Justice - Pres House


At Pres House, our desire to follow Jesus is reflected in our commitment to care for those who are often pushed to the margins of society and to speak out against injustice where it exists. We strive to be an inclusive community that offers hopeful resistance to the racism, sexism, homophobia, and classism that so often divides people. You will find people serving and leading at Pres House from a variety of backgrounds–and all are fully welcome.

UW-Madison Resources for Students
Multicultural Student Center
LGBT Campus Center
University Health Services
Victims of Sexual Assault

Spring 2018 Events

Race & Faith 2018
How can digital art shine light on issues of race and racism in our communities of faith? This year’s Race & Faith event on campus is centered around a collaborative art piece that engages the intersection of race and faith, and we need digital/video artists to apply. Applications are due by January 26th!

For more information: http://bit.ly/racefaith2018callforartist
Application entry form: http://bit.ly/racefaithartistentry


Sexuality & Faith ~ Wednesday, March 14th, 6-7 PM
What’s at the intersection of sexuality and faith? Where does faith-based homophobia come from? Where can we make room for LGBTQ+ people in faith communities? What does scripture have to say?
Pres House is an open and affirming community that welcomes the full diversity of God’s people. All backgrounds are welcome.


Nonviolence Training Workshops ~ March 16-17th
As Christians we are called to love our enemies while standing up for justice; we are called to be people engaged in non-violent conflict reconciliation. At this workshop, we will learn about Kingian non-violent philosophy and be equipped with practical tools that can be used in relationships, communities, and movements. Click here for more information.

Pastors Mark and Erica preached on sexual assault in Fall 2015; you can listen to the sermon here.
Pastor Erica also contributed to Engage: Rape and Sexual Assault on College Campuses, a publication of Princeton Theological Seminary.

If you have experienced any of these “isms” and are looking for someone to talk to, Pastor Erica or Pastor Mark are available.

Sermons and reflections on Racism

“Letter From Birmingham Jail” – 01.15.17 (Amos 5:21-24)
Watch this video during sermon: Read MLK’s “Letter From Birmingham Jail” 

“Shut up & Speak Up – A Call to Action After the Election from you White, Male Pastor” Blog – 11.13.16
“Let us Walk Together – A Word of Comfort After the Election from your Asian American, Female Pastor” Blog  – 11.13.16
“Confessions of a White Preacher on the Weekend of Tony Robinson’s Death” – 03.08.15
“A Pastoral Letter on Recent Events: Practicing Holy Friction” – 12.07.14
“A Lament for Ferguson” – 12.03.14
“What Romans 16 has to do with Ferguson, MO – Listening to the Voices of the Stranger” – 08.18.14

Past Events
We organize and host a variety of events to better equip ourselves and others to do justice.

In February 2017 Pres House worked with 27 campus and religious organizations to host the second annual Race and Faith event on campus. This event was followed up with additional activities put on by Pres House and partners to deepen the conversation. You can listen to the stories here.

robinson prayer vigil collageOn May 12, 2015 Pres House hosted an open prayer vigil for the campus and downtown community in honor of Tony Robinson, an African-American young man who was shot and killed by a police officer in Madison. Read the news story about the vigil here.


In April 2015 a group of students traveled on a Spring Break with a Purpose Trip to Chicago, IL to consisted of meet with students, leaders and staff at McCormick Theological Seminary, the Center for Faith and Service staff, and the pastor and social justice staff at University Church on University of Chicago campus. We also volunteered at BreakThrough Urban Ministries’ new FamilyPlex, building furniture for new preschool classrooms, AND spent a full afternoon downtown at Millennium Park and an evening at Second City.


tonyrobinsonOn March 13th, Pres House partnered with the UW Gospel Choir and Impact Badger to host a time of discussion and prayer on campus in response to the tragic shooting of Tony Robinson on March 6th.

EverettIn October 2014 Pres House members attended an annual Fall Retreat in Green Lake, WI. We heard from guest speaker, Rev. Everett Mitchell on the topic: “Encountering Your Neighbor: Do I walk by or stop and say hi?” Everett is the Senior Pastor of Christ the Solid Rock Baptist Church in Madison, WI. He is also the Director of Community Relations for the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Everett has a J.D. from UW-Madison; he has a M.Div and Th.M from Princeton Theological Seminary. Everett has been very involved in issues of racial justice in Madison and beyond.

IMG_3161On April 3-4 of 2014 we hosted Rev. Wayne Meisel of the Center for Faith and Service at McCormick Theological Seminary.  Wayne is best known as one of the architects of AmeriCorps and past Founding Director of the Bonner Foundation, a leader in fostering the service learning model in colleges and universities across the country. Wayne spoke on the topic “Faith and Service: The Great Divorce and joined a panel discussion addressing approximately 65 leaders from the University, local churches and non-profits about engaging across faith/secular divide to address community realities of racial inequity.

round tableOn April 4th, Pres House organized a Round Table Discussion which gathered community leaders to discuss how to engage young adults on the issues of racial disparities in Madison. Panelists included: Lori Berquam, Vice-Provost for Student Life and Dean of Students, UW-Madison; Michael Johnson, CEO of Boys and Girls Club Dane County; Mary Rouse, Community Liaison for the Morgridge Center for Public Service (former Dean of Students, UW-Madison and former Director of the Morgridge Center); Thomas Devine, Executive Director of Serve Wisconsin (AmeriCorps); Deedra Atkinson, Executive Vice-President of Community Impact and Strategy for United Way Dane County; Everett Mitchell, UW-Madison Director of Community Relations; Pastor of Christ the Solid Rock Baptist Church, Madison; Andrea Steinberger, Rabbi at UW Hillel Foundation; and Mark Elsdon, Campus Co-Pastor/Executive Director of Pres House; University Religious Workers Officer.

triggerOn April 10, 2013 Pres House hosted a special screening of the documentary Trigger: The Ripple Effect of Gun Violence at the Marquee Theater in Union South. Well over one hundred students and community members attended the screening of the film which was followed by a panel discussion of police and community leaders.