The first Sunday in May has been designated Immigrant Rights Sunday within the United Church of Christ. Justice and Witness Ministries and Wider Church Ministries are urging congregations to lift up immigrants on this day: to learn about their concerns, honor their contributions to our country and communities, hear their pain, pray for their well-being, and listen to hear where God is leading us regarding issues of immigration.
Welcoming the stranger among us as native born is part of our faith tradition, for we too were once strangers (Exodus 22:21, Leviticus 19:33, Deuteronomy 10:17-19). However, too often the immigrants among us are rejected, treated as outcasts and placed on the margins of society.
May 1st is international Labor Day and has become a day in which we recognize the value and labor of immigrants in the U.S. On the first Sunday in May, congregations are encouraged to include stories about immigrants in their worship service and explore avenues to advocate for immigrant justice. Below are the most current issues this year on immigration with potential ways to get involved to limit deportations and unnecessary detention of immigrants.
Building Sanctuary For All... All of Us
"Shouldn’t our sanctuaries offer this same kind of Sanctuary...to anyone? Wouldn’t we want this grace, and do we not call upon this kind of love every Sunday?" Read more of Rev. Julian DeShazier's reflection on Immigrants Rights Sunday and intersectionality.
- Explore our worship worship and prayer resources and start planning your congregations Immigrant Rights Sunday observances.
*If your congregation would like to get more involved on immigrants' rights advocacy and organizing efforts please contact Rev. Noel Andersen - mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Rev. Noel Andersen serves as UCC & CWS Grassroots Coordinator for Immigrants' Rights in Washington, D.C.WHENMay 05, 2019 at 8am - May 06, 2019 at 8amWHEREEverywhere
- Building Sanctuary For All... All of Us
The United Church of Christ Mental Health Network invites you to highlight mental health on the third Sunday in May or any Sunday that suits your schedule.
We see Mental Health Sunday as a way for your congregation to begin or to continue to provide education and support to your members around mental health challenges.
We encourage you to:
- Plan a Sunday with the theme: "Widen the Welcome: UCC for Mental Health"
- Use the collection of worship resources in the Resource Guide for Mental Health Sunday. You will find some newly created resources in the resource section below. Worship resources include sermon ideas as well as complete sermons, a litany, unison prayers and more.
- Explore the Congregational Toolkits for teaching your congregation about mental illnesses
More Worship Resources for Mental Health Sunday
Download and print these files or edit/format them to meet your needs.
WHENMay 19, 2019 at 8amWHEREEverywhere
- Checklist for Churches: Becoming a Welcoming, Inclusive, Supportive and Engaged (WISE) Congregation for Mental Health
- Sermon on The Stigma of Mental Illness
- More Resources for Your Mental Health Sunday Services
- Call to worship and prayer
- Litany for Mental Health Sunday, 5.5" x 8.5"
- Bulletin insert (front), 5.5" x 8.5"
- Bulletin insert (back), 5.5" x 8.5"
- Widen the Welcome logo (CMYK, 300 dpi) for use on printed material
- Sample bookmark created by Broadmoor UCC Church in Colorado Springs
- Exegesis: Lamentations 5:19 – 22
Sign-up to receive monthly notices about upcoming webinars that feature speakers who will assist churches in learning about best practices for ministries related to caring for God’s creation. Each webinar will have a focus pertaining to one of the four areas of discernment for Creation Justice Churches: theology and worship, institutional life and practice, circles of awareness and advocacy, and connections to a broader movement. Participation in the Creation Justice Churches program is not required to join a webinar.
Our Next Webinar: Green Values and Voting
Special Guest: Nathaniel Stinnett of the Environmental Voter Project
Date and Time: March 13th at 1 pm ET (Register even if you can't make it, and we will send you the video.)
Justice and Witness Ministry is pleased to welcome and announce to our staff team, The Rev. Dr. Velda R. Love as Minister for Racial Justice. Rev. Dr. Love began her ministry with us February 1, 2017. Located in the Cleveland, OH office, Velda brings with her a wealth of knowledge to the United Church of Christ. She has decades of experience in critical race theory, leadership development, community outreach, workshop facilitation, preaching, teaching, and writing. (Read more.)Read more
November 2016 - Justice and Peace Action NewsletterRead more
Dear Clergy with Standing Rock
Find the light, lift the light. At our best, this is what people of faith do when the world appears to be stuck at midnight and hope seems a faint flicker. For many, the water protectors of Standing Rock have been and continue to be a source of light. As clergy joined in solidarity with Standing Rock, we have the opportunity to help amplify that light. Biblical scholars note that when Jesus declares, “You are the light of the world,” the “you” refers to a community. In this moment, we have the opportunity to be part of a larger community of light. In this spirit, we invite you to join in this collective effort in three ways:
- Respond to the call of indigenous leaders to take action and stand with Standing Rock on November 15th. Throughout the country, actions are being planned for the Army Corps of Engineers District Headquarter offices. Look to see if there is an action near you.
- Engage your congregation in activities of reflection and repentance in considering the Doctrine of Discovery, a legal concept arising from church documents that authorized and, indeed blessed, Christians to kill non-Christians and possess their lands and resources. The repudiation of this doctrine served as a central point of focus for the clergy who gathered recently in Standing Rock. Denominations such as the Episcopal Church , the United Church of Christ, the United Methodist Church , and the Mennonite Church have developed materials to assist congregations in addressing the destructive legacy of Christianity that continues to impact the world today as Standing Rock amply demonstrates.
- Let the light shine by sharing this graphic on social media. For those stuck at midnight, you have the opportunity to point them toward hope and the action that produces hope.
We invite you to sign up for future updates and opportunities for action regarding Standing Rock.
Kindred in Christ,
Rev. Byron Buffalo
Rev. Marlene Whiterabbit Helgemo
Rev. Rebecca Voelkel
Rev. Brooks Berndt
Each year, the second Sunday of October is designated on the UCC church calendar as Access Sunday. It is an occasion when all the UCC will join together in celebrating the gifts of persons with disabilities and the strides that the church has made in being more whole through being more accessible. It is also a day that we, the church, acknowledge the journey yet to be taken with our sisters and brothers with disabilities.
Pastors and lay leaders, invite your congregation to join your UCC friends around the country in celebrating Access Sunday on this day, or on a Sunday more fitting to your church calendar. Find more information and resources via our UCC Disabilities Ministries.WHENOctober 13, 2019 at 8am - October 19, 2019 at 8amWHEREEverywhere
August 2016 - Justice and Peace Action Newsletter
Every June, human rights and faith organizations join together to mark Torture Awareness Month because on June 26, 1987, the nations of the world took a major step against the immoral and abhorrent practice of torture. On that day, the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT for short) entered into force and the United Nations later declared June 26th the “International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.”
Our partners at the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) invite you and your local church to join people of faith throughout the world in commemorating Torture Awareness Month. Check out NRCAT's resources and activity ideas.
If you would like to discuss additional ways for how your local congregation or faith community could mark Torture Awareness Month please call or email T.C. Morrow at 202-547-1920 or email@example.com. They are delighted to assist you with plans and suggestions.WHENJune 01, 2019 at 8am - June 30, 2019 at 8amWHEREEverywhere
About the Justice and Peace Action Network
The Justice and Peace Action Network (JPANet) is the arm through Justice and Witness Ministries of the UCC carries out its mission statement. It is our denomination’s grassroots advocacy network composed of individual members and local UCC congregations across the country.
The JPANet both educates and engages its members in shaping public policy in keeping with God's vision of a just and loving society. Our work is grounded in General Synod resolutions, consonant with historic UCC witness, and formed by a biblical understanding of prophetic ministry.
JPANet members collectively advocate on a variety of issues for social change that promotes the Common Good. These issue areas are resourced by national staff of the Justice and Witness Ministries and Wider Church Ministries who work with local UCC advocates to shape coordinated strategy on our common witness. The Global Concerns issue area is shared with staff of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ),the UCC’s partner in global ministry.
What resources and opportunities does the Network provide?
Weekly Legislative Action Alerts:
Brief email synopsis of pending legislation or current justice issues, and a call for action each week. Perfect for taking personal action on the justice issues you care about and suitable for posting in newsletters and bulletins.
Includes invitations to regional and national gatherings, resources and opportunities for witness.
- Biblical and liturgical material for interpreting issues and action
What Happens When You Take Action?
When you take an online action, you will be directed to a webpage that will explain the current legislative issue and provide a sample letter for you to send to the targeted decision-makers. When you fill out your information, your letter, which you can personalize according to your own particular views on an issue, will be sent to the indicated decision-makers (i.e. Senators, Congresspeople, the President, or whoever is the appropriate recipient of your message). These messages appear in their email inboxes or fax machines as though you had sent it from their website email form or your own fax machine.
Does taking action electronically make a difference?
Yes! Decision-makers take notice when their mailboxes fill with emails and faxes. Congressional staff members keep regular tallies of the number of messages they receive on an issue, and it can make a difference on whether or not members of Congress support or oppose legislative measures. UCC JPANet advocates have sent messages on an wide range of issues from environmental justice in the Hurricane Katrina clean-up, hate crimes, Millennium Development Goals for ending global poverty, violence against women, federal budget policy priorities, stem cell research, fair treatment of workers by Taco Bell and Mount Olive Pickles, the minimum wage and the protection of civil liberties.
Your support helps us to provide this resource. Please support the JPANet with an online gift!Sign up
- Weekly Legislative Action Alerts:
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