Volunteers are the backbone of disaster recovery in the United States and without their generosity many families and communities would have little hope of recovery. UCC Disaster Ministries volunteers share the love of Christ through their presence and hard work. Sign up today to serve in a community in need.
Donations to UCC Disaster Ministries enable response and recovery work in the US and around the Globe. Donated dollars are the most effective way to quickly and effectively respond to changing needs following a disaster. Consider being a monthly donor and help UCC Disaster Ministries continue meet the needs of the most vulnerable.
As a member of Church World Service (CWS) the UCC supports a collaborative effort aimed at providing material aid aid in times of disaster and human strife. Through CWS, UCC members have the opportunity to build kits that are shipped all over all over the world and distributed to families in need. What's more, UCC Disaster Ministries is offering a $250 matching grant to UCC congregations' own $250 cash or in kind investment to build kits.
Hold a Fundraiser
Consider holding a fundraiser for UCC Disaster Ministries. Fundraisers provide the opportunity to discuss the ministry they support and are a great way to connect with people in your congregation and community. These events help strengthen community and bring people of like mind together for a valuable cause.
Pray for those affected by disasters and those who respond.
Engage with others from across your conference to support local disaster response, attend trainings, and build community. Contact your Conference Disaster Coordinator today.
UCC Disaster Ministries has a long-standing tradition of collaboration and ecumenism in disaster recovery work. As a member of and partner to many disaster response organizations UCC Disaster Ministries works closely with each organization to effectively and efficiently utilize all donated funds in response to disaster. Through these networks UCC Disaster Ministries is able share resources, knowledge, best practices and respond when and where needs are the greatest.
ACT Alliance is a coalition of more than 140 churches and affiliated organizations working together in over 140 countries to create positive and sustainable change in the lives of poor and marginalized people regardless of their religion, politics, gender, sexual orientation, race or nationality in keeping with the highest international codes and standards. Members are associated with the World council of Churches or the Lutheran World Federation.
Church World Service is a cooperative humanitarian ministry of 36 Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican denominations, providing sustainable self-help and development, disaster relief and reugee assistance in more than 80 countries. CWS is part of the ecumenical family of the National Council of the Church of Christ in the U.S.A.
Global Ministries is responsible for nurturing relationships with international partners on behalf of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ. They strive for this by living out their core values: presence, mutuality, community, justice and peace.
National Voluntary Organizations Acitve in Disaster (NVOAD) coordinates planning efforts by many voluntary organizations responding to disaster. Member organizations provide more effective service by getting together before disasters strike. Once disasters occur, NVOAD or an affilliated state VOAD encourages members and other voluntary agencies to convene on-site. This cooperative effort has proven to be the most effective way for a wide variety of volunteers and organizations to work together in a crisis.
The effects of global warming threaten to only increase the scope, scale and number of disasters worldwide. UCC Disaster Ministries is a program of the United Church of Christ that responds to natural and human caused disasters all over world and is well positioned to respond in most events.
Through our volunteers, congregations, Conferences and partnerships UCC Disaster Ministries seeks to serve the most vulnerable populations that require spiritual, physical, financial and psychological support. In times of domestic disaster, UCC Disaster Ministries office provides a platform and facilitation for much of this work while collaborating with and through UCC Conferences and a network of Conference Disaster Coordinators (download map here).
Internationally, UCC Disaster Ministries maintains direct relationships and partnerships with organizations and faith communities able to appropriately and effectively respond to emergency and long-term needs.
I wish more couples would choose this verse from Song of Songs for their weddings rather than the more popular passage from I Corinthians (love is patient, love is kind, zzzzzzzz).Read more
No one really uses the word “maundy” anymore in their daily lives. Which is why today can seem a little murkier than some of the other holy days in Lent.Read more
In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, he asks them to donate money to poor Christians in Jerusalem. He writes, “I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance between your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance. As it is written, ‘the one who had much did not have too much, and the one who had little did not have too little’” (2 Corinthians 8:13-15).
Paul instructs the Corinthians on the importance of a “fair balance,” where no one has either too much or too little. May we have ears to truly hear Paul’s message today at a time when, in the United States and around the world, there are a few, extremely wealthy people, far too many poor, and many in the middle who are struggling to avoid sliding into poverty. As Paul said, a fair balance is needed. One person’s abundance is for another person’s need. There is plenty for all if we share. The Church is called to work for a world where there is a “fair balance” between abundance for a few and the needs of many.
As UCC advocates, we understand our responsibility to care for the poor and vulnerable. Our General Synod has spoken repeatedly on issues of economic justice, reaffirming time and again our commitment to raising and keeping people out of poverty.
Inequality -- It doesn't have to be this way
Growing inequality is not the inevitable consequence of globalization, technological change, an aging population, or anything else. The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer, and the middle is disappearing as a direct result of policy decisions made by policymakers in Washington, DC, and state legislatures. Read more in this Thanksgiving-themed commentary.
Learn about Economic Inequality
A Fair Balance: Reducing Inequality in the U.S. and around the World
The rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and those in the middle struggle to stay there. Rising inequality is bad for all of us. A Fair Balance: Reducing Inequality in the U.S. and around the World, a new resource from JWM, explains what is happening, describes how inequality harms all of us, and outlines how to reverse this trend. A study guide facilitates group discussion and reflection.
Two short videos give excellent overviews of wealth inequality in the U.S. and globally.
Wealth Inequality in America (6 minutes, 24 seconds)
Global Wealth Inequality - What you never knew you never knew (3 minutes, 51 seconds)
Child Poverty and Inequality Resources on inequality and children from JWM.
How Inequality Hollows Out the Soul by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett. "One of the well-known costs of inequality is that people withdraw from community life and are less likely to feel that they can trust others. This is partly a reflection of the way status anxiety makes us all more worried about how we are valued by others. Now that we can compare robust data for different countries, we can see not only what we knew intuitively — that inequality is divisive and socially corrosive — but that it also damages the individual psyche."
|Articles on Inequality
from the news media
In a recent article, Pulitzer-prize winning reporter David Cay Johnston powerfully illustrates our nation’s inequality. Using analyses of IRS data made by two highly-regarded economists, he first notes that in 2011, average income among the bottom 90% of taxpayers was up just $59 compared with 1966. He represents that 45-year rise of $59 as a line just one inch long. Johnston then uses this measure -- one inch representing $59 -- to compare the gains of the bottom 90% and higher-income groups.
The gains of the top 10% of taxpayers, whose incomes rose by 84% over the 45 years (up $116,071 to $254,864), is a line 163 feet long. (By illustration, this is longer than the width of a typical 8-lane freeway with an inside median.) The difference between 163 feet and one inch is quite extreme but it gets worse. The gain in average income among the top 1% (up $628,817 over the period) is line 884 feet long. The top 1% of the top 1%, whose 2011 income averaged $23.7 million (up by $18.4 million compared with 1966) would require a line nearly five miles long. All these amounts are before-tax dollars, adjusted for inflation. Over the 45 years, the average amount of tax paid by the highest-income households has also declined.
The American Dream of moving up the economic ladder through education and hard work is largely a myth. And those who are at the top reap huge rewards, not primarily due to their talent, but to the ways in which our current political process helps the rich at the expense of everyone else. We need political reform and greater equality in opportunities for education for all. More.
Inequality is bad for our national economy. In addition to moral and ethical concerns about inequality, experts now think it is also bad for the economy. Evidence is building that inequality slows economic growth and causes less stable economic expansions, that is, we can expect slower growth of the economic pie and more recessions and economic crises like the one we are still trying to recover from. Experts even suggest that narrowing the inequality gap may be more economically beneficial than other factors – like boosting trade and foreign investment – that feature prominently on the political agenda. More.
Charts Illustrating the Growth in Inequality
Growing Inequality in Income, Wealth, and Life Expectancy [pdf 552 KB], charts compiled by Edith Rasell, JWM's Minister for Economic
A Prayer for Economic Justice
Grant us, Lord God, a vision of your world as your love would have it:
a world where the weak are protected, and none go hungry or poor;
a world where the riches of creation are shared, and everyone can enjoy them;
a world where different races and cultures live in harmony and mutual respect;
a world where peace is built with justice, and justice is guided by love.
Give us the inspiration and courage to build it, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Voting is at the heart of the democratic process. It is the most fundamental access point for individuals to engage in the public dialogue and have a voice in the public policy decision-making process that can shape the future of our local, regional, national and global collective life.
Justice cannot be achieved unless the rules for governing the democratic process are fair to all, yet voter rights have been significantly undermined in recent years. We have seen state efforts to restrict voter rights through stringent voter identification laws and rollbacks in early voting, and last year’s Supreme Court decision eliminated key provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
The UCC General Synod has long supported voting rights and addressing obstacles to participation in the electoral process within the broader context of the civil rights struggle.
UCC Speaks Out
General Synod adopts statement on Supreme Court voting rights ruling
The United Church of Christ’s General Synod decisively adopted a statement brought to the floor July 2 calling on the church to publicly support voter’s rights through public statements, advocacy and actions. The approved resolution was in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down part of the Voting Rights Act as unconstitutional. Read more.
Learn More About Voting Rights
Race and Voting Rights
Police in riot gear, fire hoses and police dogs. These are some compelling images of what advocates faced when marching for the right to vote and an end to racial discrimination, in the streets of the 1950-60s Civil Rights Era. Today, the threats of voter suppression impacting communities of color remain real and present. (Read more.)
You shall appoint judges and officials throughout your tribes, in all your towns that the Lord your God is giving you, and they shall render just decisions for the people. You must not distort justice; you must not show partiality; and you must not accept bribes, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of those who are in the right. Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue, so that you may live and occupy the land that the Lord your God is giving you. - Deuteronomy 16:18-20
In this passage from the Scriptures, we hear the call to carefully tend to the ways we order our collective life. A right relationship with God means the practice of right relationship in human community. We are all entrusted, particularly those with power, to make decisions that impact our life together as society.
The call is to act equitably, with impartiality and integrity, and with justice as a guiding value for the common good.
The standard of justice, found over and over in the Scriptures, is the wellbeing of the most vulnerable members of our community. It is the standard by which we discern whether the laws and measures for the order of our society are just and fair.
In our public life together today, where would you say that we are according to such a standard? What are the challenges before us? What might we need to change?