Ways to Engage
The economic justice ministry of each congregation or other setting of the UCC will be unique. Shown below are numerous resources and possible ways to engage. What is God calling you and your congregation to do? (Also see Living out the Covenant.)
Here are two UCC programs that bring together justice seekers to amplify their voices and work for justice.
- Join the Justice and Peace Action Network, the UCC’s grassroots e-advocacy network. You will receive a weekly e-mail alert with information about an issue Congress is debating, with a link to click and send an email to your elected representatives. A monthly e-newsletter gives updates on new resources, upcoming events, and other announcements.
- Participate in Justice Leaders Engaging and Developing, a JWM program that offers training, leadership skill development, and support to local churches and UCC members who seek tangible ways to move our world towards justice.
Click on the links below for resources on these topics.
JWM economic justice web pages
Show and discuss a film:
- The Corporation interviews insiders and corporate critics about corporate domination in the world today) 145 minutes
- Numerous films by Michael Moore especially Capitalism: A Love Story and Sicko
- Inside Job about the recent financial collapse
Oxfam International is an international confederation of 14 organizations working together in 98 countries and with partners and allies around the world to find lasting solutions to poverty and injustice. Also see Oxfam America
The U.S. Economy
Follow what is happening on the JWM economic crisis page
Get involved locally through congregation-based community organizing
Read an overview of the U.S. economy by the Economic Justice Church Task Force
Faith Advocates for Jobs supports unemployed workers, advocates for job creation, educates the faith community about the need for jobs, and trains faith leaders to speak on this issue.
Much good information, updates on legislative action, and ways to get involved are available for the following organizations:
Poverty in the U.S.
JWM Poverty web page
Let Justice Roll leads state and national efforts to raise the minimum wage.
Bread for the World seeks to end hunger in the U.S. and around the world.
Half in Ten works to reduce poverty in the U.S. by half over the next 10 years.
Worker Justice in the U.S.
(also see Sweatshops and Fair, not “Free,” Trade)
JWM web pages on worker justice
Lift up the contributions and struggles of workers during worship on Labor Sunday, the Sunday of Labor Day weekend.
Interfaith Worker Justice educates and seeks to mobilize the religious community on issues and campaigns that will improve wages, benefits, and working conditions for workers, especially low-wage workers. Find a IWJ labor-religion coalition in your community.
Jobs with Justice engages workers, and religious and community allies in campaigns to win justice in workplaces and in communities where working families live. Find a JwJ labor-religion coalition in your community
National Farm Worker Ministry involves the faith community in advocacy for farm workers.
Faith Advocates for Jobs mobilizes the faith community to support the unemployed, educate about the crisis in joblessness, and advocate for public policies to create jobs.
Work to end wage theft, employers’ failure to pay legally required wages
Race and Economic Justice
Engage your congregation or community in a Sacred Conversation on Race
Organizations providing racial justice training and education
Video Resources to stimulate conversations on race
An overview of race and economic justice from the Economic Justice Covenant Task Force.
Read and discuss White like Me, a book on white privilege by Tim Wise, Soft Skull Press, 2005.
The UCC’s Justice and Witness Ministries maintains an immigration webpage with extensive resources.
An overview of immigration issues by the Economic Justice Covenant Task Force.
Observe the UCC’s Immigrant Rights Sunday , the first Sunday in May each year.
Participate in an immersion experience at the UCC’s Centro Romero in southern California
Join the work of the Interfaith Immigration Network
Immigration Policy Center is a good source of information
Host a movie screening and engage in conversation about immigration. Witness for Peace provides all you need: here, here and here
The Environment and Economic Justice
Engage in family or small-group conversations about what you need and what you want. Identify priorities based your values, then work and study with others to reinforce new commitments and habits. Explore questions such as:
- Does this purchase add positive value to my life, my home, or my community?
- Does this purchase harm or help the natural environment?
- Could I do without this purchase?
- What else could I spend this money on or could I save it for the future or someone else?
- Is this purchase justified based on my faith-based values of environmental justice?
Northwest Earth Institute’s resources especially Choices for Sustainable Living and Voluntary Simplicity
Engage in a Carbon Fast : adjust the thermostat, car pool, combine car trips, or use public transportation to reduce your carbon footprint.
Resources for study and reflection on Environmental Stewardship and Consumerism. Host a book discussion on any of the following:
- Simple Prosperity, Finding Real Wealth in a Sustainable Lifestyle by David Wann, St. Martin’s Press, 2007.
- The New Frugality, How to Consume Less, Save more, and Live Better by Chris Farrell, Bloomsbury Press, 2010.
- 2010 State of the World: Transforming Cultures From Consumerism to Sustainability by Worldwatch Institute, 2010.
Public Education and Economic Justice
The JWM public education web pages are designed to help advocates stay updated about important concerns around public education justice from the point of view of the values of our faith.
The Broader, BOLDER Approach to Education is a national campaign to press Congress to address outside-of-school poverty as well as school reform.
The Civil Rights Project tracks demographic data on poverty, race, and public education.
The Opportunity to Learn Campaign is a growing coalition pressing Congress to ensure that opportunity gaps in the resources and conditions available to children are closed as a path for closing test score achievement gaps. This campaign rejects a test-and-punish compliance approach and pushes for access to quality early childhood education in addition to in-school improvements.
Participate in an immersion experience at the UCC’s Centro Romero in southern California
JWM web page on globalization have numberous resources and suggested ways to get involved.
Become a UCC Just Peace Church
Become a Global Mission Church through Global Ministries, the joint UCC and Disciples of Christ efforts for global peace and justice.
Globalization We Can Grasp is a five-week, web-based curriculum package exploring economic globalization, based on the Accra Confession: Covenanting for Justice in the Economy and the Earth. The downloadable printed materials and 15-minutes videos examine problems arising from our system of globalization and feature people who are responding to these problems and making a difference.
World Council of Churches’Alternative Globalization Addressing Peoples and Earth (AGAPE) is an excellent resource on globalization.
ONE is a grassroots advocacy and campaigning organization that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa, but all around the world including in the U.S.
Work to ensure full funding to meet the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals.
Heifer International works with communities to end hunger and poverty through gifts of livestock and training that help families improve their nutrition and generate income in sustainable ways.
Host a film showing. The End of Poverty (104 minutes) is an excellent documentary to show and discuss. It explains that poverty is not an accident, it is not inevitable.
Habitat for Humanity engages with volunteers and supporters with the goal of providing every person with a decent, safe, and affordable place to live.
Resources for additional information
Fair not “Free” Trade
Public Citizen – Global Trade Watch
NAFTA's Food and Agriculture Lessons by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
NAFTA’s Impact on Mexico by the Sierra Club
Revisiting NAFTA: Still not Working from the Economic Policy Institute. The perspective from each of the three countries.
UCC Coffee Project with Equal Exchange to support fair trade in coffee, cocoa, and other products. JWM PowerPoint presentation on coffee and fair trade.
Fair Trade Federation
See the JWM webpage
What to Do About Sweatshops, a four-page resource from Justice and Witness Ministries tells how to be part of a global movement to end sweatshops.
International Labor Rights Forum
Institute for Global Labor and Human Rights
Sweatfree buying guides: Sweatfree Communities’ Shop with a Conscience Consumer Guide and Green America’s Green Pages
Debt in the Global South
JWM webpage on Debt Relief
Become a Jubilee Congregation working for debt relief
Jubilee USA educates and works for debt relief
Host a screening of the film Life and Debt about debt held by countries in the global South, 86 minutes
JWM resource on privatization
Show and discuss the film The Big Sellout about privatization in three countries (95 minutes)
Get involved with the Circle of Blue campaign
Check out The Water Barons from the Center for Public Integrity
Read and discuss Privatizing U.S. Water from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
Many resources are available from Food and Water Watch
Host a showing of Troubled Waters produced by Justice and Witness Ministries. The 60-minute documentary explores the critical issues of water shortage through the lens of faith and from the perspective of people in Bolivia, Malawi, the Middle East, and the United States who struggle daily to find access to clean, safe water.
Corporate Accountability International is promoting the decreased use of bottled water.
Food, Hunger, and Land
Many resources on the world food situation from the international Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance. Especially see their Fast for Life resources.
Check out the many resources from Bread for the World and Food First: Institute for Food and Development Policy
Church World Service has useful resources in its program Making Poverty History
Food Day is an annual opportunity to lift up issues of food: to learn, practice new ways of being, and stand in solidarity with others.
Read about the Land Grab in which rich countries are buying up large tracts of land in poor countries.
Strong Roots, Fragile Farms is a 57-minute film produced by Justice and Witness Ministries, the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission and the National Council of Churches. It explores the real life impact of globalization upon today’s family farmer in Iowa and North Carolina as well as in the Philippines and Mexico.
Many good resources are available from Food and Water Watch