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, Young Adults, 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 Emily Tripp 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! For more information contact Alicia Claypool.