What Matters includes a variety of resources to connect your questions of faith with the deep faith expressed by the UCC. Discover what matters through reflection, stories from UCC congregations and members, stories from history, Bible study, prayer, worship, and service.
Explore on your own or with others. There are plenty of suggestions for seekers, new member classes, baptism preparation or membership groups, or pastor classes. For ideas about how use What Matters with groups, click here. Discover the questions and insights of those not familiar with the UCC in the article "What Matters to Visitors and Seekers?"
To explore one of the six vital themes, simply click a photo below.
We Are One at Baptism We Thank God by Working We Listen for the
and the Table for a Just and Loving World Still-speaking God
What Matters to You? Matters to Us - Engaging Six Vital Themes of OurFaith by Sidney D. Fowler is a new book for individual or group study based on core themes of
the United Church of Christ.
Also available is What Matters for Children and Families by Frank Proctor based on the same six vital themes.
Order both new books by calling 800-537-3394
or from United Church Resources.
Get Copies of the What Matters brochures!
You can also order colorful, engaging brochures.
Great for visitors, inquirers, as well as long-time members.
To order, call toll free, 800.537.3394.
Cost: $15.00 per bundle of 50. Order from a variety of available covers with identical inside copy:
"Find Yourself. We have GPS." #LCMCV1A
"Please Return" #LCMCV1C
"United Not Divided" #LCMCV1D
What Matters is written by Sidney D. Fowler. Designed by Duy-Khuong Van (risingflare.com)
Copyright © 2005 - 2008 Congregational Vitality in the United Church of Christ.
Financial Wellness: Congregational and Personal
Bookmark this spot!
From this page we will be acquiring and sharing information for you, from you. Help us to create a viral site where the church helps all the people during tough economic times.
Financial Literacy: 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy, recommended by the UCC Pension Boards offers help for all financial stages of life.
Financial Literacy: Financial Security: Managing Money in Tough Times. Learning positive money management techniques can help you and your family adapt to tough economic times.
Financial Fitness: America Saves is a nationwide campaign in which a broad coalition of nonprofit, corporate, and government groups helps individuals and families save and build wealth. Through information, advice, and encouragement, they assist those who wish to pay down debt, build an emergency fund, save for a home, save for an education, or save for retirement.
Support for Seniors: Benefits Check Up offed by the National Council on Aging includes more than 1,550 public and private benefits programs from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Support for Homeowners: If your congregation has struggling homeowners, let them know about the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's foreclosure prevention site.
Ohio State University Extension has a web-site where educational materials are available. More fact sheets about money management can be found here.
Below are some other links you may find helpful:
Job Search Tools:
(this page contains links to MANY resources)
Receipts are Up
Making Sound Strategic Choices in Anxious Times
Alban Institute Susan Beaumont and Alice Mann offer UCC pastors sound answers to tough questions.(click here)
The Church and Tough Economic Times:
What Should Congregations be Doing?
Anthony B. Robinson
The election is behind us, and the economic challenges? They continue. In fact, it seems likely that they will grow worse before they get better. In view of this, what should congregations and their leaders be doing? Get some answers here!
Religious Giving in Uncertain Times: Insights for Congregations and Faith-based Nonprofits
Prepared by The Lake Institute on Faith & Giving, The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University
Keeping Faith Communities Vital in an Ailing Economy
Rising unemployment, gut-wrenching declines in the stock market and predictions of a recession worse than any since the Great Depression can spell sleepless nights for even the most faithful ministry leaders. (read full article)
From the UCC Writer's Group
Anthony B. Robinson: I Don't Deserve This!
You know what they say, "third time's the charm." But in this case, it was more curse than charm. It was the third kick that got my attention....
Lillian Daniel: God's Economy is Not a Roller Coaster
We've been riding a roller coaster in the financial world, and it has not been fun. This is not a roller coaster we stood in line for and got excited about....
Martin B. Copenhaver: Fear or Faith?
Fear in small doses can be a good thing. Fear is what told our ancestors to run from predators and spurred them on to go faster than they could have otherwise. And many of us never would have studied for math tests unless we had been motivated, in part, by fear of what would happen if we did not. So sometimes, in the short run, fear can prompt us to do the right thing....
Anthony B. Robinson: More of Everything?
"More of Everything" is the slogan for one of the big box retailers in our area. Its trucks roll by with those words emblazoned on the side: "More of Everything." Suddenly that slogan seems less like glad tidings than it does a haunting, sad chiding....
William C. Green: Looking Forward
We Americans are known for optimism and positive thinking. But now many of us are negative—and scared. Security as we've known it is being re-thought by all of us, government and citizens alike....
Donna Schaper: The Blessing of Limits
There is nothing like a good dose of reality to yield a blessing. Reality is always about limits, but in some centuries we obscure it with ideas about limitless growth and possibility....
(Click here for more tools and articles)
Stewardship Messages Online! In tough times giving can be difficult for people…even people of faith. Use these messages monthly to offer an inspiring, biblically-based reflection in your newsletter, on your bulletin board, your website, or use as an insert in your giving statement or Sunday Bulletin.
Church Planting 1.0
Church Planting 1.0, a five-week online learning opportunity, will provide a comprehensive overview in progressive church planting for people exploring starting a new church. This course will cover:
• Week One: Shaping Vision and Mission
• Week Two: Church Planting: The Basic Process
• Week Three: Fundraising and Stewardship
• Week Four: Networking in the 21st Century
• Week Five: Writing a Ministry Plan
The course begins on Tuesday, January 31, 2012 at 7 p.m. EASTERN time with a one-time, all-class conference call. After this, the course is "a-synchronous," meaning each week's work is completed according to the participant's individual schedule. There is no specific time each week when the class is held. Written lectures, PowerPoint presentations and videos all are accessed online any time during the week. Additional books and resources also will be assigned. Each week, forums will be offered for students to interact with each other and the instructor about issues related to that week's material. Finally, weekly reflection papers submitted to the instructor will demonstrate the student's understanding of the material. Presenting the material in an online course is the cutting edge of technology and learning.
At the conclusion of this course, you will receive a certificate of completion. CE credit is also available through our partnership with the Pacific School of Religion.
This course includes a 100 page e-Book on the basics of progressive church planting!
For more information or to register click here.
Church Planting 2.0
Church Planting 2.0, a five-week online learning opportunity. Created by a team of church planting practitioners, Church Planting 2.0 is focused on the post-launch experience of starting a church. Church Planting 1.0 is a prerequisite.
This course will cover:
• Week One: Ready, Fire, Aim - What to do when the plan doesn't work.
• Week Two: Leadership and Conflict - Leading through change
• Week Three: Practical Planting - Finding meeting space, setting up a database and creating a marketing strategy
• Week Four: Financial Sustainability - Building longer term financial support
• Week Five: Worship and Preaching - Preaching to Post-Moderns
The course begins on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 7 p.m. EASTERN time with a one-time, all-class conference call. And like our Church Planting 1.0 this course course is "a-synchronous," meaning each week's work is completed according to the participant's individual schedule. At the conclusion of this course, you will receive a certificate of completion. CE credit is also available through our partnership with the Pacific School of Religion.
For more information or to register click here.
New and Renewing Church Funding
Please go to our website: www.ucc.org/grow-your-church
New Church Grant Benefit Support Program
Click on the title to view:
Purchase from United Church of Christ Resources at
Please share your experience: suggestions for related resources, new carecards, caregiver development, and other program ideas. They will enrich the resource, and the ministries of all who are Called to Care.
© 1998, 1991, Office for Church Life and Leadership, United Church of Christ
© 2007, Parish Life and Leadership Ministry Team of Local Church Ministries: A Covenanted Ministry of the United Church of Christ.
The materials on this website are intended for the use of those considering the purchase of Called to Care: A Resource for Lay Caregivers. Any duplication or quotation requires written consent of Local Church Ministries, a Covenanted Ministry of The United Church of Christ e United Church of Christ, 700 Prospect Ave, Cleveland, OH.
Vital Tools That You Can Use Right Now
11 Facts about Congregational Vitality in UCC Congregations from the Faith Communities Today Study
United Church of Christ: Faith Practices will provide resources for worship, learning, and serving, on 24 different parctices of our faith. The first four practices are ready now.
Stewardship and Church Finances resources to ignite the generosity of your congregation! Also find information about financial wellness and Our Church's Wider Mission.
Youth and Young Adult Resources for leaders, check out these hot new suggestions.
Women in Mission: Our Common Lot sharing the incredible strengths and resources found in United Church of Christ women so that we may better be about carrying out God's ministry and mission in the world. It's in our DNA!
Global Ministries encourages you to become a Global Mission Church and propel your congregation into new activities or affirm the numerous projects already in place. Whether your next step is to pray regularly for a missionary, study globalization or plan a People-to-People group mission trip, we encourage you to make the decision to put a foot forward and take a step into world mission.
Justice and Witness Ministries Justice LED is a training which will provide assistance to local churches and UCC members who seek to participate in ongoing ways to move our world towards this vision.
Resources for Vital Worship
On August 9, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri a young black man named Michael Brown was shot and killed by a white police officer. While tragic and heartbreaking, this incident is not unique. This type of violence is echoed in communities across our nation.
What happened in the ensuing days is something that seized the imagination and attention of a country and perhaps a world. In the weeks following Michael Brown’s shooting advocates have rallied to call attention to issues of racial discrimination and the militarization of our police forces. UCC clergy and lay leaders have offered prayers, resources, and their physical presence both to aid in the healing of the community of Ferguson, and in an attempt to address the broader systemic issues that underlie what happened in Missouri.
These are challenging times and difficult issues, but together we are called to do the work of healing the hurt in our midst, addressing the lack of understanding between communities, and taking on the sin of racism in our desire to see the Church live and be as one.
Why "Black Lives Matter"
When a church claims boldly “Black Lives Matter” at this moment, it chooses to show up intentionally against all given societal values of supremacy and superiority or common-sense complacency. By insisting on the intrinsic worth of all human beings, Jesus models for us how God loves justly, and how his disciples can love publicly in a world of inequality. We live out the love of God justly by publicly saying #BlackLivesMatter.” (Read more.)
Prayer & Study Resources
Prayers for Racial Justice
Since the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, a collective of UCC faith leaders from across the country have gathered on conference calls convened by the Rev. Geoffrey Black. They share about the on-going efforts at local and conference settings to keep people mobilized and engaged in countering institutional racism and sanctioned violence. And they seek to identify all-Church initiatives with course of actions that can make a difference over time. Last year they called UCC churches to recognize Sunday, August 9, 2015, the actual anniversary of Mike Brown’s death, as a time for us to pray together for racial justice. In the course of that process they prepared a variety of prayers for use by congregations. These prayers may be adapted and used on other days and in other settings in which people gather to pray and witness to justice for all who suffer the violence of racial injustice.
To request free"Black Lives Matter"
- Call to Worship - Dorhauer
- Call to Worship - Jefferson
- Children's Sermon Starters - Wood
- Litany on Gun Violence - Byrne
- Pastoral Prayer - Jefferson
- Prayer of Confession - Jefferson
- Prayer of Confession - Fairman
- Prayer of Lament - Fennema
- Charge to Community Action - Fennema
A Pastoral Letter on Racism: A New Awakening
As America honors the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the ideals of equality, service and beloved community that he lived and died for, the Cleveland-based United Church of Christ has released a Pastoral Letter on Racism, with the hope and expectation that it will be read in our 5,100 churches nationwide on Martin Luther King Jr. weekend or to conclude the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity on Sunday, Jan. 25.
With the recent rash of deaths of African Americans at hands of police, the UCC national leaders hope Martin Luther King weekend will be an opportunity for us to both address those issues through our continuing advocacy and hope for change toward King’s beloved community. Read the letter.
Pastoral Response to Grand Jury Decision
United Church of Christ General Minister and President the Rev. Geoffrey A. Black has released this statement in response to the decision of the grand jury.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
In the months that have passed since the fatal shooting of Michael Brown last August, the attention of the nation on Ferguson, Missouri, has sharpened the reality that racism still exists in our country and is as deadly as ever. Our prayers for justice have been fervent but the truth remains that in communities around the country, racial profiling of people of color by law enforcement, and particularly of young African American men, far too often has lethal consequences.
Day after day, protestors have peacefully marched in the streets of Ferguson, demanding that justice be done. People of faith, including UCC clergy and leaders, and young people living in the area, have provided key leadership in this organizing effort. Even so, a state of emergency was declared days before the announcement of the St. Louis grand jury decision on whether or not Officer Darren Wilson would face criminal charges.
Our United Church of Christ Statement of Faith reminds us that God promises to all who trust in God “courage in the struggle for justice and peace.” In the wake of the grand jury decision not to indict Officer Wilson and the implication that Michael Brown’s death was justified, the people of Ferguson, of the St. Louis area, and of the nation at large are left with an open wound and no visible means to begin the healing process. Disappointment, frustration and anger abound. Any and all of these responses are understandable.
However, we are also reminded by our statement of faith that we are engaged in a “struggle for justice and peace.” These two concepts are appropriately joined. To engage in the struggle takes courage and a renewed commitment to advocacy and action, to deepening racial awareness by engaging in sacred conversation, and to truthfully examining – then dismantling - the systems of privilege set in place by racism. It requires building God’s beloved community beyond racial divides. That is where true peace abides.
We in the national setting of the United Church of Christ stand in prayerful solidarity with the people of the St. Louis Association and the Missouri Mid-South Conference. We join you and all others who are advocating for justice and working for peace in Ferguson and the St. Louis area as well as in communities around our nation. We invite the whole United Church of Christ to do likewise.
Much more can and must be said on this topic. To that end, we are preparing a more extensive pastoral letter which will be issued during Advent. In the meantime, let us prayerfully face this moment of lost opportunity, seeking God’s gift of courage to continue the struggle. Therein lies our hope for the transformation of this society to a just society for all.
Peace and blessings,
The Rev. Geoffrey A. Black
General Minister and President, United Church of Christ
UC News Coverage
Commentary: We Are All Affected
December 4, 2014
Lancaster Seminary to explore race and violence in forum on Ferguson
October 15, 2014
Moral march in Ferguson underscores justice for all
October 9, 2014
Support and solidarity with Ferguson
August 21, 2014
Geoffrey Black invited to preach, pray in Ferguson
August 19, 2014
UCC communities, leaders mobilize to support Ferguson
August 18, 2014
Data Sharing Agreement This form is for use by academic or non-profit institutions requesting data for the purpose of conducting sociological or historical research. The form must be completed by the requesting institution and sent directly to the CARD director by mail, fax, or email.
Policies and Procedures for Information Data Requests This document details the new polices and procedures that have been adopted with regard to requests for information/data.
We are facing an escalating humanitarian crisis as a growing number of children flee escalating violence in Central America. So far in FY 2014 alone 57,000 children have sought refuge at our borders. It is from dire circumstances that a child chooses to migrate thousands of miles. As people of faith we have an ethical obligation to care for the most vulnerable among us. The root causes of these changing migration patterns are extreme poverty, violence, and rising homicide rates in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, from which most of the children are arriving.
A Pastoral Letter on Child Refugees from the National Leaders of the United Church of Christ
The National Officers of the United Church of Christ and the Council of Conference Ministers — the leaders of the denomination’s regional conferences — shared a pastoral letter addressing the tens of thousands of young refugees fleeing Central and Latin America and seeking safety in the United States. In a unified voice, UCC leaders declared their support for these children that are leaving their homelands out of fear. This is a unique moment that tests the church’s commitment for justice and peace. Read the full pastoral letter.
Compassion and Prayers for Unaccompanied Migrant Children
Join people of faith in praying and acting to protect these children! The United Church of Christ is urging members and congregations to take a moment during church services to pray for and stand in silent witness with thousands of young refugees fleeing violence and conflict in Central America and the people and communities throughout the country working to help them.
There are several things you and your congregation can do:
Pray -Your church can pray for the protection of the children, who have travelled hundreds of miles to escape the violence in their home countries. We are asking for prayers of support for:
- The children and their families. For the violence and poverty that forces people to leave their homes and loved ones. For the broken hearts of parents seperated from their children. For a better world where all God's children can find safety.
- The UCC-affiliated Bethany Children’s Home in Womelsdorf, Penn., which has so far helped more than 60 unaccompanied minors through its Helping Hands program, and plans to help hundreds more in the coming months.
- Yuma United Church of Christ in Yuma, Ariz., which provides food, clothing, water, diapers and other supplies to women and children left by U.S. Border Patrol in public parking lots to fend for themselves.
- The Southwest Conference of the United Church of Christ, which is serving as a donation collection center and working to distribute supplies to its local congregations.
- The Southern California Nevada Conference of the United Church of Christ that is supporting the work of the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium, which has so far collected and distributed tens of thousands of items to young refugees.
- United Church of the Valley United Church of Christ in Murrieta, Calif., whose members brought a peaceful presence to the city’s angry protests, and continue to advocate for these children by working with their congressional representatives.
Act - Both the Senate and House have introduced emergency funding bills to respond to the unaccompanied children fleeing violence in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Calls to your Senators and Representative are urgently needed today. Tell them to REJECT rollbacks to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and to INCREASE funding for refugee resettlement. Visit tiny.cc/ProtectKids for more info and to take action.
Give - Your financial contribution is multiplied by joining with others to increase the capacity of the UCC to address humanitarian needs and to shape the future. You are helping to provide food, water, safe places, a listening pastoral ear, religious services, and legal assistance. Your gifts are already making their way to the UCC Southwest Conference and Church World Service to provide immediate and sustained releif. We thank you for your generosity.
Make a secure on-line donation noting "Unaccompanied Child Refugees" in the comments section. Gifts may also be made at your local UCC congregation noting support for “Unaccompanied Child Refugees". Gifts should then be sent through your Conference office on to Wider Church Ministries. Donations may also be made out and sent directly to Wider Church Ministries, Financial Services - 6th Floor, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115.
More of the UCC Response
- UCC response to crisis of unaccompanied minors from Central America - the UCC Immigration Task Force offers an overview of the crisis and ways for congregations to engage.
- Worth the Risk? Consider the factors behind the surge of unaccompanied children. - July 9, 2014. Derek Duncan, Our Global Ministries Associate for Global Advocacy and Education, reflects on the growing number of unaccompanied children crossing our southern border. He explores why these children are coming to the U.S., what is the faith community is doing to respond, and what comes next.
- UCC coordinated response moves quickly to fund assistance for displaced children
- UCC Congregations respond:
UCC Disaster Ministries responds to natural and human caused disasters all over world and is well positioned to respond in most events. Internationally we maintain strategic partnerships and direct relationships with organizations and faith communities able to appropriately and effectively respond to emergency and long-term needs in over 140 countries. Through this work thousands of disaster survivors receive dignified support and relief annually.
- Tanzania (Floods)
- Guatemala (Volcano)
- Egypt (Fires)
- Kenya (Floods)
- Democratic Republic of Congo (Ebola outbreak)
- Madagascar (Cyclone)
- Zambia (Heavy rains, floods)
- Somalia (Drought)
- Philippines (Mayon Volcano eruption)
- Fiji (Cyclone Winston)
- Haiti (Hurricanes Matthew, Irma and Maria)
- Nepal (Earthquake)
- Honduras (Floods)
- Africa (Kasai Provinces, Congo)
- Africa (Lake Chad)
- Iraq (Earthquake)
- India (Heavy rain, flooding in Tamil Nadu)
- Nicaragua (Tropical Storm Nate)
- Liberia (Storms and Floods)
- Indonesia (Volcanoes)
- Mexico (Earthquakes)
- Caribbean (Hurricane Irma)
- West Bengal, Bihar and Assam states, India (Floods)
- Southern Plain of Nepal (Floods)
- Sierra Leone (Mudslides)
- Sichuan Province, China (Earthquake)
- India (Floods)
- Philippines (Marawi IDPs Due to Violent Conflict)
- Sri Lanka (Floods and Landslides)
- Yemen (Impending Famine)
- Nigeria (Impending Famine)
- Colombia (Mocoa Flooding, Mudslides)
- Ethiopia (Drought/Hunger/Thirst)
- Somalia (Drought/Hunger/Thirst)
- Kenya (Drought/Hunger/Thirst)
- South Sudan (Famine)
- Madagascar (Tropical Storm Enawo)
- Malawi (Heavy Rainfall, Floods)
- Peru (Heavy Rainfall, Floods, Landslides)
- Russia (Ukrainian Refugees) (Extreme Cold)
- Ukraine (IDPs) (Extreme Cold)
- Serbia (Refugees/Migrants) (Extreme Cold)
- Romania (Extreme Cold)
- Fiji (Cyclone Winston)
- Nepal (2015 Earthquake)
- Philippines (2013 Typhoon Haiyan)
- Ecuador (2016 Earthquake)
- Haiti (Hurricane Matthew)
- Chile (Wildfires)
- Costa Rica (Hurricane Otto)
- Tanzania (Earthquake)
- Malawi (Drought)
- Uruguay (Tornado)
- Fiji (Cyclone Winston)
- Ethiopia (Drought, Hunger)
- Democratic Republic of Congo (Floods)
- Nepal (2015 Earthquake)
- Philippines (2013 Typhoon Haiyan)
- Zimbabwe (Drought)
- Taiwan (Earthquake)
- Japan (Earthquake)
- Ecuador (Earthquake)
- Haiti (Hurricane Matthew)
- Cuba (Hurricane Matthew)
- Dominican Republic (Hurricane Matthew)
- Philippines (Typhoons Karen, Lawin and Nina (Nock-ten))
- China (Flooding)
- India (Flooding)
- Central America (Drought)
- Italy (Earthquake)
- Sri Lanka (Floods)
- India (Floods)
- Pakistan (Earthquake)
- Ecuador (Volcano)
- Malawi (Flooding)
- Lao People's Democratic Republic (Floods)
- Myanmar (Cyclone)
- Nepal (Earthquake)
- Madagascar (Cyclone Chedza)
- Vanuatu (Cyclone Pam)
- Mozambique (Flooding)
- Angola (Flooding)
- Korea (Flooding)
- Philippines (Typhoon Haiyan)
- Japan (Earthquake / Tsunami)
- Haiti (Earthquake)
- Iraq (Fire)
- China & Taiwan (Typhoon Soulelor)
- Philippines (Typhoon Lando)
- Malawi (low food production due to weather)
- Ebola Virus Response
- Philippines (Typhoon Haiyan, 2013)
- Japan (Earthquake / Tsunami, 2011)
- Haiti (Earthquake, 2010)
- Congo Brazzaville (Tornado, 2014)
- Burundi (Flooding, 2014)
- China (Landslides, 2014)
- Chile (Earthquake, 2014)
- Chile (Valparaiso Fire, 2014)
- Baghdad (Fire, 2014)
- Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina (Cyclone/Flooding, 2014)
- Afghanistan (Flooding & Landslides, 2014)
- Liberia (Ebola Outbreak)
- Sierra Leone (Ebola Outbreak)
- Indonesia (Volcano eruption, Mt. Sinabung)
- China (Earthquake, Yunnan Province)
We are facing an escalating humanitarian crisis with the increase of migrant children crossing the United States/Mexico border at an alarming rate. Doubling every year since 2011, more than 47,000 children have already attempted the journey so far in 2014. The face of the child migrant has inundated the news cycle, with the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services unable to handle the number of children who, by law, are required to be processed to determine the safest option for each child. This often means waiting in the U.S. with a family member or foster parent for an immigration court case.
It is because of dire circumstances that a child chooses to migrate thousands of miles. A report from the United Nations High Commission on Refugees shows that many of these children are fleeing violence, conscription into gangs, and threats to their personal safety, including gender- and sexual- based violence.
As people of faith, we have an ethical obligation to care for the most vulnerable among us. The majority of unaccompanied children are arriving from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, all of which have seen changing migration patterns due to extreme poverty, violence and rising homicide rates. Displacement rates from these countries into neighboring Belize, Mexico and Nicaragua have soared by 435 percent, according to a recent United Nations report. Likewise, deportation numbers of Guatemalans from Arizona have risen 24 percent in 2014.
Common misconceptions are that policies like the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program or lax border security have caused increased Central American migration. However, the Department of Homeland Security has a record 21,000 border patrol agents. Prosecutions of “illegal entries” have risen 130 percent since 2007, and the Obama Administration is spending $18 billion per year on border security measures. We know that these children are not motivated by U.S. policies – they and their parents are making life-or-death decisions based on increased violence and few options for safety.
Many UCC Congregations across the country are wondering how they can help in this time of crisis. The U.S. government is required to take care of these children until the Department of Health and Human Services determines the best space for them, so there is no need for food or supply donations as in many emergency situations. Instead, we have mapped out several action steps for both advocacy and service opportunities.
Ways to Engage:
- Take action - call your representative today and call for adequate funding for the Office of Refugee Resettlement.
- If you live near an immigrant holding facility, you may want to start a detention visitation ministry. See List of detention centers throughout the country here and research if they are holding unaccompanied children.
- Consider becoming a foster parent to allow the release of the child while they wait for their immigrant court date. Additional resources can be found via the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops.
- Spread the right message! Help educate others through resource list and social media opportunities.
- Volunteer with a program that is helping unaccompanied children, such as the Corporation for National and Community Service, Bridging Refugee Youth and Children’s Services, or Kids In Need of Defense.
Region-specific volunteer opportunities:
- ARIZONA: Casa Mariposa seeks volunteers to help women and children dropped off at the Tucson and Phoenix bus stations. Volunteers help contact relatives, provide diapers, food, child care, etc.
- FLORIDA: Catholic Charities’ Msgr. Bryan Walsh Children’s Village in Miami, Florida shelters unaccompanied children and provides K-12 education, counseling, medical and legal services. Volunteers are need Monday-Friday to help with recreational activities and field trips as well as host birthday parties and holiday celebrations.
- TEXAS: Bilingual volunteers are needed to mentor unaccompanied children at St. Michael’s Home for Children in the Galveston-Houston area.
- NEW YORK: Spend time with minors waiting to meet with their case managers at local detention facilities.
- NEW ENGLAND: Lutheran Social Services provides legal assistance to unaccompanied minors in immigration court proceedings.