December 1 – Leader-full Liberation

By: Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer, General Minister and President, UCC National

A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The spirit of the LORD shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD...with righteousness he shall judge the poor and decide with equity for the meek of the earth (Isaiah 11:1-10).


“You are enough to start a movement.
Individual people can come together around things that they know are unjust.
And they can spark change.” – DeRay Mckesson

I invite you to engage your imagination and believe that Isaiah knew that enslaved peoples would need a Sojourner Truth, a John Brown, a Frederick Douglas, a Harriet Tubman, or a W. E. B. DuBois: ones upon whom the Spirit of the Lord would rest, giving them wisdom and understanding, counsel and might. What if Isaiah understood that every generation would need abolitionists to harness our collective power so we might move toward freedom?

God does not ignore the cries of those suffering oppression. God empowers a new Moses, a new shoot from the stump of Jesse, new wisdom and visions that can set God’s people free.

In every age there will arise prophets among us who envision shalom, who topple the mighty from their thrones and send the rich empty away. We have seen in our time the work of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks and DeRay McKesson – courageous and righteous leaders risking their lives in order to pave the way of justice.  We are all called to this prophetic practice, this work of envisioning shalom.  How can we be a part of raising a new branch from the roots of love in every age, for every people, until justice comes, until freedom rings?


Liberating God, we wait with deep longing for your arrival in our midst,
even as we hold on to the hope-filled imagination of new branches,
new freedom-fighters always emerging.
While we are waiting, empower us to take up our role
in the unfolding story of redeeming love and righteous freedom,
so that your kindom may come in this time and this place.  Amen.


Artwork: “Liberate” by Yohana Junker (discover more at:


You are interconnected to everyone, because the world doesn’t work without everyone…[Abolition requires] interconnectivity. We can’t do anything alone that’s worth it. Every that is worthwhile is done with other people. We are all necessary. We all have an essential part to play. – Mariame Kaba

Take Action

Leader-Full Abolition

  • Study: Learn more about the leader-full vision of recent movements for racial justice and how they are practicing prophetic leadership for such a time as this.
  • Pray: Spend some time reflecting with the Litany of Becoming from enfleshed and consider how you are being called to contribute to the collective work of abolition.
  • Dwell: Use some of the Zinn Education Project’s Resources on Abolition to learn more about the historic abolition leaders and how abolition has manifested in different times, including the Civil Rights era.
Discern Your Abolition Calling

Stay Connected. Nourish Movements.

Sign up to receive alerts about new stories and resources. You’ll also enjoy our Join the Movement newsletter, featuring changemaker profiles, reflections on current events in the movement toward racial justice, and more. Get sneak previews and information about upcoming events, workshops and webinars.