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Office of Social Justice News | June 2018

Speak Up for Families at the Border

Separating children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border is now official policy. On May 7, the Trump administration announced a new “zero tolerance” policy: all adults caught entering the U.S. illegally are to be criminally prosecuted — even those who are legally seeking asylum — and their children will be forcibly taken from them.

As people who have been enfolded into God’s family, we understand the sacredness of family unity. In this moment, Christians have an important message for Congress: families are meant to be together — not separated. Together we can ensure Congress hears that the faith community stands with families and people fleeing persecution.

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CREATION CARE

Educational Resources

Looking for resources to discuss climate change in small groups or adult education? Visit the Climate Witness Project education page! We upload new resources regularly, such as the newly released video Bangladesh: The Canary in the Coal Mine, which highlights how climate change is affecting the people of Bangladesh. If you need help implementing any of these resources, or if you are looking for a speaker or panelist, email Kris Van Engen (kvanengen@crcna.org).

RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION

Religious Persecution . . . in Israel?

“There are many cases of employers being pressured not to employ Jewish followers of Jesus; or if they are already employed, there is sometimes pressure to cancel work contracts. Currently there is a believer who was hired by the prime minister’s office as a deputy media consultant. His faith was made a media issue, and the government is being pressured to fire him because of his Messianic faith.” Read more »

RESTORATIVE JUSTICE

‘Remember Me’ in Ontario: Fighting Bad Corrections Laws

“For me, obedience to this call will involve cycling from Hamilton to Toronto on August 10. August 10 is recognized each year as Prisoners Justice Day (PJD) in Canada, a day of remembrance for those who have died unnatural deaths in jail.” Read more »

DO JUSTICE

Is Jesus a Zionist?

What is clear is that Jesus separates himself from those who would merge political aspirations for Israel into matters of personal faith. Jesus announces his messianic kingdom. But this cannot be confused with the kingdoms of this world. Read more »

FROM OUR CRC PARTNERS

Auditor General’s Report on Services for Indigenous Peoples

The Auditor General’s report on services for Indigenous peoples is out, and it’s not looking good. Despite years of promises, education results for First Nations students have not improved relative to those of other Canadians. Canada must do better for Indigenous kids and youth. Join Michelle D. Nieviadomy and Mike Hogeterp to hear their reactions and connect with opportunities to take action.

—from our partners at the Centre for Public Dialogue

OTHER NEWS

CRC Members Attend Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C.

In April, 24 CRC members attended Ecumenical Advocacy Days (EAD) in Washington, D.C. The theme of the conference was “A World Uprooted: Responding to Migrants, Refugees, and Displaced People.” The group attended workshops and panel discussions on migration, heard from speakers fighting for a more just immigration system, and participated in interdenominational worship. They also met with their representatives and senators and asked them to prioritize funding for compassionate treatment of immigrants and to address root causes of forced migration. Read more about their experience in CRC News!

IMMIGRATION

‘Animals,’ Separated Kids, and What You Can Do Now

Overwhelmed by all the immigration headlines? Susan Reed, immigration attorney with the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, and Matt Soerens, U.S. director of church mobilization for World Relief, talk with Kate Kooyman, from the CRC Office of Social Justice, to help cut through the noise and discover ways to productively engage during this critical (and scary) time for immigrants. Watch and share the video on Facebook here!

REFUGEES

World Refugee Day Toolkit

Did you know that World Refugee Day is June 20? We’ve teamed up with World Renew and the Christian Reformed Centre for Public Dialogue to provide tools and ideas to help your church welcome and highlight refugees this month and throughout the year. Visit crcna.org/WorldRefugeeDay to find stories of CRC churches welcoming refugees, Sunday school ideas, ways to join with your neighbors on World Refugee Day, and much more.

Stand Up for Indigenous Kids

Despite years of promises, education results for First Nations students have not improved relative to those of other Canadians (Auditor General’s report on Indigenous Services Canada, 2018).

Though we know the problem involves more than money, we also know that First Nations schools on-reserve are systematically underfunded, with gaps of 30-50 percent between provincial and First Nations school systems. That’s not okay.

Change is possible. We’ve seen Indigenous kids and schools excel when given a fair chance.

Ask your MP to establish clear steps to address the funding gap and to implement Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action 7-10 so that Indigenous parents can send their kids to schools that integrate their languages, cultures, values, and communities into the educational system.

In Case You Missed It

  • There’s still time to submit a creation care worship resource! Contribute to our crowdsourced collection of resources at justice.crcna.org/worship.
  • Thank you to all the churches who took offerings this month to support the work of our office! We couldn’t do this work without you.
  • Synod spent time discussing justice and the church’s role in political engagement. Read more in CRC News.
  • We're still looking for people in Denver and California who are passionate about congregations engaging the issue of immigration! Learn more and apply here: Denver; California.
  • Delegates from Classis Minnkota and Classis Columbia sat down for lunch at synod with staff members from the CRC’s social justice agencies. Read about their positive conversation in The Banner.