What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill’, and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that?…For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead. (James 2:14-16, 26)
The good news is that the Allin Church is an example of the works that come from our faith. There are so many of you who, after receiving God’s blessings of grace, peace, and understanding on Sunday morning, share these blessings beyond the walls of this church through service, benevolence, and work. While The World does not always make space for our efforts in faith, it does not realize that our faith that is of Jesus Christ cannot be stopped. It is the byproduct of our own worship and prayerful self care.
This month, we begin with church member/friend, Joseph Borsellino.
How long have you been involved with the Allin Church and in what capacity?
I have been a member of Allin Church for approximately 10 years. When I first joined, I co-lead the Allin Youth Group with Sarah Drummond. Presently, I am chair of the Pastoral Relations Committee.
What faith informed work do you do outside of the church? Through what organization? Tell us about this organization.
Outside of the church, I am a human rights advocate. I have been so since I was a young person conscious of racism and oppression of those without access to wealth. Soon after being sworn as a lawyer in Massachusetts, I volunteered at the Boston NAACP Legal Redress, and became the Attorney Supervisor there for 5 years. Thereafter, I lead a pro bono legal clinic in Roxbury for 5 additional years which served the Roxbury, Mattapan and Dorchester communities. For approximately 25 years, I have provided legal advocacy in civil rights cases in Massachusetts. During those years, I have mentored and supervised internships for approximately 25 law students, guiding many in human rights advocacy. In many of those same years, I have provided mentorship and scholarship to inner city youths through their journeys through elementary, high school, and college educations. Presently, I am the chair of the Human Rights Commission in Dedham, a Commission which I helped to found by co-authoring the Warrant for its creation which was passed at Dedham Town Meeting in 2017. My work is guided by the axiom that God created and loves all people equal and that it is our responsibility to mirror that love and to see that all people have the same opportunity to live that truth.
What is your favorite part of the work you do? What is the hardest part?
My favorite part of my work is to see lives transformed and touching the best that is within us. The hardest part of my work is to see resistance to human rights and patterns of injustice endure.
What of your faith (scripture, practice) informs the work you do? What is the passion that makes this work important to you?
The love of Jesus and his message of hope to all humanity which transcends tradition, narrow political interests, race, culture, religious dogma, power relationships, disparity of wealth and self-interest. My passion is informed by experiencing the beauty of life when love, sharing and understanding are achieved and by the pain in life when they are not.
My thoughts on Joe’s faith and practice:
In his humble and quiet way, Joe serves as an example of faith put into practice through work and life. Even in his athletic coaching (yes, in and between his commitments to advocacy, this church, and his family, Joe coaches his daughter’s basketball team too!) Joe shares his love of “the beauty of life” – a love encouraged and cultivated by Allin Church’s community and worship. Working with Joe on Pastoral Relations has been a delight and wonderfully efficient. Over the past year he offered his innate compassion in leading the rewriting of my Call Agreement, successfully and appropriately combining justice, the needs and resources of the church, and care for the Pastor with his detail oriented “lawyer skills.”
Joe, we appreciate your faithful participation in this church and your sharing in God’s grace through your life’s work. I thank God for the blessing that you are!