United Church of Christ

JPANet: September Newsletter

Getting to the Root of It

We’ve asked our staff 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 Jessie Palatucci, UCC online communication specialist, writes about the importance of voting as a tool for upholding the common good and discusses the need to ensure that all the members of our congregations are registered, ready and empowered to vote this November.

Voting Matters: Hear three reasons why and find out what you can do

In 2008, six million Americans didn’t vote because they missed a registration deadline or didn’t know how to register. Six. Million. Literally millions of people – individuals who have the right to have their voices heard and whose unique experiences we need reflected in our democracy - found they were without a voice at the polls because they didn’t know the rules of the game. This is unacceptable. (Read more.)

Justice Events

Just Peace Sunday

The 30th General Synod called on UCC churches to renew our witness as a Just Peace Church and annually designate a “Just Peace Sunday.” On September 18th, churches will lament the tragic events of this year and give witness to our identity as a Just Peace Church, reflecting on the intersections between peace and justice using the question posed in Jeremiah 8:22 “Is there no balm in Gilead?” Learn more about Just Peace Sunday and start planing ways for your congregation to engage!

Al Filipov Peace & Justice Forum 2016

The mission of the Al Filipov Peace & Justice Forum is to promote peace and justice among all people and to demonstrate the power of an individual to make a positive difference in the world. This year’s gathering at Trinitarian Congregational Church will celebrate the work of the Parents Circle– Families Forum (PCFF), a unique organization made up of more than 600 Israeli and Palestinian bereaved families. Learn more and plan to attend on September 25th.

National Voter Registration Day – September 27th

In 2008, six million Americans didn’t vote because they missed a registration deadline or didn’t know how to register. Through the Our Faith Our Vote campaign we are working to ensure that all the people in our pews are empowered to lift their voices this November. Will you commit to making sure that everyone in you congregation is registered and ready to vote? Learn more and check out video messages from Revs. John Dorhauer, Traci Blackmon, and James Moos.

Global Day of Action and Prayer for Syria

Join the Global Day of Action and Prayer for Syria, to be marked this September 21, the International Day of Peace.  Participate in the interfaith prayer service in New York City, or plan your own event using the Toolkit of Resources. Follow developments on Facebook, and to co-sponsor the event or join the Call for an End to the War in Syria, contact GlobalDayforSyria@gmail.com.

God and Guns, Millennial Faith Leaders Address Gun Violence

The Riverside Church in the City of New York, along with a growing list of partners, will host an intensive training on gun violence for faith leaders of all traditions beginning the evening of October 6 through the evening of October 7, 2016. Designed for millennial faith leaders the training is also open to ministry teams of any age that include a millennial attendee. Those who attend do not have to agree on the solutions to the epidemic of gun violence, only that something must be done. Learn more.

School of the Americas Border Convergence

The UCC has supported the closing of the School of the Americas, given its history of military training and linkages to torture and other human rights abuses.  This year, the annual witness at Ft. Benning is being moved to Nogales, Sonora/Arizona to highlight the militarization of the US/Mexico border.   Rev. John Dorhauer will be joining many from across the UCC who will attend.  A special immersion experience will take place October 5-6th, and those unable to attend can send a cross to be placed at the border as a witness.  Learn more.

Access Sunday

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. Learn more and access resources from UCC Disability Ministries.

34rd Annual Everett C. Parker Lecture

The Rev. Traci Blackmon, acting executive minister of the United Church of Christ’s Justice and Witness Ministries, will deliver the 34rd annual Everett C. Parker Ethics in Telecommunications Lecture. The event, organized by the UCC’s media justice ministry, the Office of Communication, Inc., will be held at 8 a.m. EST on Thursday October 13 at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Washington, DC. The event will also honor FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn and rural champion Dee Davis. Sponsorships and tickets available now!

Environmental Justice Workshops in Washington State

How can people of faith work for environmental justice for all? Come to a workshop October 19-21 at Pilgrim Firs Camp outside Seattle, Washington. A thorough curriculum, including scientific and spiritual resources, discussion questions, film, and a field trip, help participants explore multiple aspects of environmental justice. Cost is $130. Click here to register.

Justice in Action

Oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline

Be inspired by the courageous actions of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe as they oppose a pipeline that could carry a half-million barrels of fracked oil each day from North Dakota to Illinois. To accompany a statement issued by the Collegium of the UCC in support of the tribe, the UCC has created an online action.

Responding to the Refugee Crisis

This September, the United Nations and President Obama will host summits about the refugee crisis with world leaders. Faced with the largest refugee crisis in history, we are asking them to increase humanitarian aid, access to education, guarantee the right to work, and double the number of refugees admitted for resettlement. Will you join us in calling on the United States to lead by example? Add your voice today by signing and sharing one of CWS's postcards! Sign online or print and send it back to the CWS Washington Office.

Colombian Peace Process

After 52 years of conflict, the Colombian government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia have reached an agreement for a final peace accord.  This accord will be signed on September 26th in Cartagena, but a ceasefire has already been implemented and demobilization of forces has started.  A nationwide referendum to endorse the agreement will take place on Oct. 2nd.  The UCC has been working for decades with partners to support Colombia’s journey toward a just peace, and the signing of the peace accord will be an occasion for celebration and hope.  How the peace agreement gets implemented and verified will be critical concerns that Colombian partners will be working on for years to come.

Media Violence Fast for Just Peace Sunday

Observe Just Peace Sunday and International Day of Prayer for Peace by joining with UCC’s historic media justice ministry in a one-week media violence fast.  Join us individually, with your whole family, or your whole congregation.  Choose not to watch violent TV, movies, or video games for one week.  See what a week without violence might feel like.  The fast will include inspirational prayers, readings and reflections.  Sign up and access extensive resources at www.media-fast.org.

Justice Resources

White Privilege: Let’s Talk

White Privilege: Let's Talk—A Resource for Transformational Dialogue is an adult curriculum from the United Church of Christ that's designed to invite church members to engage in safe, meaningful, substantive, and bold conversations on race. Have you accessed the curriculum now available that can help church members? Download the resource today.

Promoting a Just Peace in Israel-Palestine: A Guide for UCC Faith Leaders

To help local churches and conferences of the United Church of Christ live into the General Synod call to end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, the UCC Palestine/Israel Network has introduced a new resource guide that will help UCC church leaders and ecumenical partners implement the 2015 resolution. Learn more and download the guide.

On Halloween Give Treats of Fair-Trade Chocolate

Kids love to get chocolate for Halloween. But for children in cocoa-growing countries in Africa, chocolate often means child labor and family poverty. Equal Exchange, our partner in the UCC Fair Trade Project, participates in a fair-trade program to help end the problems of child labor, poverty, and environmental destruction in the African cocoa industry.  Buy fair-trade chocolate mini-bars to give on Halloween. You can also order wholesale to sell to members of your congregation; a youth or women’s group could sell the mini-bars as a fundraiser.) Order now. Help end child labor.

Calling All UCC Youth (Grades 9-12)!  Help Refugees – Win Scholarships – Share your Creativity!

Show your awareness of the response to the Syrian refugee crisis and highlight your local community’s plan of action for awareness-raising and welcoming. Submit videos between October 1 and November 11, 2016 and you could receive one of three scholarships. Your work will be shared on ucc.org during the month of December as part of the Our Stillspeaking Voice multimedia initiative. More information and the submission form are on the video contest webpage: ucc.org/SyrianRefugeesVideoContest

Election Dos and Don'ts for your Congregation

Interfaith Power and Light is hosting a webinar on what congregations should do and not do as the presidential election approaches. The webinar will be led by an attorney and expert on nonprofit advocacy. Register 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.

Featured topics:

A Tale of Two Children | Awakening the Nation with Action against Pipeline | An Inconvenient Conclusion | Pride Prevails


Please review our Community Guidelines before posting a comment. If you have any questions, contact us.