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Office of Social Justice News | May 2018

End Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children

The Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act asks Congress to ensure that U.S. assistance to Israel is not used to support the military detention or interrogation of Palestinian children.

Each year, between 500 and 700 Palestinian children are arrested, detained, and prosecuted by the Israeli military, most often on charges of stone throwing. Children as young as 12 can be sent to prison, while children age 16 are considered adults and face the maximum sentence. Ask Congress to protect children from military detention!

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CREATION CARE

Bangladesh: The Canary in the Coal Mine

Millions of people every year are displaced due to weather hazards like storms, extreme heat, and floods. In Bangladesh, changing weather patterns and rainy seasons, droughts, and flooding are threatening food security and the livelihoods of farmers. Check out the new video, Bangladesh: The Canary in the Coal Mine, about how our changing climate is affecting Bangladesh. This video is the first in a series, so stay tuned for more videos!

RESTORATIVE JUSTICE

Holland Church Hosts Conversation on Justice and Trauma

Pray with the Maple Avenue Ministries community (a CRC/RCA congregation in Holland, Mich.) and their pastor, Rev. Denise Kingdom-Grier, who witnessed a “high-risk” traffic stop in the church’s parking lot. Rev. Kingdom-Grier voiced her concerns about excessive force used in that and other incidents between police officers and people of color. The church has since hosted a community conversation about justice and trauma.

RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION

Palestinian Authority Calls for Negotiations

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas last week addressed the first regular session of the Palestine National Council (PNC) since 1996 by calling for new negotiations leading to a two-state solution. However, his conciliatory tone regarding the two-state solution was severely undermined by his anti-Semitic rhetoric peppered throughout the speech.

Dr. Mae Elise Cannon, executive director of Churches for Middle East Peace, attended the session and responded, “It was appalling to hear some of the comments from Abbas about history and the Jewish people. While I am encouraged by his recent apology and statement, the anti-Semitic tone and emphasis of his speech were unacceptable.” Yet Cannon didn’t see these remarks as reason to dismiss the possibility of peace. Learn more about the challenges facing Christians in Israel and the Palestinian territories here.

ABORTION

Iowa's "Fetal Heartbeat" Bill

Gov. Kim Reynolds (R, Iowa) recently signed the "fetal heartbeat" bill, which bans all elective abortions in the state once a fetal heartbeat can be detected (around six weeks’ gestation). Exceptions can be granted in cases of rape or incest that are documented within a set time period by a law enforcement agency, a public or private health agency, or a family physician; when a miscarriage endangers the health of the mother; or in some cases of  physician-certified fetal abnormalities. The bill is expected to be challenged in court, with some constituents hoping that the case will lead to the Supreme Court’s taking another look at Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion in the United States. Pray for discernment for lawmakers, and for wisdom to address issues at the root of demand for abortions.

DO JUSTICE

They Treat Us How They See Us

by Jonathan Nicolai-deKoning

“These Mexican justice-seekers reminded me that as advocates, we are invited to make space for others to encounter worlds they may otherwise not see, to hear voices they may otherwise not hear, so that we may all learn to see our world and all of the places and people in it as God sees them: as precious, and worth our best efforts to ensure justice and practice solidarity on their behalf.” Read more »

FROM OUR CRC PARTNERS

Youth Ambassador of Reconciliation Program

The deadline to apply for this cross-cultural reconciliation journey is coming up quickly!

If you’re a young adult looking for ways to live out your Micah 6:8 calling and gain valuable leadership experience, apply here. Scholarships are available!

—from our partners at the Office of Race Relations, the Canadian Aboriginal Ministry Committee, and World Renew

IMMIGRATION

Seeking Immigration Organizers

Are you passionate about keeping the church informed about immigration and engaged in advocacy? You can be an important part of this work through applying to be an immigration regional organizer! We’re partnering with the Reformed Church in America to work with individuals in specific regions in order to develop relationships with area congregations and to encourage a deeper understanding of immigration through education, worship, advocacy, and local connections. A stipend is offered for this temporary, part-time position. Consider applying or sharing this announcement with individuals who may be interested.

If you are located in the following regions, learn more and apply here: Denver, Chicago, Pella, NW Iowa, California.

REFUGEES

World Refugee Day Toolkit

It’s ready! The world may fear refugees, but, as Christians, we are different. We follow our refugeed Christ, our God who came to a world that did not recognize him, and we seek the face of God in the face of the “strangers” he has sent our way. We’ve put together a toolkit to help you celebrate and remember refugees this World Refugee Day (June 20) with your church! Download the toolkit at crcna.org/worldrefugeeday.

OSJ Sunday Bulletin Inserts

June 10, 2018, is the Office of Social Justice Offering Sunday. In addition to ministry share support, OSJ’s yearly offering from CRC churches like yours in the U.S. and Canada makes this important work possible.

In this year’s bulletin insert you'll discover how Oakland CRC in Hamilton, Mich., became the answer to the prayers of Christians half a world away by welcoming a refugee family from the Democratic Republic of Congo! Order a free bulletin insert by May 15 (or print the inserts yourself anytime) and find other resources at justice.crcna.org/offering. Order yours today!

In Case You Missed It

  • Thanks to everyone who gave an Earth Day gift to the Climate Witness Project! You surpassed our fundraising goal with a grand total of $1,715. Thank you!
  • Israel-Palestine: The View from Here: When it comes to the conflict in Israel-Palestine, opinions are many, but facts are often thin. We’ve brought together CRC members and partners with experience in Israel-Palestine to share their views on these questions so that we may find hopeful ways of engaging together. Subscribe to this Do Justice series so that you don’t miss a post.
  • The deadline to submit creation care worship resources has been extended to June 30! Send in your ideas at justice.crcna.org/worship.
  • You can still apply to be a Mobilizing and Advocacy Fellow with OSJ! View the job description and apply here.