TEN THINGS YOU CAN DO TODAY TO LIVE INTO OUR UCH & UCC VALUES
1) Make Time for Our Still Speaking God. God wants to be in conversation with us. There is grace to be found, especially when things are chaotic. Pray and meditate each day. Pray for our Nation and our Nation’s leaders. Pray for Rev. Jeanne and the Council. Pray for the Care Team and for God to show up in your life and give you strength. Come to Soothing Sanctuary. Talk to God about what you are being called to do and how you can make a difference. Creating a daily prayer practice is an act of Social Justice.
2) Practice Self-Care: Self Care is really important right now. Do what energizes you. Take care of yourself if you are triggered. Unplug from Social Media if you are getting overwhelmed. Find someone to listen. Manage your anxiety level. Grieve if you need to. Spend time with people who give you life. See a therapist or spiritual director. Eat healthy food, support the arts, read and listen to good books, get out in Nature. Come to worship or an event at UCH. Nap and Sleep well. Practicing self-care will energize us to be justice seekers.
3) Place yourself in community and be involved in life-giving conversations. Identify your support system. (Friends, Family, Professional Support Givers) Come to Bible Study, Monthly Soothing Sanctuary, and Sunday Morning Worship. Come to Community Night or Game Night, to connect with friends and have conversation. Attend our upcoming Movie Nights. Make an appointment with Rev Jeanne, pray with a Care Team member, or connect with Roz McCluney, our newly trained Stephen Minister. You are not alone.
4) Read books from Rev. Jeanne’s recommended Christian Social Justice reading list and come to our UCH Lenten Conversation on White Privilege. (which will include deep reflection on how White Privilege contributed to the state our nation is in). Be an informed voter and informed Christian so you can live into your values and get involved. Learn, Repent, and Turn around. It is a timeless and very relevant theme for Lent.
5) Read with a ‘Hermeneutic of Suspicion”: Be Careful of Fake News. At United Church of Hayward, we value truth telling, not “alternative facts.” Check your sources before you share something on social media. Question what you read. Read trusted news sources (once a day) that publish facts like the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, The New Yorker, and Washington Post (and even then think about what you are reading.) If you want to learn more about reading and thinking critically come to our next Scripture Seekers Bible Study (Thursday evening).
6) Subscribe to or follow Sojourners on Social Media. Sojourners is an excellent, inspiring, interfaith resource on issues of Spirituality and Social Justice. Follow writers and resources such as the Christian Science Monitor, Religion News Service, United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries, and John Pavlovitz. CSM and RNS will have factual faith news. The others will provide thought provoking and supportive ways for progressive Christians to follow the values of Jesus in the present day.
7) Donate to and get involved with organizations that share United Church of Hayward and UCC Values: Much of this battle against injustices will be fought in the courts. Here are a few of the groups that will be leading this resistance and addressing vulnerable populations in our community: American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Campaign, Southern Poverty Law Center, Common Cause, Council for American Islamic Relations, and United Church of Christ Social Justice Ministries. In Our Community- South Hayward Parish, FESCO, NAACP, and Eden Area Interfaith Council.
8) Make your presence and opinions knows to our Representatives and Senators. Identify yourself as a Christian, or as a member of the United Church of Christ when you contact them. You can find our Representatives here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find (type in your zip code). Find our Senators at http://www.ednate.gov/senators/contact It can also be helpful to contact specific Representatives and Senators in Leadership who are not from our area when they do or support something that violates our values. (Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell have been good candidates recently. Jack Dalrymple, the Governor of North Dakota is another to contact about the Dakota Access Pipeline). Write out a script and call. Send postcards. Send emails. Leave messages. Do whatever you can do. Even if we lose a battle, every call helps. Politicians keep track of these things because underneath it all, they care about votes.
9) Sign up for or download one of the apps or services that will guide you in constant values action for Social Justice. Here are four apps/websites to look over (there are many other good ones): https://www.wall-of-us.org will send you concrete things to do each week to resist the violation of our values. Daily Action Alerts https://dailyaction.org will send you one thing you can do each day. https://5calls.org will provide you with phone numbers and scripts to call Representatives and Senators about important issues that we value. And https://www.resistancemanual.org will educate you, help you get organized, and show you where to take action. (This site is full of good information about how things we value may be in peril).
10) And Here is the Most Important Question…What is God calling you to do? (Examples: Protest, March, Run for Office, Write, Go to Hayward City Council meetings, Call Representatives, lead a group at church on a particular social justice topic?) Talk to God about it and fill in the blank. – Rev. Jeanne (p.s. see attached document [10 Things] for an “easy-to-access” outline format of my article) - Rev. Jeanne