Making a difference through radical love and inclusion
Author: Kory N. Turner
Kory is a seminary students at Drew Theological Seminary. He is serving as a Shalom Intern at Center for Transforming Communities this summer.
Not too long ago, I had the privilege of sitting down and talking with Floridia Jackson, a Memphis native who has most recently become the Director of the Memphis School of Servant Leadership. Floridia has been active with this school for several years. She started off with The School while in seminary. At the time, she was seeking a group of people that were “like-working” in that they shared in a common mission to make a difference in the world through radical love and inclusion, and work against oppression and other injustices. She was encouraged to move forward in this mission in the classes that she took on “the call” and “racism to reconciliation” at Memphis School of Servant Leadership.
According to Floridia, the Memphis School of Servant Leadership is a school that seeks to “raise up Christian servant leaders for the church and the world.” All classes are free as the school recognizes that not everyone might be able to pay. Each individual in the classroom, whether teacher or student, are on a journey together. The teachers are referred to as companions instead of facilitators/teachers to reflect this principle.
Instead of a board of directors, the Memphis School of Servant Leadership has what is referred to as a ‘mission group’. In addition to managing the business and order of the school, this group meets together for spiritual development. The mission group gathers every two weeks to pray with each other about the direction the school should be going, shifts and changes in their personal lives as a result of their connection to the school, and ways in which spirit is calling them to work against oppressive and racist structures.
Floridia has enjoyed being a partner in The Commons, the shared space operated by
Center for Transforming Communities. Every day at the office provides an opportunity to experience the God in others, be it someone reminding her of what’s going on in God’s global world, updates on the work other partners of The Commons are doing in the community, or an African woman nursing her child as she waits for her two other children who are in the Refugee Empowerment Program classes, reminding her of the way in which God loves and nurtures us.
In her own words, Floridia states that “Community is when we stop to pause, to see, to witness that God-life, God-force/energy in one another.” Imagine a wo
rld where people acknowledge and carry out the call to serve and live in true community. This is the work that is being done through the Memphis School of Servant Leadership.
Namaste’ (The divine in me acknowledges the divine in you)