The United States is in danger of abandoning two long-held commitments – welcoming the stranger and struggling for civil rights – and replacing them with fears of immigrants and people of color. The church should be a leader in preventing that. Those were the central messages from the Rev. John Dorhauer, general minister and president of the United Church of Christ, in recent speeches to two partner-church audiences in Germany.Read more
Two churches in Indiana helped resolve domestic violence in their rural community and civil war in Sri Lanka. In California, a city church needed to name a big part of its mission. All of them found was just the framework they needed.Read more
In responding faithfully to God’s call for abundant life for all people, a common life in which no one is left behind, we are drawn inevitably to engage in public policy advocacy and decision-making.
This is the goal of the UCC JWM Washington office; to make a better world possible by addressing the systemic problems that we face as a country and as part of the world. Hunger, poverty, peace and security, racism, care for the earth. These are among the types of justice issues that we work to improve through federal policies.
“If a single decision in the halls of the U.S. Congress can either enhance or undo literally millions of acts of Christian caring, I should try to influence such decisions?"
The UCC Washington Office was called into being by a resolution at General Synod 10 in 1975. This predecessor body to Justice and Witness Ministries, then called the Office for Church in Society, was created to assume a leadership function for social action concerns in the UCC and to provide resources to the national, conference and local churches.
Foremost among the tasks assigned to the office was identifying, analyzing and forecasting emerging social issues which call for the attention of the denomination.
Today the UCC Justice and Witness Ministries staff in Washington, DC, in partnership with UCC staff, Conferences, Associations, congregations and individual UCC members, continues this mission by monitoring and seeking changes in legislation at local, state and federal levels through a variety of coalitions and working groups.
The policies that guide our work are crafted by UCC members who gather for General Synod to pray, reflect and discern a faithful response to God’s call through resolutions and pronouncements on the issues facing our world.
Want to learn more?
What Matters includes a variety of resources to connect your questions of faith with the deep faith expressed by the UCC. Discover what matters through reflection, stories from UCC congregations and members, stories from history, Bible study, prayer, worship, and service.
Explore on your own or with others. There are plenty of suggestions for seekers, new member classes, baptism preparation or membership groups, or pastor classes. For ideas about how use What Matters with groups, click here. Discover the questions and insights of those not familiar with the UCC in the article "What Matters to Visitors and Seekers?"
To explore one of the six vital themes, simply click a photo below.
We Are One at Baptism We Thank God by Working We Listen for the
and the Table for a Just and Loving World Still-speaking God
What Matters to You? Matters to Us - Engaging Six Vital Themes of OurFaith by Sidney D. Fowler is a new book for individual or group study based on core themes of
the United Church of Christ.
Also available is What Matters for Children and Families by Frank Proctor based on the same six vital themes.
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Neighbors in Need is a special mission offering that supports works of justice and compassion in the United States and abroad. Two-thirds of the Neighbors In Need receipts support program initiatives and direct grants offered through the UCC’s Justice and Witness Ministries.
Neighbors in Need makes available annual grants. To that end, this page highlights some of the ministries who have received a grant and how they found success with it in their communities. We are excited to share these stories of faith and transformation with you and hope you find value in their witness too.
Houston teens learn wage activism from working adults like them
This summer, with a grant from the United Church of Christ's Neighbors in Need offering, 24 high school students from an economically challenged Houston neighborhood learned about activism and carried out a local campaign for a $15 minimum-wage law.
The idea came from the basic insight that many Houston residents find it hard to make ends meet, especially workers in fast-food and other service industries. The Rev. Darnell Fennell serves some of those people in both his callings. He is pastor of Just Love Church, affiliated with the UCC and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). He also teaches high school social studies.
With a background in community organizing, Fennell knows people don’t have to sit still for economic injustice. He knows the wider UCC feels the same, as seen in statements such as a 2017 General Synod resolution, "A More Just Economy: $15 Minimum Wage, Living Wages and Job Creation." So he sought the NIN grant to introduce young people to local activists in the national Fight for $15 wage campaign and involve them in learning by doing.
Hope Station Nogales to provide reverse sanctuary to deportees in Mexico
A United Church of Christ sanctuary church offering immigrants refuge in the Arizona borderlands will soon be offering a place of hospitality, support and hope on the Mexican side of the border for people who find themselves deported from the United States. The Shadow Rock UCC Sanctuary Action Team and the Rev. Ken Heintzelman, in an extension of the spirit and intent of their ministry of sanctuary in Phoenix, are in the process of establishing Hope Station Nogales, in Sonora, Mexico.
The thought is Hope Station, which was funded in part by a $10,000 grant from Neighbors in Need, can be a place of transition, a place where people who are deported but have family in the U.S. can find a meal, safe lodging and assistance.
A Tiny House aims to provide big solutions for South Carolina LGBTQ community
When LGBTQ individuals near the campus of Clemson University, in the areas of upstate South Carolina unexpectedly find themselves without a home or a place to feel safe, Peace Congregational United Church of Christ will be ready to meet them.
Congregation members and the Clemson community are working side-by-side in the design and construction of a tiny house, a mobile residency for a person in the LGBTQ community who is no longer welcome in at home. The $20,000 project is in progress with the help of a $10,000 Grasstop Grant from UCC Justice and Witness Ministries. The first occupant could be ready to find refuge there in January.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid." – John 14:27
Resources for remembering the tenth anniversary of 9/11.
September 11, 2011 will mark ten years since the tragedy of 9/11. This event took the lives of many and shook the consciousness of our nation and world. This site is intended to be a repository of documents and resources for reflection, worship, and education to assist churches in marking the 9/11 anniversary this year. Many of the resources are UCC, but some are posted from ecumenical and interfaith partners. As you use these resources to create safe and worshipful space to mark 9/11, we hope these resources prove helpful for meeting people wherever they are along the journey between memory and hope.
New resources will be added as they become available. For sources outside the United Church of Christ: please note that not all resources listed on the following links have been reviewed, so please select according to your needs.
Mark 9/11 by responding to General Synod's call to promote tolerance and counter hostility against the Muslim Community. Reflect and take action here.
|Reflections from our Collegium of Officers:|
"Witness for Justice - #541" - Rev. M. Linda Jaramillo, Executive Minister for Justice and Witness Ministries
"Witness for Justice - #542" - Edith A. Guffey, Associate General Minister
"Witness for Justice - #543" - Rev. Jim Moos, Executive Minister for Wider Church Ministries and Co-executive for Global Ministries
"Witness for Justice - #544" - Rev. J. Bennett Guess, Executive Minister for Local Church Ministries
|Resources for Children and Youth:|
|Ecumenical Partner Resources:|
|For Further Conversation:|
The Conversation We Never Had (Video)
|A Look Back:|
The Just Peace movement traces its history to the 1985 General Synod, when a Just Peace Church Pronouncement called upon all settings of the UCC to be a Just Peace Church, underscoring the words of Dr. Robert V. Moss, the second president of the UCC, who wrote in 1971, "We now need to put as much effort into defining a just peace as we have done in the past in defining a just war." The General Synod defined "just peace" as the “interrelation of friendship, justice, and common security from violence.” The pronouncement called the church to a vision of shalom rooted in peace with justice and placed the UCC General Synod “in opposition to the institution of war.
Over the years, the Just Peace Church identity has become an important symbol for many of our congregations, as both a means of shaping congregational identity and as a theological framework for doing justice-based theological reflection. For many Just Peace congregations, this identity has helped to underscore their ministries of direct service, legislative advocacy, and courageous witness. The approach has differed from place to place: Some became immersed in anti-war and anti-militarism issues, while some focused their energies on U.S. policies affecting central America. Others strengthened their multi-racial, multi-cultural witness. Some developed neighborhood ministries, while others translated their just-peace identity to be a fitting starting place for eventually becoming "Open and Affirming" or "Whole Earth" churches.
New Resource: A Just Peace Handbook
In 2015, the 30th General Synod held in Cleveland, OH marked the UCC’s 30th anniversary as a Just Peace Church and called for a renewal of the UCC’s Just Peace witness. This booklet is intended to accompany this resolution and be a resource for all levels and areas of the church for further work and witness, especially to local congregations declaring or recommitting themselves as “Just Peace Churches.” This resource includes a summary of the historical and theological uniqueness of the Just Peace vision; the biblical and theological grounding for Just Peace values; and recommended steps for how to become a Just Peace Church. (Download.)
Statements and Articles
- UCC Synod Pronouncement: Affirming the United Church of Christ as a Just Peace Church
- UCC Resolution Marking The Thirtieth Anniversary Of The Just Peace Pronouncement By Recommitting Ourselves To Be A Just Peace Church
- World Council of Churches: Statement on the Way of Just Peace
- World Council of Churches: An Ecumenical Call to Just Peace
- World Council of Churches: Just Peace Companion
- National Council of Churches: Christian Understanding of War in an Age of Terror(ism)
- A 'Just Peace' Future: Part 1, by Rev. Dr. Susan Thistlethwaite
- A 'Just Peace' Future: Part 2, by Rev. Dr. Susan Thistlethwaite
- A 'Just Peace' Future: Part 3, by Rev. Michael Neuroth
- Abrahamic Alternatives to war
- Defining A 'Just Peace' Vocation
- Just Peace Making Theory: Ten Policies for Abolishing War
- Patriotism, Nationalism and the Christian Life
- Coffin: Despair Is Not an Option
- No Longer Legitimating War: Christians and Just Peace
- Just Peace Approach: Content and Methodology
Liturgical & Educational Resources
- UCC Justice and Witness Ministries Another world is possible Resource
- WCC International Ecumencial Peace Convocation Hymns & Prayers
- Overcoming Violence: Bible Study Guide
- Sermon "The Sword of Peace" by Rev. Janet Parker
- Poem: Their Plowshares are Beat into Swords by Dr. Walter Brueggemann
- Global Ministries: Become a Global Mission Church
- Witness for Peace: Congregational Partnership Program
- Jubilee Congregations Handbook
- Faith Seeking Peace - A Curriculum for People of Faith from WAND
- Interfaith Just Peacemaking: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Perspectives on the New Paradigm of Peace and War by Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite (Author, Editor)
- Just Peacemaking: The New Paradigm for the Ethics of Peace and War by Glen H. Stassen (Author, Editor)
- A Just Peace Church: The Peace Theology Development Team edited by Susan Thistlethwaite