Thursday Len and I spent the whole day in Madison at Bethel Lutheran Church and at the capitol - with 798 other people. The event was “WISDOM Madison Action Day/ Our State, Our Budget, Our Voice.” People from 150 churches around Wisconsin gathered for a biennial assembly to talk about what the organization is doing, learn more in break-out sessions, and then go in groups with people from our own area to talk with the state legislators from our districts.
There was enormous energy. That’s a statement that sounds pretty boring and you skipped right by it, didn’t you? It’s hard to translate a day of high energy and bonafide hope into a posting on a random website….
Let me try to say it again. Thursday morning was super rainy. Everyone in the huge sanctuary had gotten up somewhere between 3AM and 6AM to pile onto buses or climb into their cars from places like Green Bay, Beloit, Wausau, and Milwaukee (and a little house on the south side of Waukesha). We had all already been up for hours to get to this place 8AM. Being with so many people that early in the morning reminded me of that feeling of hanging out in the lobby of my high school, waiting for first bell. You talk fast with your friends. You worry about the stuff coming at you in the day. You wonder if you should go to the bathroom.
Coming out of the bathroom? Friend Nikki from my old Racine neighborhood! You’ve probably heard the truism; If you stand next to the Statue of Liberty long enough sooner or later you’ll probably meet most of the people you know - because so many of us go there once in our life. (I’ve already been). The WISDOM day certainly felt like that. I kept bumping into people I knew from Racine.
The energy of the day began with a call-to-action sermon by Rev. Alex Gee of Fountain of Life church in Madison - who is an awesome speaker. There are lectures and sermons by him on YouTube if you are interested.
WISDOM is currently addressing 10-plus Wisconsin-specific issues. Each year local organizations choose what they will work on in their communities. WISDOM is the state arm of the national Gamaliel organization. “Gamaliel was founded in 1986 to train community and faith leaders to build political power and create organizations that unite people of diverse faiths and races.” http://www.gamaliel.org/AboutUs.aspx
These efforts were quickly explained to all of us. Then we each chose an issues we wanted to learn more about and wended out way (through the other 798 people) to the assigned room where leaders would talk about the issue and what WISDOM wants State of Wisconsin senators and assembly-persons to know and do.