JPANet May 2018 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. This month Katie Adams, our Domestic Policy Advocate, looks at recent attacks on our safety net and the real impacts of these proposed policy changes.
The Ugly Truth about Work Requirements
There is an ugly myth rooted deep in the ideology of many lawmakers. It is the false belief that people who rely on government assistance are lazy. As the system stands now, gaining access to needed services is very challenging. This process is about to get a lot harder and a lot more restrictive. Here are just a few examples of the significant ways the Administration and Congress are attempting to kick people off of safety net programs and decrease the scope of government assistance, all under the guise of “encouraging self-sufficiency.” (Read more.)
Everyone has a status – The church and HIV Testing
On May 8, UCAN, the UCC HIV & AIDS Network, launches the first in a series of national conversations on HIV with a focus on HIV testing. In preparation for National Testing Day Rev. Mike Schuenemeyer will moderate this online conversation about the importance of everyone knowing their HIV status and the role of the church in promoting and facilitating HIV testing. Special Guest, Rev. John Ryan Mendoza, will join the call to discuss the global clergy testing campaign, which Rev. Mendoza spearheaded at the National Council of Churches in the Philippines. Register.
Immigrant Rights Sunday
The first Sunday in May has been designated Immigrant Rights Sunday within the United Church of Christ. Justice and Witness Ministries and Wider Church Ministries are urging congregations to lift up immigrants on this day: to learn about their concerns, honor their contributions to our country and communities, hear their pain, pray for their well-being, and listen to hear where God is leading us regarding issues of immigration.
Mental Health Sunday
The United Church of Christ Mental Health Network invites you to highlight mental health on the third Sunday in May or any Sunday that suits your schedule. Mental Health Sunday is a way for your congregation to begin or to continue to provide education and support to your members around mental health challenges. Learn more.
The United Church of Christ is a co-sponsor of the Reimagining Interfaith event July 29-August 1st in Washington, D.C. This event is an opportunity to engage in skill-building, networking, and organizing with grassroots activists and interfaith peace builders from around the world. Learn more and register.
Justice in Action
Join the Poor People’s Campaign
The Poor Peoples Campaign: A National Call for a Moral Revival is uniting tens of thousands of people across the country to challenge the evils of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy and ecological devastation. May 14 will be the launch of the campaign’s 40 days of action and advocacy in state capitols and in Washington, DC. The 40 Days of Action will involve public witnesses at more than 30 statehouses and the U.S. Capitol calling for voting rights protections, programs to address poverty, attention to ecological devastation and measures to curb militarism and the war economy. Each week of the 40 days of action will have an issue focus. To find out more about actions and trainings in your state, email your state coordinating committee at state[at]poorpeoplescampaign.org or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We need your feedback!
The UCC Board has begun the renomination process for Rev. John Dorhauer as UCC General Minister and President, and is looking to the wider church for input on his leadership. Share your feedback.
Welcoming New Staff
We are excited to introduce two new members of the UCC National Staff team. Rev. Dr. Sarah Lund has joined the Wholeness Advocacy Team of Justice and Local Church Ministries, serving as Minister for Disabilities and Mental Health Justice, a new part-time position. Roberto (Robert) Ochoa will join the National Staff this month as Program Associate for Congregations of Color. Get to know Sarah and Robert.
A Faithful Response to Drone Warfare
The Interfaith Network on Drone Warfare – is partnering with Justice and Witness Ministries to organize conferences on the use of armed drones at several UCC affiliated seminaries. Visit their website for more information on these events or to download documentaries to raise the issue within congregations. Upcoming events include:
- Chicago Theological Seminary on Thursday, June 7th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Eden Seminary on Friday June 8th
Going Solar – Connecting Faith, Finance and Facilities
As part of our monthly Creation Justice Webinars series, the UCC has teamed with GreenFaith to offer a webinar designed to assist churches who are interested in going solar as way to care for God’s creation. On May 30th, the Rev. Fletcher Harper will address issues related to technology, finance, physical plant, communications, and more. Sign-up today for this webinar!
June is Torture Awareness Month
The United Church has long partnered with the National Religious Campaign Against Torture to lift up human rights and ban the use of torture around the world. This June, call attention to the need to end torture in U.S. prisons and around the world in your worship service or at community events. Ideas and resources at nrcat.org/tam
Fields of Peace
Fields of Peace is an initiative with UCC roots that envisions and works toward a world in which conflicts are solved through peaceful means. “A Promise to Our Children” is an initiative that addresses the world’s primary problem– the violence of human against human. Learn more.
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.