Recognizing the importance of youth in racial, social and economic justice
Written by Anthony Moujaes
June 29, 2013

Since the late 1960s, the Ministers for Racial, Social and Economic Justice have sponsored the opening convocation. At General Synod 2013 in Long Beach California, MRSEJ celebrated its youth and young adults on Friday, June 28 as recognition of their importance to the ministry.

"We've always had the opening convocation on the first night at General Synod, and this year we're including our youth and young adults," said the Rev. Fredrick Nixon, pastor at Community of Faith UCC in Houston, Texas. "It's important they become part of what we say and what we do. What we do is significant."

The Ministers for Racial, Social and Economic Justice (MRSEJ) are an association of Christian ministers that pursues political resolutions to justice issues.  As the African-American clergy component of historically underrepresented people within the UCC, MRSEJ seeks to address racial justice within the structure of the church and throughout the world to focus on economic justice and give voice and power to the social issues where people are denied justice.

"This is a time of celebration and consecration of the task we're given in our church," Nixon said.

Part of Friday's "What About the Children Conference" celebration included song and dance from dozens of youth. It also included remarks from the Rev. Bernice Powell-Jackson, former executive minister of the UCC's Justice and Witness Ministries, the Rev. Ben Chavis, a civil rights leader who worked for the UCC's Commission for Racial Justice, and Bishop Yvette Flunder, founder of the City of Refuge and an LGBT activist.

Chavis will speak to General Synod on Saturday during a celebration of the Wilmington 10 pardons. Chavis was one of the 10 people, known as the Wilmington 10, wrongly imprisoned in North Carolina for a crime they never committed in 1971. The group was eventually released, but never received a full pardon until January 2013.

Flunder had a busy day, first speaking at a rally for marriage equality in the afternoon, then presenting the Courage Award from the UCC's Coalition for LGBT Concerns during the Open and Affirming Banquet to the Rev. Otis Moss, senior pastor of Trinity UCC in Chicago.

She closed the convocation by exclaiming, "Thank you for these incredible young men and women… They are the essence of what we can be."


Mr. Anthony Moujaes
UC News Coordinator
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland,Ohio 44115