Office of Social Justice News | December 2018

Under international, American, and Canadian law, the right to cross borders to make an asylum claim (also known as a refugee claim in Canada) is protected. When people make an asylum claim, whether in the U.S. or in Canada, they enter a long, rigorous process in that country involving various government offices and numerous background checks and screenings.

How can you support people who are seeking safety? Here are some ideas:



Blessing Not Burden Swag

Looking for Christmas gift ideas for justice-seekers and immigrant advocates? We're selling off our stock of “Blessing Not Burden” swag! Order ASAP—we have limited stock and Christmas is coming quickly!

Order your swag before December 14 »


Series: Pro-Mama!

Life is a gift from God. Caring for new human life, whether in the womb or outside of it, means caring for mothers (and families!).

If they have to struggle with systemic barriers in addition to the intensity of pregnancy, as mothers in so many marginalized communities do, their babies face more barriers to flourishing. This is not God’s intent for life!

Subscribe to the series »


Cooler/Smarter: Living Your Climate Witness Workshop Series

Cooler/Smarter: Living Your Climate Witness is a 7-session workshop series designed to help individuals and families that want to get serious about reducing their carbon footprints. Each workshop will take place at a different congregation throughout Grand Rapids and will be facilitated by a Climate Witness Partner. We will also be sharing highlights from the sessions via video later—stay tuned!  Learn more and register for the workshops here!


Sanctity of Human Life Sunday Worship Materials

“We believe...that God’s life-giving Word and Spirit will enable the church to live in a new obedience which can open new possibilities of life for society and the world.” These words from the Belhar Confession along with the verse from Isaiah 65:23 are the focus of our worship materials to help your church honor Sanctity of Human Life Sunday on January 20. As Christians, we seek the restoration of all things so that every life created in the image of God is honored out of obedience to God. Visit for worship resources including a bulletin insert, a prayer, and a responsive reading. 


Action Alert: Support Rehabilitation for Incarcerated Citizens

The FIRST STEP Act is a bipartisan supported criminal justice reform bill that supports “back end” changes to the system by providing increased resources and incentives towards rehabilitation. The bill encourages inmates to participate in more vocational and rehabilitative programs, by letting them get “earned time credits” that allow them to be released early to halfway houses or home confinement. The bill would also authorize more funding — $50 million a year over five years — to support vocational and rehabilitative programs. Ask your Senators to support the FIRST STEP Act!


Have Questions about the Global Compact on Migration?

This week, a non-binding U.N. agreement on migration (the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration) became a political hot-button issue in Canada. What’s the deal with this aspirational U.N. agreement? What is Canada committing to in signing it? Here’s a helpful article from the Mennonite Central Committee’s Ottawa office to help you wade through the rhetoric.

Read more »


Mark OSJ Sunday on February 24

People across the Christian Reformed Church are engaging in important justice work on issues such as immigration, refugees, sanctity of human life, religious persecution, creation care, and more! We're here to help your church engage in important work like advocacy with refugees. In addition to Ministry Share support, it is the yearly offering from CRC churches like yours in the U.S. and Canada that make this important work possible.

Get resources for your church »


Antioch Podcast: Indigenous Christians’ Roundtable

A delegation of Indigenous Christians from Canada and the United States gathered recently in Grand Rapids to share their stories using the Blanket Exercise. Madison Church podcaster Eric Nykamp participated in the Blanket Exercise, and later interviewed the group to learn more about their healing journeys and the message they have for their fellow church members. 
Listen on their conversation »

—from our partners at the CRC Office of Race Relations

On Friday, November 23rd, The Fourth National Climate Assessment, as mandated by Congress, released a report stating, “Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization…” The Climate Witness Project issued a statement in response to this harrowing report, doubling down on our commitment to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. Read the full statement.

Appreciate this newsletter?

In Case You Missed It

  • MLK Day 2019: A Stone of Hope:  If you’re in Grand Rapids on January 21, join us at Madison Church to hear from Dr. Christina Edmondson and celebrate the work and words of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Practicing Love in Polarized Times: Marginalized persons are frequently fighting for their rights, or even their lives, in political conversations.