SARAH KICK | NEWS CORRESPONDENT
Agape Latte hosted its last session of the semester on Tuesday, Nov. 29 at 8 p.m. in the Cassandra Voss Center. Derek Elkins and the Thin Place Band played for approximately half an hour before the presentation took place, sharing some Christmas and spiritual joy with the audience. The audience was also given the lyrics to a song to join in with the musical celebration.
The presentation, “Jesus was an Activist: and other stories of faith and justice,” was given by Anna Czarnik-Neimeyer, Assistant Director of the St. Norbert College Cassandra Voss Center. She described her experiences during her faith journey and also talked about the importance of social justice and what that term means.
Czarnik-Neimeyer opened the discussion by telling the audience that they are not alone and showed the statement of solidarity that 190 faculty and staff members recently signed. She wanted students to know that there is always someone to talk to if they feel discriminated against or face issues at SNC.
Following that, Czarnik-Neimeyer sang “Canticle of the Turning” a song that she holds close to her heart. She believed that sharing it with the audience allowed her to share part of her story. These lyrics were a rewriting of the Canticle of Mary, in which Mary sang about Jesus being an activist and turning tables. This song is a staple in Czarnik-Neimeyer’s church.
Listening to this brought up a lot of questions for Czarnik-Neimeyer, such as “What does Mary mean? What example can I find of Jesus being an activist?”
Czarnik-Neimeyer pointed out two examples of Jesus being an activist to show us that he had an activist voice throughout the Bible. The first was when Jesus stopped a woman from getting stoned, the second when Jesus preached the story of the Good Samaritan. These stories displayed Jesus’ love and care for everyone and showed Czarnik-Neimeyer that his life could play into her own story.
Czarnik-Neimeyer gave some background about herself and how she became an activist even at a young age without even realizing it. Her father ran a summer camp where she and her siblings always helped present a campfire skit. The skit was about the Giving Tree; Czarnik-Neimeyer and her siblings always switched who would play which role. Czarnik-Neimeyer realized at six years old that she could be the teller of her own story and that she could ask for help. She realized she could lead a life of service.
Czarnik-Neimeyer shared many stories and experiences with the audience that made the idea of social justice seem easier to grasp and also more plausible for college students to take on. It is a hard concept to grasp, yet she told it with ease.
At the end of her presentation, Czarnik-Neimeyer lit a beeswax candle. The candle was sacred, and, as she lit it, Czarnik-Neimeyer sang a song for those gathered for the evening.
For more information about Agape Latte and to see its future events, please visit: facebook.com/agapelatte