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April 22, 2017

Photos: Advocacy Center Holds Spring Board Meeting

On April 20th and 21St, the Disciples Center for Public Witness held its Spring meeting of its Board of Governors.  On the evening of the 20th, about 50 people--board members and local supporters of the Center in the Capital Area--gathered together for presentations, special recognitions, and remarks from GMP Sharon Watkins.  

A presentation on poverty and the Congressional budget was given by Rev. Leslie Copeland-Tune, Director of the Ecumenical Poverty Initiative.  This was followed by a presentation on the situation of refugees and immigrants by Rev. Sharon Stanley-Rea, Director of our Refugee and Immigration Ministries.

Special acknowledgements were made to honor those who are leaving the board (GMP Sharon Watkins and Ron Degges, President of Disciples Home Missions); two board members who are retiring from their ministries but remaining on the board (Chris Hobgood and Delores Carpenter); and a life-long advocate and activist who had inspired and supported the Center (Doug Cook).  

After dinner, Dr. Watkins shared her reflections on social witness in the church--recent past, the current situation, and future possibilities. 

Disciples Among Leaders Planning Events for the 50th Anniversary of the Assassination of Dr. King.

An important gathering of faith leaders took place on April 21st, 2017, at National City Christian Church in Washington, DC. Convened by Rev. Dr. Alvin Jackson, co-founder and co-president of the Disciples Centerfor Public Witness, the purpose of the meeting was to begin organizing a year-long, nationwide series of gatherings and events to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. King and, in these very challenging times, to continue the crucial work he began. The meeting included comments by Dr. James Forbes, Senior Pastor Emeritus at Riverside Church in New York, and Tamika Mallory, a leader in the Black Lives Matter movement and one of the key organizers of the Women's March.

According to the invitation sent to religious leaders, "In preparation for the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's death, leaders are working to explore the deep connections between diverse religious faith traditions and their shared moral values in the issue-areas of universal health care, equal funding for public schools, and the elimination of poverty, racism, sexism, and militarism."

April 7, 2017

President of Disciples Center for Public Witness hosts meeting to plan for the 50th Anniversary of Dr. King's martyrdom

On April 21st at National City Christian Church, Dr. Alvin Jackson, co-founder and co-President of the Disciples Center for Public Witness, is hosting a meeting to plan for activities to mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Other leaders involved in this planning include the Rev. Al Sharpton, the Rev. William Barber, and the Rev. James Forbes.

You are Invited!

April 4, 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis, TN. The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis is involved in a year-long commemoration of Dr. King’s assassination with the theme, “MLK50 – Where Do We Go From Here?” The Museum is partnering with churches, organizations and civil rights leaders to explore the deep connections between shared religious faith traditions and the moral values of justice, fairness and the elimination of poverty, racism and extreme militarism.

Disciples Leaders Concerned About Anti-Environment Executive Order

Disciples General Minister and President Sharon Watkins and Green Chalice Director Carol Devine spoke out against an executive order by Donald Trump that threatens both public health and the protection of God's creation.

Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Press Statement

March 31, 2017 (Indianapolis, IN) - Climate Protection Rollbacks Threaten God’s Creation and the Most Vulnerable Among Us

On March 28, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order directing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to review and possibly repeal the Clean Power Plan and carbon pollution standards for new power plants. The executive order takes aim at several important climate change protections intended to safeguard God’s creation and public health.

Leader of Disciples Women Supports Legislation for Fair Pay


The Paycheck Fairness Act was reintroduced on Equal Pay Day, April 4th. Pat Donahoo, Executive Director of Disciples Women, expressed her support for equal pay for equal work by signing on to a letter supporting the bill.

Co-Sponsor and Support the Paycheck Fairness Act (S 819, H.R. 1869)

April 4, 2017

Dear Member of Congress:

As members of a broad coalition of organizations that promote economic opportunity for women and full enforcement of antidiscrimination laws, we strongly urge you to support and co-sponsor the Paycheck Fairness Act. The Paycheck Fairness Act has twice passed the U.S. House of Representatives, and it fell just four votes short of a passage in a Senate vote on its merits in the 112th Congress.

March 25, 2017

Disciples Participate in Moral March to Save Healthcare

The Affordable Care Act is still the law of the land. On Friday Trump and House Speaker Ryan pulled their "repeal and replace" bill just prior to a vote that they would have lost. On the Wednesday prior to this victory for millions of Americans who would have lost health care, Disciples from the Disciples Center for Public Witness and Disciples Justice Action Network (DJAN) participated in a prayer vigil and march, the purpose of which was to bring public attention to the moral dimensions of the health care debate. Hundreds of religious leaders joined with other people of faith to visit Speaker Ryan's office, where religious leaders left hundreds of Bibles within which were stories of people whose lives were saved by different parts of the Affordable Care Act.


Leading the march from the Capitol

March 18, 2017

Disciples Endorse Health Care Statement by Ecumenical Poverty Initiative

The Disciples Center for Public Witness today endorsed a statement by its Ecumenical Poverty Initiative regarding the proposed health care plan:

We are profoundly disturbed and deeply concerned about the American Health Care Act put forward by House Speaker Paul Ryan to replace the Affordable Care Act and the devastating impacts it would have on the lives and well-being of the most vulnerable in our nation. The AHCA, which proposes $880 billion in cuts to Medicaid over the next decade and will result in millions of people losing health insurance coverage, is not simply an inadequate replacement for the Affordable Care Act. It is in essence a “Death Bill” that would put the lives of low and moderate income families, the elderly, children and people with disabilities at risk in order for the wealthiest Americans to get a tax break. This is both unjust and unacceptable.

PHOTO STORY: Disciples of Christ joined a four-day march on Washington organized by Native Americans

Disciples of Christ joined a four-day march on Washington organized by Native Americans.






CWS Statement on Halt of Rewritten Refugee Ban

After the Hawaii Federal District court issued a restraining order on the Trump administration’s executive order banning refugees and Muslims, CWS issued the following statement:

“The courts have spoken yet again, affirming the will of the American people who stand with immigrants and refugees. Today’s ruling is another assertion that the refugee and Muslim ban should never have been issued in the first place. CWS is heartened by this halt, which will enable us and other refugee resettlement agencies to continue to welcome refugees. Just like its first rendition, this rewritten executive order remains discriminatory, misguided and unconstitutional. No amount of tweaking can change this. We urge the administration to rescind this entire order, and trust that our justice system will ultimately prevail in this attack on human rights,” said Erol Kekic, Executive Director of the CWS Immigration and Refugee Program.

March 4, 2017

EPI Director Speaks at Interfaith Press Conference about Attorney General Sessions

The Rev. Leslie Copeland Tune, Director of the Ecumenical Poverty Initiative of the Disciples Center for Public Witness, spoke at an interfaith press conference organized by Faith in Public Life. The focus of the event was faith-based concern about Jeff Sessions continuing to serve as Attorney General. 

DJAN Calls for Sessions to Resign

Statement from Rev. Dr. Jack Sullivan, Jr., co-President of Disciples Justice Action Network (DJAN):

"It is abundantly clear to people of goodwill that Attorney General Jeff Sessions, with his history of racist thought and commentary, seasoned by his recent dishonest testimony before Congress, must resign," said Rev. Dr. Jack Sullivan, co-President of Disciples Justice Action Network (DJAN).  "The fact that he lied to Congress about his pre-election contact with the Russian Ambassador completely and categorically disables our ability to trust him on other important matters of concern, such as his professed commitment to enforce civil rights laws. As a matter of both principle and practicality, Mr. Sessions must resign."

Disciples Center for Public Witness Defends Affordable Quality Health Care For All


Statement from Dr. Laird Thomason, Director of Health and Wholeness Ministries at the Disciples Center for Public Witness:

In the sixth chapter of Paul's Letter to the Galatians, the Apostle affirms both that “each one of us is to carry our own load" (vs. 5) and that we are to “carry each other’s burdens, and in this way fulfill the law of Christ.” (vs. 2). Applying these faith-based principles to public policy dealing with health care, we can see that we are encouraged to practice self-care, but to do so within the larger context of working together to provide for the common good. Therfore, as a Bible-based movement for wholeness in a fragmented world, we join with other people of faith to support and defend affordable, quality health care for all individuals.

February 12, 2017

Christian defense of Obamacare goes viral.  Read more here:

https://www.google.com/amp/amp.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2017/02/10/meet_jessi_bohon_whose_christian_defense_of_obamacare_made_a_gop_town_hall.html?client=ms-android-hms-tmobile-us


January 27, 2017

Disciples Intern Reflects on Participation in the Women's March

Last Saturday, I joined millions of women, men, and children walking in the Women’s March. From Washington D.C., to London, to Cape Town, to Oakland (where I marched), we raised our collective voice to demand dignity and respect for women, Muslims, immigrants, LGBQTI+, disabled people, and people of color.

My decision to march was largely rooted in my Christian faith, which teaches me that God is on the side of the vulnerable, the oppressed, and the marginalized. After only a few minutes at the march, it was clear I was not the only one motivated to be there by faith. I saw women wearing hijabs, a sign referencing Wiccan beliefs, and a group of Jews from a local synagogue gathering around a table for their weekly Shabbat service.

Images from DJAN activists at Women's Marches

From coast to coast, DJAN activists and supporters participated in Women's marches, peacefully protesting Trumpism and publicly affirming the equal rights of all people. See the photos below.

From NRCAT: Faith Leaders Make Case Against Torture as Mike Pompeo Voted in as CIA Director

In a recent op-ed in The Christian Post, Rev. Ron Stief, executive director of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, laid out the Christian case against torture and stressed the importance of the fact that while under oath, Trump Administration nominees stood opposed to torture. During his confirmation hearings, CIA Director nominee Mike Pompeo made clear his view that torture is illegal.

From RIM: STAND WITH IMMIGRANTS AND REFUGEES IN THIS TIME OF CRISIS


Executive Orders which will deeply impact the lives and freedoms of refugees and immigrants, both inside and outside the U.S., have just been released today, and more are anticipated to be released tomorrow from the White House. Today's announcements focused on border security and interior immigration issues, and refugee related announcements are expected to be announced Thursday. Please stay tuned, and we'll continue to provide updates!
 
Two immigrant related announcements have been made. The first announced additional wall building along the U.S. southern border, and promised the payment for the wall will ultimately be reimbursed by Mexico-though U.S. taxpayers will pay initially. The "Catch and Release" program will be ended, meaning there will be mandatory detention at the border of families and children seeking protection, and additional Customs and Border Protection officials will be added. The second order announced aggressive interior enforcement policies, and requested the Director of Homeland Security to "strip federal grant funds from Sanctuary Cities;" thereby seeking to force local police to serve as federal immigration agents. Such actions will further increase fear of separation among so many immigrant families living and working among us. 
 

January 13, 2017

From Disciples Home Missions: Act Now to Protect Healthcare & Medicaid

The Senate is planning to pass a budget that will begin the process of repealing the ACA as soon as JANUARY 11. This is the first step in taking health care away before having a plan to replace it.

There is also talk about proposed changes to the Medicaid program to have it funded through block grants or per capita caps. Read below to learn more about how each of these possibilities would be detrimental to the disability community should they come to fruition and be sure to follow our Call To Action!

January 8, 2017

Upcoming Action Opportunities to Help Refugees and Immigrants

Refugee and Immigration Ministries, a ministry of Disciples Home Missions in partnership with the Disciples Center for Public Witness and the Christian Church Capital Area, is offering action opportunities to help immigrants and refugees:

Hello, friends—

I REALLY hope you and others can join our Webinar THIS Monday from 4-6 p.m. Eastern—and might also feel led to engage in some of the other ways to support refugees and immigrants included in the news below! For those who are Disciples or UCC, we’ll be having breakout conversations during a portion of the webinar for planning and strategizing. Also, all other participants will engage in conversations by group or region as well!