ST. LOUIS
Voices of Sophia guest speaker The Rev. Traci Blackmon. The Rev. Blackmon represents the Justice & Witness Ministries of the United Church of Christ and Pastors in Florissant, MO.

Voices of Sophia guest speaker the Rev. Traci Blackmon. The Rev. Blackmon represents the Justice & Witness Ministries of the United Church of Christ and Pastors in Florissant, Mo. —Photo by: Danny Bolin

“Bushes are burning all over this world,” pointed out the Rev. Traci Blackmon. Yet few of us turn aside, like Moses, to “focus on what God was and is doing” where we are.

While others may have passed by without noticing a burning bush in the desert, “normalizing the event in their minds,” Moses turned aside from his preoccupations to hear God’s call.

Blackmon is pastor of Christ the King United Church of Christ in Florissant, Mo., as well as acting executive of Justice and Witness Ministries in the United Church of Christ. She spoke at the Voices of Sophia breakfast, sponsored at the 223rd General Assembly (2018) by Presbyterian Voices for Justice (PV4J).

Noting the many distractions in these troubling times — leaving us “exhausted with the trauma, exhausted with the tears, exhausted with the tweets” — Blackmon warned against losing focus and failing to turn aside to find holy ground. “It’s not so important where Moses stood,” she added, “but that he stood in the presence of God.”

“Pay attention to the bushes that are burning in your life,” she concluded. “Have your eyes open, and speak up.”

Manley Olson of PV4J presented one of the organization’s 2018 “Promotion of Social Righteousness Awards” to Emily Wigger of Alton, Ill., a founder and the first convenor of the Voices of Sophia in the aftermath of the ecumenical Reimagining Conference of 1993.

Additional Promotion of Social Righteousness Awards will be presented later in the Assembly to honor Cote Brilliante Presbyterian Church and Second Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, the Rev. Erin Counihan of Oak Hill Presbyterian Church and the late Professor Eugene TeSelle of Vanderbilt Divinity School and the Witherspoon Society.