ORUCC Faithful Action for Justice


Faithful Action for Justice

Orchard Ridge United Church of Christ

September 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

Wisconsin Voter Education Campaign

ORUCC and Madison Mennonite  members showed their dedication to the voting process by joining over 30 people from eight Dane County congregations to participate in WIVEC’s non-partisan Summer Interfaith Canvassing Campaign in July. We knocked on over 350 doors and spoke with over 180 households! The League of Women Voters provided training and reported that this was one of their most successful door knocking campaigns!

Looking ahead to the November elections– there are few more important than the one right here in our state. So let’s get to work! Consider volunteering in the non-partisan WIVEC Fall Interfaith Canvassing Campaign. Here are the details:  

  • League of Women Voters Training Dates: September 21 and 22 from 7-9pm (online and recorded). This is the same training, offered twice. 
  • Madison Canvass Events Location(s): TBD (all volunteers meet at central location before and after canvassing). (1) Thursday September 29 from 4-7pm (includes pre and post gathering times) (2)  Sunday, October 9 from 1:30-4:30pm (includes pre and post gathering times)

To see/hear July canvassers from ORUCC & other congregations watch this video. You’ll recognize a few people!–experience their reflections and feel the excitement of the day. If you’re at all interested, contact me for further info!  Ruth Ann Berkholtz (rab) at [email protected] or VM at 608-334-8761.

Discussion of Abortion Rights September 25 at 9am Fellowship Hall

Mike Murray, VP of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin (PPWI), and Rabbi Bonnie Margulis, Chair of the Wisconsin Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice WI-RCRC), will present on the current status of abortion access in Wisconsin. The presentation from PPWI will include a discussion of the current legal and legislative landscape, information on medical and surgical abortions and how PPWI is currently serving its patients to fill the needs. WI-RCRC will discuss the history of faith support for reproductive justice, the current status of organizing taking place, and plans currently in process for meeting patient needs through the faith community. Opportunities for volunteering and engagement will be explored. There will be opportunity for questions and discussion. The presentation will be at 9am in Fellowship Hall and may be recorded or live streamed, if tech support can be arranged.More information

SMAC Community Leadership Development

The Southwest Madison Action Coalition (SMAC) is partnering with UW-Extension Dane County and Good Shepard Lutheran Church to sponsor a series of free facilitated Saturday workshops focused on educating and developing community-based leaders who either live in the area or are interested in being a volunteer in area programs. The next workshop is September 10. Read more about these workshops For more information, contact ORUCC members Jane Glaze [email protected] or Bruce Olsen [email protected], who participate in SMAC’s housing subgroup.

From Palestinian Justice


 Israel acts to shutter six renowned Palestinian human rights organizations

In October 2021, in a blatant act of political repression, the State of Israel outlawed six renowned Palestinian human rights organizations, claiming (falsely) they are “terrorist groups.” No evidence has ever been provided for this charge. Two weeks ago, the Israeli army took additional measures to quash the work of these organizations. In pre-dawn attacks on August 18th, Israeli soldiers ransacked the organizations’ offices, stole computers and physical files with confidential client information, and welded the doors shut so employees could no longer enter the premises. For more information, click here and here.


The six targeted organizations are Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCIP), Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, the Bisan Center for Research and Development, Al-Haq, the Union of Palestinian Women Committees, and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees. These organizations are highly esteemed for their human rights and social work as part of Palestinian society. DCIP, for example, promotes and protects the human rights of Palestinian children. Al-Haq monitors, documents and provides detailed reports on human rights violations. The Union of Agricultural Work Committees supports Palestinian farmers facing ongoing land theft by the Israeli regime.

How can we help these organizations? We can join with others in writing to our congressional representatives. Contacting Mark Pocan and Tammy Baldwin is easy with this on-line petition from Jewish Voice for Peace.


Thomas Beilman and Diane Dulin

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 have been meeting montly via Zoom on Thursday afternoons but can adjulst meeting times for new members.


Clothing for Casa Alitas

ORUCC, Madison Mennonite, and First Baptist Church members donated 45 big UHaul boxes of clothing for Casa Aliitas. Immigration justice mission team members sorted and boxed the donations and loaded them onto Steve Sheet’s trailer to be driven to Tucson. Thanks to everyone who donated and to the volunteers who helped sort and box the donations: Jill McNamera, Ruth Ann Berkholtz, Paul Patenaude, Baxter Richardson, Ann Haase Kehl, Mark Bauman (MMC), Carol Shank (MMC), and Ruthanne Landsness, George Nestler, Jim McNamera, Peter Hoff, Steve Sheets and Cindy Fillingame).  Read more and see more pictures

More Families Succeed with Heart Room Support!


Heart Room helps families with young children find and keep stable housing. Currently eight families are receiving rental assistance from ORUCC members and great support from The Road Home, Joining Forces for Families, and the Early Childhood Initiative.  


Heart Room families are succeeding! The new families are off to a great start. And all seven families who completed the program left with stable housing, increased income, and significant progress in achieving their priority goals. Evaluation of Heart Room results shows this approach works well for families with multiple barriers to stability, helping them achieve goals for their children to thrive long term.


Heart Room partners are primed to expand the program starting in 2023, inviting other congregations to join in. We’ve asked Dane County for a small budget increase for The Road Home to provide housing case management and administrative support. Helene Nelson and Megan Piper supported The Road Home in preparing the budget request. We highlighted evaluation of collective success, which we think is truly impressive. Are you interested in the results? 


Afghan Refugee Update

Baxter Richardson has written an update on how the Afghan refugees are doing one year later. The first year was difficult for service agencies because their arrival was unexpected. The refugees are now mostly doing well but housing and literacy for women remain challenges.

Opportunities to Learn Suggested by our Mission Teams

From Climate Justice

Register for this webinar on climate and poverty at  https://bit.ly/Climateandpoverty

From Racial Justice 

Seeking to Repent and Restore for Taking Indigenous Land 

St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church has decided to start paying a voluntary “land tax” to an Indigenous organization as an act of repentance and restoration after a period of study by the church’s Land Acknowledgement Task Force. They worked with the Wisconsin Council of Churches and consulted with the Ho Chunk Nation about how to make partial restoration. The Ho Chunk chose to have the money go to an organization that benefits multiple Indigenous groups in the area. Read more about the issue and their process in this Madison 365 article.

YWCA Racial Justice Conference

Registration is now open for the YWCA’s annual racial justice conference to be held September 28-30. See this Madison 365 article for more details or the YWCA event website.

Combating Disinformation

“Disinformation is poison in the veins of our society. It undermines democracy, fosters division and hate, and blocks progress on the most pressing issues of our time.” (Union of Concerned Scientists or UCS). People like us can help counter dangerous disinformationand help communities move closer to our desired future. UCS has researched “what works” and provides some clear DOs and DON’Ts. Big picture – we need to REPLACE the lies, and not repeat them. Sometimes while we try to debunk information, we actually cement it in people’s minds! Instead, offer an accurate, positive message that is actionable with clear steps people can take. For more evidence-based ways to counter dangerous disinformation, read more.

Safety in Schools

In June, Freedom Inc. and ally groups sponsored an on-line panel discussion that included a student and parent who discussed their experiences and experts on ways of keeping schools safe. You can watch the one hour video here

From Immigration Justice


With demand for smugglers on the rise, organized crime has moved in, with cruel and violent results. New York Times Article

Children impacted by deportation of parents

In the United States today, more than 16.7 million people share a home with at least one family member, often a parent, who is undocumented. Roughly six million of these people are children under the age of 18. Consequently, immigration enforcement actions—and the ever-present threat of enforcement action—have significant physical, emotional, developmental, and economic repercussions for millions of children across the country. Deportations of parents and other family members have serious consequences that affect children—including U.S.-citizen children—and extend to entire communities and the country as a whole.

This fact sheet provides an overview of the children who are impacted by immigration enforcement actions, the challenges and risk factors that these children face, and the existing mechanisms designed to protect children if a parent is detained or deported. Read more onlinePDF of the same material


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