Social Justice

Tuesday

Peace Making

Just Peace-Making – God’s Calling to Live Our Lives in Unity

Leaders: Disciples Peace Fellowship (Laura Phillips and others) & Council on Christian Unity (Paul Tche)
Location:  Indiana Convention Center Room 107

Description:  Jesus called the peacemakers the children of God. As Disciples of Christ, we have long been called to unity.  Increasingly, we are coming to recognize that the unity God has given us is a blessing received for the sake of the world. To live out our Christian faith is to work for peace – in our communities, with the earth, in the marketplace, and among peoples.  In this workshop, we will explore the Just Peace-Making Church initiative that arose from the World Council of Churches’ 2011 Ecumenical Peace Conference. We will discuss how congregations can more fully embrace peacemaking as part of their identity and their mission. We will connect and equip those working for peace on their own and/or in their congregations with tools and colleagues to magnify all our efforts.

http://councilonchristianunity.org/document/becoming-a-just-peace-making-church/

Resolution Follow-up:  This workshop is a continuation of the partnership DPF and CCU began with the Faithful Conversations work we did at the Nashville and Orlando Assemblies.

Environment

A Climate for Faithful Action

Leaders: Carol Devine and Scott Hardin-Nieri, Green Chalice Staff (Green Chalice is a ministry of DHM and the Christian Church in Kentucky).
Location:  Indiana Convention Center Room 108

Description:  “We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental.”

“Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature.”~ Pope Francis,  Encyclical “Laudato Si”

Disciples Congregations are engaged in faithful action on climate change and creation care. In this interactive workshop we will be exploring the challenges of our changing climate, the integration of social justice and creation care, environmental racism. We will include ideas about creative action as well as explore scriptures and a spiritually grounded approach to caring for creation.

Organizing/Activism

Justice-Making: From Lament to Action

Leaders: Belva Brown Jordan and Jose Morales
Location:  Indiana Convention Center Room 109

Description:  Orlando, Charleston, Sandy Hook, Columbine.  What do we do once the moments of silence have passed?  How do we lament the loss, the pain, the senselessness of such human devastation?  How can a theological understanding of “justice-making” move us from deep lament to prophetic action?  Join this learning track to process these and other questions, and walk away with a new/renewed spirit for being an agent for creating opportunities for justice our broken world.

Immigration

Welcoming Immigrants & Refugees: Hearing Affected Voices, Understanding Changes, Acting Beyond Rhetoric

Leaders: Rev. Sharon Stanley-Rea (Disciples Refugee and Immigration Ministries) and Tana Liu-Beers, Disciples Immigration Legal Counsel together with impacted refugee and immigrant leaders
Location:  Indiana Convention Center Room 110

Description: Come discuss how our faith intersects with one of the hottest topics of our time.  We hear almost daily about refugees and immigrants in the news.  But who are the refugees and immigrants that are connected with our congregations and partners as Disciples?  And how are their lives, their churches, their families – and our communities together- being affected by rhetoric and policies that resist their presence among us?  We’ll explore changes instituted through recent Executive Orders and their implementation, and hear stories of how immigrant and refugee families are hurting, coping and seeking solidarity.  Then we’ll activate our faith to find ways past divisions and fear as we engage in Know Your Rights awareness, share welcoming models, practice rapid response strategies, and learn how our voices can help build justice and hope.

This workshop will connect with the “Immigrant Welcoming” and also relate to the Emergency “Refugee Welcoming” resolutions to be presented at the Assembly.

Wednesday

Prison and Jail Related Topics

Mass Incarceration and a Call to End Solitary Confinement: How the Church Can Respond

Leaders: Hector Hernandez, Dean Bucalos and Ken Brooker-Langston
Location:  Indiana Convention Center Room 107

Description: Mass incarceration continues to affect our communities in so many negative ways. Now that we are aware of the problem, what can the followers of Jesus do about it?  In this workshop, learn strategies for developing a reentry program in your community and how your church can engage in advocacy that addresses both systemic and everyday issues confronting returning citizens.” Additionally, this workshop will look at the ongoing issues related to solitary confinement and advocacy strategies to address the issue.

Resolution Follow-Up: This is follow-up to GA-1525, A Call to End Solitary Confinement – An Item for Reflection and Research from the 2015 GA.

Mental Health

Speaking Into the Silence: Building awareness and breaking the stigma of mental health illness in the church

Leaders: Angela Whitenhill
Location:  Indiana Convention Center Room 108

Description: So often we celebrate the many layers of diversity within our denomination, while centering our witness in encouraging the multitude to gather at the table in one spirit. Yet when it comes to those suffering and surviving mental health illness, it is often the case, that societal shame, stigma and lack of awareness keeps our congregations from being a welcoming place of refuge and redemption for ALL. This workshop will offer personal insight, foundational mental health education and practical strategies for clergy and congregations to model the way of Christ, and counter systems of prejudice against mental illness in their own church and communities.

Resolution Follow-Up Item: This is a follow up item to General Assembly Resolution 1523, submitted by Disciples Home Mission, calling the church to become a “welcome and support to people with mental health illness and disorders” which was passed at the 2015 General Assembly.

Global Justice

The Caribbean Initiative – Global Ministries

Leader: Angel Rivera-Agosto
Location:  Indiana Convention Center Room 109

Building on the successes of the Congo Initiative and the Middle East Initiative, the Global Ministries Caribbean Initiative invites the whole church to focus on the region of the Caribbean for an extended period of time. Through highlighting aspects of mission and partnership, the Initiative offers an opportunity for the church to become familiar with the range of denominational partners in the region and the issues they face and the context in which they face them; how each of us as members of North American churches can become active in education and advocacy, as well as support the various programs and witness of partners in the region; and to learn about ways that the UCC and Disciples continue to build on an already-lasting history of engagement. Come and discover the opportunities your congregation will have to engage in new opportunities and resources for Global Ministries newest initiative.

Refugees, Migration, and Trafficking: Global Perspectives

Location:  Indiana Convention Center Room 110

The world is witnessing the highest levels of human displacement and human trafficking in history. War, economics, natural disasters, and climate change are some of the many causes. A panel of four global church partners will discuss these issues from their own context, experiences, and ministries.