With what shall I come before the Lord
and bow down before the exalted God?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
with ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God. —Micah 6:6-8
Joe Russo, the founder of Faith Coalition, was recently honored with the Micah Award, an annual designation by the United Congregations of the Metro East, for a local citizen who embodies the commandment of Micah Chapter 6.
UCM is an interfaith organization of 35 congregations in the Metro East, which seeks to address issues of social justice. The annual Micah Award recognizes an individual who works tirelessly for social justice, shows respect and compassion for the needs of others, and sets an example of humility in living out his faith.
Since Joe first envisioned the Faith Coalition in 2011, he has worked steadfastly at our main project, rehabilitating a house at 922 Grand Ave in Edwardsville, which will be sold to benefit our local Habitat for Humanity chapter. Under his direction, many congregations and civic groups have volunteered their time and have been impressed with the progress that has been achieved through our combined efforts. As we near the end of those efforts, we know that the house itself is a great accomplishment, but Joe’s example of perseverance and single-mindedness has inspired many, many others to seek out ways that they can address issues of poverty and social justice in our community.
Joe’s vision for Faith Coalition “uniting area churches” has been a guiding light to everyone involved in this organization. Beginning with his idea of organizing local congregations to prepare for natural disasters, we have added to our number as more churches seek to combine and complement each other’s mission efforts. Our website is an outgrowth of that desire to unite the body of Christ, pooling our resources and our passions, and submitting our differences to our common calling.
Through all of this, Joe’s faith has been the driving force for his actions, and his actions have been an example that challenges and inspires all of us to strive to give our best to God. Just as an old piece of furniture can be reclaimed at Restore Decor to create a treasure, God’s transformative power can lead ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Joe’s willingness to follow that leading has blessed all of us in the Faith Coalition. During this season especially, we give thanks for his leadership, and we are delighted to see him recognized with the Micah Award.
(Submitted by the board of Faith Coalition)