ORUCC Faithful Action for Justice: June Newsletter


Faithful Action for Justice

Orchard Ridge United Church of Christ

June 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


Heart Room Improvement and Expansion

Heart Room supports families with young children to find and keep stable housing. Five new families will be added to the current pilot program this summer, with funds already raised by our church.  This kind of help is needed now more than ever by families.

The four Heart Room partners—The Road Home, Joining Forces for Families, the Early Childhood Initiative, and ORUCC—have set a goal to double the number of families served starting in 2023-2024. This will involve inviting other congregations and funders to join in the work voluntarily. Stay tuned!

Opportunities for Action or Service

Voter Engagement Campaigns

The Wisconsin Interfaith Voter Engagement Campaign and the League of Women Voters are sponsoring non-partisan voter registration and get out the vote canvassing. Volunteers will work in pairs in low voter turnout neighborhoods to build awareness and provide information on how to register and vote. Zoom training is available on Zoom on June 23 or 29 from 7-8:30 pm; canvassing kick-off is July 10 at 1pm at First Baptist. Zoom links and more information about canvassing.  Other ways to fight racism in voting from WIVEC. Contact ORUCC member Ruth Ann Berkholtz   for more information.

The Racial Justice Task Force of the Wisconsin Conference of the United Church of Christ is sponsoring a webinar Tuesday June 28 at 6pm  called Voting Rights, Race and Faith on racially-biased voter rights suppression in Wisconsin and how members and congregations can advocate for robust voting rights for all. Speakers will be Anjali Bhasin of WI Conservation Voices and Voters, Shauntay Nelson of All Voting is Local, and Rabbi Bonnie Margulis of Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice. There will be time for Q&A. Click here to register and receive a meeting link. The Zoom will be recorded and available upon request. Contact Lisa Hart for more information.

School Safety Issues

At its June general meeting, MOSES (Madison Organizing in Strength, Equity and Solidarity)  hosted a wide-ranging discussion of school safety and the role of school resource officers (SROs) that included a presentation by Erica Ramberg and Robin Lowney Lankton from Families for Justice about about the findings from their 2016-17 open records request about the actual activities of Madison SROs, presentations by Barbie Jackson about current school safety plans and by Shel Gross about the mental health needs of students, and broad member discussion. More details about these discussions can be found in this summary written by Barbie Jackson. If you would like to engage with MOSES or others in ongoing discussions on this topic, please contact Barbie at [email protected] or 608-234-8118.

MOSES Call to Action: Memorial Day Opposition to Guns in Schools

Please consider joining MOSES members in a letter-writing and call-in campaign to your State Senator, Representative, and the Governor to declare your opposition to any potential legislation that would permit the arming of school personnel. Guidance is provided in the Call to Action. MOSES believes that militarization of our schools by the possession of firearms by teachers or other school personnel poses a direct threat to the safety and well being of our children in general and of our children of color in particular and thus would increase school-induced trauma for the children. 

Urban Triage Co-Conspirator Workshop

Urban Triage has announced that the 6th Cohort of Co-Conspirator Workgroups (CCW) is now forming. Co-Conspirator Workgroups are designed to bring about permanent shifts in how White people define and understand the depth and breadth of white supremacist patriarchal capitalism. The Workshop IS NOT a version of “white fragility” training. It aims, rather, at a new understanding of how the structure of white supremacy is internalized in our lives and how this internalization harms all of us. The Cohort also aims at learning how we- individually and collectively- can be empowered to make change. Graduates of the first 5 Cohorts have testified that the experience was transformative. 

Funds raised by the Workshops go to providing stipends to the participants in Supporting Healthy Black Families, a signature Urban Triage program. 

Details: Workshop from July 14-September 23, 2022, meeting (Zoom) on Thursday (6:00-8:00) and Friday (4:30-5:30) every other week. “Buddy” groups meet on “off” weeks. 

Cost: $1475.00

Application (includes more information about the program)

A sample class will be presented on June 21. Sign up here . The form also offers the option of learning more if you cannot attend the sample class. ORUCC member Baxter Richardson can also tell you more about this class.

Learn About Justice Issues

From Racial Justice 

The Madison Forward Fund is a year-long guaranteed income experimental program, patterned on the Stockton, California model. The plan provides for a monthly cash payment of $500 given directly to 155 to be selected households in Madison for 12 months, with first payment to start in September, 2022. The payments are unconditional with no restrictions on how the money is to be spent. There are no work requirements. This program is founded on the belief that people in poverty are best positioned to make decisions on expenditures that will benefit their household. The program was officially launched on June 21, 2022.

Madison is a member of Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, a national organization of about 81 mayors advocating for a national guaranteed income and each mayor is exploring or has started a program appropriate to their city. Research on the impact of cash payments is an integral part of each program and Madison Forward Fund has a randomized study in place for this purpose.

For additional information:

Mayors for a Guaranteed Income

Madison Forward Fund

Madison Forward Fund Program Administrator is Blake Roberts

Call Baxter Richardson if you have questions and comments.

From Immigration Justice

Please read an informative article about DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary. DACA is a stopgap measure for more than 800,000 “Dreamers” who have been raised in the United States. There are many success stories and positive societal impact from the DACA program, but Congress has failed to provide a way for Dreamers to achieve permanent resident status and a path to citizenship. The latest challenge to DACA is likely to reach the Supreme Court, which will decide whether the executive branch has the authority to create such an extensive program.  

The Marshall Project reports that border authorities resist improving conditions for minors in crowded, freezing facilities:  Children and teenagers make up a third of all immigrant detainees, and face dire conditions that border authorities haven’t improved.

Just over the border in Mexico, tens of thousands of people live in dangerously poor conditions without running water or electricity, as they wait for a chance to enter the U.S. and seek asylum. This video from Newsey’s in Real Life series, shows what life is like in these camps and hears a range of perspectives on how to fix a broken immigration system.

From Palestinian Justice

General Mills divests its Israeli business following church-led boycott 

June 1, 2022. Following a two-year campaign calling on General Mills to stop making Pillsbury products within an illegal Israeli settlement located in Occupied Palestine, the company announced yesterday that it had divested its Israeli business altogether. The successful “No Dough for the Occupation” boycott campaign which prompted this change was led by The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and endorsed by numerous other religious and secular organizations. 

UCC participation in the “No Dough” campaign included Ainsworth UCC’s (Portland, Oregon) vote to be a Pillsbury-Free-Church, and Minnesota Conference Minister, Rev. Shari Prestemon’s reading, on behalf of the UCC, of this powerful statement at General Mills headquarters in Minneapolis. For more information about the non-violent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement: UCC votes to boycott occupation profiteersBoycott Puma, and The Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.

Tom 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.

“The movement of the spirit of God in the hearts of people often causes them to act against the spirit of their times, or causes them to anticipate a spirit which is yet in the making. In a moment of dedication they are given wisdom and courage to dare a deed that challenges and to kindle a hope that inspires.”

-Howard Thurman