The purpose of the Haney-Leighton Fund is to carry on Elly and Debbie's shared vision for the future. Elly Haney founded the fund with a legacy gift, yet one more example of how she lived her life as a splendid example of commitment to shalom, the biblical concept of envisioning the essential well-being of all things making up God's creation-all people as well as all of nature. In the tradition of the prophets of Hebrew scripture, shalom involves diligently seeking peace and justice in the world.
While Elly's understanding of shalom included both social welfare and social action, her deeper commitment was to social action. Social welfare seeks to aid the victims of poverty, racism, oppression and natural disasters. Social action seeks to change the political, social, cultural, economic and religious conditions which create victims in the first place.
Elly spent her life seeking shalom and calling others to join in the search. Her commitment and actions grew out of a deep faith in the God revealed through the prophets and Jesus Christ. While her own faith was a radical expression of Christianity, she honored all religions and forms of faith and sought to work across those religious, ethnic and social lines that divide human beings from one another and from the earth.
The Haney Fund, now renamed the Haney-Leighton Fund in order to honor these two remarkable women, is a donor-advised fund established by a bequest from Elly. The fund provides grants to individuals, churches or groups to initiate or continue social justice programs. Grants are dispersed through the Maine Conference of the United Church of Christ.
In Elly's own words ...
The theology and ethics I have developed have been born out of my own struggles with oppression and unearned privilege, my love of God and commitment to justice, the incredibly rich voices of people engaged in similar struggles, and the ache and anger in my heart at the beauty and desecration of this earth and its inhabitants. I do not have much confidence that significant global change will occur without an intervening major catastrophe. I do know that we have to continue. I do know that we must live not only in resistance to the status quo, but also in anticipation of new creation.
I look out my window and inside myself and see a beautiful, fragile and tormented world. Our hearts are created to delight in all that God has made and to work with God to care tenderly for all whose hearts and bodies are broken, to resist the forces that break us, to welcome healing and to celebrate the birth of each new plant that heralds the breathtaking promise of new creation.
The Great Commandment:
A Theology of Resistance