JPANet August 2017 Newsletter
Getting to the Root of It
We’ve asked UCC advocates 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.
Jim Crow Statues and Rooting Out White Supremacy
By Rev. Tracy Howe Wispelwey
In Charlottesville, VA there has been a comprehensive effort involving city officials, scholars, citizens and anti-racism activists to acknowledge that the Jim Crow era Confederate monuments placed in strategic areas across the city, served to establish and root the Lost Cause Narrative of the Confederacy and bolster white supremacy. (Read more.)
Apply for a Neighbors in Need Grant
Neighbors in Need grants are awarded to churches and organizations doing justice work in their communities. These grants fund projects whose work ranges from direct service to community organizing and advocacy to address systemic injustice. Apply for a grant now. The deadline for submissions is September 30th.
The Sunday of Labor Day weekend (September 3) is Labor Sunday, a day to lift up workers and celebrate their contributions. It is also a day to commit ourselves to improving jobs and our economy so that all workers have wages, benefits, and work hours that allow them to live in the fullness of life – which is God’s intention for each of us. Learn more and access reflections, worship materials and more.
Just Peace Sunday
Save the date! September 17th is Just Peace Sunday. New materials will be posted by August 1st for this year’s Just Peace Sunday. The theme this year is “Remember, Repent, Renew – The Way of Just Peace” and will focus on the lectionary passage Genesis 50:15-21 and the biblical concept of Teshuvah as a component of Just Peace leading to Shalom. Resources now available – Learn more.
World Week of Peace in Palestine and Israel
The World Council of Churches invites global communions and people of faith to mark September 17-24 as the World Week of Peace in Palestine and Israel. Despite 50 years of occupation, we are grounded in hope and are encouraged to witness to and work toward a just peace for all Israelis and Palestinians.
Access Sunday & Disabilities Awareness Week
Each year, the second Sunday of October is designated on the UCC church calendar as Access Sunday. It is an occasion when all the UCC will join together in celebrating the gifts of persons with disabilities and the strides that the church has made in being more whole through being more accessible. It is also a day that we, the church, acknowledge the journey yet to be taken with our sisters and brothers with disabilities. Pastors and lay leaders, invite your congregation to join your UCC friends around the country in celebrating Access Sunday on this day, or on a Sunday more fitting to your church calendar. Find more information and resources via our UCC Disabilities Ministries.
Speak Out Sabbath – October 13-15, 2017
As part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Speak Out Sabbath is an interfaith advocacy weekend coordinated by the We Will Speak Out Coalition. Clergy are encouraged to engage in speaking out against sexual and gender-based violence in an intentional and faithful way during worship with their congregations. Worship resources, sermon starters, litanies, and children’s resources are being updated and added daily.
The 35th Annual Parker Lecture and Awards Breakfast
Rinku Sen, outgoing president and executive director of Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation, will deliver the 35th Annual Everett C. Parker Ethics in Telecommunications Lecture. The Parker Lecture and Awards Breakfast will be held at 8 a.m. October 24 at First Congregational United Church of Christ, 945 G Street NW, in Washington, DC. For tickets or sponsorship information, click here.
Justice in Action
Stand in Solidary with Young Immigrants
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects nearly 800,000 young people from deportation, is under attack.
- Faith leaders and congregations are encouraged to sign on to this statement in support of DACA by filling out this form: bit.ly/FaithWithDreamers
- Join the Interfaith Immigration Coalition for a webinar exploring how the faith community can defend DACA on Monday, August 7th, at 4 PM ET/ 1 PM PT.
Pray and Act for a World Free of Nuclear Weapons
The UCC has long opposed nuclear weapons and testing. With the recent passage of a UN treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons, there is renewed hope for a nuclear weapon free world. Use the August commemorations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Days (Aug 6 and 9), and the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons (Sep 26) as moments to raise awareness about nuclear weapons, and learn more about what changes are needed in nuclear weapons policy.
Responding to the US Pulling Out of the Paris Climate Accord
In response to the US pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord, the General Synod passed an emergency resolution in opposition. As further expressions of commitment, two actions can be taken. First, join Interfaith Power & Light in pledging continued efforts to protect creation and address climate change regardless of what the federal government does. Second, plant a yard sign stating your church’s support.
During Recess – Advocate for a Faithful Budget
Government of, by and for the people is a vital forum for promoting the common good, cultivating basic virtues, and ensuring that no one is left behind. As communities of faith, we call on our elected leaders to craft a federal budget that fulfills our shared duty to each other in all segments of society. The UCC has partnered with interfaith allies in DC to craft our vision for a just federal budget that serves all our neighbors. We invite you to download the faithful budget document, along with our grassroots toolkit, and begin advocating for a FY2018 budget that serves all God’s people and protect creation. August is a great time to engage your elected officials while they are home on recess. Get started 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.