JPANet November 2017 Newsletter
Getting to the Root of It
Disaster Response through Faithful Partnership
By Zachary Wolgemuth
This year has brought an overwhelming number of disasters – both natural and human-caused. As we gather with our families to give thanks this holiday, now is a good time to reflect on how we can proactively work to care for our neighbors, so that when they are at their most vulnerable they can rest on the strength of our connection, both to each other as people of faith and as a denomination. Hear from Zachary Wolgemuth, the executive for our UCC Disaster Ministries, about how our response work happens, and the ways in which we are always prayerfully engaged in disaster response in the short and long-term.
World AIDS Day
World AIDS Day, on December 1st, is an important occasion for building awareness and stepping-up our responses to the HIV/AIDS pandemic in our own communities and around the world. As you plan for this global observance, please use our resources, adapting them according to the needs of your particular context.
National Vigil for Victims of Gun Violence
The victims, survivors and the families impacted by gun violence are often forgotten. Therefore, the Newtown Foundation, in partnership with Faiths United Against Gun Violence and others, will host the annual national vigil service of mourning and loving remembrance for all who have fallen victim to the ongoing epidemic of gun violence in America on December 6th and nationwide vigils/events from December 6-17th. Learn more and plan a vigil in your community.
National Week of Action to Close Guantanamo
The United Church of Christ has partnered with the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) since its founding in efforts to end torture and close the prison at Guantanamo. January 6-14th is the National Week of Action to close Guantanamo, and NRCAT is calling on churches to mark this date by organizing or joining events across the country. Learn more and sign up to be a point of contact or to host an event.
Human Trafficking Awareness Day
January 11 is Human Trafficking Awareness Day in the United States – a day to bring awareness to the world-wide crisis also known as modern day slavery. The 29th General Synod officially recognized the date and called on UCC congregations to be part of the education and advocacy efforts associated with Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Help raise awareness about human trafficking and kick off a year full of justice advocacy and faithful witness this January.
Wendy’s Boycott Fast and Action
On January 18, 2018, faith leaders from around the country will join together for National Day of Fasting and Witness in protest of Wendy’s executives’ ongoing refusal to join the Fair Food Program. Join UCC General Minister and President Rev. John Dorhauer, author and public theologian Brian McLaren, and 30+ clergy in a National Day of Fasting and Witness. Learn more.
Justice in Action
Souls to Enroll
The Church has always understood itself to be an extension of Jesus Christ’s healing ministry in the world. As such, it is our call as people of faith and leaders in the United Church of Christ to help connect our neighbors with the health care they need. Open Enrollment for the health care marketplaces runs November 1-December 15. The period is half as long as it has been in the past, and that is not an accident. It is part of a cynical, political attempt to weaken the Affordable Care Act. Help spread the word about open enrollment and ensure that all our members have the info they need to get the coverage they need. We have resources you can use. Learn more.
Webinar: Faith Escalation of Action on Dream and TPS
As faith communities, we come from a tradition of prophetic witness that speaks truth to power. Please join the monthly Interfaith Immigration Coalition’s webinar on Monday Nov 13, at 4 PM ET to discuss the urgent need to escalate actions for the Dream Act and Temporary Protected Status. On this webinar, learn the strategic ways you can escalate your campaigns for the Dream Act and TPS in strategic ways to help build momentum and urgency and a critical moment when time is running out. RSVP to join.
The Find a Better Bank Toolkit
When members of Northshore UCC discovered that their church’s bank helped finance the Dakota Access Pipeline, they decided it was time to move the church’s money elsewhere. The church became the first religious institution in the country to join a boycott of 64 banks that finance tar sands pipelines. Northshore UCC created a step-by-step guide for other churches who want to move their money.
Racial Justice Update
The FBI targets black human rights leaders as “Black Identity Extremists.” This is a newly created term used to target groups like Black Lives Matter as a separatist movement. This false assertion threatens innocent black activists, supporters, marchers, and protestors, and puts African American citizens at risk. Listen to the Foreign Policy Podcast released October 24, 2017 with interviews detailing the dangerous and erroneous designation. Questions? Contact Rev. Velda Love, UCC Minister for Racial Justice.
Peace in the Eye of the Storm – Live from Puerto Rico
Last month, Rev. Morales Castro, General Pastor of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Puerto Rico, shared updates on the impact of Hurricane Maria on the island, and the ongoing recovery efforts. Through Global Ministries, the UCC has provided disaster relief support and will continue to support our partners through the long-term recovery process in the coming years. Watch the recording from our conversation with Rev. Castro.
During the Caribbean Initiative, Global Ministries invites all to Embrace the Spirit throughout the Christmas season by giving Alternative Christmas Gifts for House of Hope in Haiti. This year, Global Ministries is extending the Alternative Christmas Giving Season until Three Kings Day on January 6, 2018! Global Ministries partner, House of Hope provides a space for healing, learning, and self-expression for children living as “restaveks”, a form of child domestic servitude unique to Haiti. 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.