JPANet August 2018 Newsletter
As Congress heads out of town for August Recess, the UCC Justice and Peace Action Network will also take a brief hiatus from our weekly action alerts. This has been a fast-paced year for justice advocacy, and we hope you will take some time in the midst of the struggle to renew and re-energize body, mind and soul. We also invite you to consider the many opportunities for advocacy that are available during these lazy, hazy “dog days” of summer. August is a critical period for justice organizing, and an especially prime time to encounter your elected officials while they’re home in your district. Here is a list of some ways you can engage during this time.
We are so grateful for your faithful witness! See you again in September.
Getting to the Root of It
We’ve asked UCC advocates to help us unpack the complex justice issues that we’re working on. This month Rebekah Choate, our Associate for Global Advocacy and Education, reflects on the anniversaries of the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and our denomination’s work.
The Sin of Nuclear Weapons
August 6 and August 9 are the anniversaries of the only two instances where nuclear weapons were used as a tool of warfare. August 6, 1945 at 8:15am was when the first atomic bomb was dropped over Hiroshima and August 9, 1945 at 11:01am was when the second was dropped over Nagasaki. Both bombs leveled the cities and killed more than 150,000 people, half of whom were killed the day of the bombings from the explosion and ensuing fire, while the other half were killed in the days, weeks, months, and years that followed. The exact number of victims is still unknown. (Read more.)
Witness at the Border
Many of you have asked what more can be done to respond to government policies that detain and separate families. The Southwest Conference UCC, acting with Justice and Local Church Ministries, is issuing two calls to action:
- Join us for a Faithful Witness AT the Border on August 26 – 30, 2018 – This experience will include a humanitarian mission to the Mexican side of the border to visit and take supplies to asylum-seekers, solidarity actions at detention facilities, advocacy training, and more.
- Join our Faithful Witness FOR the Border – Can’t come to the border? Congregations and conferences are invited to host their own local events that might include: Beginning the process for becoming an Immigrant-Welcoming Congregation, organizing and attending town halls and candidate forums, raising money and collecting supplies for humanitarian relief at the border, and more.
The Sunday of Labor Day weekend 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.
Rise for Climate: Sign Up to March
The UCC Council for Climate Justice and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Green Chalice ministry are co-sponsoring the Rise for Climate marches taking place across the country on or near September 8th. The largest march is being planned for San Francisco ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit. Sign-up to join the UCC-DOC contingent and receive helpful updates on the march and the worship service.
The 6th Annual HBCU Climate Change Conference
The UCC Environmental Justice Ministry and the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice will be co-convening the 6th Annual HBCU Climate Change conference in New Orleans from September 20-23. The conference is an exciting opportunity to learn from veteran keynote speakers in the environmental justice movement as well as students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Just Peace Sunday – September 16
This year, Just Peace Sunday will focus on the theme “Wisdom Cries Out!” based on the lectionary passage, Proverbs 1:20-33. Worship, learning, and craft materials will be available online making connections between our witness as a Just Peace Church and our particular concern at this time for those migrants fleeing violence at our border. Join us in marking September 16th as Just Peace Sunday!
The 2018 Everett C. Parker Lecture
The Everett C. Parker Lecture has been a tradition in media justice for over 30 years. The lecture and awards ceremony is sponsored by the Office of Communication, Inc. (OC, Inc.) of the United Church of Christ. This year the honorees are: Helen Brunner, founding director of the Media Democracy Fund, and Gigi B. Sohn, a Distinguished Fellow at the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy and Benton Senior Fellow and Public Advocate. Read the press release to learn more about this year’s honorees. Get your tickets now.
Justice in Action
Our Faith Our Vote
It can be tempting to disengage from the political process, but as people dedicated to creating a just world for all, we know we must be involved. Read Rev. Traci Blackmon’s invitation to participate in the UCC Our Faith Our Vote campaign and learn more about how your congregation can legally engage in the elections.
Join our Team! Apply for our UCC Justice and Peace Fellowship
Our Washington, DC team is now accepting applications for our Justice and Peace Fellowship. This 1-2 year position is a perfect opportunity for young leaders who are seeking to learn and work at the intersection of our faith, public policy, and our call to work for a just world for all. Applications are due by August 15th with an expected start date in September. Apply now and help us spread the word!
Neighbors in Need
Neighbors in Need (NIN) is a special mission offering of the United Church of Christ that supports ministries of justice and compassion throughout the United States. One-third of NIN funds support the Council for American Indian Ministry (CAIM). The remaining two-thirds support local justice initiatives throughout the UCC.
- Resources to support your congregation in promoting this offering – including posters, social media graphics, and more – are now available for download.
- Have a justice ministry that needs funding? Applications for Neighbors in Need Grants will be accepted August 1-September 30.
Worship Resources – Immigration, Charlottesville and More
UCC Worship Ways has a growing collection of worship resources related to current events. They are now featuring prayers related to the immigration crisis and liturgy to remember Charlottesville. Check back often for worship resources to support your work for justice.
A Guide for Churches Seeking to Turn Love into Climate Action
In partnership with Blessed Tomorrow, the UCC has produced Three Great Loves and Climate Action: A Guide to Getting Started. This guide focuses on engaging one’s congregation in responsible energy use and just environmental practices, so that our children, our neighbors, and all of creation might thrive more fully. Download the PDF to learn more about how churches can turn love into action.
The Third Reconstruction: A devotional series for UCC congregations.
Our 3 Great Loves writers team has created a special devotional series intended to be a compliment for UCC congregations and individuals as they reflect on the seminal book by the Rev. William Barber and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, The Third Reconstruction. May this reflection inspire not only awareness but responsive action to bridge racial divisions and truly live out God’s love by loving our neighbors. Download the devotional series.
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.