In This Issue
Prayer for Criminal Justice Sabbath
Standing at the prison fence
Patriotism with humanity
Upcoming movie and lecture
Quick Links
Join our list
Join Our Mailing List

July 2018

Criminal Justice Sabbath - starting conversations

Dear Friends,
These days, justice can feel very far off. We live in faith that the small steps we take down the road toward a more just world are enough.  Sometimes it's hard to keep walking and we wonder if we'll ever get there. But one thing we can know for sure is that we are not alone on this journey.
EMO invites Oregonians to lift up people impacted by our justice system as part of your worship service. We're including a sample prayer below to include in worship this weekend or in the weeks ahead.

Hear about ways communities statewide are raising awareness about justice issues as matters of faith, and find resources to join them. And let us know what you're doing for a Criminal Justice Sabbath this year, or if you'd like to learn more.
Thank you,

Rev. Audrey Zunkel-deCoursey
EMO CoSA Program Manager  
(503) 221-1054 ext. 211 
Find us on Facebook
Prayer for Criminal Justice Sabbath
Whether on your own or with your faith group, pray for those impacted by the criminal justice system.  More prayers can be found at our new website here.
A Prayer for Criminal Justice Sabbath
Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer;
We are one human family, though separated at times.  The men and women inside prisons and jails and detention centers  are our brothers and sisters.  We are connected in ways both seen and unseen,  ways that are life-giving and ways that threaten us all.  No one is free when any one of us is oppressed,  or caged, or violated, or forgotten.  Today, we remember these connections  and our mutual responsibilities to one another.
On this Criminal Justice Sabbath,   we remember every person whose life has been touched  by crime, violence, and mass incarceration.  We affirm that they are beloved members of our community.
We lift up people who have survived crime  or lost their lives to it that they might know their stories are heard and matter.
We lift up people in prisons and jails that they might know they are part of our community  and that they are never walled off from you.

We lift up people re-entering society after prisonthat they might find a welcome amidst disorientation and courage to start on a new path.
We lift up people migrating across borders leaving traumas and hardship in their homelands  only to find themselves thrust into an inhospitable legal system.

We lift up people who work and volunteer in prisons and jails that they might remain grounded in community .
We lift up people working in the court systems and law enforcement, that they might be renewed in their commitments to public service and its opportunities to offer healing in places of hurt.
We lift up people working with survivors of crimethat they might find balm to heal broken hearts.
We lift up foster families and case managers and social workersthat they might provide a safety net where families cannot.
We lift up activists, advocates, and elected leaders  working to transform broken systems  and make real our dreams of a better future.
We lift up medical staff, recovery supports, and mental healthcare providershealing the harms of trauma in mind, body, and soul.
We lift up restorative justice practitionersguiding conflicts toward deeper healing in collaborative resolution.
We lift up communities  weakened by the absence of too many moms and dads, daughters and sons.

We lift up every child whose parent is incarcerated, and all children who are themselves in custody that they might know they are loved and valuable beyond measure.
We pray that until crime and violence and oppression  no longer touch so many lives,  we will continue to remember these people.  We will continue to listen to the hard stories.  We will continue to work for healing.  We will continue to help restore justice.
Empowered by Your Spirit, we commit ourselves to this work.
Find other CJ Sabbath prayers, including A Prayer at the Prison Fence and A Prayer of Confession, on our website here.
Justice for migrants... beyond labels
Standing at the prison fence  
The Sunday before last, I participated in an interfaith worship service held just outside the fence to the federal prison at Sheridan, Oregon, hosted by IMIrJ and concerned clergy.  It was a powerful time to remember the religious traditions our ancestors have given us, about showing hospitality for migrants, honoring the needs of the vulnerable, and remembering when we ourselves needed kindness from strangers.  

The hot sun beat down but the spirits were high, as we sang and prayed and devoured the delicious meal prepared and served by our Sikh sisters and brothers, who have been particularly active in this movement. 

We also spent a lot of time waving.  Men inside the prison were able to open their windows part-way and stick out hands or small flags and wave at us. So we waved back at them.

I was aware that the men waving back at us were likely not only detained migrants....< continue reading at our blog>
Independence and Justice
Patriotism entails solidarity  

It may be a hard time to celebrate our nation's legacy when we see injustice near and far, or to celebrate "independence" when we and our loved ones are not free.  

A few ideas:
  • If you are at liberty to do so, get outside and enjoy public spaces.  Celebrate in public lands that are our legacy from generations past, and which we are entrusted to preserve for our descendants.  Creation teaches in many ways.
  • Remember people for whom this holiday is hard.  Whether they are separated from loved ones or feeling alienated from the holiday's sentiments, honor the hard parts of their human experience.  Caring makes us citizens of the world as well as our particular nations.
  • Remember those for whom fireworks can trigger disturbing memories and traumas.  Be mindful of your impact on those around you.
  • Find inspiration in the words of James Weldon Johnson by singing "Lift Every Voice and Sing," included below. 

Lift Every Voice and Sing
Poem by James Weldon Johnson  
Another national anthem

Lift every voice and sing, Till earth and heaven ring, 
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty; 
Let our rejoicing rise High as the list'ning skies, 
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea. 
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us, 
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us; 
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun, 
Let us march on till victory is won.  

Stony the road we trod, Bitter the chast'ning rod, 
Felt in the days when hope unborn had died; 
Yet with a steady beat, Have not our weary feet 
Come to the place for which our fathers sighed? 
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered. 
We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered, 
Out from the gloomy past, Till now we stand at last 
Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.  

God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, 
Thou who hast brought us thus far on the way; 
Thou who hast by Thy might, Led us into the light, 
Keep us forever in the path, we pray. 
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee, 
Lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee; 
Shadowed beneath Thy hand, May we forever stand, 
True to our God, True to our native land.

Stay tuned 
Rikers: An American Jail screening  
In partnership with our friends at First Unitarian Universalist's Ending the New Jim Crow social action group, this September we will be hosting a screening of the Bill Moyers documentary, Rikers: An American Jail.  Look for details later this summer. 

EMO's Collins Lecture to focus on immigrants and refugees 
On November 1, EMO will be hosting its annual Collins Lecture, an opportunity for interfaith ethical dialogue and education. This year's theme is about the challenges facing immigrants and refugees, and will be headlined by The Rev. Dr. David Vasquez Levy of Pacific School of Religion.  The intersections of immigration policy and the criminal justice system will be part of the educational opportunities.