Office of Social Justice News | September 2018

Support Humanitarian Aid to Palestinian Refugees!

The Trump Administration has announced that it will be cutting all U.S. funding to the United Nations agency charged with caring for Palestinian refugees, known as UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East). The UNRWA provides over 5 million Palestinian refugees with a wide variety of social services, including education, food aid, housing, and medical care.

As Christians, we affirm the dignity of all human beings made in the image of God. We believe vulnerable people should be protected, not harmed.



Upcoming Opportunities

Hey Canada! Here are two upcoming opportunities to get trained in Restorative Practices for Congregations:


Bring Journey With Me to your congregation

There are so many ways to start conversations in your congregation about the biblical call to philoxenia (“love of the stranger”). The Journey With Me toolkit includes worship resources, book suggestions, skits, and more to support you. Plus, watch for new refugee claimant myth-busting fact sheets and an updated version of the Journey With Me 90-minute workshop soon! Get the resources »


Christian Reformed Church Statement on U.S. Refugee Admissions

Ministry leaders from the CRCNA issued a statement in support of refugee resettlement in the United States:

“The CRC has long been a church eager to welcome refugees. And in fact, many members of our churches came as refugees themselves...Many of our congregations, in both the United States and Canada, have experienced the blessing that comes with walking alongside a newly arrived family. As refugees have put their roots down, they have brought vitality to our churches and strength to our communities. These relationships are a glimpse of God’s love alive in the world; standing with refugees has become a fundamental part of the CRCNA’s calling.” Read the full statement »


Confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh

The confirmation hearing of Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, has resulted in more public conversations about abortion in the United States, including discussion of what is an abortifacient. Our website offers a summary of the denominational position on abortion. In 2003, the Synod of the Christian Reformed Church  declared “that a married couple's decision whether or not to use birth control to prevent the conception of a baby is a private, disputable matter," (Acts of Synod 2003, p. 648). The last time that the denomination’s Synod addressed the issue of birth control was in 2003, when Synod received a report from a study committee on Life Issues. Their report can be found in its entirety on pages 275-313 in this document.


Blaming the Victim

The Trump Administration announced on August 31 that it will be cutting all U.S. funding to the United Nations agency charged with caring for Palestinian refugees, known as UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East). The U.S. slashed its funding for UNRWA in January by $60 million, at which point the Canadian government pledged an extra $10 million in funding to UNRWA. The Canadian government once cut funding to UNRWA in 2009, but the Trudeau government reinstated the funds in 2016.

Learn more about the impacts of this decision in this piece from Joshua Vis,  Church Engagement Facilitator for Israel and Palestine for the Reformed Church in America. Read more »


A Humble Hustle

We’re so proud of Do Justice columnist Trixie Ling for taking a leap of faith and launching a non-profit social enterprise to empower refugee newcomer women!

"Through this wild entrepreneurial journey, I have come to believe that God is an economist. He understands unjust economic systems and inequities, and seeks economic justice and empowerment. Justice isn’t complete without economic justice!"
Read more of Trixie’s story »


Statement on Trump Administration’s Overhaul of the Clean Power Plan

On Tuesday, August 21st, the Trump Administration and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed replacing an Obama-era policy to combat climate change with the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule. The plan overhauls federal pollution regulations about coal-burning power plants and eliminating government efforts to cut carbon emissions. The ACE Rule grants states the authority to make improvements at power plants as well as easing air pollution regulations.

Those most harmed by climate change are the poor—in the U.S. and around the world. We advocate for a vigorous response to climate change because we know that if we do not respond, people in poverty will continue to suffer the consequences. The CRC Office of Social Justice opposes the Affordable Clean Energy plan because of its ramifications on the health of Americans as well as its inevitable destruction of God’s creation.
Read the full statement »


What Grandparents Day can teach us about Indigenous Education

"Christian Reformed support for education has mostly been limited to our Christian Reformed communities. What if we valued culturally-appropriate and adequately-funded education, not just for our own communities, but for Indigenous communities too?
It takes a village to raise a child. We know, thanks to the TRC, how wrong we were to remove Indigenous kids from their communities. Let’s use the lessons we’ve learned about independent Christian schools to make a wrong into a right.” Read more »

—from our partners at the Christian Reformed Centre for Public Dialogue

Education Together!

Today, far fewer First Nations children graduate from grade 12 than other children in Canada because they aren’t receiving the proper funding and support needed for a quality education. The federal government has promised to implement the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Now is the time to follow through on those promises!

In spring 2018 the Auditor General reported that the real grade-12 graduation rate for Indigenous students is 24 percent compared to the national average of around 90 percent.

Change is possible. We know that when Indigenous children have the funding and culturally appropriate education that they need, they thrive!

*This action alert is presented in partnership with our close partners at the Christian Reformed Centre for Public Dialogue and their Education Together campaign.

Appreciate this newsletter?

In Case You Missed It

  • Journey With Me in Hamilton: Get trained for ministry with refugees in Canada. Register today!
  • Day of Encouragement in Edmonton: We’ll be running a workshop on radical hospitality, privilege, and refugee welcome. Register today!
  • Cooler, Smarter Workshop: We are in the planning stages of this 7-session workshop based on the Union of Concerned Scientists’ book Cooler Smarter that will take place in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Each of the sessions will provide practical guidance on reducing our footprint at home in 5 areas:
    • Transportation (Driving down emissions)
    • Home heating and cooling
    • Electrical use in the home
    • Our diets (A low-carbon diet)
    • The things we buy
    These workshops will be facilitated by 7 different Climate Witness Project Partners at 7 different churches. Our hope is that this workshop will be replicated in other regions all over the U.S. and Canada. Stay tuned for more details!