Solidarity and Support for East Palestine: Three Actions to Embody Love
On February 3rd, the small town of East Palestine, Ohio suffered from a toxic train derailment explosion that provoked ongoing national concern. The people of East Palestine are in need of a strong and robust lifeline of support that addresses significant long-term environmental, health, and economic concerns as well as continued mental and spiritual needs. As we are reminded on Maundy Thursday during Holy Week, Jesus gave us a “new commandment,” that we love one another. By this, people will know that we are disciples. Through the collaboration of the UCC’s National Setting, Heartland Conference, and Living Water Association, these three actions are offered as ways to embody love as we seek to respond as faithful disciples to the plight of those in East Palestine:
(1) Call Your Community to Act: During worship, many churches have a “Moment for Mission” or a time for community prayers, concerns, and calls to action. Use this resource to craft a message you can share with your congregation on Sunday morning to inform them what is needed and what can be done.
(2) Give from the Heart to the Heartland Conference Disaster Network: This conference ministry is engaging as a supportive partner with other ecumenical bodies in response to the train disaster in East Palestine. Donations of money in support of this effort can be made through the Heartland Conference. Your generosity will support local long-term recovery efforts and make available spiritual and emotional support services.
(3) Engage in Faithful Advocacy: The UCC’s Office of Public Policy and Advocacy has created an action alert that enables you to contact your member of Congress in calling for (1) an examination of why railroad safety has deteriorated, (2) robust measures to increase railroad safety, and (3) full funding for medical care costs and an environmental cleanup that ensures the ongoing health and safety of the community.
The UCC’s Disaster Ministries works to equip and support all the settings of the denomination in preparing to respond to crisis situations like those faced by East Palestine. Congregations can become prepared by participating in the Willing to Respond program as well as by requesting a workshop training on how to prepare for environmental-technology caused disasters.