Thank you for your faithful advocacy in 2016. The past year was an eventful one. Even as Congress was mired in partisanship and gridlock, thanks to your dedication, a prophetic voice for justice rang out strong throughout the year.
As we near the end of this Advent Season and turn our hearts and minds toward Christmas, I am mindful of the circumstances of Christ's birth and the relevance of that birth today. I am mindful of Jesus being born on the wrong side of the tracks in Bethlehem of Judea, an area we now know as Palestine. I am mindful that the birth of Jesus was not met with the elaborate grandeur of our celebrations today, but rather, Jesus was born as the son of a young woman whose pregnancy was unplanned and whose birth was so ethnically profiled by the governing forces of his day that his parents were forced to seek political asylum. (Read more.)
A glimmer of light dimly beams at the end of the tunnel of the HIV epidemic as World AIDS Day observations take place in 2016, but there is no guarantee we will ever reach it. Many have characterized the potential of this moment as a tipping point, because depending on the response we make now it could go either way. That’s why it is important to get to the root of HIV – understanding where we are in the epidemic, exploring the role of faith communities and strategically engaging to take full advantage of this moment to stop AIDS and end the HIV epidemic as a public health threat by 2030. (Read more.)
November 2016. The 2016 election cycle has stirred heated rhetoric and passion, exposed sharp divides, and reopened painful wounds for many communities. Could this post-election time be an opportunity to share stories and heal our nation in a real way; to move polite, “watered-down civility” and begin the process of reweaving the threads of our common life? Sandy Sorensen, Director of our UCC Washington Office, argues that people of faith have precisely the skills we need to move our nation forward after Election Day.
October 2016. This month Rev. Noel Andersen, a pastor and Immigration organizer with the United Church of Christ and Church World Service, explores the upcoming Border Convergence where advocates will work to address the root causes of migration, extreme violence in Central America, the militarization of border, and the problem of and unjust U.S. immigration system that continues to separate families.
In 2008, six million Americans didn’t vote because they missed a registration deadline or didn’t know how to register. Six-million. Literally millions of people – individuals who have the right to have their voices heard and whose unique experiences we need reflected in our democracy - found they were without a voice at the polls because they didn’t know the rules of the game.
This is unacceptable. (Read more.)
August 2016. This month Roy Komanapalli, a seminarian at Princeton Theological Seminary and Intern in our UCC Washington Office, discusses how the poor and oppressed in India are using protest and civil disobedience as tools of resistance. He invites us to learn about the Dalit struggle and think about how you might celebrate the UCC’s peacemaking history on Just Peace Sunday.
We celebrate a black man’s resurrection every Easter. A Roman supremacist society crucified Jesus based on trumped up charges. His cross became his lynching tree. But, Jesus arose.
No one will witness Alton Sterling and Philando Castile’s resurrections. Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Rekia Boyd, Sandra Bland and Eric Garner, among others, have no more earthly tomorrows.
The Creator sees us all as children. But, some of our siblings don’t claim us. They see dark skin, but they don’t see our humanity. (Read more.)
July 2016. This month Derek Duncan, Associate for Global Advocacy and Education for our Global Ministries (Disciples of Christ and United Church of Christ), discusses how we can achieve real and lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula. He reminds us that recent reversals in U.S. policy on Cuba and Iran demonstrate that transformations of long-entrenched adversarial relationships are possible. Finally, he calls on the U.S. to use its power to finally replace the Korean War Armistice Agreement with a formal peace treaty. Read more.
June 2016. This month Quan Williams, UCC Policy Advocate for Domestic Issues, tackles the issue of mass incarceration. She explores why people of faith should care about our criminal justice system, why we must do more than simply pray, and urges us to action by reminding us, "We are called to treat those in prison as though we ourselves are in prison – to treat those being tortured as if we ourselves are being tortured." Learn more and join the UCC in our Faith Beyond Bars campaign.
May 2016. This month Sandy Sorensen, Director of the UCC Washington Office, talks elections – How people of faith can engage, why our voices are needed, and what you and your congregation can do to make sure that everyone in your community is empowered to exercise their right to vote.
April 2016. With Earth Day approaching, Rev. Brooks Berndt looks at our faith call to care for our neighbors and asks how that extends to our commitment to caring for the world in which we live. He urges us toward hope and action as the UCC embarks on it's campaign to limit the devastation wrought be fossil fuel extraction and join the call to "Keep it in the Ground!"
March 2016. This month Rev. Loey Powell, Executive Associate to the President of the UCC's Council for Health and Human Service Ministries and past UCC Minister for Justice for Women, writes about the ways in which this election could impact women. She reminds us that this election season is not just about the presidential race but also state races for the national Congress, state legislatures, and local councils, and that all of the issues that impact the quality of women’s lives have local ramifications.
With the start of 2016 we have welcomed two new leaders to our UCC Justice & Witness Ministries Team. It is our great pleasure to introduce you to the Rev. Traci D. Blackmon as acting Executive Minister and Quan Williams as our UCC Advocate for Domestic Policy.
This month, Rev. Brooks Berndt reflects on the water crisis in Flint, reminding us that in many ways the city's story bears out the truth of a statement Manning Marable once made: In order for American democracy finally to become a reality for all of its citizens, we must, first, understand historically how and why these deep structures of racial inequality came into being, and how they were most decisively expressed in the daily lives and life chances of minorities and whites alike.
August 2015. Throughout our history the social policy statements of our General Synod trace an outstanding record of courageous vision across the decades. General Synod 30, which took place in June, was no different. Here we’ve taken some time to briefly recap the newly passed resolutions that will guide our justice and advocacy work in the months and years to come.