JPANet: June 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.
Will my child be uninsurable?
By Rev. Gunnar A. Cerda, UCC Minister & Chaplain
Since the passage of the ACA, my son Benjamin has been included on my health care plan. And while it hasn’t been perfect, he has had some coverage. I slept a little better at night, knowing that no matter the future, Benjamin would have coverage through the age of 26, and when the time came to be independent, might find his own plan through an employer. Yet now I feel anxious once again. As if the constant struggles against ableism, educational inequality, and employment discrimination have not been enough, now health care coverage is again in question. (Read more.)
Trump’s Budget & Our Call to Love Our Neighbors
By Rev. Jason Carson Wilson, UCC Justice & Peace Fellow
As people of faith, we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves. Loving our neighbor means ensuring they have access to adequate healthcare when they are sick, food when they are hungry, and the supports they need at the most vulnerable moments of their lives. The Trump administration’s proposed federal budget takes these essential supports out of reach of many. That budget calls for drastic cuts to Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps), and so much more. (Read more.)
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. Two actions to consider include incorporating the color orange into your service, or joining a fast on June 14th in solidarity with the 41 men imprisoned at GITMO. Check out NRCAT’s activity ideas page for these and other ideas and start planning your observance.
The Equality March for Unity and Pride: UCC Worship & Gathering
Join us for a powerful worship experience proceeding the Equality March for Unity and Pride in Washington, DC. Gather with other members of the United Church of Christ as we ready our hearts to march for love and justice! Our keynote preacher is the Faith Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force, Naomi Washington-Leapheart. Naomi is a graduate of Lancaster Theological Seminary and is a UCC ordained pastor. All are welcome! RSVP via Facebook for updates.
49 Bells to Remember Pulse
Our bells have traditionally rung at moments of crisis alerting us of a community need. They toll after death and they toll when we celebrate. We are invited to ring our church bells 49 times at noon on June 12th to honor the victims of the Pulse Orlando shooting. Register your congregation.
Off-Ramps to War: Paths to Building Peace with North Korea
Join the Korea Peace Network (KPN) and Partnerships for International Strategies in Asia (PISA) for a daylong conference on June 13 at Elliott School of International Affairs, Washington, DC. The conference will address policy options to defuse tensions between Washington and Pyongyang, while helping to heal the legacies of the Korean War. Learn more.
Refugee Justice Sunday is June 18
The UCC is inviting congregations to participate in Refugee Justice Sunday on June 18, 2017. This event is an occasion for congregations to celebrate their community’s welcome for refugees and immigrants. Find a toolkit of worship, action, and other advocacy resources for joining in this celebration of welcoming the stranger in our midst.
Put Faith and Justice into Action with OWL!<
Our Whole Lives is a just and inclusive ministry–bringing voice to the silence many churches maintain around issues of sexuality, living into ONA values, and shining light on the darkness of damage done to our sexuality by media and cultural messages, and abuse. What a great way to lift your voice for justice during these times! Your choice of training levels Pre-Synod in the Baltimore area! Register.
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.
Justice in Action
The High-Quality Sex-Ed Program on Offer From Churches
Our Whole Lives, a curriculum created jointly by the UCC and the UUA is one of the most respected sexuality curricula in the broader, secular sex education community according to a recent article in Rewire magazine. Check out what they have to say about OWL and then learn more about how you congregation can start doing this important work.
We Need More Peace and Justice
What the world needs in this present moment are faith communities, organizations, and individuals actively committed to domestic and global peace. This week Black Lives Matter, a human rights and peace movement has won the 2017 Sydney Peace Foundation prize which will be awarded November 2017. This recognition highlights the importance of groups advocating for peace, standing in solidarity against racism, discrimination, and the inhumane treatment of people of color. The Christian Church community is invited to continue working toward justice and peace for all. For more information contact Velda Love, Minister for Racial Justice firstname.lastname@example.org (216) 736-3719
JWM at General Synod
Every two years, General Synod brings together thousands of faithful members of the United Church of Christ for formal church witness, inspirational worship, and fellowship with friends (new and old). Justice and Witness Ministries is especially excited to connect with you while you’re at Synod. We have opportunities for justice-centered fellowship, prayer, education and fun. If you are coming to Baltimore, please consider joining our staff and partners at these events. Learn more.
Rise Up: Spirituality for Resistance
Whether you’re leading a justice effort at church or headed to the nearest protest, resistance work can be spiritually exhausting. Rise Up is a year’s worth of devotions to keep you burning bright without burning out. 52 weeks. 52 reflections on the call to Rise Up for justice. Devotions written by 30 pastors, faith leaders, and activists. Edited by Vince Amlin, Marchaé Grair, and Christina Villa of the Stillspeaking Writers’ Group.
Palestine Portal Has Launched!
An exciting new resource for our growing movement is here! Hosted by Kairos USA, PalestinePortal.org provides opportunities for learning and action for the growing network of church-related organizations working for Palestinian human rights AND our Muslim, Jewish and secular allies in the U.S. and globally.
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.
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.
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