The United Church of Christ has been a leader among churches on issues of justice related to women. It’s in our DNA, you might say.
Yes, we were the first Christian denomination to ordain a woman when Antoinette Brown was ordained in 1853. But even before then, women who were members of our congregations lived their faith through advocacy to end the practice of slavery in the United States, to establish homes for poor women, and support educational opportunities for women. Later, they were active in securing women’s right to vote and to work for fair wages.
From the mid-1900’s to the present day, the UCC has continued this legacy through its advocacy for reproductive justice for all women, its call to end violence against women, its critical work on gender inclusive language as an issue of justice for all humankind, and its insistence on connecting the realities of sexism and racism. And more.
This work is local and global, personal and community-wide. It comes from a faith which affirms the full personhood of women as created in the image of God and included in the ministry of Jesus as partners, disciples and bearers of the Good News.
Speak Out Sunday
We’re calling all congregations across faiths and denominations to dedicate SPEAK OUT SUNDAY to dialogue, teaching, prayer and action around sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) and its prevention. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and while our official date is the second Sunday of the month, we are encouraging congregations to view the entire month as an opportunity to speak out and take action.
Note: If SPEAK OUT SUNDAY does not fit into your church’s normal practices, please feel free to host a “SPEAK OUT SERVICE” on another date in October!
Revisiting the Helms Amendment
Women's Bodies are Not Battlefields
The Helms Amendment, enacted in 1973, states that foreign assistance may not be used "to pay for the performance of abortion as a method of family planning or to motivate or coerce any person to practice abortions." Each administration since then, Democratic and Republican alike, has chosen to interpret the provision as an absolute ban on funding any abortions, with no exceptions for women and girls whose lives are in danger or who have been victims of sexual violence. Cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment, are not "family planning," yet the law has been misinterpreted for decades to restrict the care women can receive in hospitals and clinics. It is time for the U.S. government to change the way it responds to the needs of those recovering from sexual trauma. (Read more.)
Teen Dating Violence Awareness
Our religious heritage compels and guides us in creating a safe environment where people can come to understand and respond to the challenges facing them as sexual beings.
Here are some resources geared toward teens for health sexuality education and anti-violence awareness and training."
Our Whole Lives – Resources for Grades 7-9
Check out the second edition of the UCC/UUA sexuality education program Our Whole Lives geared toward youth in grades 7 to 9. The second edition introduces new content, activities, perspectives, language, and resources that will help today's young teens make informed and responsible decisions about their sexual health and behavior by providing accurate, age-appropriate information. New topics in the second edition include
- Bullying and bystander responsibilities;
- Sexuality, social media, and the Internet;
- Body image; consent education; and communicating with a sexual partner.
Amy Johnson, our UCC Our Whole Lives coordinator, has written several helpful articles on teen dating violience:
- Let's talk about sex ... and consent
- Scary stats: Teen break-ups and domestic violence
- Standing on the side of love
Resources from Partners
- Break the Cycle has some excellent resources for empowering youth to end DV. Their mission is to inspire and support young people to build healthy relationships and create a culture without abuse.
- Love Is Respect - Teens can text "LOVEIS" to 22522 or call 1-866-331-9474 to chat with a trained peer advocate and get more info.
Hobby Lobby and the Supreme Court
An Update After the Hobby Lobby Decision: What It Means and Some Next Steps
Recently the Supreme Court handed down a decision with startling implications for individuals’ religious liberty and women’s access to contraceptive coverage. Find out what the decision means, and what UCC advocates are trying to do about it.
Health Equity, Racial Justice, and the Supreme Court Decision on Contraception
The Supreme Court decision giving some corporations the right to deny coverage of certain types of contraception to their employees based on religious freedom will have a great impact on women of color. Although, the ruling does not single out women of color, our political and economic realities tell us that women of color often bear the brunt of the negative impacts of restrictions on women’s health.
Justice for Women - Learn More: