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Amber Dickson’s intern year introduces her to justice issues, a caring church

Working since September with the Faith Action Network (FAN) for her year as a Justice Leadership Program (JLP) intern with the PNC, Amber Dickson helps faith communities find common ground and engages people with the Legislature.

amber dickson

Amber Dickson

“I communicate with liaisons in congregations to update them about progress on bills.  At trainings, I talk with people in person,” she said.  “I write action updates on issues, track bills in Olympia and observe FAN’s in action there.”

Amber has worked on FAN’s agenda: wealth inequality—wage theft, minimum wage and equal pay—criminal justice—secondary education in prisons and legal fee obligations—and expanding understanding of human trafficking to include labor,as well as sex.

At the Monroe Correctional Facility, Amber met with the Concerned Lifers Organization to learn about issues for people serving long sentences or life without parole.  They want “corrections” in the name to help reduce recidivism of those released.  She was impressed with how informed they are.

She’s impressed with the interfaith component of FAN’s work, bringing people of different faiths together to focus on the common good for the state.

“It makes a strong voice for the faith community, in contrast with those who have all the money and faiths that judge rather than focus on compassion, justice, acceptance, inclusion and care of the most vulnerable as FAN does,” Amber said.  “Many core pieces of the faith voice are hidden by the loud tone of some churches.”

Along with systemic work for justice, being a JLP intern has also included intentional living with other interns and being involved with a church—Keystone UCC for her.

“Being at Keystone has helped me reconcile my relationship with church, deepening my faith and healing the disillusionment I felt,” said Amber, who grew up in a non-denominational, evangelical megachurch with formulaic beliefs and expectations, promising certain beliefs and actions would bring certain results.

Seeing discrepancies, she now is pleased that at Keystone UCC there’s room for questioning without judgment.

“There’s room for inquiry and space to learn,” she said.  “I’ve been able to dive into the Bible again.”

Amber, completed studies Seattle Pacific University in 2011 in psychology, also finds the small church caring about each other like family.

After this year, she’s gained skills and feels confident about entering the career world. 

For information, call 206-625-9790 or email dickson@fanwa.org.

 

Copyright © April 2015 - Pacific Northwest United Church of Christ Conference News

 

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