Numerous opportunities for faith in action at General Synod 2015
Marching for the dignity of Native Americans, lamenting for the lost life of a 12-year old boy shot by police, and celebrating the anniversaries of the Just Peace movement, the Open and Affirming movement and United Church of Christ Disabilities Ministries. Justice abounds at the 30th General Synod of the UCC—through these opportunities and many others—as delegates and participants are invited to put their faith in action in Cleveland June 26-30.
“General Synod is one of those places when the church gathered powerfully speaks and acts prophetically,” said the Rev. M. Linda Jaramillo, executive minister of Justice and Witness Ministries. “This year will be no different. We will be fully engaged in dialogue and discernment in our deliberations around the various resolutions that are grounded in our justice commitments.”
Justice and Witness Ministries will sponsor and co-sponsor several events, including the “It Is Well Service,” A Service in Honor of Tamir Rice, the Valerie Russell Lecture, and a petition drive opposing the Cleveland baseball team logo and name.
This summer also marks the 35th Anniversary of UCC Disabilities Ministries (to be recognized in plenary at 7:30 p.m. on June 26), the 30th Anniversary of the Open and Affirming Resolution and Movement (celebrated at 8:30 a.m. on June 27) and the 30th Anniversary of the Just Peace Movement (noted at 12:30 p.m. on June 29).
Public Witness at the Offices of the Cleveland Baseball Team (slated for lunchtime on June 30). JWM, along with the UCC Council for American Indian Ministries and the Cleveland Committee of 500 Years, will hand-deliver the signed petitions they are currently collecting to the local Major League Baseball club’s offices, calling on them to change the logo, a cartoon caricature of a red-faced Native American named Chief Wahoo, and the Indians team name. Participants will walk the petitions to the team offices from the Cleveland Convention Center.
Prayer Service in Honor of Tamir Rice (11 a.m on June 26). A service of lamentation inside the Cleveland Convention Center, hosted by JWM and the Western Reserve/Eastern Ohio Associations, will honor the memory of Tamir Rice, who was shot and killed by a Cleveland police officer in November outside a local youth recreation center. Rice, 12, was carrying a pellet gun when the officer opened fire on him, and died the following day. Street maps will be available for those who wish to walk to City Hall or the Justice Center as a nonviolent public witness.
Tutor the Tutor (12:30 and 2 p.m. on June 28). Spend the afternoon learning how to change lives by becoming a literacy tutor. Author Rob Shindler and special guest, Kurt Karakul, executive director of Third Federal Foundation, share their passion for raising literacy rates. The event is part of the Reading Changes Lives all-church initiative to raise awareness about how illiteracy directly impacts a range of social justice issues.
“We are thrilled by the overwhelming response from UCC congregations, the Cleveland-area literacy community, and ecumenical and interfaith partners who have committed to Reading Changes Lives,” Jaramillo said. “We are especially blessed by our partnership with University Settlement to carry out the Stuff the Pack Community Service Project. We are grateful for the generous in-kind contributions from local community partners.”
The national setting of the church already donated more than $7,000 for the purchase of 1,000 backpacks for the service project to take place at Synod, “Stuff the Pack.” All that remains are donated school supplies from UCC members to fill those backpacks at General Synod.
“The UCC Reading Changes Lives Initiative will culminate at General Synod. However, literacy is justice driven with a life-long commitment from the church and community that will change lives,” Jaramillo said.
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