posted November 11, 2002

Social Justice Activist to Speak Nov. 18

 Jim Wallis, an activist for social justice, will speak at Hope College on Monday, Nov. 18, during the college's chapel service at 10:30 a.m. in Dimnent Memorial Chapel.

The public is invited. Admission is free.

While on campus, Wallis will also meet with Hope students in smaller settings.

Wallis is a national commentator on ethics and public life. "Time" magazine named him one of the "50 Faces for America's Future." He is executive editor of "Sojourners" magazine, covering faith, politics and culture for 30 years, and the convener of Call to Renewal, a national federation of churches, denominations and faith- based organizations working to overcome poverty.

He speaks at more than 200 events a year, and his columns appear in the "Washington Post" and "LA Times," and on MSNBC and Beliefnet. He regularly offers commentary and analysis for radio and television, and teaches a course at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government on "Faith, Politics and Society."

His most recent book is "Faith Works: Lessons from the Life of an Activist Preacher" (Random House, 2000). His books also include "The Soul of Politics" (1994) and "Who Speaks for God? A New Politics of Compassion, Community, and Civility" (1996).

In the last several years, Wallis has led more than 250 town meetings, bringing together pastors, civic and business leaders and elected officials in the cause of social justice and moral politics. Sojourners was the American organizer of the joint statement made earlier this fall by church leaders in Britain and the U.S. against the use of military force against Iraq.

Under his leadership, Call to Renewal has hosted five Roundtables on Poverty for national religious leaders and held five National Summits. Endorsed initially by 60 Christian leaders, Call to Renewal's Covenant and Ten-Year Campaign to Overcome Poverty now has thousands of supporters around the United States.

Wallis was raised in a Midwest evangelical family. As a teenager, his questioning of the racial segregation in his church and community led him to the black churches and neighborhoods of inner-city Detroit. He spent his student years involved in the civil rights movement and protesting the Vietnam War.

While at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Illinois, he and several other students started a magazine and community with a Christian commitment to social justice. In 1975, Sojourners moved to the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington, D.C. They later founded the Sojourners Neighborhood Center, which serves the children of the community through tutoring and mentoring programs, a summer Freedom School and parents' support activities.

Wallis lives in inner-city Washington, D.C., with his wife, Joy, and their son, Luke.