UCAN Inc. is the United Church of Christ HIV and AIDS Network,
a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
|Board of Directors||Regional Staff
James Moos* **
Anthony Sullivan, Jr.
* ex officio, with vote
** UCC Board Representative
St. Stephen's Community Church United Church of Christ
Adora Iris lee
John L. Selders, Jr.
Anthony W. Sullivan, Jr.
Rose Wright Scott
"What a gift to have this much-awaited resource for 18-35 year olds. Our Whole Lives-Sexuality and Our Faith for young adults is such an incredible opportunity. This inclusive, sexuality positive curriculum celebrates our sexuality as the amazing gift---from God---that it is. Through this program, young adults have the delicious chance to participate in exactly what many hunger for---frank, holistic, non-judgmental exploration of contemporary sexual questions, choices and practices and the chance to explore the powerful, zesty and life-giving relationship between sexuality and spirituality. And to do this within the beautiful, guiding framework of progressive Christianity which honors and celebrates our roots----mutuality, love and justice. This curriculum is a sacred gift. For the taking. Unwrap it!" (Lynn Young, Colorado Springs, CO)
This Young Adult resource helps participants by giving them accurate information, increased knowledge about themselves, and embraces the Our Whole Lives values of self worth, responsibility, sexual health, justice and inclusivity. This new young adult resource will expand valuable ministry to young adults not only in local church settings, but also a colleges and seminaries.
There are 14 sessions in this book. It can be ordered through United Church Resources ($40) by calling: 1.800.537.3394.
By Elizabeth M. Casparian, Ph. D.,
and Eva S. Goldfarb, Ph.D
Our Whole Lives for Grades 10-12 is a comprehensive program that can be used in religious education programs by teachers and pastors with youth groups, weekend retreats, and youth conferences and camps. Its activities help participants make healthy, well-informed decisions about relationships and sexuality.
Eva Goldfarb, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in health programs at Montclair State University where she teaches and conducts research in human sexuality, curriculum development, and evaluation of health education programs. Co-author of Filling the Gaps, a book on hard-to-teach topics in human sexuality, she has over twelve years of experience teaching courses, leading workshops, consulting on media projects, conducting seminars and developing curricula in the areas of human sexuality and sexual health. Goldfarb holds a doctorate in Human Sexuality Education from the University of Pennsylvania.
Elizabeth Casparian, Ph.D., has been a consultant in health and sexuality education for over eleven years, writing and developing teaching materials and videos, and leading training sessions and seminars with adolescents, parents, teachers and other professionals. Co-author of Filling the Gaps, a book on hard-to-teach topics in human sexuality, she has written and consulted on sexual health issues with universities, public service organizations and schools. Casparian holds a doctorate in Education Leadership in Human Sexuality from the University of Pennsylvania.
You shall not withhold the wages of poor and needy laborers, whether other Israelites or aliens who reside in your land in one of your towns. ---Deuteronomy 24:14-15
Each worker - judge or janitor, sales clerk or scientist, mother or millionaire CEO - is equal in the sight of God. Each person's work, done with integrity, is a contribution to society and has value and dignity. But the world doesn't always see it this way.
Workers are dependent on their employer but employers are much less dependent on any particular worker. This unequal power relationship can lead to problems in the workplace. A common way that workers have responded is to join a labor union.
Articles and studies
Fast-food workers intensify fight for $15 an hour by Steven Greenhouse, New York Times, July 28, 2014
The war on workers, April 3, 2014. A recent Supreme Court ruling weakens the labor movement.
At labor group, a sense of a broader movement, Sept 14, 2013. The labor movement is all workers who act together to improve our jobs.
AFL-CIO has plan to add millions of nonunion members by Steven Greenhouse in the New York Times, Sept. 7, 2013.
If labor dies, what's next? by Harold Meyerson in the American Prospect, Sep/Oct 2012. An excellent overview of the current state of the labor movement plus a brief history of the developments in the U.S. labor movement since 1834.
State and local government workers' unions are under attack. Read more.
Unions are one of the very best ways for workers to bring greater justice to the workplace. The right of workers to form or join unions is so important and fundamental that it is an internationally-recognized human right.
In 1993 the United Church of Christ's General Synod XIX expressed its support "for public policies that restore the rights of working people to engage in collective bargaining without fear of reprisal."
In 1997 General Synod XXI reaffirmed the "responsibility of workers to organize for collective bargaining with employers regarding wages, benefits, and working conditions, and the responsibility of employers to create and maintain a climate conducive to the workers' autonomous decision to organize."
Today just as much as ever, workers need unions. All people who seek justice must support workers' rights to form and join a union. The right to organize a union and bargain collectively with employers is a fundamental human rights. See Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Why People of Faith Support Labor Unions describes how our faith calls us to support workers and their labor unions, and calls for Congress to pass the Employee Free Choice Act.
Why Unions Matter (2.51MB) by our partner Interfaith Worker Justice
Workers, acting together in a union, have been able to improve their work lives and their work places. Congregations and members of the UCC have been involved in these struggles.
Farm workers struggled for better conditions in the fields picking tomatoes for Taco Bell, McDonalds, and Burger King. They now have labor contracts with these firms, higher wages, and greater dignity.
- Smithfield Packing Company workers after many years of struggle were able to freely make the choice to form a union.
As a congregation discerns whether to become an Economic Justice Church, it can be helpful to learn about some of the economic injustices that millions, even billions, of people face every day. Or, once a congregation decides to be an Economic Justice Church, it may want to explore various topics to discern the justice work it is being called to do.
This section of the Economic Justice Covenant Program is intended to give readers small amounts of important information about a number of economic justice topics. Don’t be overwhelmed. Browse through these issues and see what touches your heart, what touches the heart of the congregation. What are you being called to work on at this time?
Each topic area provides links to more resources and suggestions about ways to get involved and begin to change unjust conditions. In addition to the resources and organizations found in these links, there are probably local or state-based organizations working on these issues closer to your church. You may prefer to work close to home through these groups.
Congregational Resource: Restoring Justice and Democracy in America
What faith communities can do. A six session congregation-based educational program prepared by UCC members in the Northern California/Nevada Conference. Download.
Issues to ExplorePublic Education & Economic Justice
“Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness, and his upper rooms by injustice; who makes his neighbors work for nothing, and does not give them their wages; who says, ‘I will build myself a spacious house with large upper rooms,’ who cuts out windows for it, paneling it with cedar, and painting it with vermillion. Are you a king because you compete in cedar? Did not your father eat and drink and do justice and righteousness? Then it was well with him. He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well. Is not this to know me?” says the Lord. Jeremiah 22:13-16
Scripture reveals that the struggle to achieve economic justice for all is an imperative of the Christian faith. The Bible contains many passages related to the poor and matters of economic justice. It makes clear God’s deep concern for the last, the lost, and the least. As illustrated in the Gospel stories where Jesus and the disciples feed thousands of people with just a few loaves of bread and fish (Matt 14:13-21; 15:32-38), God’s economy is a gift of grace that is not for sale in the marketplace. God’s economy of life provides abundantly for all God’s people.
We are called to share with our neighbors out of the abundance that God gives to the world. The poor and marginalized are special members of God’s community and we are called to put justice for “the least of these” at the center of the community of life and the mission of the church (Matt 25:40). The Bible tells us that rules devised to benefit some segments of society should not stand if they also disadvantage or harm the poor. “Hear this,” warns Amos (8:4) “you that trample on the needy, and bring to ruin the poor of the land…” indicating that manipulating markets, cheating, and exploiting the poor are violations of the vision of God.
God’s envisions a world where all God’s children have everything they need to thrive, live lives of wholeness, and be the people they were created to be. To make God’s vision a reality, God calls the Church to action, to “loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke” (Isaiah 58:6). Let us answer God’s call to be co-creators with God of a world of justice.
The General Synod has repeatedly spoken about the need for economic justice. Two Synod pronouncements are especially informative:
- Christian Faith: Economic Life and Justice [pdf 11.4 MB], approved by General Synod XVII in 1989, saw the struggle to achieve economic justice for all as an imperative of the Christian faith and made a commitment to a guaranteed national minimum income level, universal health care, full employment, affordable housing, and quality education for all.
- A Faithful Response: Calling for a More Just and Humane Direction for Economic Globalization, approved by General Synod XXIV in 2003, describes the impact of the past 25 years of “neo-liberal” economic globalization and calls for fundamental changes in the rules and institutions that shape the process of globalization.
Important resolutions include:
- Affirming Democratic Principles in an Emerging Global Economy (GS XXI, 1999) calls us to support unions, and advocate for just, democratic, participatory, and inclusive economic policies.
- For the Common Good (GS XXV, 2005) calls for fair taxes, public institutions and services, full employment, living wages, adequate income for each person, affordable housing, public transportation.
A listing of all General Synod resolutions and pronouncements that address economic issues since 1999 and selected ones before that date.
Direct Action & Research Training Network Faith & Action for Strength Together (FAST) (St. Petersburg)
Mission: Coalition of over 35 religious congregations working together to achieve social and economic justice in Pinellas county, FL. FAST is a grassroots, direct-action, multi-issue organization which brings people together to improve the quality of life in their communities. FAST's mission is to build the power of religious congregations to solve community problems by holding systems accountable. FAST organizes its membership to a large 'direct action' where leaders negotiate with public officials from a position of mutual power and respect. (http://www.thedartcenter.org/location/fast)
Volunteer Position: Community organizing with congregations. This position includes coordination with leaders in congregations, research, action and financial development.
Period: 9-12 month placements throughout the year
Apply by: 3 months prior to requested start date
Housing: Host Family
Minimum Age: 21 years with college degree
Direct Action & Research Training Network Interfaith Coalition for Action, Reconciliation, & Empowerment (ICARE) (Jacksonville)
Mission: ICARE is a coalition of over 20 religious congregations working together to achieve social & economic justice in the Jacksonville area. ICARE's mission is to build the power of religious congregations to solve community problems by holding systems accountable. ICARE organizes its membership to a lar 'direct action' where leaders can negotiate with public officials from a position of mutual power and respect. The DART Network of congregation-based community organizations based in nineteen cities throughout five states. (http://www.thedartcenter.org/location/icare-5/)
Volunteer Position: This position includes coordination with leaders in congregations, reach, action and financial development
Period: 9-12 month placements throughout the year
Apply by: 3 months prior to requested start date
Housing: Host Family
Minimum Age: 21 years with college degree
October 2016, Volume 1, Issue 10
Mind, Body, Spirit:
Linking Lives for Health and Wholeness
The Faith Community Nurse Health Ministry Newsletter
The month of January, a relative calm period between major events on our church calendar, presents opportunities for life saving health education activities. The national epidemic of the often deadly use of legal and illegal drugs calls for us to respond. Here are three companion health education programs you could implement that will benefit families in your congregation and community.
2017 NATIONAL DRUG & ALCOHOL FACTS WEEK (January 23rd-January 29th) links students with scientists and other experts to Shatter the Myths™,℠about drugs and alcohol that teens get from the internet, social media, TV, movies, or from friends. Looking nation-wide at reported past month drug use among high school seniors, more than 5% misuse prescription drugs; more than 20% smoke marijuana, and 35% use alcohol. When teens are given the scientific facts about drugs, they can be better prepared to make good decisions for themselves and they can share that information with others. An online guide, provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, gives you everything you need to plan, promote, and host a program, including free materials for teens.
The home page also provides links to partner organizations and activities. Under the Partner Spotlight area there is a listing of Our Partners – 46 other organizations working together to address this problem. All have resources!
One partner organization that I know makes a difference is The Herren Project [THP]. Their Project Purple Initiative empowers youth to stand up to substance abuse, promotes positive decision making, and encourages them to make a difference in their communities. The program has grown out of the life experience of Chris Herren, a kid who grew-up as a star basketball player and then went on to play college and professional basketball, marry and have children. The continuing use of alcohol and then drugs became the focus of his life and he lost everything. Chris regained sobriety 8 years ago and has rebuilt his life with a passion to alert others to the dangers and provide them with assistance in taking the first steps toward recovery and a life of sobriety. If you watch his Note to Self that was shown on CBS This Morning or Chris Herren – Unguarded you will understand why his telling of his story has such a powerful effect on youth, as well as adults.
Brown Bag Medicine Reviews
A Brown Bag Review of medicines encourages people to put all of their medicines and herbal supplements into a bag and bring them to you for review. The goal is to determine what medicines a person is taking, what he or she knows about the medicine, and how they are taking them. The process can identify medicine errors and misunderstandings that have a possible negative effect on health. Information is available on how to conduct a Brown Bag Medicine Review. You could plan it as a special event, part of another event such as a health fair, and/or as an ongoing service. Another tool to Help Patients Remember How and When to Take Their Medicine assists the person to stay on track and provides documentation to carry with them as they move between their health care providers, including you.
Safeguarding Medicine in the Home A third step is to provide information on how to Safeguard Medicine in the Home. Two-thirds of teens who report abuse of prescription medicine are getting them from friends, family and acquaintances. Parents and Grandparents can play a powerful role in preventing teens from obtaining these medicinal drugs. Provide them with a list of sites in your community where they can safely dispose of unused medications.
“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.” Psalm 98:4 Are you familiar with the Joyful Noiseletter? Each issue provides funny religious stories free of profanity and blasphemy, plus a page of cartoons that can be used in sermons, church programs, and church bulletins. In 2014 the newsletter published an article titled The Physically Fit Messiah. Reading the article will bring a smile to your face as the author reminds us that “Jesus, the healer, was supremely healthy, robust, loving, and joyful”, he walked everywhere and ate primarily a vegetarian diet, and that “Jesus came to us with a message of salvation through both spiritual and physical fitness”.
RESOURCES FOR OUR PRACTICE
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. In addition to various types of individual and communal violence, dangerous and dramatic weather events have also created traumatic situations. Information on PTSD is available from the National Institute of Mental Health that will help parishioners understand the occurrence of and treatment for PTSD. Similar information specific to PTSD in Children and Teens is available from the National Center for PTSD.
Admit One: What You Must Know When Going to the Hospital – But No One Actually Tells You! by Kati Kleber, BSN, RN, CCRN. Kati draws from both the perspective of her experience as a patient and her perspective as a nurse to speak to both providers and potential patients. She discusses what patients should be aware of and what kind of questions they should ask during pre-hospitalization visits. This book can help you guide the people you are in ministry with as they face any planned hospitalization.
Pack Up Your Sorrows: A story of illness, hope, and transformation is the story of singer, songwriter Meg Hutchinson’s journey as she explores the reality of living a healthy life while coping with mental illness. Meg weaves her personal experience with Bipolar Disorder between conversations with researchers, advocates and leaders in the field of mental health including Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, Dr. Richard Davidson and Dr, Nassir Ghaemi. View the trailer to see if your congregation and community would benefit from seeing this movie.
RESOURCES FOR OUR ONGOING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Health Ministers Guide (HMG) – Connecting Science and Community Health provides, in 5 languages, need-to-know information and community interventions. The HMG series provides written information, posters, and variety of materials to get the topical information shared. It is part of a larger effort to build resilient communities. Some topics are: Health Minister’s Guide on Zika and the Zika Action Guide for Health Ministers, Viral Hepatitis – The Silent Epidemic, Bladder Health: What Health Ministers Need to Know, and Seasonal Flu Guide for Faith-Based and Community Organizations.
This resource has been created because the Partnership Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships “recognizes that Health Ministers are first responders, trusted messengers, accompaniers, and cultural key holders”. We are viewed as “vital actors in an integrated-prevention focused health delivery system”. It is wonderful to have the importance of this work recognized and supported with materials!!
Mental Health First Aid is a face-to-face public education program that helps parents, first responders, faith leaders, and other people identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illness and substance use conditions. There are two 8-hour courses available. One focuses on the care of adults and one focuses on the care of youth ages between the ages of 12 and 18. Federal grants are now enabling recipients to offer this training at a reduced rate. Contact Mental Health First Aid instructors in your area for information. Locate a course near you and ask about rates for faith leaders including you.
Stone Soup for the Community – The Story of a Faith-Based Health Coalition, written by Karen Jo Hahn, describes the process followed by the Fifth Ward Congregational Health Coalition to Bring “Healing of the Body and Spirit to the Community”. Formed by three pastors and a faith community nurse in 2000, the Coalition now includes dedicated community leaders and volunteers from 35 different churches and organizations that provide free health and social services for persons in need. The story of this 15 year journey is both heartwarming and inspiring. Perhaps it will give you some ideas. The book may be purchased in paperback for $13.95, in Kindle format for $2.99 or downloaded as a free pdf at the Shalom Path Press bookstore.
Informatics: Empowering ePatients to Drive Health Care Reform explains the phenomenon of the empowered e-patient and the empowered e-caregivers, provides examples, and suggests how we may best assist the people in our congregations as they explore the internet for information. The equipped, enabled, empowered, and engaged patient (anyone with access to the internet) is becoming a peer, working together with us and other healthcare providers in identifying their healthcare needs and deciding how these needs might best be met. The article, written by Ramona Nelson, PhD, BC-RN, ANEF, FAAN, was published in The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing Vol. 21, No.3.
The Frailty Syndrome: Definition and Natural History reviews the current state of knowledge regarding the epidemiology of frailty. It explains the current understanding of the aging process and the severe impact of frailty on older adults, their caregivers, and on society as a whole. The information will help you identify high-risk individuals, their vulnerabilities and propensity for adverse health outcomes.
SEEKING INPUT FOR FUTURE ISSUES!
Have questions? Contributions? Ideas for future Issues?
Please share them with Peggy Matteson, editor of our newsletter.
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These tools and programs have been especially designed to strengthen the justice ministry in your congregation. Learn more about each of them by using the links below.
Ecumenical Advocacy Days
Ecumenical Advocacy Days is a yearly gathering of the ecumenical Christian community. This weekend of learning, worship and advocacy is grounded in biblical witness and our shared traditions of justice, peace and the integrity of creation. Our goal is to strengthen our Christian voice and to mobilize for advocacy on a wide variety of U.S. domestic and international policy issues. Learn more and join us in DC!
Host a Justice Revival
What it is: Over the past several years, Justice and Witness Ministries has supported local churches in the creation of “justice revivals.” These revivals have been opportunities to be inspired by preaching and informed by workshops and training all through the lens of justice. So far, revivals have been hosted in Vancouver, WA and Milwaukee, WI. Rev. Andrew Warner, who is pastor of Plymouth Church in Milwaukee, has captured his planning process and put it into a toolkit for others to use as a model.
How to use it: Use this event as a way to spark a revival of justice work in your local church or conference. Download the Revival Manual and consider how such an event could be held in your community. Reach out to Justice and Witness Ministries for support, and inform your local conference office for help with planning or promotion.
|Issue-Centered Programs||Other Opportunities
A2A is the terminology used within the United Church to refer to congregations that have completed the Accessible to All process and thereby made the commitment to be physically and attitudinally welcoming of people with disabilities. The A2A process has for many years been defined by the A2A resource “Any Body, Everybody, Christ’s Body”; the “process” is completed by completing the check list in the back of the A2A resource and sending this checklist to UCC Disabilities Ministries.
Our Whole Lives is a series of sexuality education programs for six age groups: grades K-1, grades 4-6, grades 7-9, grades 10-12, Young Adults and Adults. The resources are written by professional sexuality educators and provide accurate information for parents, teachers and pastors to be used in the affirming and supportive setting of our churches. We offer training opportunities for individuals who want to become OWL instructors.
In 2009, General Synod XXVII approved a resolution that established the Economic Justice Covenant Program. The resolution encouraged all congregations and other settings of the UCC to become Economic Justice Churches (or Economic Justice Seminaries, Associations, Conferences, etc): to study economic injustices, pray and discern God's will for their economic justice ministry, draft and adopt an Economic Justice Covenant, and engage in actions to promote economic justice.
This curriculum is designed primarily for a local church but is easily adaptable for the needs of other settings.
Homegrown Faith & Justice introduces children and youth ages 3 to 18 to the following topics, with Biblical reflection and age-appropriate conversation moments and activities:
We challenge all our congregations to become Green Justice Congregations. Why not just “green?” Because like Sally Bingham says, justice is more than just changing light bulbs. It is about a transformation of our hearts and minds to see God’s creation in new ways that lead to living in new ways. It is about acting on new values in your life and in the life of your community.
Become an immigrant welcoming congregation. The Journey toward becoming an Immigrant Welcoming Congregation involves multiple study and reflection sessions. Download this wonderful toolkit created by our UCC Southwest Conference.
Just Peace Church
The Just Peace Church vision is a hallmark of United Church of Christ theological identity. For over two decades, the Just Peace Church pronouncement has inspried a grassroots movement of UCC congregations committed to corporately naming and boldly proclaiming a public identity as a justice-doing, peace-seeking church.
Congregation-based community organizing (CBCO) is community organizing rooted in faith bodies that come together in answer to God’s call to love our neighbors, stand with the marginalized, and work with God for a more just society.
Open and Affirming
Open and Affirming (ONA) is the United Church of Christ's (UCC) designation for congregations, campus ministries, and other bodies in the UCC which make a public covenant of welcome into their full life and ministry to persons of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions.
UCC Fair Trade Coffee Project
The UCC Coffee Project means that your congregation can partner with UCC Justice and Witness Ministries and Equal Exchange in building fair trade for small farming communities by serving fairly traded coffee, tea and cocoa, and chocolate, almonds, and olive oil for justice at fellowship hour on Sundays. It is a way for your congregation to join hands with farmers and communities in the developing world.
|Centers of Education and Social Transformation|
The UCC Centers for Environmental Justice at Pilgrim Firs and Silver Lake Conference Center are places where participants can come from all over the U.S. and be immersed in a justice-centered response to climate change and environmental equity.
This is the goal of the UCC Washington office is 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.
|Please note: The Daniel F. Romero Center for Border Ministries (Centro Romero) is no longer a national border immersion program of the United Church of Christ. We are in the midst of exciting conversations among an expanded list of partners to determine the design of future border justice programs. More information will follow as these plans unfold.|