JPANet February 2018 Newsletter
Ecumenical Advocacy Days
Now is the time to register for the 2018 Ecumenical Advocacy Days, which will take place April 20-23 in Washington, DC. This weekend long conference is sponsored by our Justice and Witness Ministries and Global Ministries, and offers clergy and lay leaders with an opportunity to worship and learn together, all while honing their advocacy and organizing skills. This year’s gathering will feature UCC Rev. Julian DeShazier (a.k.a J.Kwest) of University Church Chicago and music by Rev. Tracy Howe Wispelwey, UCC Minster for Congregational and Community Engagement. The weekend’s theme, “A World Uprooted: Responding to Migrants, Refugees and Displaced People,” is especially timely as our nation’s leaders continue to debate the fate of our nation’s immigrant and refugee policies. We would love to see you there.
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. This month Katie Adams, UCC Advocate for Domestic Policy, looks at President Trump’s State of the Union Address and how the policies he’s advocating for stack up against our General Synod’s vision of a just world for all.
The State of the Union and Our Faith
By Katie Adams
The Constitution requires that the President, “shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” This annual speech is an opportunity for the President to lay out their vision for the country – not just a chance to reflect on past accomplishments, but give a sense of future priorities. (Read more.)
Mother and Son Featured in Webinar about Youth Suing the Government
As part of the Justice for #EachGeneration campaign for a thousand sermons in support of the 21 youth suing the federal government over climate change, a webinar featuring Kiran and Melanie Oommen will take place on the evening of February 28th. Kiran is one of youth plaintiffs. Melanie is his mother and a UCC pastor. Register now to join this live event.
My Lai Massacre: 50th Anniversary
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the My Lai Massacre, one of the most tragic and pivotal events of the Vietnam War. On March 16th, from 12-1pm in Lafayette Park at the White House, faith leaders and peace advocates will gather for a time of penitential confession, lamenting the 504 innocent lives lost and calling for an end to all military strategies that target civilians, including our current use of drone strikes. Learn more.
Act Now: Unite to End Racism
The National Council of Churches invites us to unite to end racism! Join faith leaders in Washington, DC April 3-5 in the clarion call to heal the soul of the nation as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination.
WISE Congregations for Mental Health Conference
Join the UCC Mental Health Network at their third WISE Conference on Mental Health in Illinois on Friday, May 4, 2018. This conference strives to reduce the stigma about mental illness and increase our understanding of mental health conditions and how our congregations can respond. Learn more.
Justice in Action
Retiring a Racist Logo
The Cleveland baseball team announced this week that they will stop using the Chief Wahoo logo on their uniforms beginning in 2019. UCC advocates have been at the forefront of advocacy to change the team’s name and remove the offensive mascot for decades. While there is still work to do, this is an important step in the right direction. Read more via UC News.
The beginning of 2018 has been a difficult time for immigrants. We have witnessed multiple attacks on immigrant leaders and there is concern that the deal for the Dream Act may fall through. Despite the challenges our churches are standing in solidarity with immigrant families. Check out these recent examples via UC News:
- Michigan clergy demand protection for Dreamers
- NY Immigration advocates applaud judge’s rebuke of ICE, freedom for New Sanctuary Coalition leader
- Father of three takes sanctuary in Greensboro church
Want to get involved? Join the UCC Immigration Collaborative. Contact Rev. Noel Anderson for more info.
Help us honor leaders at the 2018 Everett C. Parker Lecture!
The 2017 Parker Lecture was a huge success! We hope the 2018 Parker Lecture will be just as successful! But we need your help. Have an idea for a great Parker Lecturer? Maybe you know someone who has done great ethical or media justice work in the field of telecommunications? Let us know about them by submitting some suggestions for this year’s Parker Lecturer, Parker Award winner, and McGannon Award winner.
Justice and Witness Ministries Updates
We are excited to welcome two new members to JWM. Katie Adams joins our team in Washington, DC. as our new domestic policy advocate. She brings several years of Capitol Hill and non-profit experience to her new role. Alegra Martin will serve as our new program assistant, supporting the programmatic work of both Health and Wholeness Advocacy and the Faithful Action Witness of our Justice Ministers. We are thrilled to be partnering with them both in our work to make a just world for all!
Podcast For a Just World Lenten Series!
Podcast For a Just World is preparing a dynamic Lenten series on Sacred Conversations to End Racism. Rev. Tracy Howe Wispelwey is joined by Rev. Dr. Velda Love, Minister for Racial Justice, to host this series featuring guests Liz Alexander, Jayme Wooten, Lisa Sharon Harper, Curtiss De Young, Traci Blackmon and more! Stay posted on the facebook page and subscribe on iTunes or your Podcast provider. Episodes are released every Tuesday and the Lenten series begins February 13th!
Engage your Congregation on Drone Warfare
The Interfaith Network on Drone Warfare has created several documentaries designed to introduce faith groups to the topic of lethal drones. As a Just Peace Church, the UCC has supported this work and encourages congregations to view these films to learn more. Small grants are available to churches that show the film to help cover any associated costs and promotion. Click here to register for access to the full film and also download the free study guide for facilitating discussion. Contact Rev. Michael Neuroth with questions.
United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent
The United Nations has named 2015-2024 as the International Decade for People of African Descent. The United Church of Canada and the United Church of Christ have committed to be engaged in this effort by working collaboratively to address the manifestations and impact of racism globally. You are encouraged to learn more about the UN Decade for People of African Descent by visiting the website. Start planning activities to support the work of celebrating the contributions of people of African descent beyond Black History Month.
Sacred Conversations on Racism Coming in 2018
Sacred Conversations on Racism is an updated curriculum which we hope will support your congregation’s next level of engagement with dismantling racism in church and society. The new curriculum will have multiple points of entry into congregation-based organizing and community building, nonviolent civil disobedience training, and preparedness for understanding local, state, and federal policies impacting communities across the country. More to come!
Join the Poor People’s Campaign
The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival is uniting tens of thousands of people across the country to challenge the evils of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation and the nation’s distorted morality. The UCC is a founding member of the movement, which is currently planning witnesses in state-houses around the country in the coming months. Learn more and sign up for updates.
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.