SOCIAL JUSTICE ADVOCACY

MINISTRY

IMMIGRATION UPDATES

Join the AILA in Lobbying Congressional Leaders

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has written an excellent letter to Democratic Congressional Leaders asking them to prioritize some immigration reforms that could be done as part of the 2022 fiscal year's spending bill now being negotiated. Click here to add your voice to this chorus by writing to any or all of these leaders. Thank you!

Men's Ties Needed for Immigration Court

There are some judges in Immigration Court who like to see the men who appear before them wearing ties.  Of course, none of these men own ties, but we can change that. If you have some extra men's ties hanging around, please donate them to Catholic Charities for their attorneys to provide to immigrants appearing in court. You can take them to Beth El Temple at 3246 DeSota, the same temple where you can drop off specific donated goods. 

Additional Tutor Needed

Rahim and Habibou are the young couple with a new baby who are living on the near westside of Cleveland. Judy Charlick has been tutoring them in English which is so important for them to learn. It would be very helpful if they had one other tutor. They speak French with Judy. If you speak French and would be willing to tutor Rahim and Habibou one day/week, please contact Judy at jcharlick@ameritech.net.   

From Catholic Charities

If you are interested in making a donation or setting up a donation drive, please call our office at (216) 939-3759. Below is an up-to-date list of our most needed new or gently used household supplies.

Click for Most Needed Items

From Heights Friends of Immigrants

Each of the 3 agencies in Cleveland (Catholic Charities, USCRI, US Together) has received approximately 200-225 Afghans and the military bases are now emptied.

 

Storage for donations is available at Temple Beth El, 3246 DeSota Ave., in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. If you want to donate, please call Beth El first at 216-501-2761. Hours are Monday-Thursday: 9-5, Friday: 9-12, and sometimes Sunday. You must call first however, because Joe, the caretaker is not always available.

 

Also, USCRI is starting a new initiative. They want to supply all 80 plus families that they currently are serving with a rice cooker, a crock pot, and a television. If you have any of those items, and they are only slightly used you can either bring them to me at 3019 Waterford Dr. Twinsburg, 440-897-2413, or take them to Temple Beth El. Walmart currently has a Hamilton Beach large capacity crock pot, #33665, and a Hamilton Beach 30 cup Rice Cooker, #37550, on sale. 

 

The other need is for sponsors. This can take many different forms. You can volunteer to do such things as drive someone to appointments, or just to visit a family and speak English to them. It does not have to be a huge commitment. Contact Graham Ball directly at USCRI for information at 216-781-4560 ext. 5002.

Donations for People from Ukraine

The local agencies are anticipating that because of our large Ukrainian population in Cleveland, they will be receiving refugees here). Lisa is recommending a particular agency called Razom, meaning together. You can find them at www.razomforukraine.org. They began in NYC in 2014 with a group of ex-pats and Ukrainian Americans and work directly with Ukrainians in Ukraine and now in Poland. They have raised 4 million dollars in the past week, and are flying containers directly over to Poland. Click on Projects to read more about what they are doing.

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 11:30 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-TBA

SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
MOVIE NIGHTS

Movie nights provide an opportunity to explore our priority areas more in depth. Movie night is generally the third Monday of each month at 7:00 pm.   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 7:00 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?"

 

Monday, March 28, 7 pm

 

Online via Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83595558354?pwd=U1VxZU5SZ0NjcEVkbEcxeXpsbVlWdz09

 

House Bill 322 and 327 Introduced in May 2021, these bills prohibit the promotion, teaching and training of “divisive concepts” across Pre K-12, and higher education. We are fortunate to have an amazing panel of experts assembled to speak with us on March 28. You do not want to miss this opportunity to learn about the movements to stifle teachers, curriculum, books and history. You will learn how we, as Christians, can respond.

 

Our speakers include:

LeShun ‘Ship’ Collins, teacher, Orange High School, author, leader in Beyond The Act II Chatter

Meryl Johnson, Member Ohio State Board of Education

Cynthia Peeples, Founding Director, Honesty for Ohio Education

Lisa Vahey, Co-Founder, Honesty for Ohio Education

 

The UCC Heartland Conference, of which Federated is a part, is very involved. This evening will provide you with critical information and with a path forward to take action.

EXPANDING OUT UNDERSTANDING OF AN
ECO-FRIENDLY GARDENING APPROACH

When: Saturday, April 9, 2 - 3:30 PM, Free

With: Jeff Riebe, Naturalist, Cleveland Metroparks

Where: North Chagrin Nature Center, 401 Buttermilk Falls Parkway, Mayfield Village

Also available via Zoom.

Open to everyone – share with friends and family. Register at Communitylifecollaborative.org/ournature

Why relegate nature only to parks and preserves? What if you could encourage biodiversity in your own backyard by focusing on the beneficial plantings you already have and expand your landscape to truly benefit the planet? An exploration of beneficial gardens at North Chagrin Reservation will allow us to assess our own spaces and expand our understanding of an eco-friendly gardening approach.

 

MEET THE AUTHOR & BOOK DISCUSSION
CATHEDRAL ON FIRE

The book: Cathedral on Fire, by Brooks Berndt – a UCC publication

Wednesday, April 20, 7 PM   |   In the Lounge

Facilitators: Mary Ann Viveros and Diane Tuuri

 

Come meet the author and discuss this timely and important book. The urgency of the climate crisis requires that we act as if our cathedrals and churches are on fire. Indeed, God’s creation can be seen as one grand cathedral on fire with burning forests and rising temperatures. Amid this dire situation, Brooks Berndt focuses our attention on the unique and vitally needed gifts that churches can offer. He writes with poetic passion but also with an eye toward the practical as every chapter ends with suggested, field-tested actions.

 

Registration: Contact Melinda Smith at 440.247.6490 x111 or smithm@fedchurch.org, or sign up online via Realm.

 

Books available now: Pick up your book at the Reception Desk or on Sundays after church.  $5 per book, cash to Diane Tuuri, or send a ch1dvyeck to the office, 76 Bell Street, Chagrin Falls, OH 44022, memo: SJAM Cathedral Book. See Diane Tuuri or email her (dianectuuri@gmail.com) if you want a book and can't pick it up.

OUR LOCAL EARTH
BUILDING COMMUNITY FOR CREATION CARE

An All Church, Youth and Family Activity at the Family Life Center

Save the Date: Sunday, May 15 | Time: 12:00 noon – 3:00 PM

 

Activities, hikes, stories, and fun for the kids and the whole family. And, for the adults, a day to come together as a community to care for our memorial garden at the FLC. More info coming soon! Come at noon and bring a packed lunch to enjoy in community. The Challenge: Can you pack a lunch that is Zero Plastic or Zero Waste? All are welcome – invite friends and family. Dress for the weather and getting dirty.

RECENT ACTIONS BY SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE AT FEDERATED

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.

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. Domestic Violence - Contact: Darlene Nichols darnichols10@gmail.com
  3. Immigration Justice - Contact: 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 and Children's Issues - Contact: Darlene Nichols darnichols10@gmail.com
  8. Immigration - Contact: Rannigan Walsh ranni@me.com

  9. Criminal Justice - Contact: Tricia Baumgartner tricia.a.baumgartner@gmail.com

  10. Economic Justice and Education - Contact: Marty Culbertson mculbert@fedchurch.org

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 

LEADERSHIP

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