About the Lent 2021:
Leaning into Justice Challenge

You are invited to participate in the Leaning into Justice Challenge, a unique Lenten Spiritual practice that will begin on Ash Wednesday and run through Easter Sunday. Each week, you will learn about a specific social justice issue through curated articles, videos, and podcasts. Guided reflection activities will help you process this material. Then, each Saturday (and Friday of Holy Week), you will be challenged to take action and “Do One Thing.” Sunday will be a day of rest. 

The Lent 2021: Leaning into Justice Challenge is open to all, regardless of location. There are some resources and action items that are specific to Cincinnati, Ohio (where the Justice Ministry of Hyde Park Community UMC is located); however, we’ve also included resources and action ideas that are relevant beyond Cincinnati. 

Our hope is that this spiritual practice during Lent is just the beginning! As you explore various justice issues through learning, reflection, and action–may God reveal your Divine call in the work of justice. If you already consider yourself a co-conspirator with God and others in the work of justice–may you be renewed and strengthened in your passions, gifts, and calling in this season through this Lenten challenge. 

Sign up to join the challenge:

Weekly Structure

The rhythm of the week will be as follows: prepare, reflect, learn, act, rest with most weeks having two learn and reflect days. Learn more about what to expect for each day:

Justice is the heartbeat of God. Each week, we will begin by grounding our justice work in scripture, theological reflection, exploring United Methodist Social Principles, and prayer.

Developing awareness and understanding is a critical and ongoing step in justice work. Growing in our knowledge of social justice issues prepares us to be informed and helps us better tackle real-world problems by looking at them from multiple viewpoints. Each “Learn” day will offer multiple resources to learn more about a particular justice topic. Watch, read, and listen as much as you are able.

After a “Learn” day, you are invited to reflect on what you read, watched, and/or listened to. You may have learned a new idea that conflicts with your existing ideas or thoughts, and we encourage you to examine that tension. Without reflection, you might dismiss the tension by asserting “I’m right, and they’re wrong,” or you could avoid the conflict by conceding, “I must have been wrong.” However, there is wisdom to be gained from the tension. By engaging in reflective practice, you have the opportunity to reframe, recast, and reconstruct your past understandings, moving back and forth between what you know and what you do as a follower of Jesus working towards social change.

After preparing, learning, and reflecting throughout the week, it is time to take action! Exploring social justice issues can seem overwhelming. Though you may have a deep desire to act, you may not know what you can do to help or even where to start. So, each week we will offer multiple suggestions for ways to put your faith into action to help bring about social change. If you have your own action idea – do it!

Justice deserves great effort and exertion. However, in today’s world, our social justice work often mimics the exhausting routine of the fiercely competitive struggle for wealth and power. To cultivate an alternative way, we would do well to model the biblical rhythm of Sabbath. Compassion for the world and practice of the Sabbath for the body and soul are intimately interconnected. We cannot serve the world without setting time aside for re-creative rest. We cannot do re-creative work from a place of exhaustion and burnout. So on Sundays, we rest.

Week 1: Housing Equity

February 17-21

Justice is the heartbeat of God. Each week, we will begin by grounding our justice work in scripture, theological reflection, exploring United Methodist Social Principles, and prayer.   

Economic Justice: Housing Equity

“Economic Justice” is one of the six pillars of The General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church equipping the Church to the work of living faith, seeking justice, and pursuing peace. Each week we will focus on a different pillar as we lean in to different social justice issues. This week, our focus will be on housing equity. Scripture and United Methodist tradition affirm a vision of abundant living where all God’s children have access to sufficient resources to thrive. The Bible is consistent in its vision of a just economic order. It warns against greed, calls us to love and care for one another, and compels us to seek justice for the poor. 

Scripture – Read Luke 9:51 – 62

When we read this passage through the lens of the contemporary issue of homelessness and the crisis in affordable housing, a different set of images comes to the fore. Jesus says here that while even animals have homes, he has nowhere to lay his head. What does it mean to follow the one who literally experiences homelessness for our sake? What would it look like to follow Jesus such that even our homes become sanctuaries for the poor, the oppressed, the homeless? Do we have the moral imagination to envision our church buildings as shelter for those who need it? Do we have the courage to challenge the structures of our society that inevitably make some rich and others poor? And do we really trust Jesus enough to renounce our own sources of security? This calling to a costly discipleship resonates throughout Luke’s gospel; what might it look like in our own lives?

Churches can play a prophetic role and raise ethical questions when the complexities of homelessness and inadequate housing are being examined. When confronted with difficult challenges, first and foremost churches must always affirm the dignity of every human being and the right of every person to a habitat that allows him or her to grow into all God intended. We must also remember that God dwells in each person as scripture reveals, “God created humankind in God’s image” (Genesis 1:27).

Your home, or more importantly, the kind of home you can access, determines or has a major impact on most every other important variable for your social and economic success. Where you live determines where your children go to school and how far you must go for goods, services or employment. The neighborhood around you determines your social interactions and your sense of safety and well-being. The quality of your home also has significant impact on your personal health in terms of environmental factors like lead paint, asbestos, mold, toxins, disease and injury.

-Adapted from Affordable Housing – Proper 8 NC Council of Churches

From the United Methodist Social Principles – The Social Community:

The rights and privileges a society bestows upon or withholds from those who comprise it indicate the relative esteem in which that society holds particular persons and groups of persons. United Methodists affirm all persons as equally valuable in the sight of God. We therefore work toward societies in which each person’s value is recognized, maintained, and strengthened. We support the basic rights of all persons to equal access to housing, education, communication, employment, medical care, legal redress for grievances, and physical protection. We deplore acts of hate or violence against groups or persons based on race, color, national origin, ethnicity, age, gender, disability, status, economic condition, sexual orientation, gender identity, or religious affiliation. Our respect for the inherent dignity of all persons leads us to call for the recognition, protection, and implementation of the principles of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights so that communities and individuals may claim and enjoy their universal, indivisible, and inalienable rights. 

Prayer:

O Lord, by whose cross all enmity is brought to an end, break down the walls that separate us. Help us understand how to tear down the former things. Show us how to bring renewal to your world. Awaken in us the passion to dream. Guide us as we journey through Lent leaning into justice as we take small steps toward great visions. We ask that you give us wisdom and strength, patience and compassion. Lord, who can make all things new, open our eyes. Let us see in our own communities and around the globe those who are without shelter. Today we lift up to you those who yearn for a simple, decent and affordable place to call home. Give us courage to respond. As we give of ourselves, let us be grateful for those who give to us. By the power of your Spirit, make us one. Amen.

-Adapted from the “International Day of Prayer and Action for Habitat for Humanity”

Developing awareness and understanding is a critical and ongoing step in justice work. Growing in our knowledge of social justice issues prepares us to be informed and helps us better tackle real-world problems by looking at them from multiple viewpoints. Each “Learn” day will offer multiple resources to learn more about a particular justice topic. Learning is followed by reflection and culminates in action. Watch, read, and listen as much as you are able:

Today you are invited to reflect on what you read, watched, and/or listened to regarding housing equity. Yesterday, you may have learned a new idea that conflicts with your existing ideas or thoughts, and we want you to examine that tension. Without reflection, you might dismiss the tension by asserting “I’m right, and they’re wrong,” or you could avoid the conflict by conceding, “I must have been wrong.” However, there is wisdom to be gained from the tension. By engaging in reflective practice, you have the opportunity to reframe, recast, and reconstruct your past understandings, moving back and forth between what you know and what you do as a follower of Jesus working towards social change. Each Saturday, you will be invited to apply what you’ve learned and reflected on, to put your faith into action as a way to help bring about social change.  

Growing up, did you live in a house that was owned by your caregiver or did you live in a rented dwelling? Think about how your accumulated wealth would be different today if you were only able to rent where you lived, having no assistance from family for a downpayment. OK, you worked hard and saved mightily but were not allowed to buy a home in a “good” neighborhood where housing values appreciated. What kind of generational wealth would you be able to pass on to your children?

Is it just or equitable that people of color have been denied for generations the ability to get government loans and buy in desirable neighborhoods? Give some thought to how that injustice can be repaired (reparations) after decades of harmful redlining imposed upon Black and Brown communities.

After preparing, learning, and reflecting throughout this week on Housing Equity, it is time to take action! Exploring social justice issues can seem overwhelming. Though you may have a deep desire to act, you may not know what you can do to help or even where to start. So, each week we will offer multiple suggestions for ways to put your faith into action to help bring about social change. If you have your own action idea – do it! 

General/Nationwide:

  • Contact your members of Congress:
    • Help ensure that the next COVID relief package includes resources and protections for America’s lowest-income renters and people experiencing homelessness.
    • Take Action Today!
  • Connect and Engage in the work in your state.
    • Connect with partners to expand housing resources in your state and engage members of congress in solutions to end housing poverty.
    • Take Action Today. 
  • Get involved with the National Coalition for the Homeless and/or see if Habitat for Humanity and/or Family Promise (Interfaith Hospitality Network) is where you live and get involved with their local chapter.

Cincinnati Specific:

Justice deserves great effort and exertion. However, in today’s world, our social justice work often mimics the exhausting routine of the fiercely competitive struggle for wealth and power. To cultivate an alternative way, we would do well to model the biblical rhythm of Sabbath. Compassion for the world and practice of the Sabbath for the body and soul are intimately interconnected. We cannot serve the world without setting time aside for re-creative rest. We cannot do re-creative work from a place of exhaustion and burnout. So today, we invite you to learn about The Nap Ministry and rest:

For most weeks, we will be utilizing The Nap Ministry’s framework for our rest day and encourage you to learn about The Nap Ministry. The Nap Ministry is deeply influenced by Black Liberation Theology, Womanism/Womanist Theology, AfroFuturism, Reparations Theory, Somatics and Community Organizing. 

Read the Nap Ministry’s Framework 

“Rest is not some cute lil luxury item you grant to yourself as an extra treat after you’ve worked like a machine and are now burned out. Rest is our path to liberation. A portal for healing. A human right.” – The Nap Ministry

Week 2: Environmental Justice

February 22 - 28

Environmental Justice is one of the six pillars of The General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church equipping the Church to the work of living faith, seeking justice, and pursuing peace. The United Methodist Church has long supported action to address the present and growing threat of a changing climate. As scientific evidence confirms the scope of the challenge, our relationships in community deepen our commitment and inform our response.

Each week, we will begin by grounding our justice work in scripture, theological reflection, exploring United Methodist Social Principles, and prayer.

Scripture – Read Genesis 1-3

As revealed through the creation story of the Bible, humankind has struggled from our earliest days to live in right relationship with the created world, with each other and with God. God’s vision of shalom invites all of creation to know wholeness and harmony and yet too often we have treated creation simply as a resource for humankind’s use.
 
The natural world is a loving gift from God, the creator and sustainer, who has entrusted it in all its fullness to the care of all people for God’s glory and to the good of all life on earth now and in generations to come. The image of God in us (Genesis1:27) is reflected in our abilities, responsibilities, and integrity, and with the power of the Holy Spirit we are called as God’s coworkers in dialogue and covenant to live and serve for the good of creation. We confess that we have turned our backs on our responsibilities in neglect, selfishness, and pride. And yet Christ’s redeeming and restoring work through his death and resurrection embraces all of creation. Even in the face of destruction and disaster, we believe that God’s vision for the world is of peace and wholeness and that God offers to us a future filled with hope (Jeremiah 29:11). This vision has a present and a future in the promise of a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 21:1-8). 2016 United Methodist Book of Resolutions #1035

“All creation is the Lord’s, and we are responsible for the ways in which we use and abuse it. Water, air, soil, minerals, energy resources, plants, animal life, and space are to be valued and conserved because they are God’s creation and not solely because they are useful to human beings.” — United Methodist Social Principles, ¶160

Today, we understand more deeply than ever before, the profound consequences of our failure to serve as caretakers of God’s creation. Ecological crises and extreme poverty are a reflection of our inability to share the abundance God has entrusted to our care. Ever-expanding scientific knowledge helps us better understand and informs our response to challenges ranging from the health impacts of environmental toxins to the threats posed by climate change.

United Methodists are called to a ministry of reconciliation between God, humankind and creation. In and alongside frontline communities experiencing environmental injustices, we are participating in God’s healing of creation. Through acts of personal, social and civic righteousness, United Methodists are modeling a new lifestyle and advocating for God’s people and God’s planet so that all God’s children can share in the goodness of Creation.

From https://www.umcjustice.org/what-we-care-about/environmental-justice

Prayer: 

Lord, grant us the wisdom to care for the earth and till it. Help us to act now for the good of future generations and all your creatures. Help us to become instruments of a new creation, founded on the covenant of your love.

– The Cry of the Earth

Developing awareness and understanding of environmental justice is a critical and ongoing step in justice work. Read as much as you are able:

Today you are invited to reflect on what you read regarding environmental justice. 

Think about the article(s) you read yesterday. Put yourself in the place of a Flint resident who has been forced to receive polluted and dangerous water from your faucet, potentially permanently harming or killing you or a family member. How would your daily life be changed by living with poisonous water from your tap? 

Imagine what you would do if your family lost its multi-generational farm or fishing industry due to droughts, floods, fires or dead zones? How does this picture change if you don’t have the resources to relocate?

How are you currently (or how can you start more consciously) contributing to an economy that values God’s people and God’s planet?

Developing awareness and understanding of food insecurity and sustainability is a critical and ongoing step in justice work. Read and watch as much as you are able:

Today you are invited to reflect on what you read and/or watched regarding food justice and sustainability. 

Think for a few minutes about the consequences of living in a food desert. Imagine you do not have reliable transportation to drive to a supermarket with fresh meat and produce. Your quickest and cheapest option to feed your family with your limited income is the corner convenience store and a fast-food restaurant a couple of blocks away. 

Now, think what measures would need to be taken to bring equitable access to this same area. What systemic problems created this food desert?

“Healing the wounds of the earth and its people does not require saintliness or a political party, only gumption and persistence. It is not a liberal or conservative activity; it is a sacred act. It is a massive enterprise undertaken by ordinary citizens everywhere, not by self appointed governments or oligarchies.“ -Paul Hawked

After preparing, learning, and reflecting throughout this week on environmental justice, it is time to take action! If you have your own action idea – do it! 

General / Nationwide: 

  • Write to your elected officials about climate change
  • Turn your surplus food into meals for your hungry neighbors. Create a regular donation schedule or donate last minute, whatever works best for you. Download the app and register as a Food Donor Today!
  • Sign up today to serve as a Food Rescuer in your area. In your own vehicle and on your own time, pick up surplus food from Food Donors (grocers, restaurants, etc.) and deliver it directly to local Receiving Agencies (community kitchens, food pantries, etc.) that feed our hungry neighbors. It typically takes only 30 minutes to complete this incredibly rewarding and essential mission each time you serve. Get started on the app to see the complete schedule of local food rescue opportunities. 
  • Pick a few ways to use less water with these 100+ ideas to conserve
  • Make your own indoor Compost Bin or outdoor Compost Bin. If you are unable to compost where you live, some communities offer food scrap pick-up services for a fee. Check to see if compost pickup services exist in your area.
  • Calculate your carbon footprint and commit to reducing it at least 10% this year.
  • Refuse disposable plastic bottles, bags, straws, cutlery and cups! Say NO to single-use plastic.
  • Learn how to Reuse, recycle, reduce at work and at home
  • Purchase/make reusable shopping bags instead of using plastics/paper bags. Keep them in your car to use the next time you go to the store.
  • Plan a day without meat…maybe “Meatless Monday” every week!

Cincinnati Specific:

  • La Soupe Cincinnati bridges the gap between food waste and hunger using a chef based model by rescuing perishable food, transforming it into delicious and nutritious meals, and sharing with the food insecure and our supporters. 
  • Schedule a day to volunteer at the Freestore Foodbank. Scroll down to find available times with the orange “sign up” tab to the right of the date. 
  • Start a Compost Bin
    • Better Bin offers service options for residents in Cincinnati to divert their food and organic waste streams from landfills, in order to produce nutrient rich soil for local food sources, and avoid greenhouse gas emissions. You can choose from pick up service (check out local pick up area) or drop off service at Hyde Park’s Farmers’ Market (for any Cincinnati resident). Sign up to receive your first bin today!

We cannot serve the world without setting time aside for re-creative rest. So today, we invite you to rest and think about this prompt:

When God created the world, the Divine rested on the seventh day. The Sabbath day was established in the beginning. Fast forward to the days of Moses. In the 10 Commandments, the people of Israel were commanded to never forget the Sabbath day and to keep it holy. Now fast forward once again to the New Testament where Jesus speaks often of the Sabbath and we are told that a Sabbath rest still remains for God’s people (Hebrews 4:9) To say that the Sabbath is important to God is an understatement.

No one can work 24/7, right? Perhaps today’s trend of online working or learning from home makes setting aside time to rest more difficult, yet more important than ever. For physical health and spiritual well-being, we need rest. Rest renews and re-energizes us to work more effectively later.  When we take time to rest, we are better equipped to deal with challenges and trials that will always be part of our lives and in our justice work.

Week 3: Immigration &
Worker's Rights

March 1-7

Justice is the heartbeat of God. Each week, we will begin by grounding our justice work in scripture, theological reflection, exploring the United Methodist Book of Resolutions, and prayer.

Civil and Human Rights is one of the six pillars of The General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church equipping the Church to the work of living faith, seeking justice, and pursuing peace. As United Methodists, we believe that God has given us principles for how to live as a beloved community. Central to Jesus’ teaching, life, death, and resurrection is the Great Commandment: we must love God and love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:35-40; Mark 12:28-34). This week, we will explore Immigration and Workers’ Rights.

Book of Resolutions: Welcoming the Migrant to the U.S.

The Historical Context

From the dawn of creation human beings have migrated across the earth. The reasons for those who immigrated willingly are numerous and varied depending on the context, but what all immigrants share is the promise of what they believe lies in another land other than their own. 

Regardless of legal status or nationality, we are all connected through Christ to one another. Paul reminds us that when “one part suffers, all the parts suffer” as well (1 Corinthians 12:26). The solidarity we share through Christ eliminates the boundaries and barriers which exclude and isolate. Therefore, the sojourners we are called to love are our brothers and sisters, our mothers and fathers, our sons and daughters; indeed, they are us.

The Biblical and Theological Context

Throughout Scripture the people of God are called to love sojourners in our midst, treating them “as if they were one of your citizens” and loving everyone as we do ourselves (Leviticus 19:33-34 NRSV). Love for the sojourner is birthed out of the shared experience the Israelites had as a people in the wilderness searching for the Promised Land. The attitudes and actions required of God’s people were to emanate from the reflection of their liberation from slavery by God’s hand. As the people of God were liberated from oppression, they too were charged to be instruments of redemption in the lives of the most vulnerable in their midst – the sojourner (Exodus 22:21; 23:9; Leviticus 19:34; Deuteronomy 10:19; 16:12; 24:18, 22—all NRSV).

In the New Testament, Jesus’ life begins as a refugee to Africa when he and his family flee to Egypt to escape Herod’s infanticide (Matthew 2:13-18). Jesus fully identifies with the sojourner to the point that to welcome one is to welcome Jesus himself (Matthew 25:35). Jesus teaches us to show special concern for the poor and oppressed who come to our land seeking survival and peace.

In Scripture, Jesus continually manifests compassion for the vulnerable and the poor. Jesus incarnated hospitality as he welcomed people and ministered to their greatest need. Jesus’ presence on earth initiated the Kingdom reality of a new social order based on love, grace, justice, inclusion, mercy, and egalitarianism, which was meant to replace the old order, characterized by nepotism, racism, classism, sexism, and exclusion. The broken immigration system in the United States and the xenophobic responses to migrants reflect the former social order. The calling of the people of God is to advocate for the creation of a new immigration system that reflects Jesus’ beloved community.

In Scripture, sojourners are also identified as heralds or messengers bringing good news. This is seen in many stories of the Bible:

  • Abraham welcomed three visitors and then was promised a child even though Sarah was past the age of bearing children (Genesis 18:1-11);
  • Rahab hid the spies from Israel, and her family was ultimately spared (Joshua 2:1-16);
  • the widow at Zarephath gave Elijah her last meal and received food and ultimately healing for her dying son (1 Kings 17:7-24); and
  • Zacchaeus, upon welcoming Jesus into his home, promised to share half his possessions with the poor and repay those he stole from four times the amount owed. As Jesus entered Zacchaeus’s home he proclaimed that salvation had come to his house (Luke 19:1-10).

All of these stories give evidence to the words of the writer of Hebrews who advises the listeners to “not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it” (13:2 NRSV). God’s people are called to welcome the sojourner not only because of God’s commands to do so, but because God’s people need to hear the good news of the gospel incarnated in their stories and in their lives. Welcoming the sojourner is so vital to the expression of Christian faith that to engage in this form of hospitality is to participate in our own salvation.

There is theologically and historically an implied nature of mutuality in migration. Both the migrant and the native are meant to benefit from migration. Welcoming the migrant is not only an act of mission; it is an opportunity to receive God’s grace. The globalization of international economies and the continuing movement of migrants have created an increasingly diversified US population and should be reflected in United Methodist congregations and national church leadership.

Therefore, The United Methodist Church understands that at the center of Christian faithfulness to Scripture is the call we have been given to love and welcome the sojourner. We call upon all United Methodist churches to welcome newly arriving migrants in their communities, to love them as we do ourselves, to treat them as one of our native-born, to see in them the presence of the incarnated Jesus, and to show hospitality to the migrants in our midst, believing that through their presence we are receiving the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Learn more: Book of Resolutions: Welcoming the Migrant to the US

Book of Resolutions: Rights of Workers

Biblical/Theological Background

Human beings, created in the image of God, have an innate dignity (Genesis 1:27). Commanding human beings to farm and take care of the earth, God granted dignity to the work of human hands (Genesis 1:28, 2:15). Work remains a means of stewardship and God-given creativity.

Throughout Scripture, God orders life together based on right relationships, shared resources, and economic justice. In the very act of creation, God demonstrates time for work and rest. The Hebrew prophets decry the growing disparities of wealth and poverty. The Book of Acts describes an early Christian community that shared its goods with one another. The basic principles are clear: All human beings should be treated with respect and dignity. Thus, those who work should earn wages that sustain themselves and their families. Employers have a particular responsibility to treat workers fairly and empower them to organize to improve conditions.

The concern of The United Methodist Church for the dignity of workers and the rights of employees to act collectively is stated in the Social Principles. Both employer and union are called to “bargain in good faith within the framework of the public interest” (¶ 163B). In response to the increasing globalization of the economic system, the widening disparity between rich and poor, and attempts to deprive workers of their fundamental rights, the church reaffirms its position in support of workers and their right to organize.

Historic Witness of The United Methodist Church

Historically, The United Methodist Church has been concerned about the plight of working men and women. In the United States, we were among the first supporters of the labor movement where both lay and clergy members played leadership roles in supporting garment workers, textile workers, farm workers, and factory workers and advocating passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the National Labor Relations Act. From our beginnings and across the globe, we have led the way in seeking improved conditions and stronger unions for workers. Through public policy work, shareholder advocacy, and consumer power, the Church and its members have sought to influence political and corporate decisions affecting working conditions around the world.

Learn more: Rights of Workers • GBCS

The church proclaims, “Throughout Scripture, God commands us to treat workers with respect, dignity, and fairness. Exploitation or underpayment of workers is incompatible with Christ’s commandment to love our neighbor — a love that extends to all persons in all places, including the workplace.” (Living Wage Model, Book of Resolutions).

Prayer

A United Methodist Prayer for workers: A United Methodist Prayer for Workers

Blessed are You, Lord Jesus Christ. You crossed every border between Divinity and humanity to make your home with us. Help us to welcome you in newcomers, migrants and refugees. Blessed are You, God of all nations. You bless our land richly with goods of creation and with people made in your image. Help us to be good stewards and peacemakers, who live as your children. Blessed are You, Holy Spirit. You work in the hearts of all to bring about harmony and goodwill. Strengthen us to welcome those from other lands, cultures, religions, that we may live in human solidarity and in hope. God of all people, grant us vision to see your presence in our midst, especially in our immigrant [siblings]. Give us courage to open the door to our neighbors and grace to build a society of justice.

Source: Pax Christi

Developing awareness and understanding  is a critical and ongoing step in justice work. Follow the links bellow to read, watch and/or listen to as much as you are able about immigration:

Today you are invited to reflect on what you read, watched and/or listened to regarding immigration:

Read PoemTo Those Who Have Lost Everything – FRANCISCO X. ALARCÓN

Poem Reflection Questions:

  • Who do you think was the speaker in this poem?
  • Was this person hopeful? Scared? Lost? What do you think?
  • Are you a mountain?

Pray for those making the long and dangerous journeys to find asylum in the U.S.

Developing awareness and understanding is a critical and ongoing step in justice work. Follow the links below to read, watch, and/or listen as much as you are able about workers’ rights:

Today you are invited to reflect on what you read, watched and/or listened to regarding workers’ rights.

Who do you think should be responsible for the safety of workers? The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is already charged with making sure employers provide a safe working environment for their employees. What should happen when an employer fails to do that? What do you think should happen if OSHA does not enforce that? 

Think about the millions of workers who do “essential” jobs – janitors, bus drivers, meat packers, produce pickers. Where should they turn if their only means of making a living was in an unsafe profession? 

Many seasonal produce suppliers rely heavily on cheap, undocumented labor, mostly because there aren’t enough documented workers available who are willing to do the work. Is the “price” of inexpensive produce worth the cost to the lives and health of the undocumented workers? What solutions do you think are worth fighting for?

The next time you buy a pint of strawberries or bite into an apple, think of the ones who picked them for you to consume. Pray for their health and welfare.

Look at the labels on 3 items of clothing and pray for the hands that made them to have equitable safe working conditions.

After preparing, learning, and reflecting throughout this week on human rights concerning immigration and workers’ rights, it is time to take action! If you have your own action idea – do it! 

In today’s world, our social justice work often mimics the exhausting routine of the fiercely competitive struggle for wealth and power. We cannot serve the world without setting time aside for re-creative rest. So today, we invite you to rest:

“Everything in nature needs to rest. The Earth can not exist without deep pauses. Farmers allow the soil to rest before planting seeds. Our bodies deserve nothing less.”

-The Nap Ministry




Week 4: Education &
Gender Equity

March 8-14

Our partnership with Haiti is with the Faith Academy. Faith Academy is a school in Haiti that owes its existence to the dedicated efforts of an inspiring Haitian Christian, Fanfan Janvier.  With support from friends and churches in the USA, Fanfan has been able to build a school on the outskirts of Port au Prince, the Haitian capital, that now educates and feeds over 300 children a day.  Education in Haiti is not free.  Without ongoing support these children would be deprived not only of an education but also quite probably the only substantial meal that they get each day.

Our next trip is scheduled February 6 – 13, 2021

In May 2017, we entered into an In Mission Together partnership with the Way of Faith church in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Our brothers and sisters in Romania are ministering within a predominantly Orthodox city and country. Their ministry to their neighbors includes ministry with orphans through their Alfa Grup program and the Roma in nearby villages.

The churches in Romania, 3 UMCs in total, joined the United Methodist Church worldwide in 2011. In the years since their joining, they have served one another and sought opportunities to continue to grow in leadership, ministry, worship, service, and outreach.

Our partnership with Russia is with the UMC in Samara. Our support has been relational as we have sent mission teams to them and they have come to visit us as well, but it has also been financial. Through our financial support, our sister church in Samara was able to purchase a church building.

Our brothers and sisters in Samara are in many ways a first century church, they live in a world where discussing their faith holds them up for ridicule from neighbors and co-workers, yet they proudly and boldly share their faith stories about how being a follower of Christ has changed their lives.

While relatively small in numbers, our friends at the church in Samara, are part of an active, thriving church with sixty six people out of about a hundred actively involved in church ministries such as feeding the poor and homeless each week and participating in Bible study courses.

Please pray for our brothers and sisters worldwide as they continue to do the work of the Kingdom!

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Week 5: Health & Wholeness

March 15-21

Our partnership with Haiti is with the Faith Academy. Faith Academy is a school in Haiti that owes its existence to the dedicated efforts of an inspiring Haitian Christian, Fanfan Janvier.  With support from friends and churches in the USA, Fanfan has been able to build a school on the outskirts of Port au Prince, the Haitian capital, that now educates and feeds over 300 children a day.  Education in Haiti is not free.  Without ongoing support these children would be deprived not only of an education but also quite probably the only substantial meal that they get each day.

Our next trip is scheduled February 6 – 13, 2021

In May 2017, we entered into an In Mission Together partnership with the Way of Faith church in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Our brothers and sisters in Romania are ministering within a predominantly Orthodox city and country. Their ministry to their neighbors includes ministry with orphans through their Alfa Grup program and the Roma in nearby villages.

The churches in Romania, 3 UMCs in total, joined the United Methodist Church worldwide in 2011. In the years since their joining, they have served one another and sought opportunities to continue to grow in leadership, ministry, worship, service, and outreach.

Our partnership with Russia is with the UMC in Samara. Our support has been relational as we have sent mission teams to them and they have come to visit us as well, but it has also been financial. Through our financial support, our sister church in Samara was able to purchase a church building.

Our brothers and sisters in Samara are in many ways a first century church, they live in a world where discussing their faith holds them up for ridicule from neighbors and co-workers, yet they proudly and boldly share their faith stories about how being a follower of Christ has changed their lives.

While relatively small in numbers, our friends at the church in Samara, are part of an active, thriving church with sixty six people out of about a hundred actively involved in church ministries such as feeding the poor and homeless each week and participating in Bible study courses.

Please pray for our brothers and sisters worldwide as they continue to do the work of the Kingdom!

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Week 6: Racial Justice

March 22 - 28

Our partnership with Haiti is with the Faith Academy. Faith Academy is a school in Haiti that owes its existence to the dedicated efforts of an inspiring Haitian Christian, Fanfan Janvier.  With support from friends and churches in the USA, Fanfan has been able to build a school on the outskirts of Port au Prince, the Haitian capital, that now educates and feeds over 300 children a day.  Education in Haiti is not free.  Without ongoing support these children would be deprived not only of an education but also quite probably the only substantial meal that they get each day.

Our next trip is scheduled February 6 – 13, 2021

In May 2017, we entered into an In Mission Together partnership with the Way of Faith church in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Our brothers and sisters in Romania are ministering within a predominantly Orthodox city and country. Their ministry to their neighbors includes ministry with orphans through their Alfa Grup program and the Roma in nearby villages.

The churches in Romania, 3 UMCs in total, joined the United Methodist Church worldwide in 2011. In the years since their joining, they have served one another and sought opportunities to continue to grow in leadership, ministry, worship, service, and outreach.

Our partnership with Russia is with the UMC in Samara. Our support has been relational as we have sent mission teams to them and they have come to visit us as well, but it has also been financial. Through our financial support, our sister church in Samara was able to purchase a church building.

Our brothers and sisters in Samara are in many ways a first century church, they live in a world where discussing their faith holds them up for ridicule from neighbors and co-workers, yet they proudly and boldly share their faith stories about how being a follower of Christ has changed their lives.

While relatively small in numbers, our friends at the church in Samara, are part of an active, thriving church with sixty six people out of about a hundred actively involved in church ministries such as feeding the poor and homeless each week and participating in Bible study courses.

Please pray for our brothers and sisters worldwide as they continue to do the work of the Kingdom!

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Week 7: Criminal Justice Reform

March 29 - April 4

Our partnership with Haiti is with the Faith Academy. Faith Academy is a school in Haiti that owes its existence to the dedicated efforts of an inspiring Haitian Christian, Fanfan Janvier.  With support from friends and churches in the USA, Fanfan has been able to build a school on the outskirts of Port au Prince, the Haitian capital, that now educates and feeds over 300 children a day.  Education in Haiti is not free.  Without ongoing support these children would be deprived not only of an education but also quite probably the only substantial meal that they get each day.

Our next trip is scheduled February 6 – 13, 2021

In May 2017, we entered into an In Mission Together partnership with the Way of Faith church in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Our brothers and sisters in Romania are ministering within a predominantly Orthodox city and country. Their ministry to their neighbors includes ministry with orphans through their Alfa Grup program and the Roma in nearby villages.

The churches in Romania, 3 UMCs in total, joined the United Methodist Church worldwide in 2011. In the years since their joining, they have served one another and sought opportunities to continue to grow in leadership, ministry, worship, service, and outreach.

Our partnership with Russia is with the UMC in Samara. Our support has been relational as we have sent mission teams to them and they have come to visit us as well, but it has also been financial. Through our financial support, our sister church in Samara was able to purchase a church building.

Our brothers and sisters in Samara are in many ways a first century church, they live in a world where discussing their faith holds them up for ridicule from neighbors and co-workers, yet they proudly and boldly share their faith stories about how being a follower of Christ has changed their lives.

While relatively small in numbers, our friends at the church in Samara, are part of an active, thriving church with sixty six people out of about a hundred actively involved in church ministries such as feeding the poor and homeless each week and participating in Bible study courses.

Please pray for our brothers and sisters worldwide as they continue to do the work of the Kingdom!

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