JPANet: May 2017 Newsletter
Getting to the Root of It
We’ve asked our staff to help us unpack the complex justice issues that we’re working on. Using our General Synod pronouncements as the basis for these reflections, we hope to provide insights into the issues you care about that are rooted in our shared faith, and can inform your advocacy efforts. This month Rev. Julian DeShazier, senior minister of University Church in Chicago, reflects on the concept of sanctuary and intersectionality.
Building Sanctuary For All… All of Us
Everyday we read the headlines – usually on our timelines – and find more brokenness that both enrages and touches us at a deeply personal level. In one sense, we must appreciate technology for its profound ability to spread information rapidly and put us in community with others doing the work and being affected in the same way. Whatever your passion is, you are not alone. Thanks be to God! (Read more.)
Immigrant Rights Sunday
The first Sunday in May has been designated Immigrant Rights Sunday within the United Church of Christ. We urge you to lift up immigrants on this day: to learn about their concerns, honor their contributions to our country and communities, hear their pain, pray for their well-being, and listen to hear where God is leading us regarding issues of immigration. Explore our worship and prayer resources and start planning your congregations Immigrant Rights Sunday observances.
Faith Communities Mobilizing for World Refugee Day
The U.S. has a long and proud history of receiving refugees, yet this administration has been attacking refugees and immigrants through policies such as the Muslim ban and reducing resettlement to record low numbers. Join the Interfaith Immigration Coalition Webinar for a webinar entitled, “Faith Communities Mobilizing for World Refugee Day,” on Monday, May 8th at 4 PM ET/1 PM PT to learn how your faith community can mobilize for World Refugee Day in June. Please RSVP Here
Mental Health Sunday
The United Church of Christ Mental Health Network invites you to highlight mental health on the third Sunday in May or any Sunday that suits your schedule. This is an opportunity for your congregation to begin or to continue to provide education and support to your members around mental health challenges. Learn more.
Be the Spark for Environmental Justice!
How can we take on the urgent challenges of environmental justice in our time and place? Come to Pilgrim Point Camp in Minnesota May 24-26 to find out! Using stories, the arts, video, and hands-on learning opportunities, this workshop will equip participants to mobilize their communities around issues of environmental justice. Pastors, church members, and members of other communities of faith are all welcome.
Torture Awareness Month
Every June, human rights and faith organizations join together to mark Torture Awareness Month. Our partners at the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) invite you and your local church to join people of faith throughout the world in commemorating Torture Awareness Month. Check out NRCAT’s activity ideas page and start planning your observance.
OWL Trainings Pre-Synod!
Want to start an Our Whole Lives/Sexuality and Our Faith ministry? Want to get more folks trained to sustain the ministry you have? Join us for a Pre-Synod OWL training in Columbia, MD! Join the movement for Justice, Inclusivity, developmentally appropriate and faith-based sex education! Choose your level—Elementary (K-1/Gr. 4-6), Secondary (Gr. 7-9/10-12) or Young Adult/Adult. Register now! Questions? Contact Amy Johnson, UCC OWL Coordinator/Commissioned Minister for Sexuality Education at 216-736-3718.
Justice in Action
The House Nearly has the Votes to Repeal Health Care – Act Now!
The House could vote this week on the American Health Care Act (AHCA), their replacement for the ACA. This legislation will strip millions of their health insurance and put vulnerable people at risk. The new proposal allows states to seek waivers from enforcing the ACA’s core protections for people with pre-existing conditions for almost any reason a state claims. Our calls have the power to stop this destructive legislation from passing – act now!
Has Your Local Church Signed on to UCAN’s Call to Action?
UCAN, the United Church of Christ HIV & AIDS Network, is campaigning for at least 1,000 UCC Churches to sign-on to the Call to Action to End AIDS by General Synod. A toolkit will be released in early June that will assist churches in implementing the actions called for. Although the focus of the campaign is local churches, individuals are also encouraged to sign-on. There has never been a more important time to be engaged in HIV response and as people of faith and faith communities we have a great opportunity to provide critical leadership and advocacy to end the HIV & AIDS epidemic by 2030. Register now.
Chance to Win Award for Sharing Best Practices in Addressing Our Climate
The ecumenical organization Blessed Tomorrow is calling for success stories to include in a best practices guide for how to address climate change. This is a chance to share climate solutions that can be replicated by others. Seven success stories will be selected, and one exemplary leader will receive an award at a summit in Washington D.C. Learn more.
Drone Warfare and the Religious Community
The Interfaith Network on Drone Warfare has created a 30 minute film designed to introduce faith groups to the topic of lethal drones: Moral and Safe? War, Peace, Drone Warfare, and the Religious Community. Justice and Witness Ministries has supported this work and encourages UCC members to view the film’s trailer and consider viewing it in your congregation or community. Register for access to the full film and also download the free study guide for facilitating discussion. Contact Rev. Michael Neuroth with questions.
Download our Public Policy Advocacy Guide
The 2017 UCC Public Policy Advocacy Guide provides tips, tools and theological insights for understanding our call to advocacy, engaging in organizing, and getting your message heard by decision makers. This is your one-stop tool for engaging in faith-based advocacy! Download your copy now.
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.
Featured topics: Three Great Loves | Acting like the Earth is the Lord’s | Lawmakers, Meet the Bible’s ‘Strangers, Widows and Orphans’ | That All May Be Represented | Accessible and Affordable Healthcare: It’s a Moral Imperative