ORUCC Faithful Action for Justice


Faithful Action for Justice

Orchard Ridge United Church of Christ

February 2023

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

Immigration Justice in Action

The Volunteer Driver’s Program


Since 2019, the Dane Sanctuary Coalition has made rides available for asylum seekers to Milwaukee and Chicago to help them get to their asylum interviews, court hearings, and other appointments that are critical to determining their legal status and ability to stay and work in the United States. 

Most recently, Mark Bauman, a member of our Immigration Justice Team and member of the Madison Mennonite Church, provided three rides to people in need of transportation. We invite others to do the same.

If you are interested, please contact Dan Zimmerman at [email protected] or call him at 608/241-1158. Dan will put you on a distribution list and contact you to see if you are available when someone needs a ride. He will also arrange a virtual training session for you. The training provides an explanation of the roles and responsibilities of a volunteer driver, and basic information about the judicial processes that you may witness. Consider tossing your name in the ring. You may even find it an opportunity to use Google translate!

Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Providing short-term home hospitality to asylum seekers and refugees


Do you have a spare bedroom, an in-law apartment, or other possible accommodation for a short-term houseguest? The Dane Sanctuary Coalition is recruiting volunteers who are willing to provide short-term home hospitality to asylum seekers in Dane County. 


The need for short-term housing is particularly acute for asylum seekers because Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will not release them from detention without an address where they will be staying. These are folks referred to the Dane Sanctuary Coalition through local immigration attorneys or the Dane County Immigration Office. As a result, they have been carefully vetted in every way.


We invite you to consider providing your home for a few days to a few weeks while the referring attorney or agency works to find more long-term housing. If interested, please click on the link to fill out a sign-up form.  Filling out the form does not obligate you. Instead, it puts you on a distribution list so you can be contacted about your availability if/when a need arises.


Questions? Contact Rabbi Bonnie Margulis at 608-513-7121 or [email protected]. Thank you.

Heart Room Seeks New Partners

Heart Room is ready to grow! Families served in this partnership are meeting goals for thriving in stable housing, with Heart Room support. We plan to add 4 new families in 2023. Dane County has funded professional services. We, the Heart Room partners, are working to raise rental assistance from other congregations and community partners.

Learn more

Pick up a paper brochure about Heart Room successes on the table in the Cross Roads or download a copy.

Hear a Heart Room presentation, 4-5 p.m. Sunday February 19, at ORUCC. (We’re sharing our story with folks from Madison Mennonite and other congregations – as we seek new partners and rental assistance support.)

Help Identify new partners

Can you help identify new partners who could be willing and able to support Heart Room expansion? It costs an average of $21,000 per family for three years of partial rental assistance. Please be an ambassador and tell others about this program.

Please share any leads about potential donors with Bruce Olsen [email protected] or Helene Nelson [email protected] so we can plan to follow up.

Be sure to vote in the Feb 21 Supreme Court primary

ORUCC Partner Faith Voices for Justice reminds us that there is an important primary on February 21 getting too little attention that includes a state supreme court election. The Court will be deciding cases on important issues including voting rights, gerrymandering, LGBTQ rights including marriage, gun control, school choice, and more. There are four candidates, two liberal and two conservative. The top two will advance to the April election.

The February primary historically has very low turnout and depending on the mix of who votes, it is possible that two conservatives or two liberals could advance to the April election, giving April voters little meaningful choice. The Court currently has a 4-3 conservative majority. This election could either consolidate the conservative majority or shift the balance. Justices serve 10 year terms.

Ballotpedia has information on the importance of the Feb. 21 primary and who the candidates are for the State Supreme Court. The Wisconsin Interfaith Voter Engagement Campaign has a Congregational Checklist for the Feb. 21 Primary with important information and dates leading to the election. Finally, the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin has a helpful fact sheet on the State Supreme Court and has launched their Vote 411 website for the Spring election. The League of Women Voters held an informational forum on the ballot initiatives. You can watch the 90 minute recording.

Other Opportunities to Help

Contribute to the Thanksgiving Year-Round Fund Many neighborhood families struggle to find the dollars to buy groceries all year round, so ORUCC expanded the Thanksgiving fund to a year round opportunity to address hunger in our community. The ORUCC Thanksgiving Year-Round Fund provides food assistance year-round. Our social work partners distribute food and gas gift cards to Southwest Madison neighbors – purchased via donations to our fund. You can make at any time by going to https://orucc.org/contribute/support/ and clicking on the link-box “Contribute to the Thanksgiving Year-Round Fund”  Thank you!

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. There is a special need for volunteers to be present at East High during the lunch period, to distribute snacks and provide a friendly face. You can also help this mission by contributing money to pay for snacks for the youth that MOMs distributes 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

From Racial Justice learn about white christian nationalism

White christian nationalists are claiming to speak for Christians when they attack racial diversity, LGBTQ rights, abortion, and election results. ORUCC member Rev. Dr. David Anderman will address the challenges of white christian nationalism with a guest sermon on February 12 and an eight-week study group on Tuesday mornings 10:30-12 from February 28-April 18. The study group will be hybrid (in person and virtual on Zoom) in the Swan seminar room at ORUCC. The Racial Justice Mission Team has been discussing this issue for over a year and we think it is time to bring it to the congregation. We asked David to write a statement about this issue for the ORUCC website.

Palestine Justice

Offer of a fellowship position rescinded for noted human rights defender

Kenneth Roth, the recently retired Executive Director of Human Rights Watch (HRW), was delighted when Harvard’s Kennedy School reached out and informally offered him a human rights fellowship. All that remained to solidify the offer was an approval by Kennedy School’s dean, Douglas Elmendorf. 

During an introductory conversation, however, Elmendorf posed an odd question: Do you have any enemies? Roth replied that creating “enemies” is an expected hazard for human rights defenders. China and Russia had imposed personal sanctions on him, and several governments hate him. He added that the government of Israel likely detests him as well, as HRW had studied and documented the situation in Palestine-Israel and labeled Israel an apartheid state. A couple of weeks after this conversation, the Kennedy School withdrew its invitation to Roth — a move that triggered widespread condemnation, after which the school restored the fellowship opportunity. For more information: The Guardian Opinion Piece.

Roth’s story sheds light on the price paid for speaking about Israeli transgressions. For lesser-known individuals, the decision to speak out can bring an end to a promising career.

Tom Beilman and Diane Dulin

ORUCC Hosts Faith-Based Housing Summit

On January 31, ORUCC hosted the Faith-Based Housing Summit, sponsored by the Wisconsin Council of Churches and Faith Voices for Justice. This well-attended event featured speakers on the affordable housing crisis, possible church responses including use of church land and buildings for housing, and other factors related to housing development. The slides and possibly video from these presentations will be available in the future on the Wisconsin Council of Churches website – https://www.wichurches.org/

After a scrumptious lunch hosted by ORUCC’s catering mission team, participants gathered at tables to discuss possible church responses – from public policy advocacy to direct help for people in need of housing. One group discussed ORUCC’s Heart Room initiative – a model that can be scalable and adaptable to serve various groups.

From Racial Justice

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. 

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 Thursday of each month from 9 – 10:30 am via Zoom. We are open to adjusting meeting times for new members.

We are also discussing forming a separate group to work specifically on bringing MOSES issues to the congregation.

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:

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:LuAnn Greiner)

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