Leadership & Justice #1

Justice-Driven Education for Christian Leadership



Leadership & Justice: These two words are central touchstones that connect me to St. Andrew’s College’s mission. For those new to the A Deacon’s Musing community, I have recently had the exciting honour to assume the role as the new principal of the college. There are many facets to the role, many (perhaps most) of which I am just beginning to fully appreciate. The depth and scope of the role is inspiring, challenging, daunting and – ultimately – life-giving. It is truly a gift to be able to wake each day knowing that I have joined a team that are working to change the world!

Leadership & Justice: As I return to the discipline and practice of blogging in this new role, I queried the readers and seekers in the community about how they connect these two touchstones. For the many conversations, through various media, I am most grateful. The conversations in their richness of those conversations, whether in Private Message or publicly, via such platforms as twitter, has me thinking deeply and musing imaginatively.

Leadership & Justice: As these conversations have unfolded and as I recognise the tangents I have followed, I was aware that these two values might inform a new leadership blog series. I have written many times about leadership and have already completed one entire series on the subject. Though some of my current musings likely complement those previous explorations, it has become clear that leadership and justice require more space than a normal blog might allow. As such, I believe this series will likely unfold in at least four parts.



Leadership & Justice: The first part of the series is this initial blog. Hopefully, it will provide some context for what follows and will conclude with naming some assumptions. The second in the series will explore leadership and some of the nuances that impact the nurturing and preparing of leaders in the context of living and leading in faith communities generally, and specifically within The United Church of Canada. The third musing will unpack justice from an expansive Christian perspective. Finally (at the moment of the writing of this initial blog), we will discuss the manner in which the two touchstones connect and inform one another as conversation partners.

Leadership & Justice: These words invoke multiple images and meanings. Based on one’s social location – education, gender identity, sexual identity, vocation, family of origin, to name only a few factors – it can easily lead to assumptions that can obscure connexions that might be established in respect to a larger shared conversation. So, I thought it might make sense to simply list, as a way to draw this first conversation to an end, a few of the assumptions I have that underlie this new series:

As we pause in this first part of our conversation, I invite you to consider these assumptions.

Until we next speak #ShineO

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  1. Andrew Wood July 21, 2018 at 17:05 - Reply

    I love the intriguing connection you are making between leadership and justice, here. I wonder if, within the triad, “do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly”, we are reminded there is perhaps a sense of “doing” justice that is more than aspirational? A sense that justice may be concrete as well as abstract; that it is work as well as thought; that it is encountered in daily living and feeling, as well as in thinking? Might there be something further that could be revealed in the interplay between “soul-work”, “reflexive practice” and “unfolding practice”? Something that may be fragile, requiring a style of leadership that is nurturing, tender, kind and compassionate? Looking forward to following your blog. Thank you!

    • Dea. Richard July 21, 2018 at 20:11 - Reply

      Thanks ever so much for this reflection Andrew. I particularly appreciate the connexion with “reflexive practice.” This is a very significant practive for me and speaks directly to a leadership that is mutually accountable. Or such is my hope and experience. Does that make sense?

  2. bedfordhouse551 August 15, 2018 at 07:42 - Reply

    Thanks for this Richard. Congrats on the new position and your continued dedication to pulling together musings on leadership and Justice. For me the two are intertwined as a faith-based community development practitioner in the United Church. I’m currently struggling with how a community can form an identity of being faith-based while not tied to a sunday morning congregation? How to be both an activist community and a self-reflective one without worship being what gathers and defines us?

    • Dea. Richard August 15, 2018 at 18:05 - Reply

      What a kindness – thanks for taking the time to respond and also to challenge! I have always found that the mission – not the worship – nurtures the community. At its best, the worship is informed by the passion. When worship only unfolds for worship-sake, then some serious questions should arise: does this feel helpful?

      If other readers are interested, do indeed checkout Bedford House! https://bedfordhouse.ca

      with gratitude,


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