Economic Justice Covenant Program
We Can End Sweatshops
In 2009, General Synod XXVII approved a resolution that established the Economic Justice Covenant Program. (A brief excerpt from that resolution is located in the box above.) 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 is the program called for in the General Synod resolution. It is designed primarily for a local church but is easily adaptable for the needs of other settings. It includes nine sections, including this introduction.
The process of becoming an Economic Justice Church or other setting begins with a call. It may be a gentle nudging or an insistent demand that cannot be ignored. It may begin in one person’s heart or be birthed through a social justice or mission committee. The congregation may be new to such a call, or it may have been engaged with issues of economic justice for years.
No matter how the call begins or the type of setting where it begins, this Economic Justice Covenant Program offers a number of resources, information, and useful tools to go deeper. There are as many ways to become an Economic Justice Church (or other setting) as there are churches and settings. What follows here are guidelines and resources that may be helpful, especially if they are modified and adapted for each particular situation.
Once someone or some group with the church feels called to explore becoming an Economic Justice Church, they will probably need to gain the support of some key people before moving forward. The pastor should be consulted, and possibly the moderator and governing body. If the go-ahead is given, the next step might be to set up a planning committee to shepherd the discernment process. This committee could be part of an existing social justice group or a new entity established just for this purpose.
Making a public commitment to work for economic justice, to covenant with each other and with God to engage in this ministry, will take reflection and preparation, through worship, prayer, study, and exploration of the community within and outside of the walls of the church. The planning committee, in consultation with the pastor, programming bodies, Christian educators, worship planning team, and others, can begin to plan a time of discernment. Expect it to take about a year or maybe longer.
- Getting Started
- Engaging Our Faith includes resources for corporate worship and Bible study.
- Engaging the Issues offers information about numerous economic injustices.
- Engaging the Community provides materials that encourage congregations to engage in experiential learning.
- Engaging the Spirit offers resources for personal spiritual exploration.
- Writing and Approving the Covenant guides the congregation or other setting as it writes an Economic Justice Covenant to express its commitment and lay out a general plan of action.
- Living Out the Covenant suggests ways to implement the covenant.
- Ways to Engage provides resources and options for getting involved in working for economic justice.
Please inform the UCC’s Minister for Economic Justice, Sekinah Hamlin, when a congregation (or other setting of the UCC) approves a covenant and becomes an Economic Justice Church.
Print Version:The complete Economic Justice Covenant Program is only available online through this home page or in hard copy upon request from Justice and Witness Ministries. Contact JWM by email; call toll-free at 1-866-822-8224, ext. 3700; or write to JWM, 1300 E. 9th Street, Suite 1100, Cleveland, Ohio 44114. A booklet, available electronically [1.0 MB] and in hard copy from JWM, provides an overview of the Program only and does not contain many resources that are available online.
Economic Justice Task Force: The resolution that established the Economic Justice Covenant Program called for a task force to create a Program that would support and assist all settings of the UCC to become Economic Justice Settings. The task force worked for nearly a year to plan, write, and oversee the development of this program. We welcome feedback that can be sent to Sekinah Hamlin.
Members of the task force were:
- Diana Burdett, Rhode Island Conference
- Hiawatha Demby, Southern Conference
- Rev. Michael Denton, Pacific Northwest Conference
- Rev. Stan Duncan, Massachusetts Conference
- Mittie Davis Jones, Ohio Conference
- Gail Kinney, New Hampshire Conference
- Rev. Lynne Smouse Lopez, Central Pacific Conference
- Carmen Flores Rance, Illinois Conference
- Rev. Guillermo Marquez Sterling, Florida Conference
- Edith Rasell, Minister for Economic Justice, Justice and Witness Ministries, staffed the task force
The Task Force thanks United Church of Chapel Hill, UCC, in North Carolina for their leadership and path-breaking work to become an Economic Justice Church, and for bringing a resolution to the Southern Conference calling on the UCC to establish the Economic Justice Covenant Program. The Southern Conference approved the resolution and brought it to General Synod XXVII (2009) which also approved it, establishing this program.