Final message from Jennifer Henry, Executive Director

Jennifer Henry

When I think of what KAIROS is, at its essence, the first words that come to mind are “together,” “accompaniment” and “solidarity.”  Almost 20 years ago, KAIROS was created out of rich legacy as a place for churches and religious organizations to continue to come together across denominational differences, in commitments to ecumenical social justice.  Today, we continue in that vision, but perhaps even more broadly, striving to be a place where peoples and communities can come together across diverse identities, spiritualities, and locations. 

At our core is the call to accompany, to offer and receive support, advocacy, and actionand to join in mutuality and solidarity in the struggles against systemic injustice in Canada and around the world.  This was so powerfully brought into view a few weeks ago when women from South Sudan, Palestine, Colombia, Philippines, and the DRC spoke of how that accompaniment—that being with one another, connected to other women in the Global South and those of us in Canada—makes such a difference in their lives.  How it strengthens their agency and power and then, well, how this solidarity changes the world.  Solidarity banishes fear, emboldens hope, and galvanizes common action.    

This is my last official correspondence as Executive Director of KAIROS.  It has been my honour to accompany this incredible organization in the role of ED for almost nine years, and in many roles in this movement for twenty-seven years. It has been a time of intense learning and personal transformation, immense privilege and challenge, as I strived to give my best to this work and to this community.  I am deeply grateful for the solidarity I have experienced and witnessed.  Wonderful things are ahead for KAIROS, in the capable hands of the Steering Committee, Lori Ransom (Interim Executive Director), and the great KAIROS staff team, collaborating with Circles and Networks and Partners and supported by so many contributors.  I have been humbled by the opportunity to serve.  I am also confident there will be future opportunities to accompany one another along shared paths in our common journey of justice.    

As I go, I want to express my deep gratitude for your support of KAIROS.  I want to encourage you to think about a Christmas donation as a way to accompany the powerful work of Indigenous rights, migrant justice, climate advocacy, global women’s rights, or the KAIROS Blanket Exercise—wherever your passion lies.  Or if, very likely, you have already made a gift, consider a monthly donation in your New Year plan.  It can be a very small amount, but it brings stability for the critical work ahead in these unprecedented times.  We also thank you for your voice, helping us to spread the word about KAIROS justice commitments and about opportunities to join in solidarity with contributions and advocacy.    

 As we lean into Christmas, let us remember that more than anything this story is about the Divine coming to be with us, to accompany us with our pain and in our hope.  The Divine in solidarity—isn’t that a profound promise?  I hope that when the work feels lonely or the goals of justice impossible to attain, we will remind each other that we are never alone.  We are accompanied by each other, with all our imperfections and gifts, and we are accompanied by the One who loved us into being, whose dream is justice and right relation, and whose promise is impossible Hope.   

Merry Christmas!  

Jennifer Henry  

Filed in: Executive Director, Spirited Reflections


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