Hope Connell, wife of Ian, mother of Saul and Thea, is a deep and complex young woman. She grew up as a preacher’s kid in an evangelical church, where there was far more emphasis on individual spirituality and morality than there was on a wider social spirituality and justice issues. Hope has become acutely aware of “societal individualism” as a prevalent ideation in this modern world. Everyone is pursuing their own interests vs. the interests and concerns of others.
Having children initiated a metamorphosis in Hope, causing her to look at life and her beliefs differently. Through the process of reading and conversing with close friends in faith, Hope arrived at the realization that she wanted a faith community that shared a collective awareness of social issues, sin, and a sense of responsibility for acting on those concerns. Happily, Hope and Ian found that in Peace Church, which they find is affirming of everyone’s humanity, is working towards justice, and keeps Jesus in the forefront. To her, faith is a full body and a full life commitment. “Church happens outside of the building and Sunday worship service.”
The issues Hope cares about most deeply are racial issues, inequality, white supremacy, and all the systemic inequalities that arise from oppression’s dark work. If she could have a different world, it would include people who were much more conversant regarding the systems of oppression. Everyone would be more compassionate in their awareness and realize that each one of us is complicit. People would also be totally aware that their actions or inactions affect others, because there is no such thing as a neutral effect. This would cause everyone to be more mindful of their decisions.
Hope is into punk music. One of the lines of a punker that encourages her is “faith isn’t magic, but it is keeping my foot in the door.” Faith is grappling. It is acting. It is work. She has been inspired by a few activist bands, including Fugazi and The Flobots. Their music helps increase her awareness of issues and encourages her to act.
Hope brings her thoughtfulness and wisdom to many teams and committees at Peace Church. Most central to her commitment now is her work with the Sanctuary Congregation Team. She is also involved in the wider community. She is active in SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice), a community group actively addressing racial issues. She is also serving as campaign manager for Janet Kennedy’s Duluth City Council run. Hope believes it is important to have representation for racial equity. She looks at all she does through the lens of affecting racial justice.
Interviewed by Tim Peters
- About Peace
- Youth & Children