Help turn ‘swords into plowshares’ at Ecumenical Advocacy Days 2023
Join advocates and activists from the United Church of Christ and other Christian partners at Ecumenical Advocacy Days 2023, held virtually April 25-27. The gathering is an annual conference for public witness through collective Christian action.
“For over 20 years, faith advocates have gathered in person and virtually to lift up a faithful voice in our nation’s capital,” said the Rev. Michael Neuroth, acting director of the UCC Office of Public Policy and Advocacy in Washington, D.C. “This year, the event will include three days of issues education, skill-building workshops, ecumenical worship and a lobby day.”
EAD 2023’s theme is “Swords into Plowshares: Achieving Enough for All and Pursuing Peace.” Neuroth highlighted how this scriptural framework will relate to the event’s policy priorities.
“Ecumenical Advocacy Days will once again gather virtually to reflect on the biblical call to bend swords into plowshares and collectively shape our nation’s spending priorities,” he said. “As people of faith, we will take a message to Capitol Hill to lower our outsized Pentagon budget and invest in programs such as the SNAP nutrition program that could be cut in the Farm Bill being negotiated this year.”
Less war, more food
Neuroth and two other D.C. office staffers — domestic policy advocate Katie Adams and justice and peace policy fellow Thaddaeus Elliott — helped draft the legislative “ask” that EAD attendees will participate in advocating for.
Neuroth noted that, through virtual constituent visits to Capitol Hill, EAD 2023 will call on Congress to cut Pentagon spending by “as much as $100 billion, an amount identified by a 2021 Congressional Budget Office Report that could be cut without impacting national security.”
Divesting in military spending and reinvesting in food programs is in keeping with the “Swords into Plowshares” motif, Neuroth said, pointing to the thematic scripture from the prophet Micah: “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. They shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees, and no one shall make them afraid.”
“As in the Micah passage, we are called to be the ones to plant the vines and fig trees that our children, and their children, will one day sit under,” Neuroth said. “At a time when 2.3 billion people in the world were food insecure last year, exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic, and life itself remains threatened by climate change, this is an urgent call to action. How can we make such macro changes?”
‘The future we seek’
Neuroth will also moderate the opening plenary on the first day as one of the event’s featured speakers. Attendees from the UCC and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) will host a joint time for denominational networking April 25 at 12:30 p.m. In addition, Neuroth said that Global Ministries staff and partners will be highlighted in the recorded opening workshop.
EAD workshops will feature skills building on the first day, including ways to organize and mobilize congregations for justice work. Day Two and Day Three workshops will focus on issue tracks, such as climate justice, human rights, demilitarization and challenges for asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The event’s main-stage plenary sessions and 30-plus workshops will be recorded and available for viewing within the platform on-demand for up to 30 days after the event. EAD 2023 also will feature a virtual exhibit hall and networking and meet-up capability built into the experience.
“In order to create the future we seek, we must work to build Micah’s vision of peace and abundance and securing enough for all God’s children,” Neuroth said. “The UCC’s Washington D.C. office invites you to join with us at this year’s Ecumenical Advocacy Days as we seek for more of our nation’s ‘swords’ to be bent into ‘plowshares,’ and ultimately ensure all God’s children have what they need to thrive.”
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