Justice Ministry

The Justice Ministry seeks to inform the HPCUMC congregation and community about topics of justice; exploring underlying causes and sources of injustice and encouraging actions that seek fairness and equity for all.

Just Thoughts for October

“. . . And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”  Micah 6:8 (NIV)

“Justice is truth in action.”  Benjamin Disraeli

Why a Justice Ministry?

Participants in the HPCUMC Justice Ministry take inspiration and motivation from a number of sources and reference points. We encourage you to explore the foundations of your own feelings about equity and to articulate these in conversation with others. That exploration is partly what the Justice Ministry is all about. But let’s talk about two notable inspirations we can all share. Firstly we have the example of Jesus.  Noted theologian Marcus Borg characterizes the earthly ministry of Jesus as one that constantly questioned the status quo and conventional wisdom about fairness and justice.  By sharing the table with the disenfranchised and scorned of first century society, Jesus offered a clear example to those who claim to be followers of Christ. Secondly we look and listen around us. We see and hear a plethora of news and commentary about fairness and justice, or lack thereof, in our society. Yet we are left hungering to discern and understand beyond the headline, catch phrase or tweet.  So, we want to join together in becoming more informed. From a more informed perspective we wish to turn knowledge and conviction into action. Join the Justice Ministry in this quest. Attend an upcoming program and/or let an organizer know of your interest. There is a role for you.

Ohio Neighborhood Safety, Drug Treatment, and Rehabilitation Amendment

We celebrate the inclusion of this important initiative, now known as “Ballot Issue 1”, on the November state ballot.  Justice Team members recently joined with others through the AMOS Project and the Ohio Organizing Collaborative in the Safe and Healthy Ohio campaign. As a result, over 730,000 Ohioans signed petitions allowing voters a chance to reduce mass incarceration and improve drug treatment and rehabilitation. A big thank you to all who signed a petition or helped gather signatures! Now we will continue to support AMOS in efforts to get a big voter turnout on November 6.  Some key changes that a YES vote on Issue 1 supports are:

  • Certain non-violent drug offenses are reclassified from felony to misdemeanor status, reducing jail populations and sentence times.
  • Drug trafficking remains a felony and repeat offenders of lesser drug crimes continue to receive the more stringent penalties.
  • Inmates are given enhanced opportunity to earn sentence reductions through earnest participation in education, job training and other restorative programs.

Tax dollars saved through reducing prison populations are redirected to drug treatment, mental health and victims’ rights programs.

Just Des(s)erts

The Justice Ministry presents an occasional series of programs dubbed “Just Des(s)erts”, evenings dedicated to information on topics of justice and opportunities for response.  The events will always feature some sort of informative presentation followed by time for questioning, learning how to be involved and sharing conversation over . . . just dessert.

Upcoming Just Des(s)erts Program – December 4, 7:00-8:30, Little Theatre

United Methodists face a soul-searching decision about their Biblical and social mandate for inclusiveness.  In a process dubbed “The Way Forward”, UMC churches, congregants and officials worldwide struggle to harmonize dueling scriptural interpretations, changing society and UMC Book of Discipline dictates relative to our embrace of God’s people regardless of sexual orientation and gender identification. The next Just Des(s)ertsprogram seeks to examine our historical reference points along with the proposed options for moving the UMC forward.

Join the Justice Ministry on Tuesday evening, December 4 as HPCUMC Clergy lead a thoughtful look at how we have arrived at our current dilemma and the three plans formally proposed as pathways to the future. We hope that this presentation and discussion will offer insight to Methodists and non-Methodists alike.

We’d love to know if you are coming so we can plan for appropriate numbers.  Also let us know if you’d be willing to bring a dessert to share!  Contact Justice@hpcumc.org.

Watch this space for details of future programs.

Other Events this Month

Time to Get out and Vote!  The Justice Ministry urges all to take advantage of their right and responsibility to vote in the election of November 6.  Think about taking an extra step this year by asking an elderly neighbor if he/she needs help getting to the polls or offering to participate in a ‘souls to the polls’ effort.

You’ve heard the pundits proclaiming the importance of this year’s election and they are right.  All elections are very important but we often find it easy to make excuses for non-participation.  While Ohio voters tend to come out strongly in presidential election years (averaging a bit over 70% participation by registered voters in recent such elections), we seem satisfied to let less than half of our registered voters make our decisions in other years.  And, this just accounts for those eligible voters who are currently registered and not the millions who are eligible but not registered!  We’ve all heard people complain that their vote does not count and have probably thought so ourselves.  Yet, in an article updated just prior to the 2016 elections, the Journal – News(a local serving northern Cincinnati suburbs) cited Ohio Secretary of State statistics that over 100 contests during the previous six years of statewide elections had been tied or decided by one vote!  Do you feel empowered?

Voter Participation,  Can you spare two or three hours to help canvass for Issue 1? The AMOS Project is organizing teams to canvass in various Cincinnati neighborhoods encouraging voter participation and offering support to get voters to the polls on November 6.  Teams meet at the AMOS office in Mt. Auburn, receive materials and brief coaching before deploying to planned routes. Contact justice@hpcumc.orgor call Stan Kummer at 513-439-2250 if you can be part of this effort.