"[Y]ou shall hallow the 50th year and you shall proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you: you shall return, every one of you, to your property and everyone of you to your family." - Leviticus 25:10
God called ancient Israel to honor a time of Jubilee every 50 years. During the Jubilee year, debts were forgiven and land that had been sold to repay debts was returned to the original owners. "[W]hat was sold shall remain with the purchaser until the year of jubilee; in the jubilee it shall be released, and the property shall be returned" (Lev. 25: 28).
During the past 30 years, developing countries have borrowed large sums of money from international lending institutions, governments of industrialized countries, and commercial banks. In many cases, these investments failed to create the economic development and revenue that planners envisioned. Nonetheless, developing countries continue to repay these debts. For many years, debt repayments from developing countries to the global North have exceeded the flow of new investments, loans and grants to developing countries. Debt relief - Jubilee - has become an important aspect of justice for countries in the global South.
The United Church of Christ has joined with other faith communities and organizations to call on governments to cancel the debts of poor countries and restore just economic relations between nations. The UCC’s General Synod XXVI passed a resolution calling on the United Church of Christ to recognize 2007 as a “Sabbath Year” and urged local congregations to become “Jubilee Congregations.” Prior to this, in 1999, General Synod XXII passed a resolution calling for Ending the Stranglehold of Global Debt on Impoverished Nations.
Work for Jubilee Justice
The UCC is a member of the Jubilee USA Network, an alliance of more than 75 religious denominations and faith communities, human rights, environmental, labor, and community groups working for the definitive cancellation of crushing debts to fight poverty and injustice around the world.
Each year, Jubilee USA and our worldwide Jubilee partners come together to pray, worship and act in one global voice to further the participation of the most vulnerable in the international financial system.
There are so many ways you can participate in Jubilee Sunday.
- Incorporate one prayer
- Dedicate your entire worship service centered around Jubilee justice
- Host workshops for all ages in your community
Learn more about Jubliee Sunday and access congregational resources via our parnters at Jubilee USA.