SOCIAL JUSTICE ADVOCACY

MINISTRY

STATEMENT OF SOLIDARITY

The following Statement of Solidarity has been thoughtfully prepared by the leadership of the Social Justice Advocacy Ministry at the invitation of the Church Council.

 

The Federated Church stands in solidarity with our Black and Brown sisters and brothers who over generations have been and continue to be subject to a high level of violence through overzealous policing, racial profiling, and white vigilantism as well as the failure of justice in our courts.

 

While the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the police is the immediate cause of today's unrest, we acknowledge that his murder is but one example of the many ways systemic racism is rooted in our society.

 

We believe we are in the midst of two pandemics. COVID-19 has stolen the breath from thousands of our fellow Americans. The other -- some call it "COVID-1619" -- has been stealing the breath from our Black and Brown sisters and brothers for over 400 years. When one of us cries, "I can't breathe," we are all robbed of that Pentecost moment when the Spirit of the Lord moved like a mighty wind into bodies in that first-century crowd, giving them breath. While we may speak with many tongues, with this breath the Spirit allows us to hear and understand as though there is but one voice (Acts 2:4, 6).

 

We believe we are in a Pentecost moment now. The wind of the Holy Spirit has pulled the curtain back from our confusion and we now can see clearly that racism is America's Original Sin.

 

We seek a way forward in which every person's life is valued and communities are kept safe because those charged with protecting them realize that they themselves are part of a greater family as Children of God. We stand in solidarity with those protesting peacefully for justice and reform of law enforcement. We applaud those in law enforcement who have marched with or taken a knee with protesters in recent days.

 

Finally, we believe that statements like this can be empty words without follow up. "Faith without works is dead" (James 2:14). In the coming weeks, the Social Justice Advocacy Ministry will create an action plan for moving forward within both our church and the community.

CURRENT ACTIVITIES

MEETINGS

The Social and Environmental Justice group meets monthly at 11:15 after the 10:00 a.m. worship service.  All are welcome, regardless of any church or secular affiliations. During this time of social distancing our meetings are taking place at 11:15 am on Sundays on Zoom.  Contact any leader listed below to be included in the call.

 

All are welcome - Federated folks and others.

Next meeting: Sunday, June 12

SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
MOVIE NIGHTS

Movie nights provide an opportunity to explore our priority areas more in depth. Held the third Monday of each month at 7:00 pm, the format is an hour of viewing followed by an hour of discussion.  Until we can be together again, participants will view the chosen films on line by following the links provided and then log onto Zoom at 8:00 for discussion. 

 

Everyone, from Federated Church and the larger community, is invited to join together for an evening of learning, stimulating conversation, and exploring the issues of our times.

 

As we explore issues of social justice, questions keep coming:

What is God calling us to do?

What is God asking of us?

How will we respond?"

Next movie night: Monday, July 20

Watch “Suppressed: The Right to Vote” at your leisure. This 38-minute film deals with voter suppression in Georgia in 2018 and is all the more relevant following June’s primary election. Follow this link to view the film: https://vimeopro.com/user49077866/fighttovote

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Log into Movie night Zoom call on July 20 at 7:00 for one hour of discussion and action steps planning! Hope you can join us by going to https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83595558354?pwd=U1VxZU5SZ0NjcEVkbEcxeXpsbVlWdz09


Contact Kathy Franz (440.543.4086 or kfranz17114@gmail.com) with questions.


RECENT ACTIONS BY SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE AT FEDERATED

WHITE PRIVILEGE BOOK STUDY

The time is right to offer the White Privilege Curriculum using Zoom again this summer. If you haven’t taken the class yet, please consider doing so. Past participants have consistently given this course high ratings.  It is very eye-opening.  Zoom has worked as the platform for the most recent round of classes. Please spread the word, as community members who are not affiliated with Federated Church are more than welcome.


Timeframe: Week of July 7 though the week of August 17 (six-week study with an extra week built in for any scheduling problems that may come up).


Dates/Times: Saturdays 1:00-2:30 pmThursday 1:00-2:30 pm. Choose which date works best for you. Other days of the week and times are possible based on demand/availability.


If you would  like to take a look at the curriculum you can view/download: https://www.uccresources.com/products/white-privilege-lets-talk-a-resource-for-transformational-dialogue-pdf-download


If you are interested, please email steesbassoon@gmail.com.       


RESPONDING TO COVID-19

Realizing that the immediate impact of Covid 19 would fall disproportionally and quickly on the most vulnerable among us, in April Social and Environmental Justice members pooled our resources.  We were able to send HOLA $6,670 and NEOCH $3,375.   These organizations, with whom Federated has long standing relationships,  directed the money toward housing and food, the most basic needs. By pooling our donations and making the contributions in the name of Federated Church we were able stand up for justice.  In the days and months to come there will be more giving opportunities through Federated’s Mission and Service Commission as well as the UCC.   

 

To learn more HOLA  http://holatoday.org/  and NEOCH Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless https://www.neoch.org/

ABOUT SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE  

OUR VISION

As Christians, we prayerfully seek to educate ourselves and take action consistent with our faith in order to bring justice to those who are most vulnerable, disenfranchised and marginalized, indeed to all of God’s creation.


If you are interested or have any questions, please contact Kathy Franz at 440.821.7795 or kfranz17114@gmail.com.

OUR PRIORITIES

The Presbyterian theologian, Frederick Buechner offers this advice on how to discern God's voice amidst the noise: "The kind of work God usually calls you to is the kind of work a.) that you need most to do and b.) that the world most needs to have done... The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet." 

 

Below (in alphabetical order) are our areas of advocacy, but they are open to expansion based on the passion of the members of the Social and Environmental Justice group. If these reflect your passion and you wish to become further engaged or have questions, please contact the person listed.

  1. Environmental Justice - Contact: Dawn Dole coopdole@gmail.com
  2. Gun Violence - Contact: Judy Majcen jomajcen@gmail.com
  3. Immigration Justice - Contacts: Judy Kramer jkramer222@gmail.com and Bill Shaul theshauls@msn.com
  4. LGBTQ+ - Contact: Barry Stees steesbassoon@gmail.com  
  5. Racial Justice - Contact:  Barry Stees steesbassoon@gmail.com
  6. Voting Rights/Electoral Process - Contact: Tricia Baumgartner tricia.a.baumgartner@gmail.com
  7. Women’s Issues - Contacts: Darlene Nichols darnichols10@gmail.com and Judy Majcen jomajcen@gmail.com

OUR PARTNERS

  1. St. Paul’s Community Church - Contact: Darlene Nichols darnichols10@gmail.com and Marty Culbertson mculbert@fedchurch.org
  2. Chagrin Falls Park - Contact: Sunny Doxey rdoxey@roadrunner.com
  3. Mt Zion UCC - Contact: Barry Stees steesbassoon@gmail.com
  4. Chagrin Valley Council of Churches - Contact: Dan Kershner drekersh@gmail.com and Judy Kramer jkramer222@gmail.com

LEADERSHIP

Our leadership consists of the lead person from each of the priorities listed above. The staff liaison is Marty Culbertson mculbert@fedchurch.org.