JPANet January 2023 Newsletter
Each month we ask UCC advocates to help us unpack the complex justice issues that we’re working on. January started off with much drama here on Capitol Hill as we watched the historic vote (or should we say votes) for Speaker of the House. The best voice to help talk about this new Congress, and what we might expect this year, is UCC Domestic Policy Advocate, Katie Adams.
Getting Started with the 118th Congress
In the political world, the turning of the calendar to January means a new Congress. The 118th Congress gaveled in on January 3, with new members and a new majority party. You may now live in a new district because of redistricting following the 2020 census. As the new Congress starts, there is a rush to introduce legislation. Newly elected leaders seek to set the political tone of the year, and to build momentum for important policy pushes. This new Congress’ introduction has been historically chaotic, with a contested race for Speaker of the House. Political watchers worry this may be a bellwether for how the 118th Congress will function. Read more.
Justice In Action
Art Contest Award Ceremony
Sincere thanks to all the kids, parents, church staff and volunteers who participated in the Climate Hope Cards Art Contest! Over 300 churches registered and nearly 900 works of art were submitted. Winners in different age groups will be announced during an Award Ceremony on Saturday, January 14th. Join us on Zoom to learn who the lucky winners will be!
MLK and the New Abolitionists: New Resources from Join the Movement
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in integrity.Timothy 4:12
To honor the radical movement legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Join the Movement Toward Racial Justice will be offering resources for worship, study, reflection and action that lift up the partnership between King’s civil rights advocacy and the practices, ideas and leadership of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). It is easy to forget that the lunch counter sit-ins that we now think of as iconic of the Civil Rights Movement were initiated by students. SNCC was a youth movement that worked collaboratively to build collective power for racial justice. Connecting JTM’s Abolition Advent and our Black History Month focus on continuing SNCC’s work by “Becoming Our Own Freedom Schools,” we hope these resources can inspire communities to embrace the fullness of the Body of Christ by building our capacity for intergenerational movement making.
Climate Hope Summer Fellowship Grants
The Environmental Justice Ministry of the United Church of Christ is allotting grants of $2,500 to UCC churches, conferences, and associations as well as UCC-affiliated theological schools and non-profit organizations for the purposes of developing and furthering the work of youth and young adult leaders in the movement for climate justice. The grants are to be used during the summer of 2023. The application deadline is March 1st. Apply now!
January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month
Human trafficking, or trafficking in persons, is one of the world’s largest organized criminal enterprises. Millions are held against their will for slave labor and/or sex work, including tens of thousands in the US. Human trafficking is growing because slave labor is profitable and because poverty and marginalization makes so many vulnerable to exploitation. Find resources from Global Ministries.
Movie Screening: The Ants and the Grasshopper
Join us online for a screening of a documentary about Anita Chitaya. After successfully confronting challenge after challenge in her home country of Malawi, Chitaya comes to the U.S. faced with the most difficult task of her life. To save her home from extreme weather, she seeks to persuade people in the U.S. that climate change is real. Register to join us on March 1st at 7 pm ET/6 pm CT/ 5 pm MT/4 pm PT/2 pm HT.
Save the Date for Ecumenical Advocacy Days 2023!
Save the date for Ecumenical Advocacy Days April 25-27, 2023. The conference will again be virtual with the theme “Swords into Plowshares – Achieving Enough for All & Pursuing Peace.” Plan now to join us online and spread the word! Information will be forthcoming on the website.
Rev. Otis Moss III offers Spiritual Guidance for Turbulent Times
Reverend Otis Moss, III, Senior Pastor at Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ and one of the country’s most renowned and beloved spiritual and civil rights leaders launches his latest book, Dancing in the Darkness, a life-affirming guide to the practical, political, and spiritual challenges of our day. Drawing on the teachings of Dr. King, Howard Thurman, sacred scripture, southern wisdom, global spiritual traditions, Black culture, and his own personal experiences, Dr. Moss instructs us on how to practice spiritual resistance by combining justice and love. Rev. Moss’s helps us tap into the spiritual reserves we all possess but too often overlook, so we can slay our personal demon, confront our civic challenges, and reach our highest goals. You are invited to read and renew your commitment to racial, social, political, economic, and environment justice for all.
Our healing comes when we release our internalized anger and engage our bodies in movement and movements for justice.
Apply for the Dollie Burwell Prophetic Action Award
In 1982, Dollie Burwell organized nonviolent actions that gave birth to the environmental justice movement. A new award named in her honor will be given to congregations, ministerial teams, or other groups in the UCC who are carrying on the tradition of prophetic public action. The winner will receive a $1,000 and be featured in a UCC Earth Day Summit. Apply for the award!
DC Action Center
Each week, the D.C. Office creates an action alert based on what is happening at that time in Congress, and offers you the opportunity to contact your legislators with just one click! You can find all the alerts here.
The Pollinator is a digital platform of the UCC for the sharing of ideas and inspiration. Its focus is the building of a faith-filled and faith-rooted movement for the care of creation
Witness for Justice
Looking for up-to-date social justice commentary? Check out Witness for Justice, a weekly editorial opinion column written by the staff of Justice and Witness Ministries.