Winter A • 2010-2011                                 The UCC and Social Justice    Jesus’ Beatitudes are statements of ble...
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The UCC and Social Justice


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The UCC and Social Justice

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The UCC and Social Justice

  1. 1. Winter A • 2010-2011 The UCC and Social Justice Jesus’ Beatitudes are statements of blessing upon persons The UCC reaches out internationally as well through who struggle. Matthew and Luke differ in the way these direct support in times of crisis, such as the Indonesian statements were remembered and passed along to Jesus’ tsunami or the flooding in Pakistan. Such gifts from the followers. Luke’s conditions are objective and external annual One Great Hour of Sharing offering meet the (the poor), where Matthew’s conditions are essentially immediate needs of the poor in spirit around the world. internal (the poor in spirit). For this discussion, we’re using Matthew’s version. Since each person struggles with On a hands-on level, the UCC’s Council for Health something, we claim that these statements are relevant to and Human Service Ministries (CHHSM) facilitates all human beings. networking among 71 corporate members, operating 359 facilities and programs that provide health care and The Poor in Spirit services to children, to people with disabilities, and to the aging. CHHSM also facilitates connecting health There are many ways to be poor and the gospel urges us to care workers, development specialists, house parents, and minister to all of them. Matthew’s ‘poor in spirit’ isn’t just others with those facilities and programs. about financial need; it’s about lacking the vital principle (spirit) that gives life. But he doesn’t mean dead people! Finally, the United Church of Christ Mental Illness Network (MIN) seeks to raise awareness, understand- How would we describe someone whose energy and ing, and inclusion for those left out of our churches and optimism is gone? These are the poor in spirit. That communities because of mental illness or brain disorder. poverty can be found many situations including the These too are among the poor in spirit. affects of racism, injustices in the work place, or mental health challenges. The UCC-sponsored national gathering, “Widening the Welcome” in St. Louis, MO, provided a three-day The United Church of Christ (UCC) is committed to opportunity to learn about including mental health respect for creation and humankind. The UCC ministers ministry in the local church and what an Access to All to the ‘poor in spirit’ through practical initiatives that (A2A) congregation is. bring help, hope, and healing. One in four families is affected by brain injury or In 2010, the UCC’s Neighbors in Need (NIN) annual disorder, or mental illness. Drug abuse and post appeal, one-third of the gifts received supported the traumatic stress disorder are also part of the big picture Council for American Indian Ministry (CAIM). The concerning mental health and wholeness. Spiritual ancestor denominations of the UCC established churches support for healing and recovery is essential and involves in North and South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Northern individuals, families, and communities. Nebraska. Today, there are 19 UCC congregations on reservations and one urban inter-tribal congregation in The UCC’s Mental Illness Network is not often in the Minneapolis. The UCC continues its support for our news but it ministers to the poor in spirit where they are, Native American sisters and brothers. day by day. Two-thirds of the NIN offering was devoted to the St. Francis of Assissi said, “Preach the Gospel by all UCC’s Justice and Witness Ministries (JWM). JWM means; and if necessary, use words”. That’s an important provides grants to projects focused on meeting basic reminder that true shalom, wholeness, means walking needs and addressing local human rights issues. The the walk by ensuring that the poor in spirit indeed find Worker’s Interfaith Network (WIN) in Memphis, blessing. Tennessee is one such grant recipient. WIN assists low-wage workers who have suffered wage theft by an To learn more about any of the UCC’s ministries and employer. Wage theft occurs when employers pay less initiatives, see than minimum wage, fail to pay overtime, or simply do not pay workers. SR-00-WA-10-U-The UCC and Social Justice©2010 by Morehouse Education Resources • All rights reserved • • 1-800-242-1918