Young Adults and Justice

Young Adults and Justice

Throughout its history - from early engagement in the movement to abolish slavery to modern campaigns for civil rights and social justice - the UCC in every setting of the church has been engaged in ministries of compassion, advocacy and reconciliation.  While there is a deep respect in the UCC for the rights of every individual member to form her or his own views on these issues, there has always been a recognizable passion across our church to "make things right" - as a testament to our faith in God, our hope for God's future, our love for God's creation.  In this way we seek to apply the commandment of Jesus Chirst to love our neighbors as ourselves.

We are called to:

Civil & Human Rights

Across the world, in the face of sometimes profound injustice, human beings have come together to describe and detail the most basic of human rights, and their consensus that we are all subject to these fundamental ideals. 

In the United States, we enjoy a broad array of privileges.  We often associate violations of human rights with people in distant places.  But human rights violations occur in this country, every day.  While those of us who enjoy majority status and privilege may sometimes wish to distance ourselves from suffering, we know in our hearts that we cannot.  Increasingly in recent years, we have watched the erosion of civil liberties and human rights, even of the privileged.  

Each one of us is called to take our rightful place as mothers, fathers, relatives in the human family.  We are all children of God.  May we guard one another as sisters and brothers in Christ.  May peace and justice live in our hearts. 

Children and Youth 
Criminal Justice
Health Care
LGBT Justice 
Media Justice 
National Religious Campaign Against Torture 
Our Faith Our Vote Campaign
Public Education
Racial Profiling
Sexuality Education
Women’s Issues
 Reflections from young adults:
“UCC involvement in the LGBT movement, 2006 Equality Ride: A Case Study” by
Kayla Bonewell, Pacific School of Religion, Fall 2006

"Demonstrating Against the School of the Americas" by
Jasmine Hamilton-Wray, November, 2005

Economic Justice

We know that our loving God cares about all aspects of our lives, including our work lives. Conditions and events at work absorb our energy, occupy our minds, and impact our psyches when we are both at work and home. Our work situations can be fulfilling and empowering, or demeaning and humiliating. For many of us, our job is the main factor determining the size of our income, whether we have health insurance and a pension, whether we live in a big house or any house at all, and whether we send our children to college or to bed with an empty stomach.

Some workers confront particularly unjust situations such as extremely low pay, unsafe conditions, racism, or sexism. All workers, whatever their position in the hierarchy of jobs, may suffer from indignities, large and small, that cripple their spirit and hinder their journey to greater wholeness.

One-quarter of all jobs in the U.S. pay wages so low that a full-time worker cannot keep a family out of poverty. For some, the biggest problem is no job at all. Even when the economy is considered to be "strong," millions of people who want to work cannot find a job or can only find a part-time one.

God's reign does not stop at the door to the workplace. The Church, the body of Christ, is called to seek out and accompany people wherever they are. So the church must also be in our offices, factories, stores, farms, schools, and all the places where people work.

Caste Discrimination and Fair Trade
Coffee Project (Fair Trade)
Economic Globalization
Employee Free Choice Act
Farm workers
Federal Budget and Appropriation
Financial Crisis
Gulf Coast Initiative
Hotel workers
Labor Sunday
Labor unions
Low wage workers
Rebuilding Rural America
Social Security
Workplace Justice
 Reflections from young adults:
“Economic Justice Young Adult Team:
A report on a training and immersion experience in
workplace justice issues, August 2006, North Carolina, USA.”

Reflections of six UCC & DOC young adults

"Globalization and Violence",  by
Ursula McClure, City of Refuge UCC, San Francisco, CA, Young Adult Ecumenical Forum 2006

"Economic Globalization", by
Topher Nicols, Southern California Nevada Conference, UCC, 2005

Environmental Justice

Since 1959, the United Church of Christ has recognized our call to be stewards of God’s ever-evolving creation, as is evidenced by the Second General Synod resolution that was a “call to Christian action in society, ‘includeing a call for conservation and development of the Earth’s resources for the benefit of all people now and in the future.” 

God’s evolving creation is extravagantly interrelated. Significant environmental issues are before us. In the UCC, we celebrate that everything we do to tend and appreciate the diversity of earth community matters.

"Worshipping God in prayer and communion, energizing community transformation, our efforts become a breathing with the world. We dare to move forward with practices of care and devotions of nurturing "creation communities.” 

Good Deed Foundation
Green Churches
Pastoral Letter on Faith and Environment
The Green Season
The Energy and Climate Change
Toxic Wastes and Race
 Reflections from young adults:
“Environmental Justice Young Adult Team:
A report on a training and immersion experience,
August, 2004, California, USA and Baja California, Mexico”

Global Justice

The creation belongs to God. We have been given responsibility to care for it, lovingly tend it, and responsibly use it. When, in our brokenness, we hoard resources, violate and plunder the earth carelessly and greedily; when we take more than we need at the expense of others, it violates God's intention for the human community.

In an increasingly interdependent world economic order, unfair systems are working to benefit some and hurt others. The global economic order has created an increasing disparity, in which a relative few are hoarding an increasingly large amount of the world's resources, while over two-thirds of the world fall further and further into miserable, grinding poverty. The church has a responsibility to speak on behalf of, and stand with the poor, oppressed and marginalized.

East Timor
Intellectual Property
International Trade
International Trade and Investment
Jobs & Globalization
Jubilee Debt Relief
Marshall Islands
The Accra Confession
Trade Week of Action
United Nations
 Reflections from young adults:
"Globalization and Violence", by
Ursula McClure, City of Refuge UCC, San Francisco, CA, Young Adult Ecumenical Forum 2006

"Economic Globalization", by
Topher Nicols, Southern California Nevada Conference, UCC, 2005


The Prince of Peace calls to us in our day to reach for the best inside of us and respond with compassion and love.  Do it for our children whose smiles ought to light up the world.  Do it for our young ones who will lead us into tomorrow with a wisdom far beyond their years.  May our prayers and our actions let them and the world know that all will be well.

Conscientious Objection to the Military
Decade to Overcome Violence
Declaration of Peace
Just Peace Church Pronouncement
Nuclear Weapons

Racial Justice

On May 18, UCC pastors across the nation offered sermons on race as an important first step toward beginning a longer-term "sacred conversation on race" that will take place over the coming weeks and months in our churches and communities. Congregations are now encouraged to develop processes that will lead to productive dialogue and action. It's impossible for a sacred conversation on race to be a single-day event.

The UCC announced this intiative on April 3 -- on the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s last sermon -- in order to foster a spirit of healing and unity. While much has been said during the past several months about the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., this dialogue is intended to be a larger conversation, one not focused directly or exclusively on the recent controversy, but one certainly influenced by it.

Sacred conversations are never easy, especially when honest talk confronts our nation's painful past and speaks directly to the injustices of the present day. Yet sacred conversations can, and often do, honor the value of diverse life experiences, requiring an openness to hear each others' viewpoints. Growth often happens when honest conversations are communicated in a respectful environment.

A Church for All People
Affirmative Action
Anti-Racist Church Pronouncement
Four Social Realms of Racism and Change
Multi-Racial Multi-Cultural
Multiracial, Multicultural Glossary
Negative Stereotyping
Pastoral Letter on Racism
Racism Declared a Sin
Sacred Conversations on Race 
Self Assessment

 Reflections from young adults:
"Encounter on Overcoming Racism", by
Amritha Perumalla, World Council of Churches' Justice, Peace and Creation Team, 2004

"Encounter Youth Paper – Perumalla"

Young Adults speak for justice!

"Come, Listen and Go Sow Liberation!" by Claudia De La Cruz, Latina human right advocate, seminarian, officer of the Council for Hispanic Ministries and young adult, General Synod 25, 2005

More young adult reflections can be found under each issue tab.

Contact Info

Kelly Jean Burd
Minister for Leadership Development
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44115