Ever Flowing Streams 2013
July 2017
SPECIAL ISSUE: SYNOD JUSTICE WRAP-UP
Traci Blackmon Elected to Lead UCC's Justice Ministry  
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Written by Anthony Moujaes
United Church of Christ

The Rev. Traci Blackmon was elected the executive minister of United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries by delegates to General Synod 2017 on Sunday evening, July 2, after serving in that capacity as acting executive minister for 19 months.

Blackmon electrified the General Synod crowd a day earlier when she delivered her nomination remarks on Saturday morning. The momentum carried over for the next 36 hours. Needing two-thirds of the votes to confirm her election, Blackmon received 97 percent from the 737 voting delegates.   Read more
SYNOD PASSES RESOLUTIONS ON JUSTICE
Declaring the Earth is the Lord's, UCC Calls for Environmental Imperatives for a New Moral Era
"A proclamation of truth and the love of God's gift" ~ Jim Antal 
 
Written by Tim Kershner  
United Church of Chirst

The United Church of Christ, noting both the urgency of climate change and the continued debate over its existence, is "raising its prophetic voice" to urge the "healing of the Earth."

On Monday, July 3, the delegates of the General Synod passed a resolution that calls on clergy across the life of the church to preach about the moral obligation to protect God's creation, and appeals to its members to lead efforts to educate and advocate for legislation to reduce the human impact on the environment.

"The climate crisis is an opportunity for which the church was born," said Rev. Jim Antal, president and conference minister for the Massachusetts Conference United Church of Christ, and the author of the resolution. "This sets the stage for engagement and hope. This is a proclamation of truth and the love of God's gift."    Read more 
Youth Voices Lead the Way on Gun Violence Resolution
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Associate Conference Minister for Communications

Guided in large part by the voices of youth, General Synod 2017 enthusiastically passed a resolution of witness Monday urging the recognition of gun violence as a public health emergency deserving of federal funding for scientific research.

"The youth voted to speak on this issue because it is, like it or not, an issue that impacts our daily lives," said Abby Martinage, a Youth@Synod participant from the Central Atlantic Conference. "Regardless of whether or not you support stronger gun control regulations, we hope you support the passage of this resolution."
United Church of Christ Emphatically Affirmed an Immigrant Welcoming Church 
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Underscoring the love of neighbor, with several speakers proclaiming that no human is illegal, delegates to General Synod 2017 overwhelmingly declared itself an Immigrant Welcoming Denomination and called on all settings of the United Church of Christ to do the same.

Delegates voted 96 to 3 percent in favor of the Resolution of Witness, which was brought by the Minnesota, Wisconsin, Northern California Nevada, Massachusetts, and Central Pacific conferences. 
Related: UCC Marchers Demand Immigration Justice

by Connie Larkman
United Church of Christ
In its first action as an Immigrant Welcoming Church, the United Church of Christ marched with the family and friends of an Annapolis, Md., artist and grandfather, seized outside his home on his way to work and detained the past three months by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.
General Synod addresses need to promote opportunities for people with disabilities, advocate for migrant worker rights

by Written by Anthony Moujaes
United Church of Christ

Reminding the denomination that all people are created in God's image, the General Synod of the United Church of Christ called on churches and congregants to "commit itself to disability justice," including advocacy of agreements among nations to protect and promote opportunities for people with disabilities, and to advocate for the rights of migrant farm workers.

Approved by 98 percent of the General Synod delegates on Tuesday, July 4, the resolution "Toward Disability Justice" is, at its core, a guideline for the wider church on how to include persons with disabilities in their ministries and social justice witness.
Resolutions
To read about how other resolutions fared at Synod, and view photos, visit this page. 

IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE CONCERNS
South Church's Decision to Offer Sanctuary
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A blog by Tom Gerstenlauer
South Congregational Church, UCC

Leaders at South Congregational UCC in Springfield have been involved in studying the issue of sanctuary for undocumented immigrants for many months now, attending events sponsored by our partner agency in Springfield the Pioneer Valley Project, as well as the Pioneer Valley Worker Center in Northampton and Western New England University Law Center. 

We have invited representatives from PICO and MCAN to address small groups and our congregation at worship.  We have learned that many of those with whom we share the city and the Pioneer Valley live under the oppressive burden of fear of detention, separation from family, and even deportation from the place in which they have made their homes.
RACIAL JUSTICE MINISTRY
Connecticut, Massachusetts Conferences to Share Associate for Racial Justice Ministry
by Drew Page
Connecticut Conference, UCC

Toyan (TJ) Harper - the current Associate for Racial Justice Ministries for the Massachusetts Conference - will be expanding his role to serve in the same capacity for the Connecticut Conference beginning this August.

"We are so excited to welcome TJ to our CTUCC staff," said Connecticut Conference Minister the Rev. Kent J. Siladi. "This collaboration will help our Conference continue its commitment to racial justice ministry. We are building on the work started by The Rev. Day McCallister and the Racial Justice Ministry Team.  TJ has had a tremendous impact already in the Massachusetts Conference, and we are overjoyed to partner with them in Racial Justice Ministries."

Harper has been working full-time for the Massachusetts Conference since last fall; he will now split his time between the two Conferences.
NEW RESOURCES FOR OUR CONGREGATIONS
 
We at the Justice and Witness Council realize the difficult task placed upon our clergy to preach week in and week out in a time when we are, more than ever, called to be "the guide and critic of the state... We invite clergy to submit sermons that they feel speak to this moment through the lens of the Gospel." 

Have you visited the Massachusetts Conference UCC's new resource for action ? Whether planning mission work in your church, finding ways to advocate for justice, or supporting disaster relief efforts around the world, you'll find helpful links to resources on these pages.
 
SAVE THE DATE
Justice and Witness Revival!
Saturday, November 4, 2017, approximately 9-2. Revival will take place in Western Massachusetts, exact location TBA. All are welcome! More details to come on macucc.org.


The Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ
508-875-5233
macucc@macucc.org