JPANet: July 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.
Destroyers or Healers? A look at American Drone Warfare
Written by Romee St. John
During the Roman occupation, arguably no nation was more vile and threatening than the Romans who crucified thousands of innocent people for the sake of dominance. As a centurion in the Roman army the soldier in Matthew was directly responsible for reinforcing the idolatrous, oppressive, and murderous laws of the empire. By modern standards this centurion posed a clear and imminent threat to the Jewish people, but instead of calling in a heavenly strike against the centurion Jesus performed a distant healing. Such compassion from Jesus demonstrates that God’s policy is not that of a distant destroyer, but a distant healer. (Read more.)
General Synod Justice Recap
The General Synod of the United Church of Christ is the national decision-making body for our denomination, responsible for giving general direction to the evangelistic, missionary, and justice programs of the UCC. From June 30 – July 4 members of our denomination gathered to consider a number of resolutions or statements of witness on social and political issues that we (members from throughout the life of the church) believe are of concern.
Here’s a brief recap of some of the actions taken by the General Synod that relate to our work as justice advocates.
U.S. National Faith HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
The United Church of Christ HIV & AIDS Network (UCAN) joins with U.S. religious leaders, as well as, faith-based and other organizations to support and observe the first U.S. National Faith HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NFAAD), Sunday, August 27, 2017. Supported by events across the country and on social media, NFAAD seeks to engage faith communities to work together for HIV/AIDS education, prevention, treatment, care and support, and to reduce and eliminate stigma and discrimination. We call on UCC clergy, faith leaders, local churches and other UCC settings to actively participate in this year’s observance. Please join the conversation and download resources at faithaidsday.com.
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. Worship materials and more information coming soon – Learn more.
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.
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
Plant a Yard Sign for the Paris Accord
In response to the United States pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord, General Synod passed an emergency resolution entitled “The Earth Is the Lord’s—Not Ours to Wreck.” As a tangible act of witness, churches are invited to plant yard signs that declare, “We [heart] Planet Earth. We Support the Paris Accord.” The graphic for the sign can be downloaded along with a sample press release.
Pilot Project Promotes Partnership between UCC and 350.org
In a recent article, Connie Larkman wrote about how green teams from UCC churches are being encouraged to become 350 affiliates. If you are interested in learning more about this partnership or would like to meet at General Synod with Everette Thompson, the 350 liaison to the UCC, send an email to Brooks Berndt, the UCC Minister for Environmental Justice.
Faith Voices in Support Of Keeping Houses Of Worship Nonpartisan
More than 500 UCC members have signed the faith leader letter in support of keeping houses of worship nonpartisan. Add your name now to send a message to congress that we want them to protect the independence and integrity of houses of worship.
Global Ministries Launches Caribbean Initiative
At General Synod Global Ministries launched it’s Caribbean Initiative. This is an invitation to the whole church to witness together with the Caribbean region through education, advocacy, and support of our partners for the next eighteen months. Our hope and prayer is that through many and varied experiences, we will better understand the issues, priorities, successes, and struggles of sisters and brothers in the Caribbean and, in turn, be challenged to understand ourselves, our world, and our faith anew. Learn more.
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.
Tuvalu tells us, ignoring climate change won’t make the problem go away | Declaring a State of Moral Emergency: Taking the Pulse | Let’s Lift Restrictions on the CDC, Allowing Research into Gun Violence Epidemic | Rectifying injustice as we fight injustice
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