Social Justice Revival Ignites Participants

DSC_0228On November 8th, our church hosted our denomination’s first social justice revival. The event was called “Stoking the Fires of Justice: A Revival for Social Change.” The event was conducted by the national staff of the UCC’s Justice and Witness Ministries but featured lots of local talent in music, worship, and social justice ministry. The revival ended with a local street theater action addressing a proposed oil terminal in Vancouver. The UCC’s media office captured the significance of the action in an article this past week.

Pictures from the revival:

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OilSpillsVancouver, WA–The United Church of Christ has a history of leadership on environmental issues and that leadership will be fully present in Vancouver on November 8th when local and national church leaders address the proposed Tesoro Savage oil terminal. The national staff of the denomination’s Justice and Witness Ministries will be flying in this weekend to lead a social justice revival at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Vancouver. The event is called “Stoking the Fires of Justice: A Revival for Social Change.” After a day filled with gospel music, preaching, and issue-based workshops, the revival will conclude with an action targeting the proposed oil terminal. The action will involve a MASH-style ambulance responding to an emergency in which Port Commissioners have placed private profit over public health.

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Church to Host First UCC Social Justice Revival!

Revival image copyBrothers and sisters! A revival is coming to our church! If you’ve been looking for a spark to ignite your life or if you’ve been looking for an opportunity to share your fire with someone else, this is your chance! A few months ago my own flame of excitement was lit when I received a phone call from the Rev. Linda Jaramillo, the Executive Minister of Justice and Witness Ministries for our denomination. When Linda called, she wanted to know if our church would host the first UCC social justice revival ever. UCC churches from throughout the Pacific Northwest would be invited to attend this revival at our church on Saturday, November 8th. To host this denominational event is a tremendous honor, and while a lot of factors led to our being asked to serve as hosts, one of the factors is our own church’s reputation for social justice advocacy.

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Church Photo Project Makes the News

IMG_0921An interactive photo project conducted by the church was recently covered by the Columbian newspaper. At last Saturday’s Peace and Justice Fair in Esther Short Park, more than 50 people had their picture taken by the Rev. Brooks Berndt as part of the project. On large pieces of paper, the church provided peace and justice quotes from famous persons. Participants could hold their favorite quote as they had a picture taken of them. Quotes came from Nelson Mandela, Maya Angelou, Mother Teresa,  Martin Luther King, Jr., Archbishop Oscar Romero, Alice Walker, James Baldwin, Frederick Douglass, and Alice Walker. There were also quotes from scripture such as Amos 5:24: “Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Likewise, the church provided a quote of Jesus declaring that he had come “to bring good news to the poor.”

Rev. Berndt shared that he is particularly fond of the James Baldwin quote that says, “If the concept of God has any validity or any use, it can only be to make us larger, freer, and more loving.” The Rev. Berndt explained that he thought of the idea for the photo project when brainstorming an interactive art activity for the fair. He said, “I like interactive art that expresses our values and provokes our thinking.”

 

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