Search PNC News for stories of people and churches in our UCC Conference:

PNC's Justice Leadership Programs strengthen work for justice

Recently a protest was organized outside of the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma. A Justice Leadership Program young adult intern, Iris Chavez, working with the Church Council of Greater Seattle helped organize the event.

Iris Chavez speaks at rally at Northwest Detention Center. Photos courtesy of Rich Gamble

As part of her work with JLP, Iris works with Keystone UCC. 

Because of her connection to that congregation, Keystone members turned out in significant numbers.

That is the Justice Leadership Program’s vision: young adults, social justice agencies and congregations working together for a better world,” said Rich Gamble, pastor at Keystone UCC and executive director of the JLP, as well as the Jubilee Justice program for older adults.

A little over five years ago the PNC sponsored a new program for young adults called the Justice Leadership Program, he said. That program placed young adults in social justice agencies and UCC congregations as interns.

JLP intern David Choi, third from left, joins in advocacy at Faith Action Network.

At the end of July, the fifth class of interns will graduate. Interns this year have worked on immigration, housing and homelessness, environmental justice, racial justice and workers rights, said Rich.

“JLP interns carried these issues into congregations they served by preaching, teaching and organizing members,” he said. “We started the program as an experiment. We have had challenges along the way but year after year good outcomes have outweighed challenges.

“The work of justice in the region has been strengthened, young adults have grown in their ability to be justice leaders, and congregations have been drawn more closely into the work of justice,” he said.

This year a new Justice Leadership program, Jubilee, was developed. Like its sister program, Jubilee placed participants in social justice agencies where they worked five or more hours per week. 

JLP interns Denise Parry and Abi Velasco with Rich Gamble, center.

The Jubilee program also offers a year-long series of workshops, classes and peer group gatherings to support vocational, spiritual and personal growth around making the world more just.  

Five Jubilee participants worked with their home church in a justice leadership role. They also worked at the Church Council of Greater Seattle, the Faith Action Network, 350Seattle, Puget Sound Sage and the Meaningful Movies Project.

Unlike JLP, Jubilee participants continue to live at home and instead of being assigned a congregation to work with for the year, they work with their home congregations.

Whereas the young adult program asks interns to work full time, live together in community, as well as participate in groups, classes and workshops, Jubilee works with older adults to fit the Jubilee experience into their lives.  Some of the participants in Jubilee this year were retired, some were employed. 

This year was test to see if Jubilee would provide meaningful experiences for them, their congregations and agencies they served. It did, and the participants recommend continuing the program, Rich said.

“For those who want to make the work of justice a part of their lives, Jubilee provides the support needed to launch a new chapter in the lives of participants and their congregations,” he said.

The Justice Leadership young adult and Jubilee programs are taking applications for next year’s programs starting in September 2017.

For information, visit (young adult program) and (older adult program).


Pacific Northwest Conference UCC News © Summer 2017


Share this article on your favorite social media Bookmark and Share