidelines as I watched the wars in Northern Ethiopia and now Ukraine erupt. My heart cries out, “Our world needs Easter!”
And it’s not only overseas that we see conflict—we feel it at home, too. Our own social fabric, neighbourhoods, and workplaces in Canada are filled with the tension of past sins and present prejudice. This has been on our hearts a lot at FH Canada this year. We need Easter in our hallways, too!
Last month, FH Canada’s VP International Programs, Patty-Leigh, sent around a message that deeply impacted me and beautifully summed up what our hearts are longing for. With her permission, I’m sharing it with you:
“I believe each one of us is made in the image of God, carrying his imprint on our hearts and bodies. When we wield power over others, even unintentionally, it dishonours that image of God in the other person. Last year at Kentro’s (formerly CCRDA) annual forum, I was deeply moved by one of the speaker’s statement that he grew up believing himself less than a white person, purely based on appearance.I believe that we need to be reflective and intentional, not as a way to beat ourselves up, but being curious and empathetic. We need to be open to the experiences and wisdom of those who have faced racism and discrimination of all kinds, learning from them and being willing to change our ways of thinking and doing, as God calls us. This Christ-like posture honours our personal and organizational values and seeks to repair the four broken relationships that lead to poverty. We will learn, we will journey, we will be accountable to God and each other."
This insightful statement by Patty-Leigh describes the way we as FH Canada want to live into Easter. You see, Jesus’ death and resurrection turns things upside down to make them right-side up.
He upsets the powerful to elevate the weak. He takes enemies and makes them friends. He dies on a cross—a perfect display of weakness—and then breaks open the tomb three days later—the ultimate display of power.
Jesus spent his ministry seeing the overlooked, calling the forsaken, honouring the rejected, loving the unwanted, and elevating the silenced. He “passed the mic,” so to speak. And in the power of his resurrection, we at FH Canada are striving to do the same.
This journey makes me so grateful for the thousands of Canadian supporters who daily “walk the talk” and inspire us to do likewise! I am humbled, too, by the incredible ways our partner communities across the globe continue to extend us grace as they daily push up against systemic injustices that contribute to the poverty in their communities.
As a team, FH Canada is eager to express and commit to our desire to be more like Jesus in the ways we walk out equality and generosity. A few of the ways we did that this year included partnering with Ray Aldred to support a Master Class series on Indigenous Realities and the Canadian Church; pursuing speakers for our Flourishing Conference who will critically examine our Western assumptions about “the good life”; and conducting a confidential staff survey to truly listen to how our own people are doing. We also signed Cooperation Canada’s Anti-Racism Framework as an actionable step toward our strategic objective to “Empower a diverse and inclusive organization.”
We see these small steps as concrete ways we can live into Easter.
|A personal past highlight—staff from FH country offices around the globe joined with FH Canada staff in BC to collaborate and build relationship.|
Food for the Hungry is a Christian, not-for-profit development organization. We seek to end all forms of poverty everywhere—including in our own lives and neighbourhoods. As Christians, we believe that Jesus’ death and resurrection unleashed the power to end the poverty of racism, imperialism, prejudice, classism, and the ever alluring West-knows-best approach. He daily reconciles all our relationships to create not uniformity, but unity within diversity.
These are heady truths! And we don’t always get it right. But, thank God, that’s where his grace and forgiveness, and power to try again, come in.
As Friday afternoon gives way to Sunday morning, I hope you’ll join me and our FH family in joyfully celebrating the One who, despite our varied circumstances, brings hope and victory over death to all.
Shawn Plummer is the President and CEO of Food for the Hungry Canada. Shawn has a 20+ year track record in international relief and development including 10 years with a leading organization as Country Director in Mozambique and Eritrea, Regional Director for North Africa and the Middle East, and as Director of Technical Programs. Shawn and his wife, Lindsay, have been married since 2001 and currently live in Chilliwack, BC. Their four children keep them busy, especially their twin boys who are avid athletes. Shawn enjoys coaching hockey, water and snow skiing, and spending time with his extended family at the lake.