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:

Statement by DJAN President Jack Sullivan, Jr.: We need “Common-Sense, Morals-Driven” Approaches to Ending Gun Violence

Prompted by Christ's vision of peace, and emboldened by the action-oriented power of the Holy Spirit, the Disciples Justice Action Network (DJAN) within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) was pleased to have enthusiastically endorsed the March for Our Lives on March 24, 2018, in Washington, DC. 

DJAN activists were in attendance at the March. There we joined the witness of hundreds of thousands concerned people of faith and persons of conscience who stood in solidarity with students from Parkland, Florida. Together, we expressed outrage not only over the mass shooting in Parkland's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (which claimed the lives of 17 people), but also about the unwillingness of Congress and the White House to seriously address mass shootings.

March 4, 2018

Selma Jubilee 2018: Rev. William Barber Outlines New Poor People's Campaign

The 2018 Selma Bridge Crossing Jubilee festivities got underway with a "mass meeting" aimed at officially presenting the revival of the 1968 Poor People's Campaign to the Selma community. The event, held in Selma's historic First Baptist Church on Friday night, featured civil rights luminaries including Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. and Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, who spoke about the need for "a national call for moral revival." Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who led the original Poor People's Campaign, was assassinated 50 years ago next month, but his legacy was alive in Selma during the meeting. Click here to read more.

Florida Regional Minister Responds to Parkland Shooting

Rev. Dr. Betsy Goehrig, Regional Minister of Florida Disciples Regional Church:

We share in prayerful concern and deep sorrow in the aftermath of the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Our hearts and prayers surround the families and the entire community in this tremendous tragedy. These atrocities are happening all too frequently in the lives of our children, youth, families, faculty, staff, congregations, and communities.

In reaching out to our South Florida congregations, Craig Watts (Pastor of Royal Palm Christian Church in Coral Springs) responded:

Florida Youth Director Counsels Youth After Parkland Shooting

Alyssa Sikora, Youth Director at Royal Palm Christian Church in Coral Springs, Florida, helped the Parkland youth from her congregation process the trauma they experienced in the school shooting on Feb. 14. She also did an absolutely amazing job in debriefing the youth at the Florida Regional CYF Retreat, via a video meeting! She used her own experience and expertise, along with her compassion, to provide an excellent opportunity for the youth to begin to process this tragedy. We are so incredibly proud of the students in their community for speaking and marching in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C. These youth are getting people to listen. Though our country is still divided on various issues, there is finally some openness to DO something. We are grateful for how they are channeling their grief and trauma into action and change for good. May we continue to surround this community in our prayers.

DJAN Participates in Social Media Campaign to End Gun Violence

Recently DJAN was part of an emergency call to plan a response to the most recent mass shooting. The result was an interfaith social media campaign that took place on Presidents Day (today).

Faith leaders (ordained and lay) were asked to use a combination of a personal photos featuring text from Scripture, gun violence statistics, and the hashtag #PrayerAndPolicy to generate a movement of faith leaders speaking out against gun violence. The purpose was to encourage our religious leaders and faith communities to pray, yes, but also—to take action.

If you participated in this campaign, please send your photo to DJAN:

Advocacy Center Opposes Mississippi Bill

The Disciples Center for Public Witness joined with secular partners to oppose proposed legislation in Mississippi (HB1241) that would prevent local governments from exercising local control over fair pay and worker rights. To read the letter, please look below:

February 17, 2018

GMP Speaks A Word About Florida School Shooting

Once again, our nation is grieving senseless violence, senseless death: the killing of 17 students at a Florida high school, by a former student armed with an assault rifle and multiple magazines. We are once again horrified, angered, saddened and overcome with grief and loss. As a Christian minister, I know that the psalms can be powerful means of lament, of giving voice to our deepest, innermost human pain as we seek to find God’s comfort and peace in these moments. We pray, as we should; we comfort those who mourn, as we should. However, we must act. We are weary of these scenes, these horrifying, traumatic moments that have now some estimate have affected nearly 150,000 children in school settings since Columbine. Click here to read the full statement by Rev. Teresa Hord Owens on the reject tragedy in Florida.

Associate GMP Shares a Prayer for Today in Response to the Parkland Shooting

Look below to read this prayer by Dr. Timothy James, Associate General Minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada, and Administrative Secretary of the National Convocation.

February 16, 2018

Dear Lord, once again your humble servant bows before the Throne of Grace with a heavy heart and tear stained eyes. The headlines of the world news announce yet another school shooting, the 18th in the year of our Lord 2018. The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida was the site of this most recent catastrophic event on Wednesday, Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday, simultaneously observed and simultaneously interrupted. We lift to You, Caring God, the victims and their families, their classmates, friends, teachers, and the school administrators. We pray also for the first responders, the medical staff, the rest of this stunned nation and even the perpetrator’s family. Lord remember all who have been so deeply impacted by this malicious act. Please grant, Provider God, sufficient grace and comfort as only You can at such a time as this.

February 16, 2018

Interfaith Coalition Against Gun Violence Calls for Prayer and Advocacy

In response to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the Interfaith Coalition Against Gun Violence issued a statement on the shooting, a statement that includes a call to action. Read the interfaith statement below.

Interfaith Coalition Issues Statement on Parkland School Shooting and Call to Action

On Wednesday, February 14, seventeen lives were taken from this Earth at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. We mourn this loss of life, and the transformation of a place of learning and community into a site of death and destruction. To the dead, the injured, and the hundreds of family members, friends, and communities that are grieving, we commit our prayers and our tireless action to prevent gun violence.

The shooting in Parkland is the 30th mass shooting since the beginning of the year, six weeks ago. No other country in the world tolerates this level of deadly slaughter. Gun violence shames this country daily.


Rev. Dr. Sharon Stanley-Rea, Disciples Refugee & Immigration Ministries Director:

Disciples Refugee and Immigration Ministries [], provided the following information about what did and did not happen in this week’s votes on immigration by the US Senate:

*NO DREAMER PROTECTIONS were confirmed, as all three amendments that offered various levels of security for dreamers were defeated. The bi-partisan Coons-McCain Amendment 1955 "USA Act" had included the full Dream Act, together with a data-driven (non-wall) approach to border security. The vote failed 52-47, with 4 Republicans voting for the bill, including: Sen. Gardner (R-CO), Sen. Graham (R-SC), Sen. Flake (R-AZ), and Sen. Murkowski (R-AK). Sen. Manchin (D-WV) voted against the bill.

February 14, 2018


First . . . Happy St. Valentine’s Day!

Second . . . Don’t forget that today is also Ash Wednesday.

Third . . . Thank you for sharing with us your passion for justice.

Today:  Call your Senators and Representative:  202-224-3121.
Tell them to Protect DREAMers and Keep Families Together!

It is critical that all Senators hear from their constituents right now. Call today to urge them to reject the Secure and Succeed Act and instead pass the Dream Act or another bipartisan, permanent solution that offers a pathway to citizenship for the whole dreamer population and protects family reunification, such as the USA Act,  which is narrowly tailored to protect as many dreamers as possible and includes a data-driven approach to accountable border security and emphasizes the importance of consultation with border communities.

Show some love for our volunteers, activists, advocates, and staff.
Please give sacrificially:

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

February 9, 2018

Disciples Center for Public Witness Supports Immediate Solution for Dreamers

The Disciples Center for Public Witness joined with other denominational offices and national faith organizations to "urge Congress to immediately pass a bipartisan pathway to citizenship that protects Dreamers from deportation.” Read the letter below.

February 3, 2018

GMP, Disciples leaders sign Unity Declaration on Racism and Poverty

General Minister and President Rev. Terri Hord Owens, Rev. Lori Tapia, National Pastor for Hispanic Ministries, and Dr. Cynthia Hale, Founding Pastor, Ray of Hope Christian Church were signatories to the following statement of a group of clergy and religious leaders called The Circle of Protection. Read the full statement. Disciples can find more ways to get involved in the fight against racism and poverty with the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, supported at the 2017 General Assembly.

RIM Calls on Disciples to Support Family Unity and Protect Dreamers

This week, Congress has been negotiating legislation that would protect dreamers, but some proposals are using dreamers as a "bargaining chip" to separate families or undercut other community members. As Congress considers legislation to protect dreamers, it is critical that our national leaders prioritize proposals that reflect our commitment to family unity and offer a pathway to citizenship for as many dreamers as possible - without jeopardizing other immigrant populations. Our elected leaders also need to hear that their constituents urge them to oppose any proposal that would prevent family unification, deprive dreamers of an opportunity to pursue a pathway to citizenship, or increase the immigration detention, deportation, and border militarization machine.

Take action today and tell Congress to support the Dream Act or another bipartisan legislative solution that protects as many dreamers possible - without compromising family unity or our immigrant neighbors. You will receive a phone call and be patched through to your 2 Senators and 1 Representative.

Victory: Poultry Industry Efforts to Loosen Needed Regulations Rejected by USDA

The Disciples Center for Public Witness joins its ecumenical and interfaith partners in celebrating the USDA Decision to reject the Poultry Industry’s Push to End Line Speed Limits.


* The Government Accountability Office released a report in December of 2017 that confirmed that forcing lines to move faster will expose poultry workers to higher rates of injuries and illnesses.

* In addition to worker risks, countries with higher line speeds have higher rates of foodborne contamination in poultry plants.

* The USDA received 100,000 comments in just a few months – and almost all but a handful opposed this petition.

The Disciples Center for Public Witness participated in coalition with Interfaith Worker Justice and other people of faith in supporting line speed limits, informing people of faith about this situation, participating in public actions to draw attention to this concern, and using social media to encourage Disciples and others to participate in the comment process.

January 30, 2018

The Pope's Message to Donald Trump on the Unholy Power of Verbal Violence

By John Gehring, New York Daily News

This crass instinct to dehumanize people and distort information for ideological ends, Francis writes in a Vatican message for World Communications Day, “leads only to the spread of arrogance and hatred.” If you wonder how seriously the Pope takes this issue, consider that he compares the toxic dissemination of fake news with the “crafty serpent” in the Book of Genesis, the site of original sin in traditional Christian theology.


Click here to read the full article.