What is Justice Leaders Engaging and Developing?
The vision of Justice & Witness Ministries is of a more just, peaceful and compassionate world that honors all of God’s creation. Leaders are needed throughout our churches and communities to help share, pursue and acheive this vision. Justice Leaders Engaging and Developing (Justice LED) is a program that offers training, leadership skills and support to local churches and UCC members who seek tangible ways to move our world towards this vision.
Frequently Asked Questions about Justice LED
What is Justice LED?
People are Talking about Justice LED!
"Justice LED Training takes advocacy work to a whole new level. It not only helps you to more accurately assess your own view of injustice, but also gives you the tools to be able to help others define injustice for themselves." –Shernell Edney
Justice Leaders Engaging and Developing (Justice LED) is a training program offered by Justice & Witness Ministries (JWM) designed to equip local church leaders with the skills and tools needed to develop, strengthen and sustain justice advocacy ministries in our UCC congregations.
It is fantastic curriculum that includes interactive scripture study, engaging video resources, and guided reflection and dialogue for groups. Justice LED offers congregations an opportunity to engage in theological reflection on the justice dimensions of Christian faith and discipleship, and ultimately, to discern and act on justice issues that they have passion and energy for and in ways that make sense for them. Congregations might respond to engaging with Justice LED in big or small ways, and because Justice LED is not issue-based, their mindfulness and engagement with justice issues will be rooted in a deepened theological understanding and reflect their particular concerns, contexts and capabilities rather than an issue someone else asks them to take up.
Is Justice LED a curriculum for justice issues?
No, Justice LED is not a "how-to" on justice around specific issues like peace, workers' rights, or immigration. Rather, Justice LED is a wholistic approach for congregations that want to strengthen, develop and sustain justice ministries as part of their congregational life and ministry. Trainers will equip local church leaders with skills in discernment, facilitation, dialogue, biblical and theological grounding for doing justice ministry, and sociological and cultural grounding as well as group process. An extensive Tool Kit will provide resources on specific issues and for deeper study but local churches will determine what particular issues are important to them.
How do these trainings work?
"An amazing training opportunity that will support you as a justice trainer but perhaps even more importantly, will allow you to connect with others who are doing terrific, theologically-based justice work around the country." -- Karen Holcomb-Merrill
Thirty National Justice LED Trainers are working in pairs to coordinate trainings in each of our six UCC Regions. A growing number of Regional Trainers are being certified across the country to coordinate trainings for local church leaders. We offer three Justice LED training options:
1) Regional: Regional Trainers are people who apply for, are selected and trained to facilitate Local Church Trainings for churches in their Region. Learn more about the role and criteria for Regional Trainers here.
2) Local: Local Church Trainers are lay leaders who take Justice LED as a small group (with others from their church) to become Justice LED facilitators in their congregation. If you are interested in being trained to facilitate Justice LED in your local church setting, contact Kelly Burd at email@example.com or call (toll free) 866-822-8224 ext. 3714.
3) Special Group: Justice LED may also be adapted for special groups (such as Conference or Association justice-related committees, youth or young adult retreats, UCC college campus or seminary groups) upon request. To inquire about Justice LED training for special groups, contact Kelly Burd at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (toll free) 866-822-8224 ext. 3714.
What does Justice LED offer my church?
While many of our churches and ministry partners value the UCC’s historical commitment to and pursuit of justice and social change, some don’t actively engage in justice-related ministry, in part because they believe it competes for the time they need to invest in church growth, evangelism and other areas of congregational life and vitality. The good news is that many congregations engaged in justice ministries discover this work to inform and support these ministry concerns by offering: a deeper understanding of scripture and the justice dimensions of their faith; increased leadership and ministry skills among laity; and more visibility and deeper connections within their communities. Research on congregation-based community organizing confirms this (see http://www.interfaithfunders.org/congregations.html). If you would like to connect with people who can share their experience with Justice LED, congregation-based community organizing or other faith-based justice ministries with a congregation, contact Kelly Burd at email@example.com.