When we asked Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball about the intersection of her ministry and the economy, we weren't prepared for her dazzling answer. We caught up with Bishop Steiner Ball, who heads up the WV Conference of the United Methodist Church, at the WV Council of Churches Annual Assembly in Charleston, where we interviewed her about What's Next for West Virginia and the Methodist Church. (Check out more photos from the Assembly!) There are a lot of other great moments from our interview that we'll be posting in coming months, so stay tuned. What's Next encourages faith communities, along with other sectors, to help convene conversations in their local areas. Find out how. 

Hope is essentially important to changing our culture, our economic growth. When we are hopeless, it’s stops us in our paths. When we become hopeless, we become a fearful society, because hopelessness puts us in a place where we feel we need to defend or keep what we have, horde what we have. Hopelessness puts us in a mode of thinking in terms of scarcity instead of abundance. So that hopelessness actually keeps us locked in the systems that continue to devastate our society, our families, and our children. 

Faith communities have an opportunity to come alongside and tell stories that help us get out of that hopeless state. Faith communities are uniquely positioned to talk about what is possible because of their belief in God, their belief that there is something beyond us, that there is a higher power that can empower us and give us the strength to move beyond what is current to a new reality, to a new way of life. Our faith communities are uniquely positioned to talk about transformation. 

Transformation brings hope. It says we don’t have to remain the same, that there is something more—and we can, together, reach the “more.” Hope is about being able to look beyond the tangible and begin to envision what is possible for the future. And when you can see a future that is different, that begins to empower you to take steps, to put together a plan that gets us from where we are currently to that future." --Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball