ORUCC Faithful Action for Justice


Faithful Action for Justice

Orchard Ridge United Church of Christ

November 2022

Faithful Action for Justice provides announcements and information from ORUCC’s Justice missions (Care of Creation, Immigration Justice, Heart Room, Racial Justice, Christian Witness and Service, Palestinian Justice).

Nobody can do everything. Saying yes to some things requires saying no to others. Our health and obligations limit us. As you read, briefly celebrate and pray for people doing something you will not join. As you feel called, reach out to a project’s contact person to learn more, and consider joining or click on links to read more.

Our justice mission teams provide information on issues that may be controversial, speaking to the congregation but not for the congregation.

Opportunities for Action or Service

Upcoming Events of Interest

From Climate Justice November 3 7-8:30 pm Faiths Connect for Climate Action will have program on recent legislation that allows organizations like churches to get funds for climate action. There will be time for small group discussions. Register here. There is also a November 4 Dane Climate Summit and a November 12 High School climate conference.

From Racial Justice November 6, 2:30-4:30 MOSES general meeting in person at First Unitarian Society, 900 University Bay Drive, Madison or via Zoom. General meetings include informational programs and racial justice conversations.

See longer articles below for more information about these events. Also register by Nov 1 for a new member orientation November 12 10-11:30 am on Zoom that will explain the history and activities of MOSES

Election Day is November 8

Elections are one way we express our values about our society. Please make a plan to vote. You can check your voter registration, find your polling place and more at https://myvote.wi.gov/en-us/. If you are disabled in any way and need assistance or advice about voting you can call 844-347-8683 or email [email protected] . If you can, make sure the people around you are able to vote. You will need a valid photo ID to vote. You can register at the polls if you also have a proof of address.

Heart Room Moves Forward – Consider Joining In!

Heart Room will expand in 2023! This year, ORUCC is providing rental assistance for 8 families with young children to find and keep stable housing. The families are off to a great start, with support from ORUCC members and our partners: The Road Home (TRH), Early Childhood Initiative, and Joining Forces for Families. 

Heart Room partners plan to add new families in 2023, with rental assistance provided by other congregations or community organizations. The proposed County budget includes added funding for The Road Home to provide housing case management and facilitate our partnership efforts.

The ORUCC Heart Room Team would love to add new members, as we gear up to support Heart Room families now and future program expansion. Would you like to learn more and consider joining us? Please contact Heart Room team member Bruce Olsen [email protected] or 608-347-0869.  

From Racial Justice

Moms on a Mission is a grassroots group of mothers and others who show up outside East High School every day to foster a nonviolent environment by being present, creating relationships, and de-escalating conflict. You can help this mission by contributing money to pay for snacks for the youth that MOMs distributes during the lunch period. You can also sign up as a volunteer to be present at East High during the lunch period. To read more about this mission and donate for snacks or volunteer see https://justdane.org/moms/. JustDane is acting as the fiscal agent for these contributions.  

Updates From Our Mission Teams and Groups

Immigration Justice

Letter Writing Campaign Update. We’re convinced that letter writing really does have an impact! After worship on Sunday, October 16, 2022, many people signed letters to our federal legislators to buoy support for the Afghan Adjustment Act. Within a week, Baxter Richardson and Ruthanne Landsness personally delivered letters to the Madison offices of Tammy Baldwin (36 letters), Mark Pocan (32 letters), and Ron Johnson (35 letters).

Since the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan, almost 80,000 Afghans have been welcomed into the United States via humanitarian parole. Under this status, the Department of Homeland Security allows people to enter the United States for one to two years. The bipartisan Afghan Adjustment Act in the US House and Senate would provide a pathway to lawful permanent status for Afghan evacuees in the United States who entered via humanitarian parole. Advocates hope to secure the necessary support for getting the bill passed before the end of the year.

‘Over 55’ connections. At their most recent meeting, Over 55 was treated to a foray into immigration issues, facts, figures, and stories with Ruthanne Landsness and Steve Sheets. They explored a history of immigration justice at ORUCC, current immigration policy issues, what happens at Casa Alitas in Tucson, and a travelogue of Steve’s trips to Tucson, including delivery of items from the ORUCC clothing drive. If you’d like to listen to the presentation, please click on the link below.  

Link to a .mov file stored in a Google drive

Racial Justice Mission Team

The racial justice mission team welcomes new members. We are seeking to expand our programming on racial justice issues and are looking for your ideas about what you’d like to see. Contact [email protected] if you would like more information or to make suggestions. We meet on the 2nd Tuesday of each month from 9 – 10:30 am, with flexibility to adjust meeting times for new members.

Learn About Justice Issues

From Care of Creation 

Many upcoming ways to learn and connect with others

  • Faiths Connect for Climate Action is a local, multi-faith group that cares about climate change and how it will affect our planet. They invite interested people to attend their next meeting. We will learn how the recently-passed Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) helps individuals and faith communities get funds to take climate action. Thursday, November 3, from 7:00-8:30 pm, via Zoom. Register here.  Guest presenter: Kathy Kuntz from the Dane County Office of Energy & Climate ChangeAfter Kathy speaks there will be time for questions & answers, and then split into smaller breakout groups so we can meet each other, network, and share our ideas and actions with each other.  Wisconsin Creation Care Ambassadors and Citizens’ Climate Lobby Madison’s faith team are hosting this free, virtual event. If you have any questions, please email Heather Phelps at [email protected].
  • Sustain Dane Summit  Building Our Social Change Ecosystem Friday, November 4, 7:45 am – 3:00 pm, at Monona Terrace Register here.  
  • Dane County High School Climate Action Conference  Gen Z: Meeting the Challenge of Our Changing Environment November 12, 8:30-4:30, at the Alliant Energy Center  All high school students in Dane County are invited to this free conference to connect and collaborate with environmental activists throughout Dane County, share and learn how to help the environment, and more! Please share this invitation with any high schoolers in your life and ask them to register here.
  • The Letter, a 1 hour 21 min documentary film, brings people from Senegal, the Amazon, India, and Hawai’i into dialogue with the Pope about the planetary crisis and the toll it’s taking on nature and people. https://youtu.be/Rps9bs85BII.

From Racial Justice

Sifting & Reckoning: UW Madison’s History of Exclusion and Resistance

is an exhibit at the Chazen Museum of Art that runs through Dec. 23, 2022. It is a collaboration of UW Madison Public History Project and the Chazen Museum of Art. Several topics of study are highlighted:

  • THE EARLY YEARS: Highlights are an explanation of the acquisition of Ho-Chunk land and the Treaty of 1832, and a timeline of “The Firsts,” showing students who were the first known of their particular racial, ethnic, or cultural identity and their persistence in overcoming many obstacles.
  • HOUSING: The 1961 video footage of housing discrimination as landlords deny housing to Black applicants. This was locked away in the UW Archives for almost 60 years.
  • STUDENT LIFE: This exhibit runs the gamut from the early minstrel shows, the KKK on campus, racism in student organizations, all the way to The Divine Nine.
  • IN THE CLASSROOM: Includes interesting oral histories from former students.
  • ATHLETICS: Exclusion of Black athletes and biographies of first Black coaches.
  • STUDENT ACTIVISM: Organizing of the Black Student Strike, other student protests, and more recently, the development of several student centers to support students.

These are only a few of the highlights of this exhibit. The displays are compelling and there are several opportunities to leave comments to express one’s impressions upon seeing this history. Seeing it in person is ideal, but if you can’t, check out the website: https://reckoning.wisc.edu/

Recognizing Divisive Politics. Politicians are seeking power by fanning divisiveness and fear about our children. They are:

  • Attacking care and respect for LGBTQIA+ youth in schools
  • Attacking “critical race theory” to erase US history and push back on programs seeking care and respect for racial minorities in schools.
  • Opposing truthful sex education
  • Opposing funding for public schools
  • Promoting militarized approaches to school safety
  • Cutting programs that enhance safety by addressing students’ needs.
  • Playing to fears of crime in political ads

ORUCC has a long and proud history of supporting LGBTQIA+ youth and adults and a general commitment towards racial equality as core tenets of our faith. We hope ORUCC folks will help slow down the emotional responses to fear-fanning political rhetoric, and help promote policies of inclusion and safety for everyone. The statewide Zoom meetings of the Faithful Stance for Equity coalition offer an opportunity to learn about how these issues are related in campaigns around the state. 

The Wisconsin Faithful Stance for Equity partners have collected Teach the Truth recordings for 2022. Local people tell the truth about our history in short (5 minute or so) statements about history.  Check it out. 

Guaranteeing Voting Rights for Disabled People

The September statewide meeting of the Faithful Stance for Equity coalition included a presentation by Barbara Beckert of the Wisconsin Disability Vote Coalition. People who are unable to get to the polls DO have the right to vote, despite the passage of recent laws trying to make it more difficult to vote. People who are unable to get to the polls or a mailbox unassisted DO have the right to have someone else help them as long as that person is not an employer or union representative. A wealth of legal and practical information was presented, including advice about what congregations can do to help make sure everyone can vote. 

Want to learn more? Take a look at the PowerPoint or the video recording from the presentation (75 minutes). 

MOSES (Madison Organizing in Strength, Equity, and Solidarity)

ORUCC recently joined MOSES (Madison Organizing in Strength, Equity and Solidarity). MOSES is a grassroots, interfaith, nonpartisan, racially-mixed, non-profit organization working for transformative justice in Dane County and Wisconsin that is part of WISDOM, a statewide organization with chapters in multiple cities. Most of our members belong to faith communities, but others are unaffiliated individuals committed to social justice. We hope that you will prayerfully consider how you might become involved!

To learn more:

  • Read a blog article by ORUCC members Barbie Jackson and Pam Oliver on ORUCC’s website. It provides more details about MOSES, and includes links to register for the events below or sign up for the MOSES mailing list. 
  • Attend the November 6th general meeting of MOSES 2:30-4:30 in person at First Unitarian Society, 900 University Bay Drive or via Zoom
  • Download a copy of the most recent MOSES newsletter to learn more.

From Palestinian Justice

 Consider travel to Palestine

We are often asked what’s the best way to learn about Palestine-Israel. On this question, we agree fully with UCC President John Dorhauer, who has stated, “Nothing can impact you like traveling to and witnessing firsthand what you can otherwise only read about from other sources. I can tell you from my own experience, if you get an opportunity to travel to the Middle East and in particular to go behind the walls of the Occupied Territories, I know that, like me, your life will be transformed by the experience.”

 “Come and see.” Participate in an authentic holy land witness trip. From firsthand experience with the following trip leaders and itineraries, we heartily recommend:

  • “Olive Picking Tour” (Oct 15-24, 2022) and “Olive Planting Tour” (Feb 4-23, 2023) hosted by the Joint Advocacy Initiative of the East Jerusalem YMCA and YWCA of Palestine (UCC mission partner organizations)
  • “In the Footsteps of Jesus” (Nov 4-16, 2022 & Jan 1-13, 2023) hosted by Rev. Jeff and Janet Wright;
  • “Come and See” Solidarity Tour (Jun 11-24, 2023) hosted by Rev. Dr. Michael Spath, phone (260-515-9300).

For more information about these trips, contact us.

Thomas Beilman and Diane Dulin

About our Missions

Interested? Reach out to learn more about our justice teams and projects. Our mission teams welcome your time, talent and energy!

In addition, our Christian Witness and Service ministry connects members to a variety of opportunities to support justice activities (chair: Ken Psyck).

Let us love and care for ourselves and each other as we work together for justice and mercy.