Collegeville Institute Features a Personal Profile of Eric LeCompte

The Collegeville Institute features a personal profile of Jubilee USA Network's Eric LeCompte, titled "All is Possible". Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story.

All is Possible - A Profile of Eric LeCompte of Jubilee USA

By Catherine Hervey

When he was five or six years old, Eric LeCompte accompanied his parents to church and noticed the face of a suffering person in the sanctuary. He asked his parents who it was, and his mother told him it was Christ, the Son of God. His father added that we’re all children of God, and Eric decided something: if that was what happened to the children of God, he didn’t want to be part of it.

Today, Eric is the executive director of Jubilee USA, an interfaith network of more than 650 religious groups working to address the structural causes of global poverty and inequality by advocating for debt relief for impoverished nations. Eric is, by all accounts, very much involved with the suffering he saw on the face of Jesus. 

“If one of us is suffering, we are all suffering,” Eric says. And suffering, in all its myriad forms, is something he describes in the simplest terms: so many of us don’t have enough. Eric’s advocacy for the poor is based on the Jubilee year of the Torah—the fiftieth year when debts were forgiven, the enslaved liberated. These are the kinds of practices, Eric believes, that ensure we all have enough, because for many of the world’s most impoverished people, basic necessities like health care and education could be much more accessible if nations weren’t spending so much capital on debt payments. In Jubilee economics, Eric says, “We all have enough. We provide for each other and we’re protected from having too much.”

That striking choice of words—that the wealthiest of us need protection from having too much—seems at once radical and absolutely true. It brings to mind all the warnings about the perils of wealth in scripture, and also the work of social scientist Brené Brown, whose research indicates that the opposite of scarcity is not actually abundance but simply, as Eric says, enough.

Growing up as the oldest of four children in a working class family on the South Side of Chicago, Eric has his own personal experience with deprivation. “As a child, there were times when my parents were out of work, when our family did not have enough. And certainly that has been an incredible influence on my life, to ensure that all people have enough.”

Eric says his sense of calling didn’t materialize in any particular moment, but over a lifetime of daily prayer. For years he carried a copy of a sermon he heard preached while he was a student at Saint John’s. It was a sermon delivered by now Abbot John Klassen about the martyrs of Algiers, monks who served the local population in Algiers for years before they were killed, knowing each day the risks they were taking. Eric puts the message of the sermon this way: “The great sacrifice of the cross is not faced in just one moment. The great sacrifice comes after bearing small daily crosses, taking small daily risks and sacrifices that prepare us for greater action, greater risk, and perhaps the greatest sacrifice, of our lives.”


Read the full article here