Change the world in 2016


In the face of seemingly overwhelming problems in the world, what can you as one person do in 2016 to change the world for the better? Care. Share. Invest.

Strive and pray for justice, freedom and peace. Begin with respect for the dignity of every human being. Love your neighbor as God loves you. Take a first step.

Care for the good earth and God’s creation. We can make a difference in the environment of this fragile earth, our island home – for our children and our children’s children. is an example of a resource.

Invest in the future. Give to causes that matter to you and will make a difference in the lives of others. Give till it feels good. It’s good for the health of your soul.

Join a community. One person can make a difference. A network or community of supportive people can make a bigger impact. Example: the congregation of St. John’s Episcopal Church, grounded in faith and growing in service. Members of the congregation serve in mission trips to Cuba and Ecuador – and at the local Kearney Center, Grace Mission, Habitat for Humanity, prisons, shelters, and more. Financial gifts support the ministries in which people are engaged as servant leaders.

Give someone younger a boost. Encourage him or her, and build networks for young leaders with people already making a difference. An example for me is a very bright young woman who says her dream job in life is “to strengthen health practices and healthcare systems in developing countries, so that they could provide necessary and affordable health services to people that need it, wherever they need it.” She has a Masters in International Public Health, and I’m introducing her to other leaders.

Don’t demonize others of faith. Ecumenical and interfaith relationships are important for the future of the world. Christians, religious Jews, faithful Muslims and other people of faith can find common ground – and work together against the obvious evils of radical extremism in religions. And know that ISIS is not a legitimate religion – it a military and political terrorist network. 

Don’t arm our enemies. Work to end the possibility that people with serious mental illness, violent felons, and self-professed enemies are able to buy weapons that can kill hundreds of innocent people in no time – and outgun the police and military personnel sworn to defend us and protect our liberties. 

Value the present as much as the presents. Now that we have exchanged gifts – Christmas and Hanukkah and holiday presents – think on this. The present moment is God’s gift to us.  Let’s not waste it. Use and share the present moment, shimmering with hope and possibility, for a world of good.

In the face of seemingly overwhelming problems in the world, what can one person do in 2016 to change the world for the better? As a Christian, I look for the face of Jesus in everyone in the world. What would I want to do for Jesus?

That’s a starting place. 

The Rev. Dr. Donald Fishburne serves part-time on the staff of St. John’s Church, downtown Tallahassee. He is on the founding board of Bethel Ready4Work Tallahassee, a community effort to reduce prison recidivism. He can be reached at