The UCC Washington office works to project the vision of change that is offered by UCC members in the halls of congress. Every two years our members come from across the country to gather for General Synod - to pray, reflect and discern a faithful response to God’s vision through resolutions and pronouncements on the issues facing our world.
It is through the actions of General Synod that we prioritize our advocacy.
Our staff monitor and seek changes in legislation at local, state and federal levels through a variety of coalitions and working groups. Through these coalitions we lobby and send letters to our elected officials advocating for changes if public policy.
While we work hard to represent and promote the views expressed at General Synod on Capitol Hill, it is you - as constituents - who make the best advocates.
How can the DC office help you engage in advocacy?
constituency Education and Mobilization - E-Advocacy through the Justice and Peace Action Network, Petitions, Rallys and more
Direct Capitol Hill Advocacy - Advocacy training, meetings with government officials and their staff
What is the Justice and Peace Action Network?
The UCC Justice and Peace Action Network is common action arm of the four covenanted ministries of the United Church of Christ that is charged with mobilizing UCC members for concentrated action as issues emerge.
Our vision is a just, compassionate and peaceful world that honors all of God's creation. In keeping with this vision the JPANet seeks to equip its members through issue education and weekly opportunity for public policy advocacy. By joining the JPANet you have access to resources that are beneficial to advocates of any experience level. they include:
An electronic Public Policy Briefing Book at the beginning of each two year Congressional session as an overview of policy priorities and work in all areas.
Weekly electronic actions emailed to your inbox with direct "take action" links to key decision makers.
A monthly electronic newsletter with notices about upcoming events, new resources and opportunities for action.
Using these tools you can begin basic advocacy or expend your current work. Our resources make it easy to engage or to engage your congregation in advocacy. Sign up here!
In responding faithfully to God’s call for abundant life for all people, a common life in which no one is left behind, we are drawn inevitably to engage in public policy advocacy and decision-making.
This is the goal of the UCC JWM Washington office; to make a better world possible by addressing the systemic problems that we face as a country and as part of the world. Hunger, poverty, peace and security, racism, care for the earth. These are among the types of justice issues that we work to improve through federal policies.
“If a single decision in the halls of the U.S. Congress can either enhance or undo literally millions of acts of Christian caring, I should try to influence such decisions?"
The UCC Washington Office was called into being by a resolution at General Synod 10 in 1975. This predecessor body to Justice and Witness Ministries, then called the Office for Church in Society, was created to assume a leadership function for social action concerns in the UCC and to provide resources to the national, conference and local churches.
Foremost among the tasks assigned to the office was identifying, analyzing and forecasting emerging social issues which call for the attention of the denomination.
Today the UCC Justice and Witness Ministries staff in Washington, DC, in partnership with UCC staff, Conferences, Associations, congregations and individual UCC members, continues this mission by monitoring and seeking changes in legislation at local, state and federal levels through a variety of coalitions and working groups.
The policies that guide our work are crafted by UCC members who gather for General Synod to pray, reflect and discern a faithful response to God’s call through resolutions and pronouncements on the issues facing our world.
Want to learn more?
Young Adult Service Communities are unique opportunities for you to live in intentional community with others who share your commitment to service and social justice. Together, you will find the space to reflect on questions of meaning and to network for change.
Service and Justice Internships
The YASC network gives you the opportunity to grow professionally and change the world through intern placements with local nonprofit agencies, which are dedicated to justice advocacy and collaborative action.
Your placement will also allow you the opportunity to grow spiritually as you serve in a leadership position at a United Church of Christ congregation. Through this work you can see the convergence of church and world.
YASC provides you a space to grow personally by living in community with other young leaders, exploring together your direction, calling and future action in the world.
The Summer Communities of Service program is an ecumenical collaboration between the United Church of Christ and the Alliance of Baptists. Particpants live and serve from June to early-August in host congregations around the United States. In each local program of the Summer Communities, you will experience:
The "intentional Christian community element" makes this program distinct and effective. Interns share a common food allowance, transportation funds and spiritual growth insights. Participants live in community with each other and with their hosts in their temporary city.
In the UCC and Alliance of Baptists diversity is a big piece of our identity. Both churches uphold socially progressive statements and advocate politically from a faith perspective. Diverse, community-service-integrated ministries show interns, congregations, the wider church and world where this faith-inspired work is happening in our midst. The SCOS projects help interns develop long-term commitment to engage in this kind of ministry.
Hands-On Justice Advocacy/Service Opportunities
Grow professionally. Change the World.
Grow Personally. Grow Spiritually.
The UCC national setting recommends sites within the United States that host mission opportunities for groups. These host sites are rooted in local communities and utilize volunteer groups in their on-going service within those places. Volunteers experience God’s presence among new people and in new places through these experiences. UCC Mission Trip Opportunities are short-term, lasting up to a week.
The United Church of Christ's Partners in Service program helps increase the service capacity of the partner host organizations and provides leadership development and the opportunity for volunteers to use gifts and skills. Volunteers serve full-time for periods of 2 – 12 months with a host and participate in networking activities with other Partners in Service volunteers. Open for adults of all ages.
Affirming democratic principles in an emerging global economy
A Resolution adopted by General Synod XXI (1997)
Whereas, The United Church of Christ has spoken consistently for a biblically-based and just approach to economic relationships nationally and internationally; and
Whereas, national and international economic changes today affect the traditions and values of civil liberties and political democracy in the United States and around the world;
Therefore, Be It Resolved that the Twenty-first General Synod reaffirms the heritage of the United Church of Christ as an advocate for just, democratic, participatory and inclusive economic policies in both public and private sectors, including:
the responsibility of multinational corporations and international financial institutions to respect and hold themselves accountable to fundamental human rights, particularly with regard to child labor, employment of minorities, and wages that are adequate for local costs of living;
the responsibility of workers to organize for collective bargaining with employers regarding wages, benefits, and working conditions, and the responsibility of employers to respect not only worker rights but also workersÍ dignity, and to create and maintain a climate conducive to the workersÍ autonomous decision to organize;
the responsibility of collective bargaining units, such as unions, to respect their members and encourage their participation in further efforts to democratize, to respect and hold themselves accountable to fundamental human rights, and to reform and expand the labor movement domestically and abroad;
the responsibility of governments at all levels to foster a more democratic system by seeking balance among the rights and interests of citizens, workers, and corporations; and to support existing as well as to facilitate the creation of new participatory community institutions for developing jobs and caring for people;
the responsibility of businesses, governments, and communities to share responsibility for protecting the earthÍs environment;
the responsibility of businesses, governments, and communities to support affirmative action for all who have traditionally been denied rights in the workplace;
the responsibility of all citizens to be informed participants in the political process at all levels and to form community organizations and associations to express common interests and achieve common goals in such areas as economic planning, neighborhood development, public education, and health care;
the responsibility of religious bodies to provide moral and ethical guidance for individuals and society in ways that respect other religious traditions and resist authoritarian powers and principalities wherever they appear;
the responsibility of The United Church of Christ in covenant with all churches and church institutions to practice principles of economic democracy which foster justice and participation in its own ministries; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Twenty-first General Synod of The United Church of Christ commends this resolution to the churches, associations, conferences, instrumentalities, and institutions of The United Church of Christ as a basis for their own policies and their ministries of social witness.
Subject to the availability of funds.
Through your generous gifts to Neighbors In Need, the United Church of Christ is offering hope to millions of people; we are transforming lives, the nation, and our world. These grants support work for human and civil rights, environmental justice and/or economic justice in one of the following ways:
- Direct Service ($1,000 - $3,000) – provides funding to meet the immediate needs of an individual or group (i.e. food, clothing, utilities).
- Advocacy ($3,001 - $5,000) – offers funding to assist communities who wish to change policy on a state or federal level via an advocacy campaign.
- Grass Top ($5,001 - $10,000) – is a highly competitive tier which seeks to award uniquely innovative programs which can be replicated in other settings.
For Grant Recipients:
If you were a recipient of a Neighbors in Need (NIN) grant, help us inform our members whose contributions to NIN have made your grant possible about how lives have been transformed because of their generosity. Access the reporting form.
Grant Recipients for 2017 by UCC Conference
Northern California Nevada Conference
First Congregational Church of Oakland / Rooted in Love
Building relationships, capacity and reflective practice of restorative and transformative care in faith communities of Alameda County
- Shadow Rock UCC Sanctuary Action Team - Hope Station
Southern California Nevada Conference
Central Atlantic Conference
- Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE)/Leadership Training in Civic Engagement and Organizing
- MicroBanking for Baltimore
- Hands On Hartford / Faces of Homelessness (FOH)
- First Congregational Church of New London - Urban Outreach Project
- UCC of St Augustine / Unity Enabled Day Camp
- First United Church of Christ of Tampa
- First United Church of Christ of Tampa Hispanic Ministry
- Friedens UCC / Weekenders Food Pack Ministry
- Blessings in a Backpack - Elkhorn Valley Schools
- Plymouth Settlement House - Youth Homeless Shelter
- First Parish Church of Newbury Community Food Pantry
- South Congregational Church / Pioneer Valley Project - Springfield Interfaith Sanctuary and Solidarity Project
Hadwen park Congregational Church, UCC - LGBT Asylum Task Force
Multi-family home for LGBT persons seeking asylum in the U.S. due to persecution in their native country.
- Lakota YouthStay
- World Voices
Missouri Mid-South Conference
Community Congregational UCC
Scholarships for summer camp at Camp Minanagish
New York Conference
South Central Conference
- Slumber Falls Camp / Twill Do Accessibility Project
- Friends Congregational Chruch / Interfatih Network: Building Sanctuary
- MOLO Village CDC - Restored Village Recovery & Reentry Program
- Oyster River Community Read: Addressing Racial Justice through Learning Together
- Alfred S. Forrest Elementary School Summer Enrichment Program
ONE: Out of the depths of anxiety and fear we cry to you, O God.
ALL: Lord, hear our cry.
ONE: Remember, in your mercy, children, youth and adults who do not feel safe in our public schools.
ALL: Grant them courage each day to confront their fears, to comfort and strengthen one another, and to work together for change.
ONE: Remember, in your mercy, those students who fear going to school each day because they are victims of bullying, harassment and hate perpetrated by their peers.
ALL: Help them to claim their right to an education free from fear, to persevere amid adversity, to endure despite damage done to their self esteem and to their emotional and physical selves.
ONE: Remember, in your mercy, those students, teachers and administrators who witness violations of human dignity without intervening, those whose silence and apathy encourage acts and words of bullying, harassment and hate.
ALL: Speak to their hearts, O God. Help them to find their voices and the will to intervene immediately, even when they must, themselves, pay a price in popularity.
ONE: Remember, in your mercy, all parents who entrust their children to our public schools, rightfully expecting them to receive a quality education and support for social development in a safe, secure environment.
ALL: Help them to find peace of mind through determined involvement in efforts to make schools a safer place for their children and secure, productive work environments for teachers and administrators.
ONE: Remember, in your mercy, individuals, community organizations, businesses and churches working conscientiously to bring equitable financial and other resources to our public schools.
ALL: Grant them, grant us, the will to organize to confront every obstacle, to remove every barrier, including prejudice and the hostility it breeds, until our public schools are safe environments for all.
ONE: Hear our prayer, O God.
ALL: Hear our prayer. Amen.
Litany by the Rev. Bill Johnson, 1999
Written by Rev. Loey Powell
As a kid, I learned the sing-songy jingle of, “Sticks and stones will break your bones, but names will never hurt you.” I sang it back to boys who taunted me and my friends, empowered by its disarming message. As an adult, I learned that names and words can cause much greater harm than physical threats; names and words can actually be cause for prosecution in hate crime cases when people of color or those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender are verbally abused.
But I am still amazed and appalled that words and names which demean women and girls do not constitute verbal abuse in the same way – the “b” word and “ho” are heard on prime time television shows and family hour shows with great regularity. Other belittling names and words characterize women as stupid or obsessed only with their looks or weight or with getting a date. Such names and words fill the airwaves on the radio and even appear on public advertising bulletin boards. Video games are filled with distorted images of women who become objects of conquest for the player.
As you conscientiously avoid consuming violence in the media, pay attention as well to how women and girls are portrayed in magazines, on billboards, in the songs you love to listen to, on the TV shows you watch or movies you plan to see. Compile a list of the words used to describe women and girls. While what you watch, see or hear may not be overtly violent in a shoot-em-up kind of way, could distorted images of women possibly contribute to a culture that could lead to - or justify in some people’s minds - actual physical violence against women?
Women are the primary targets of most of that kind of violence, particularly domestic violence. How can we cultivate through our words a society that truly values women and girls as much as it does men and boys? Are you willing to challenge your friends, or boss, or co-workers, or family members who use demeaning and pejorative names and words for girls and women? Can you raise awareness in your children’s schools about words and name-calling that diminishes not just the target of those names but also the one who speaks them? Can you hold your local media accountable for the kind of programming they offer?
We are all created in the image of God, the Holy One whose name is many and whose attributes are all good and gracious. May we be so with each other.
The United Church of Christ’s mission statement on Health and Human Service calls us to demonstrate and convey the compassion of Christ. Our mission statement reminds us that the whole church is itself the creation of God’s compassionate mercy in Christ, and as such the instrument of God’s intention for all humankind. Where the Church is there are those engaged in diakonia – the ministry of healing service, care, compassion and hospitality.
Cancer is a significant issue nationally and in the lives of many faith communities. There are many ways that congregations are supporting people as they deal with a cancer diagnosis and its accompanying life changes. Cancer diagnosis presents a unique spectrum of needs, feelings, pastoral concerns, and phases, impacting individuals, families and indeed, the whole community of care.
The purpose of this resource is to orient you to some of the central questions and considerations that may emerge as you journey with those in your faith community affected by cancer. The PowerPoint slides and Handbook will guide you in leading group discussions. Depending on the time and circumstances, you may choose to divide it into modules. We recommend three sections: God’s Healing Touch (slides 1 through 13); Care Throughout the Seasons (slides 14 through 25); and Y(our) Congregation: What Can We Do? (slides 25-29).
This resource is geared to facilitators of faith community health ministries(both lay and nurse led), Deacons, Called to Care Ministries, grief ministries, Clergy or any group within your congregation that practices spiritual and/or physical care and healing.
This resource comes as the result of several collaborations. In its initial form, it was the product of an independent study at Yale Divinity School in which the authors (James DeBoer and Laura Fitzpatrick) explored ways in which clergy and congregations are responding to the needs of people affected by cancer, with the guidance of Drs. Elaine Ramshaw and Janet Ruffing, OSM. The project also benefitted greatly from the wisdom and guidance of Rev. Shelly Stackhouse (Church of the Redeemer), Dean of Students Dale Peterson, and Rev. Adele Crawford, interim Dean of Chapel. Barbara Baylor, UCC Minister for Health Care Justice, subsequently provided very helpful feedback and also brought in the UCC Faith Community Nurse Leadership Team to provide additional help with editing. Rebecca Anton, Wendy Merriman and Peggy Matteson (all members of the UCC Faith Community Nurse Leadership Team) provided valuable assistance and feedback by piloting the project in several congregations and hospital settings.
For more information, contact Barbara Baylor (216) 736-3708.
Resources on educating and organizing for health care justice and reform.
General Synod Resolutions
- An Urgent Call For Advocacy In Support Of Healthcare For All, As In H.R. 676
- Resolution Reaffirming Universal Health Care
- Reclaiming the church's ministry of health and healing
- UCC Mission Statement on Health and Human Service
- Health Effects and Impacts of Tobacco Use on Children and Youth
Health Information & Resources:
Partners for health care reform: