The United Church of Christ has a long history of “doing justice” dating back to standing with abolitionists in the early 1800s. Our denomination stood in the ‘60s with the Civil Rights movement. We’ve been advocating for LGBTQ rights since the ‘70s. We took on environmental racism in the ‘80s. And in 2005, we were the first denomination in America to endorse marriage equality.
Plymouth UCC has been doing justice since our founding in 1857 when we were known as an abolitionist church. Throughout Plymouth history, we have been on the side of peace, social, economic and racial justice. Since the 1930s our church leaders have been spearheading interfaith and racial justice work in the community and various groups at Plymouth have held studies and forums on current issues. See Plymouth’s 150 Year Anniversary notebook, 2007.
We often use resources available on the UCC website and work in partnership with faith groups like the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa, Interfaith Power and Light and other denominations, as well as community advocacy groups like the ACLUIowa, American Friends Service Committee, and Iowans for Gun Safety, among others. We share and promote those action alerts but realize that only committee members within Plymouth may be aware of this advocacy information.
To engage more congregants in advocating for justice issues locally, we are creating the Plymouth Justice and Peace Action Network (P-JPAN). This is similar to the UCC JPAN but focused on Plymouth people who are not necessarily on a board or committee but who would like to receive periodic action alerts, and information about events related to the issue area.
P-JPAN includes these boards and committees: Board of Christian Social Action, Peace Committee, Creation Care and Justice Coalition, Cuba Partnership Team, Welcoming Migrants, AntiRacism, Human Trafficking and AMOS. We are working together to promote advocacy around issues that we care about, such as immigration, voting rights, gun safety, racial justice, lifting the blockade against Cuba, climate education and action, training businesses to be aware of human trafficking, and a host of other issues.
Action alerts will be developed by each group for their issues and then congregants can choose which action alert(s) they wish to receive by topic. Each group will send no more than two action alerts per month, as well as information about events and educational pieces related to the group’s issue areas. We also are working with the Plymouth Staff to integrate P-JPAN into the church’s new database system, Touch Point.
We are called to live out our faith in today’s world and that witness for justice begins at home. Make your voice heard on the issues that matter most to you! Sign up for the P-JPAN network below!
Below are examples of the action alert issues that committees in the P-JPAN network are working on, have worked on or might work on. Please review the issue areas for each committee to determine which committee’s action alerts are of greatest interest to you. You may sign up for more than one set of action alerts.
- AMOS: Housing, anti-racism, racial justice, mental health, racial profiling.
- Anti-Racism: Voter ID, voter rights restoration, racial profiling, anti-racism, racial justice, red-lining, indigenous peoples.
- Creation Care & Justice Coalition: Climate education and action.
- Cuba Partnership Team: Reduce/eliminate travel restrictions, lift the blockade.
- Human Trafficking: Work with Iowa Network Against Human Trafficking (NAHT) to support federal, state and local legislation on human trafficking, specifically sex and labor trafficking.
- Peace Committee: No war in Iran, Palestinian/Middle East peace issues, gun violence prevention, economic justice, nuclear weapons reduction.
- Welcoming Migrants Committee: Immigration, detention, family separation, path to citizenship, welcoming refugees and migrants, DACA (deferred action for childhood arrivals), TPS (temporary protected status), financial support for basic needs for unauthorized migrants during pandemic.
- P-JPAN: There are some issues not under the purview of a Plymouth committee or group or are issues of shared interest by more than one committee, such as reproductive health care, LGBTQ rights, voting rights, or food insecurity. In these situations, P-JPAN may issue an action alert.