Interview with Julianne Lepp
In anticipation of JONAH’s 10th anniversary, JONAH intern Max Martinson conducted an email interview with Julianne Lepp, who is the leader of the JONAH planning team and a Unitarian Universalist minister. Find their conversation!
“What role do you play in JONAH, and how do your beliefs align with JONAH’s message?”
Julianne: “I head the planning team for JONAH’s largest fundraising event which happens each year in the fall. This year it is “JONAH’s 10th Year Celebration.” We will be celebrating the work that JONAH has done in the past ten years as well as envisioning where JONAH can make a difference in the future. JONAH is a trusted voice for the marginalized in the Chippewa Valley and known for its upstream view of trying to solve problems at the source. We have worked with legislators, other faith communities and those directly affected by immigration policy, poverty, and treatment instead of prison.
I am also the co-leader for the Religious Leaders Group. The religious leader’s group is made up of pastors and religious leaders from various JONAH members. We try to offer a theological lens, leadership and inspiration for the justice work of JONAH.
As a Unitarian Universalist minister, my faith draws from diverse traditions. In worship or my spiritual life, I draw upon the Jewish and Christian traditions, world religions and the powerful witness of poets, philosophers, and great thinkers. So often we focus on how we are different, rather than the beliefs or principles that we share in common. I deeply appreciate the interfaith community organizing efforts of J.O.N.A.H. (Joining Our Neighbors Advancing Hope) because it reminds me how much the different faith communities hold in common. I have made life-long friendships and grown in my own faith understanding by working with people from other traditions and from diverse backgrounds. Whether we are Lutheran, Catholic, Jewish, Baha’i, or Unitarian Universalist, we are moved by the plight of the poor, the undocumented, and the victims of racism. Through the organizing efforts of JONAH, we join our voices and hands together to make a change. There is a point in our lives where stand up, and we turn off the television, we turn off the voice in our head that says someone else will take care of this and we know that we must stand up.”
“Is there anything else you’d like to say to those who are thinking about attending?”
Julianne: “Come to the JONAH 10th Anniversary event to connect with opportunities to serve and grow. Come enjoy amazing food and music and find out how you can make a difference in your community!”