The United Church of Christ is a co-sponsor of the Reimagining Interfaith event July 29-August 1st in Washington, D.C. This event is an opportunity to engage in skill-building, networking, and organizing with grassroots activists and interfaith peacebuilders from around the world. Learn more and register.
United Church of Christ churches, clergy and congregants are reaching out with hope and in faith to migrants at our borders and immigrants across the country. Many more are asking what they can do to respond to the government policies that detain and separate families. The Southwest Conference UCC, acting with Justice and Local Church Ministries, has issued two calls to action, one for a faithful witness AT the border, in Arizona at United States border with Mexico August 26-30, and another for a faithful witness FOR the border this fall, in cities and towns across America.
Faithful Witness AT the Border
The Southwest Conference is calling for a week of Faithful Witness at the Border, August 26 – 30, 2018 that will include:
- A humanitarian mission to the Mexican side of the border to visit and take supplies to asylum-seekers in shelters and camped out at the ports of entry due to a slowdown in applications being received.
- Solidarity actions at the detention facilities in Eloy and Florence where parents of kids separated from their families are being held.
- Training and strategy sessions around ‘Being an Immigrant Welcoming Congregation’ and ‘Acting as an Advocate and Ally’ with members from the UCC Washington office
- Conversations with local ministry partners in Arizona - The Samaritans and other immigration ministry groups.
- A visit to Operation Streamline immigration court where parents whose children were taken away are appearing in the hope of finding their kids.
Housing information: We have a block of 20 rooms at the Best Western Green Valley Inn. Click here to make your reservation.
The Sunday of Labor Day weekend (September 2) is Labor Sunday, a day to lift up workers and celebrate their contributions. It is also a day to commit ourselves to improving jobs and our economy so that all workers have wages, benefits, and work hours that allow them to live in the fullness of life – which is God’s intention for each of us. Learn more and access reflections, worship materials and more.
The Thirtieth General Synod called on the congregations of the United Church of Christ to mark the Sunday preceding September 21 (which the United Nation recognizes as the International Day of Prayer for Peace) as Just Peace Sunday. Stay tuned for new resources and check out our prayer, craft and learning resources from past years as you commit to observing Just Peace Sunday!
The Everett C. Parker Lecture has been a tradition in media justice for over 30 years. The lecture and awards ceremony is sponsored by the Office of Communication, Inc. (OC, Inc.) of the United Church of Christ.
2018 Everett C. Parker Lecture and Awards Breakfast Honorees:
- Helen Brunner, founding director of the Media Democracy Fund, will deliver the 36th Annual Parker Lecture
- Gigi B. Sohn, a Distinguished Fellow at the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy and Benton Senior Fellow and Public Advocate, will receive the Everett C. Parker Award
|Helen Brunner||Gigi B. Sohn|
The Everett C. Parker Ethics in Telecommunications Lecture was created in 1982 to recognize the Rev. Dr. Everett C. Parker, founder of OC, Inc., and his pioneering work as an advocate for the public's rights in broadcasting. The event is the only lecture in the country to examine telecommunications in the digital age from an ethical perspective. Past speakers have included network presidents, Congressional leaders, and FCC chairs and commissioners, as well as academics, cable and telephone executives and journalists. Learn more.
World AIDS Day is an important occasion for building awareness and stepping-up our responses to the HIV/AIDS pandemic in our own communities and around the world. Yes, there have been significant medical advances and more people are on treatment than ever before. Still, the scale of response is not meeting the need for treatment, prevention, care and support.
The importance of the whole church engaging in HIV response has never been more critical. As never before, there is a path to ending the epidemic in our lifetime. The implementation of the 27th General Synod's resolution, "Calling for Comprehensive HIV Prevention in Church and Community," is the road map for the UCC, inviting the whole church to be faithful to do all it can.
January 11 is Human Trafficking Awareness Day in the United States – a day to bring awareness to the world-wide crisis also known as modern day slavery. The 29th General Synod officially recognized the date and called on UCC congregations to be part of the education and advocacy efforts associated with Human Trafficking Awareness Day.
To raise awareness about human trafficking and kick off a year full of justice advocacy and faithful witness, you and your congregation are invited to engage in some of the following ways:
- Download the Interfaith Toolkit on Human Trafficking and find tools for worship and action.
- Take Action - Human trafficking is a crime against humanity and ultimately a sin. Tell Congress to pass the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and Savanna's Act.
- Contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center by calling 1-888-373-7888 or sending a text to BeFree (233733) to report trafficking crimes, connect with local anti-trafficking services, and request training or additional resources. Consider posting these numbers on your church’s bulletin boards and bathroom stalls.
- Find local anti-trafficking organizations to connect with in your area with this directory.
- Incorporate online trainings from the Trafficking Resource Center into your church’s education curriculum and Bible studies.
If you need help or have a tip, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888. The National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) is a national, toll-free hotline available to answer calls from anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year. The NHTRC is not a law enforcement or immigration authority and is operated by a nongovernmental organization funded by the Federal government. In an emergency, call 911.
You can share information about the National Human Trafficking Resources Center Hotline by printing out this flyer and posting it on your church bulletin board.
Health and Human Service Sunday is a special opportunity to create awareness of the health concerns of our communities and world, and to learn about the many and various health and human service ministries of the United Church of Christ. It is observed annually in the United Church of Christ and is an opportunity to talk about health in a holistic way, address the issues of justice in our health care systems and learn about how each of us can become involved.
The resources for observing Health and Human Service are available throughout the year and may be used for the many opportunities congregations and other organizations have for creating awareness of and responding to the health needs of their communities and throughout the world.
A Litany for Diakonal Ministry
Leader: God, our loving creator
People: Make us care enough to trust you.
L: Jesus, friend of all – even the outcasts, the apathetic, all those marginalized
P: Open our eyes to see you in all creation – including the outcasts, the apathetic, all those marginalized.
L: Holy Spirit, God’s fire, make us sharers in the holiness of God
P: Guide us in the direction of those who are vulnerable.
L: God of grace, who creates us into a new community
P: Warm our hearts and souls to love our neighbors as we love you.
L: God of love, you are a wellspring of hope and compassion
P: Give us strength and courage to be a sanctuary to those who are in need of grace and mercy
L: God, our refuge and strength, help our congregations be places of extravagant welcome
P: Help us work tirelessly to make changes in ourselves and in our communities that model a welcoming spirit.
L: Creator God, with your love you support and sustain us.
P: Help us recreate the human community to promote justice and peace for the healing of the earth.
L: O God, pour upon us the precious oil of unity
P: Let us move forward together with one mind and one spirit
L: Almighty God, you have called us to feed the hungry welcome the stranger; shelter the homeless; clothe the naked; and comfort the sick and imprisoned.
P: Help us to remember that we are an extension of Jesus Christ’s ministry in the world. Give us courage to practice diakonia – the ministry of healing, service, care compassion and hospitality.
All: Where the Church is, there is the mission. Where the Church is, there are those who have been called to live “for the sake of the other.” Let the love and grace of God be made visible in our mission in health and human service.
Legacies of Compassion and Human Service
Stories from UCC-related health and human service agencies
- Hope Finds a Home at Earl's Place
- United Church Home Society Creates Haven for Homeless Teens
- Deaconess Parish Nurse Ministry Network Harnesses the Power of Story
- Partnership Provides Role Models for Teen Moms
- Volunteers Help Lydia's House Renovate Shelter
- Arcadia Meets Growing Seniors' Needs in Honolulu, Hawaii
- Fowlkes Brings Healing Hand to UCAN
The first Sunday in May has been designated Immigrant Rights Sunday within the United Church of Christ. Justice and Witness Ministries and Wider Church Ministries are urging congregations to lift up immigrants on this day: to learn about their concerns, honor their contributions to our country and communities, hear their pain, pray for their well-being, and listen to hear where God is leading us regarding issues of immigration.
Welcoming the stranger among us as native born is part of our faith tradition, for we too were once strangers (Exodus 22:21, Leviticus 19:33, Deuteronomy 10:17-19). However, too often the immigrants among us are rejected, treated as outcasts and placed on the margins of society.
May 1st is international Labor Day and has become a day in which we recognize the value and labor of immigrants in the U.S. On the first Sunday in May, congregations are encouraged to include stories about immigrants in their worship service and explore avenues to advocate for immigrant justice. Below are the most current issues this year on immigration with potential ways to get involved to limit deportations and unnecessary detention of immigrants.
Building Sanctuary For All... All of Us
"Shouldn’t our sanctuaries offer this same kind of Sanctuary...to anyone? Wouldn’t we want this grace, and do we not call upon this kind of love every Sunday?" Read more of Rev. Julian DeShazier's reflection on Immigrants Rights Sunday and intersectionality.
- Explore our worship worship and prayer resources and start planning your congregations Immigrant Rights Sunday observances.
*If your congregation would like to get more involved on immigrants' rights advocacy and organizing efforts please contact Rev. Noel Andersen - mailto:email@example.com.
The Rev. Noel Andersen serves as UCC & CWS Grassroots Coordinator for Immigrants' Rights in Washington, D.C.
The United Church of Christ Mental Health Network invites you to highlight mental health on the third Sunday in May or any Sunday that suits your schedule.
We see Mental Health Sunday as a way for your congregation to begin or to continue to provide education and support to your members around mental health challenges.
We encourage you to:
- Plan a Sunday with the theme: "Widen the Welcome: UCC for Mental Health"
- Use the collection of worship resources in the Resource Guide for Mental Health Sunday. You will find some newly created resources in the resource section below. Worship resources include sermon ideas as well as complete sermons, a litany, unison prayers and more.
- Explore the Congregational Toolkits for teaching your congregation about mental illnesses
More Worship Resources for Mental Health Sunday
Download and print these files or edit/format them to meet your needs.
- Checklist for Churches: Becoming a Welcoming, Inclusive, Supportive and Engaged (WISE) Congregation for Mental Health
- Sermon on The Stigma of Mental Illness
- More Resources for Your Mental Health Sunday Services
- Call to worship and prayer
- Litany for Mental Health Sunday, 5.5" x 8.5"
- Bulletin insert (front), 5.5" x 8.5"
- Bulletin insert (back), 5.5" x 8.5"
- Widen the Welcome logo (CMYK, 300 dpi) for use on printed material
- Sample bookmark created by Broadmoor UCC Church in Colorado Springs
- Exegesis: Lamentations 5:19 – 22