ORUCC Faithful Action for Justice: April Newsletter


Faithful Action for Justice

Orchard Ridge United Church of Christ

April 2022

Welcome to Faithful Action for Justice Announcements, messages from ORUCC’s Justice missions (Care of Creation, Immigration Justice, Heart Room, Racial Justice, Christian Witness and Service).

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.

Consistent with UCC tradition and governance, our mission teams provide information on issues that may be controversial, speaking to the congregation but not for the congregation. A vote by the entire congregation is required for any official statement by ORUCC.

News from Our Mission Teams and Groups

Sunday Morning Justice Programming

Come to ORUCC on Sunday mornings at 9 a.m. to hear more from our mission teams and partners in justice. Have a cup of coffee, take a seat, listen, learn and discuss issues that matter in our lives.  


APRIL 24 The Problem with Plastics and What We Can Do About It (Care of Creation Mission Team). This is the second of two sessions – but you can enjoy and learn from this second session without having been to the first.


MAY 8  Immigration Facts and Myths — Frequently Asked Questions (Ruthanne Landsness, Chair of the Immigration Justice Mission Team) Ruthanne will have recently returned from volunteer service near the border at Casa Alitas in Arizona. 


MAY 15 Wisconsin Council of Churches – the Wider Church in Action for Justice (Kerri Parker, Executive Director) Kerri and her colleague Peder Johanson will overview the work of the Council, which supports churches to put our faith into action. They’ll also provide more specific information about welcoming Afghan refugees. For more information about WCC’s work in advance, click https://www.wichurches.org/

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Heart Room Evaluation

The Heart Room pilot continues to support families with young children to find and keep stable housing.

ORUCC’s Megan Piper is working with Mike Bruce from Joining Forces for Families and Liz Schnee from the Road Home to analyze data from in-depth interviews with Heart Room families and other information about the program, including how the families use their rental assistance subsidy and what goals they set for themselves and their children. The goal is to evaluate how well the pilot program is working as we plan for the future. They expect to provide a full report to ORUCC and the wider community within the next few months.

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Afghan Resettlement: Gift Card Sunday Update

Together, ORUCC and the Madison Mennonite Church raised over $2,000 in gift cards, bus passes and donations for Afghan resettlement in Dane County. The Immigration Justice Mission Team, a joint committee with members from both congregations, coordinated this effort. Jewish Social Services, working with Open Doors For Refugees, will be putting the cards to good use by our newest neighbors immediately.

A special thanks to our mission team members who took the lead to make this possible: Ruthanne Landsness, Carol Troyer-Shank, Jill Westberg McNamara, Mark Bauman, and Baxter Richardson.

Opportunities for Action or Service

From Racial Justice

Ilgen Literacy Fund: New Mission Team Forming

ORUCC is building a new mission team for the Ilgen Literacy Fund. If you feel called to work on a small, community-based project at the intersection of childhood literacy and racial justice, consider joining!

Check out our 2021 progress report to see how we’ve moved forward this year, and/or contact chairperson Jen Walker to learn more.

Poor People’s Campaign

The Poor People’s Campaign – Wisconsin is organizing people to attend a rally this summer, in Washington DC, on June 18. The UCC is one of the mobilizing partners of this campaign. Rev Ari Douglas, who spoke at ORUCC a few weeks ago, is coordinating organizing in this area. Check out the web site to learn more. If you are interested in attending the rally, you can contact Rev Ari at [email protected] for more information.


Faithful Stance for Equity

Wisconsin Council of Churches, WISDOM, and Faith Voices for Justice have a campaign called Faithful Stance for Equity that is concerned about defending public schools from attacks on diversity programming and support for LGBTQ+ youth. Monthly statewide Zoom meetings on First Tuesdays at 6:30 pm put you in touch with people from around the state and have featured informative and useful programming. Attendees have found it a great way to get out of the Madison bubble and learn more about what is happening elsewhere in Wisconsin. There are also local meetings on Zoom on second Tuesdays at 1:30 pm. ORUCC’s Karen Jaehnig has been attending regularly and writes more about these meetings on an ORUCC blog.


The Racial Justice Mission Team is encouraging ORUCC to join MOSES, a local, mixed-race group that brings a faith-based approach and emphasis on racial justice to community issues, including incarceration, policing, education, and children’s needs. MOSES is the Madison affiliate of WISDOM, a statewide organization. The mission team is preparing programming to provide more information about MOSES to ORUCC members.

Next Meeting: May 1, 3:30-4:30, via Zoom. The general meeting is a good way to learn more about the organization and what it does. To get the Zoom link for the meeting, you can contact [email protected] or ORUCC member Pam Oliver [email protected] You can also learn more by checking out the MOSES web site

Learn About Justice Issues

From Care of Creation


Free, family-friendly exhibits of electric and hybrid cars, games for the kids, interactive solar panel display, plus displays by clean energy and environmental organizations and businesses. Outdoors unless bad weather forces the exhibits indoors. Free popcorn, lunch available for purchase from the Melted Craft Grilled Cheese food truck. Hosted by Middleton Community Church (645 Schewe Rd, Middleton, WI; off Old Sauk Rd.) More information

Article: Glass vs Plastic As a companion to the April 24th presentations about the problem with plastics, you may find this article helpful. It compares the environmental impacts of plastic, glass, and aluminum.


From Immigration Justice

Reports from Casa Alitas

Ruthanne Landsness recently returned from 30 days of volunteering at Casa Alitas in Tucson, AZ. She sent back two reports on the current asylum situation. They are accessible on the ORUCC blog page. You can take a look at Ruthanne’s firsthand accounts from March 30 and April 12.

Policy Update: The Biden administration is expected to lift a Trump-era public health rule within the next few weeks. The rule has turned back families at the border during the pandemic. Its enforcement has varied, and the response to its repeal is controversial. Read more

April 19. Dane Sanctuary Coalition’s ‘Big View’: Living Undocumented

ORUCC and the Madison Mennonite Community will host a Dane Sanctuary Coalition ‘Big View’ event. Together, attendees will view and discuss episode 6 of the Netflix documentary, Living Undocumented. This is a follow up to the March event where people viewed and discussed episode 3, but you do not have to have been at the first event to attend in April. The other episodes in the series are available from Netflix.

Tuesday, April 19th, 6:30 – 8:00

Attend in person: Madison Mennonite Church /ORUCC Worship Hall

or Zoom, via Computer/smartphone link or by phone: 312-626-6799 

Meeting ID: 815 805 774

From Palestinian Justice

“How Are the Children?” video-based curriculum

Over two Sundays in March, soon-to-be ORUCC members Thomas Beilman and Diane Dulin presented “How Are the Children?” – a video-based curriculum produced by the United Church of Christ Palestine Israel Network.


Those who attended the two Sunday sessions learned how the systematic ill-treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli military detention affects children, their families and their communities. They heard UCC national executive leaders bear witness to the injustices they have witnessed personally in Occupied Palestine. They saw clear connections between the United States’ extreme military policing and racism, and Israeli-occupied Palestine’s systems of policing and racist laws.


If you missed the presentation, you can watch the film and find other information at www.HATCnow.org. If you would like to share thoughts and ideas with others in ORUCC working on this issue, contact thoma[email protected].

From Racial Justice

Black Child Book Fair Tour to stop in Madison

The Black Child Book Fair Tour travels across the United States looking to improve literacy in Black communities by promoting Black authors and their books. It’s also a unique chance for many Black and brown children to meet authors and to see characters in books that look like themselves.

The next stop for the Black Child Book Fair Tour will be in Madison — at the Allied Family Center Boys & Girls Club on Saturday, April 30, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Read More.

Learn About Local Justice Groups

Learn More About Affordable Housing Issues and Organizations

Madison and Dane County have a critical lack of affordable housing options, especially challenging for the lowest income individuals and families. Many organizations are working for change and justice. Some of those organizations’ leaders presented a 50 minute roundtable discussion during the 2022 Big Share. They discuss their work, challenges, and positive steps underway. The recording is available via YouTube: https://youtu.be/hi7wt3VDD0E

Another local group working on housing issues is Madison Roots. Their approach is to encourage affluent people to contribute to funds for people to be able to buy homes. You can read more about their approach and see a video by founder Vanessa McDowell. https://madisonroots.com/

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.

“The risen Jesus invites us to share his victory and his ongoing mission in the world—and therefore invites us into genuine forms of solidarity and liberatory praxis that are Good News for the oppressed, first and foremost, but then also for the whole world. Because in the words of Dr. King, “No one is free, until we are all free.”

-Father Bill Carroll