The United Church of Christ launched a big push for health care reform today with the goal of hand delivering 100,000 names to Congressional leaders within two weeks.
The Rev. Geoffrey Black, the UCC's general minister and president-elect, will personally present the petitions to the in-district offices of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi while visiting churches in the San Francisco area, Sept. 18-20.
"Today, we are launching a massive church-wide effort to bring together 100,000 UCC members and supporters to proclaim health care for all is the mark of a just, compassionate and faithful society," wrote Black and the Rev. John H. Thomas, in a joint email to more than 50,000 UCC members. "Together, speaking as people of faith, we have the power to change the conversation and envision a society where each person is afforded health, wholeness and human dignity."
Within an hour of the campaign's launch, more than 1,000 people had signed on; however the campaign's tote-board tally made it clear that the high benchmark was still a long way off: "Progress: 1 percent," it read.
Black and Thomas acknowledged that collecting 100,000 signatures in 10 days will be difficult. "This is a monumental effort, a huge goal and our timeline is short," they wrote.
UCC members, however, seemed motivated to enlist others. Within minutes of the campaign's launch, nearly 700 online activists were attempting to simultaneously send tell-a-friend messages to others, triggering "system-overload errors" for some users.
In June, the UCC's biennial General Synod, meeting in Grand Rapids, Mich., overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling for advocacy in support for health care for all. In August, church leaders distributed to its clergy and members a nationwide UCC Pastoral Letter on Health Care Reform.