Ever Flowing Streams 2013
February 2017
Commentary: Remember the People Behind the Policies
by John C. Dorhauer
General Minister and President of the 
United Church of Christ

Esther was on staff of the Southwest Conference of the United Church of Christ when I arrived there in 2008. She was the daughter of a Mexican diplomat who had been stationed in Phoenix for over 20 years. Her father was sent to serve in that position when she was just a baby. When I met her, she was in her early 20s and was helping organize our church camps and youth ministries. 

Shortly after I arrived, her father died. She lost her status and was threatened with deportation. She didn't speak Spanish. She had no family in Mexico. She had lived in the U.S. for practically her whole life. She had no options. Because of her father's position with the government, she was a high profile immigrant without status. She couldn't hide. 
by John Allen
MACUCC Immigration and Refugee Task Team

Most of our churches have Sanctuaries already.
They house our worship, our meetings, our choir rehearsals. They are places where some sit alone to find a space for a deep-felt prayer to be heard. Our youths' rushing feet thunder through them in the midst of some game or another. Our children's eyes often widen at the majesty of the space.

Many churches have realized though that Sanctuary is more than a room. It's a mission.
It is a mission to be a place of refuge for the vulnerable, a place where the biblical mandate of scripture to welcome the stranger is held higher than any other law.

Photo of refugees by United Church of Christ
In the early 1980's, when refugees fleeing violence and war in Central America were being denied asylum in the United States, churches stepped forward to offer Sanctuary. A place of support and shelter. A public witness against the inhumanity of turning people away from our borders to return to their deaths. These churches took families and individuals into their buildings, mounted public campaigns to protect them from deportation, and fought to help them receive asylum from the government.    Read more

Rallying for Women's...Human...Rights

Associate Conference Ministers and organizers Wendy Vander Hart (left photo, in Boston); Kelly Gallagher and Ellie Richardson (on the left and right in the second photo, in Washington D.C.) were among hundreds of Mass. Conference UCC marchers taking part in post-inauguration rallies on January 21.  


From the UCC Justice Peace and Action Network (JPANet)
T he Standing Rock Sioux Nation has issued a call for its allies to join them for a march in Washington D.C. on March 10. If you are concerned about the Dakota Access Pipeline and its impact on our brothers and sisters at Standing Rock, now is the time to march in the streets in defense of democracy and in solidarity. We want to connect our UCC presence at this event. 
From the UCC Justice and Peace Action Network
This week, President Donald Trump signed an executive action that signals his support for advancing the Dakota Access pipeline.   In his Presidential Memorandum to the US Army Corps of Engineers, President Trump ordered that permit for the the Dakota Access Pipeline be approved in an expedited manner, to the extent allowed under law.  Here's what we believe - Based on previous studies by the Corps, current interpretation of the law should include: Respect for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's treaty rights; the completion of a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS); and careful consideration of alternative routes for the pipeline.  Nothing in the memorandum addresses these considerations. 

You can contact the Army Corps of Engineers and Congress and let them know that you support a full and thorough environmental review for DAPL because your faith calls you to protect Creation, care for future generations, and stand with indigenous peoples.


C onfronting Chaos, Forging Community
April 21-24, 2017, Washington D.C.

When Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. posed the question, "Where do we go from here: Chaos or Community?" in his book of the same title 50 years ago, no one could have imagined that we would still be wrestling with this question today. In that same year on April 4, 1967, a year to the day before Dr. King was assassinated, he spoke at Riverside Church in New York addressing the intersectionality of "the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism" as the principal challenges of the time. Five decades later, Dr. King's prophetic insights and challenges - and the stark choice between chaos and community - are incredibly current.

Sadly, we have witnessed chaos in many of our communities, challenging us as people of faith to speak and act boldly and courageously to end racism, materialism and militarism.  Over the past year, our nation has experienced a divisive election in which racism, xenophobia, and religious bigotry were a constant.  

by TJ Harper, Racial Justice Associate

2017 marks where we are, but reminds us how far we still have to go.
  • In the 1950s, "redlining" suppressed people of color from owning property.
  • Today, JP Morgan settled a $55 million lawsuit for denying qualified blacks a mortgage and also for overcharging blacks who did, in fact, qualify for the loan.
  • In the 1950s, when Brown v. Board "desegregated" public schools and abolished the Separate but Equal doctrine, places such as Prince Edward County, Virginia closed its entire public school system and built an exclusively white, private school, Prince Edward Academy, that did not admit students of color for 30 years.

Read more and view February video/questions: "A Change is Gonna Come" here.


A Call for Active Interfaith Engagement in Response to Executive Orders 

By Polly Hamlen on behalf of the MACUCC Task Force on Ecumenism & Interfaith Relations

"We honor that the world's noble faiths share core values of compassion, justice and peacemaking, and we recommit to right relationships among people of all religious traditions, calling each other to the best of our sacred teachings.
"Therefore, we call upon ourselves and Christians everywhere to condemn acts of hate and violence done in the name of any of our sacred religions, and to actively engage with our faith partners:  Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Baha'i, Unitarian Universalist and so many others, to stand together against all acts of oppression done to anyone because of their faith."
These words were affirmed by the delegates to the 216th Annual Meeting of the Massachusetts Conference in 2015, in the preamble of a "Resolution of Witness Condemning Violence Committed in the Name of Religion."  We raise these words up once again as an affirmation of our faith and a call to action, following the recent executive order signed by President Trump, effecting a halt to refugee resettlement and canceling visas for people traveling to the US from seven majority muslim countries. 

'LGBT Elders in an Ever Changing World' Conference 
Friday, March 17, 2017 ~  Salem State University 

This interdisciplinary conference is a day-long event focusing on issues of older persons and caregivers who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Each of the first five conferences drew over 250 social service and health care professionals, including students and older adults themselves, interested in the subject of LGBT aging and service needs.  
March 12, 2 p.m., Boston Nature Center, Mattapan, MA

This is an ecumenical event - open to Christians of all denominations. Please invite youth groups from other churches in your town!  
All events held at a Mass Audubon Sanctuary. Free admission - please RSVP with group leader (see below).   Specifics of each program will depend on the ages and abilities of The participants and the weather.   For more info or to RSVP:  Dr. Barbara Darling  (barbarakdarling@yahoo.com)
To get directions and other information about the Mass Audubon Sanctuaries, please visit this page.   Click here to download a flyer for this event (with information on other walks in Easthampton and Worcester as well).


Share what you and your church are doing to live out the UCC's vision statement:  "A just world for all."
Send information, stories, photos, or videos to jannsoha@ucc.org and explain what you and your church are doing to help build a just world for all. If you wish to share with us on social media, use  #justworld4all and tag us. 

The deadline to submit is March 31. Your church may be featured on UCC media.  

Click here to read the UC News story about the United Church of Christ's purpose, mission, and vision.  Check out these resources for ideas and ways to help build a just world for all.

The Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ