JPANet October 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 scripture and 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.
Violence Against Women: Back in the Shadows?
Written by Sandy Sorensen
It feels like things on Capitol Hill have been in constant motion since January. Lost, in the midst of so many fast-moving and pressing policy concerns, have been the Administration’s steps to roll back important advances of programs to address violence against women. (Read 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.
Speak Out Sabbath – October 13-15, 2017
As part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Speak Out Sabbath is an interfaith advocacy weekend coordinated by the We Will Speak Out Coalition. Clergy are encouraged to engage in speaking out against sexual and gender-based violence in an intentional and faithful way during worship with their congregations. Worship resources, sermon starters, litanies, and children’s resources are being updated and added daily.
Dive into Environmental Justice!
How can we take on the urgent challenges of environmental justice in our time and place? Come to Pilgrim Hills Camp in Ohio October 18-20 to find out! Using stories, the arts, video, and hands-on learning opportunities, this workshop will equip participants to mobilize their communities around issues of environmental justice. Pastors, church members, and members of other communities of faith are all welcome.
WISE Congregations for Mental Health Conference
Join the UCC Mental Health Network for a day-long gathering in Venice, FL on October 20th. Together we will learn about action steps for individuals and congregations to become WISE (Welcoming, Inclusive, Supportive and Engaged) about mental health. Learn more and register.
The 50th Anniversary of the 1967 March on the Pentagon – From Protest to Resistance
This two day conference organized by the Vietnam Peace Commemoration Committee will focus on the significance of the anti-war movement and especially the March on the Pentagon in October, 1967. Oct 20-21, 2017. For information visit vietnampeace.org/oct-21-event
The United Church of Christ is one of the founding partners of Jubilee USA. Join with Jubilee USA and thousands of advocates the weekend of October 20-22nd in offering a prayer or dedicating a service on the linkages between the financial and humanitarian crises facing Puerto Rico. Our faith invites us to build an economy that protects and promotes the participation of the most vulnerable. Please sign up to offer a prayer or devote a religious service to Jubilee by signing up here. Keep an eye on Jubliee USA’s website for updates.
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.
UCC School of Americas Watch Border Convergence
Once again this year UCC congregations will join the School of Americas Watch, immigrants’ rights groups and interfaith partners to demand justice to address root causes of migration, justice at the border and justice for immigrants. Join us November 8-9 for a special UCC pre-Convergence immersion experience and then stay for the SOA Watch Border Convergence November 10-12. Can’t go? Send a cross o be placed at the border. Learn more and register.
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.
Justice in Action
It is up to US to stop gun violence
May we stop wringing our hands in helpless disbelief and satiating our hearts with false narratives of lone gunmen. Because until we do all we can to prevent such mass shootings, no gunman acts alone. Read more from Rev. Traci Blackmon and find eight ways to take action following the mass shooting in Las Vegas.
Endorse the NCC’s Open Letter to President Trump on North Korea
As a member denomination, the UCC echoes the National Council of Churches’ call to the President to seek diplomacy, not dangerous rhetoric that could lead to war, with North Korea. “Mr. President, no threat of nuclear annihilation, nor even the limited use of nuclear weapons, can be justified by any form of moral thinking. We, as Americans of faith, urge you cease use of threatening speech, and redouble attempts to find peaceful and just solutions to the proliferation of nuclear weapons worldwide.” Sign the letter.
No Muslim Ban – No Refugee Ban – October 18th Day of Action
While the Supreme Court was scheduled to hear oral arguments on October 10th challenging the legality of the Muslim and refugee bans created by President Trump’s executive orders, they have postponed this and may or may not reschedule. Lawyers representing the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), HIAS, and other plaintiffs are making the case that the bans – including the most recent proclamation extending the ban to Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela – violate U.S. law. While rescheduling of the hearing is unknown right now, it is important that we mobilize on October 18th to demonstrate opposition to the Muslim and refugee bans. Download the toolkit via the Interfaith Immigration Coalition.
Threat to Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
For more than 10,000 years, the Gwich’in people have lived in harmony with the land in what is now known as Alaska and the Yukon. Parts of their ancestral homeland are protected in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Without notifying the public, the current administration is taking steps to allow oil exploration in this refuge. Sign a faith-rooted advocacy letter and call your Senator to prevent this from happening.
Pollinate Your Church
The UCC’s Environmental Justice newsletter is called the Pollinator, and it is currently asking for your help in pollinating! You can help by sharing this link via email and social media. to sign up for this email. Pollinate as a clipboard evangelist as well by making this sign-up sheet available at coffee hour and then sending the results. Finally, pollinate via church bulletins and newsletters by downloading this sample invitation.
The United Church of Christ and many other religious communities will mark World Food Day (October 16th) as part of the Food Week of Action (October 15-22). This is an opportunity to work for food justice and food sovereignty in our communities and around the world. One way to do this is to support the UCC endorsed farm workers boycott of Wendy’s and join a national call-in day on October 18th, which will be posted here. Our partner denomination the PCUSA has gathered worship materials for use during the Food Week of Action, posted here. Finally, you can also join Bread for the World’s Offering of Letters to raise awareness about global hunger.
Fair Trade Your Halloween
Every year, Americans spend over a billion dollars on millions of pounds of Halloween chocolate. Where does all that chocolate come from, and who grows it? The answer might scare you! The conventional chocolate industry is not fair. But we can change that. Make your Halloween a #FairTradeHalloween through our partners at Equal Exchange.
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.