July 3, 2018

4th of July Blessings!

"The Church is not the master of the State; neither is it the slave of the State.  
Rather, the Church is a conscience for the State.”
—The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Please support the justice advocacy ministry of the

Disciples Center for Public Witness
c/o Disciples Home Missions
PO Box 1986
Indianapolis, IN  46206



Grounded in deep Christian spirituality, the Disciples Center for Public Witness draws upon our passion for justice and our vision for true community to impact the public policy decisions that affect our lives—especially the lives of the poor and most vulnerable.  One of the main ways we do this is by informing, connecting, and empowering Disciples and other people of faith for ecumenical and interfaith justice advocacy in the United States and Canada.

June 29, 2018



My name is Esther Smith, and I am an advocacy associate for human rights at the Disciples Center for Public Witness. I'm working with Rev. Dr. Ken Brooker Langston to promote awareness on the need to bring moral accountability to the usage of drone warfare and also the torture of prisoners.

The Interfaith Network on Drone Warfare is giving $100 donations to congregations that hold a screening for a thirty minute informative video on the moral challenges posed by drone warfare. You can learn more about their organization and this opportunity from their website:


Reflections by Isabel Tashima

When I began my internship with the Disciples Center for Public Witness ( earlier this summer, I had the opportunity to learn about and engage with the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival ( This campaign, which fights against systemic racism, inequality and poverty, ecological devastation, war economy and militarism, and national immorality has committed itself to 40 days of moral action, holding a rally every Monday for 6 weeks. At each of these rallies, we hear the personal stories of people who, like so many Americans, face the struggles of poverty. These are stories of unfair wages, lack of healthcare, homelessness, and much more. 


I feel called to journey to the border, and to stand on soil saturated with the tears of mothers, and to feel air that has been bombarded with the anguished cries of separated children. God has called me here to witness the reliving of an ugly American story of dehumanization, first of Native/First Nation people, then enslaved Africans, followed by the internment of Japanese people, all at the hands of self-described Christians functioning as operatives of the oppressive policies of US Government. This history of institutional evil and dehumanization must not be repeated again. Scripture is clear about our responsibility to the sojourner, the stranger: we are called to care for, love, and welcome them. This administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy, enacted specifically towards black and brown communities, is antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and must be stopped now. As an adoptive mother who has walked with my precious daughter through periods of separation, trauma and grief, and journeyed through the marathon-like mental and spiritual healing process with her, my heart is broken for these tender children who at best may be experiencing impersonal care, and at worst, indifference. As we stand in the name of a loving Savior, our witness at the border is a signal to the wielders of power and policy that the world is watching them, and that we demand both the immediate recognition of the God-given dignity of these children and the swift reunification of families.


The Disciples Center for Public Witness ( joined with other denominational and faith-based groups to support the SURVIVE Act. If passed, this bill would give Native American tribes a permanent 5% set aside of the Crime Victims Fund, which provides crucial resources and services to victims. Without a tribal set aside, this funding does not reach Native communities, even though they have the highest victimization rates in the country. Click here to read a letter to the U.S. House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations, urging them to move forward with this important piece of legislation.

June 22, 2018


Dearest Disciples,

Thank you for choosing to join us for the Poor People’s Campaign event “Rally to Fight Poverty, Not the Poor.” As a reminder, it is scheduled for Saturday, June 23rd at 10am, located on the National Mall at the cross streets of Jefferson Dr. SW and 7th St. SW.

Many of us are gathering before the event at 8:30am at National City Christian Church (14th St. entrance), where there will be snacks and water. We will also hear from our GMP and pray together. We will then depart from the church and make our way to the rally together. If you would like to join us for this pre-gathering, please register using this link: hAF7A2WsQb6bbmJA3

Some people are bringing signs. If you choose to attend the pre-gathering, and did not bring your own sign, don’t worry: we have some signs for you that are in Spanish and English and printed at a union shop (Communication Workers of America, like DJAN, is an official sponsor of PPC:NCMR). Some signs are blank on the back, so you can write or draw your own sign. We'll also bring some of the signs to the event for people who will not attend the pre-gathering. (These signs will allow us to affirm our shared Disciples identity and also, in the spirit of Dr King, affirm worker justice as an essential part of the Poor People's Campaign).

For those of you who will not be able to join Disciples for the pre-gathering, our planned route is to walk from National City Christian Church down 14th Ave. to Pennsylvania Ave. to 9th St. and then 9th St. to the corner of Madison Dr.

We look forward to seeing you!

June 15, 2018


As we approach World Refugee Day on June 20th, we are called to celebrate refugees' resilience and strength and urge our elected leaders to protect the U.S. refugee resettlement program. With global need at its highest, the administration has reversed our nation’s history as a world leader in refugee protection and resettlement, setting an all-time low refugee admissions goal for fiscal year 2018 at 45,000. What’s worse, the administration is only on track to resettle 20,000 refugees this year, not even meeting their own goal. This amounts to tens of thousands of families who remain separated from one another.

DHM Encourages Full Funding of EPA

Disciples Home Missions (DHM) recently endorsed a letter to Congress calling on elected officials to “ensure that sufficient investments are made in programs that protect God’s gift of air, land, and water.” According to the letter, "As people of faith, we are working to ensure that our children and grandchildren inherit an earth not impaired by climate change, air pollution or water pollution, and that we ourselves will not fall prey to these perils. We look to the Department of Interior and, in particular, the EPA to help us in this endeavor.” See the entire letter below.

Photos Poor People’s Campaign June 11th Rally

Here are some photos from June 11th rally and direct action in Washington, DC, by the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.

Disciples Rita Nakashima Brock,  Sekinah Hamlin, and Ken Brooker Langston at PPC rally in DC

June 14, 2018


We are reaching out to you on behalf of the Disciples Center for Public Witness ( located at National City Christian Church ( in Washington D.C. As you probably already know, the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival ( will be holding a mass event in Washington, DC, on June 23rd at 10am. Please note that Disciples will meet beforehand at 8:15/8:30am at National City Christian Church (at the 14th Street entrance).

Our General Assembly has endorsed this campaign and has urged Disciples to support it and participate in it. Our General Minister and President, Rev. Terri Hord Owens, has been leading the way for Disciples, even engaging in nonviolent direct action. Disciples across the nation have been participating in events and actions at state capitals.

In case you have not already been promoting the Poor People’s Campaign, our office has created a few promotional materials that we hope will be distributed to your congregations in the coming days. Click here to access two promotional materials: a flyer with general information about the Poor People’s Campaign and another document with samples of information to put into newsletters and bulletins.

June 8, 2018

Join Us for the Poor People's Campaign Mass Rally, June 23 in Washington, DC

The Poor Peoples Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival is uniting tens of thousands of people across the country to challenge the evils of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy and ecological devastation. The June 23 mass rally on the National Mall in Washington, DC will celebrate the culmination of 40 Days of Action and empower advocates for the work ahead. Join us on Saturday, June 23 at 10 am on the National Mall between 7th Street and 9th Street for words of inspiration, spirit-filled music and the chance to connect and strategize with advocates from around the country. 

GMP Terri Hord Owens: "I am encouraged by the energy, commitment and connection that we are seeing among Disciples as we work together in support of the goals of the Poor People’s Campaign! Thanks to all those who continue to stand tall in the weekly actions across the country. Spread the word, and let’s ensure a powerful Disciples Public Presence on June 23!”

May 17, 2018

DJAN and Disciples Oppose the Domestic Gag Rule

There are intensifying calls for a domestic gag rule on the full range of reproductive health care options available to women, and there are indications that this rule may come about soon. This being the case, Disciples Justice Action Network (DJAN) [] and Disciples for Choice signed a coalition letter to HHS Sec. Azar, urging him to reject the policy in any form.

Read the full letter below:

GMP Arrested at Poor People’s Campaign Rally in DC

Disciples GMP Terri Hord Owens participated in the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, which took place in Washington, DC, and 30 states around the nation. She was both a speaker at the DC rally and a one of hundreds of participants in nonviolent direct action, for which she and many others were arrested—including Mark Anderson from the National Benevolent Association and Serene Jones from Union Theological Seminary in New York. Participating in the rally and action as Peacemakers were Allen Harris, Regional Minister of the Christian Church Capital Area; Ken Brooker Langston, Director of Disciples Center for Public Witness and Disciples Justice Action Network; Steven Roach Knight with Repairers of the Breach and the Poor People’s Campaign; and Alvin Jackson, Co-President of the Disciples Center for Public Witness. Disciples and others are encouraged to continue going to these events on every Monday until June 23rd when there will be a massive national rally and direct action in Washington, DC.

Look below for photos from the event.

May 11, 2018

RIM: Honor Immigrant Moms

Yesterday morning, Rev. Terri Hord Owens, General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) joined with other national faith, refugee, immigrant, and legislative leaders to share the importance of the love of Moms for their families. She said:

"Ahead of Mother's Day this Sunday, I am deeply troubled by the way our nation is treating vulnerable immigrant and refugee moms. It is especially heartbreaking to see closed doors and discrimination toward immigrant and refugee families. Rather than being a beacon of hope, our administration has given into anti-immigrant, anti-refugee, anti-family sentiment that devalues motherhood and the intrinsic bonds between mothers and their children. Such inflammatory rhetoric runs counter to the call of our Creator, whos e love and compassion for the suffering promotes family unity and defines our higher laws to 'love the sojourner' (Deuteronomy 10:19), 'treat the the native born among you' (Leviticus 19:33), and 'show hospitality to one another without grumbling' (1 Peter 4:9)."

May 8, 2018

CWS Condemns Administration's Termination of TPS for Honduras, Decries Pattern of Targeting Vulnerable Communities

Church World Service (CWS) condemns news that the Department of Homeland Security has terminated Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Honduras, effective January 5, 2020. This termination is inhumanely premature, and puts the lives of 57,000 Hondurans residing lawfully in the United States at risk by forcing them to return to a country that is not prepared to receive them. Honduras has one of the highest homicide rates in the world and as recently as January, the capital was racked with violent riots caused by political turmoil after presidential elections. Despite these conditions, the administration has just told our Honduran neighbors and family members that they have 18 months to pack up their lives in the United States and return to life-threatening conditions.

RIM Urges Disciples: Help Immigrant Families Now

Right now, Congress is considering federal funding proposals that would expand a deportation force to tear families and communities apart, detain an unprecedented 52,000 people daily, and further militarize border communities. This funding would balloon an already bloated immigration detention and deportation force - at the expense of investments in education, healthcare, and refugee resettlement, which would serve only to dismantle community wholeness. Congress has the "power of the purse" and must reject this proposal and cut funding to the machinery behind unjust deportation, detention, and further militarization of our border communities.

April 18, 2018

News from our Partners: Ecumenical Poverty Initiative Urges Supporters to Join the Poor People’s Campaign

The Ecumenical Poverty Initiative is partnering with the Poor People's Campaign and asks that you join them in the fight that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. began 50 years ago!

Repairers of the Breach, Kairos, the Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice and the Popular Education Project have partnered to revitalilze Dr. King's Poor People's Campaign, joined by hundreds of local and national partners, for such a time as this. At a press conference on Tuesday, April 1oth, at the National Press Club in Washington, DC., Disciples Minister, Rev. Dr. William Barber joined Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis and others to announce the release of the full, updated report, "The Souls of Poor Folk: Auditing America 50 Years After the Poor People's Campaign Challenged Systemic Racism, the War Economy/Militarism, Ecological Devastation and our National Morality" and the preliminary demands of The Poor People's Campaign. National partners were also announced at the Press Conference. The Campaign partnered with the Institute for Policy Studies to prepare this report and provide analyses of the Campaign's four core issues: racism, poverty, the war economy/militarism and ecological destruction. Following the press conference, there was a meeting of the national partners to discuss updates on the campaign, the 40 days of moral action and related initiatives.

Trudeau’s commitment to the environment and indigenous peoples is called into question

On April 12th, the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau embarked on the first day of an official visit to France. There he met with French President Emmanuel Macron and the two discussed important shared issues including the environment, the economy, culture and international security.

According to a press release from the Prime Minister’s office: "Together, the two leaders announced that, as of today, France and Canada commit to increase their cooperation against climate change, through the France-Canada Partnership on climate and the environment. Alongside the Paris Agreement, this new partnership will help the two countries to redouble their efforts and work together even more closely to fight climate change."

But according to The Star, the Prime Minister and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley declared Sunday that they would spend taxpayer dollars and flex their respective legislative muscle to ensure that the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline is built despite strong objections by British Columbia, indigenous peoples, and environmentalists.

Local Disciples participate in the A.C.T Now rally on the National Mall

Disciples from the Disciples Center for Public Witness and the Christian Church Capital Area were among the thousands who attended the A.C.T. Now: Unite to End Racism rally that took place in Washington, DC, on April 4th. Several staffed a Disciples booth at the event as they listened to the many speakers on the stage, a diverse group of speakers that included three Disciples: GMP Terri Hord Owens, former GMP Sharon Watkins, and Julian “JKwest” DeShazier, award-winning rapper and pastor of University Church at Hyde Park in Chicago. Look below for pictures from the event.

March 28, 2018

Disciples Participate in March for Our Lives

On March 24th, DJAN activists and other Disciples joined hundreds of thousands of students and their supporters in the March for Our Lives that took place in Washington, DC, and other cities and towns throughout the nation. Marchers and speakers at the marches demanded safer schools and tougher gun laws. Photos from the event are posted below: