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Justice Witness Ministries embraces new communication tools

The PNC’s Justice and Witness Ministries Committee expands and seeks to connect around to conference to empower justice work.

The Justice Witness Committee meets monthly using the Zoom meeting program. Photo courtesy of Steve Claggett

Thanks to the work of the Ministry Resources Committee, which acts as the conference’s nominating committee, the Justice and Witness Ministries Committee (JWM) expanded after this year’s Conference Annual Meeting from 10 to 15 members. 

“The quality and breadth of justice experience of the committee’s membership is humbling,” said Steve Clagett, committee chair.  “What’s more, as we learn more about each other, we are finding mutual justice passions which bodes well for our future work together.” 

Some of those commonalities include racial justice, economic justice, and assisting immigrants and refugees. 

JWM, like other conference committees, is making increasing use of Zoom Teleconferencing capabilities.  Whereas the committee used to meet in Seattle and invite East of mountain members to join by phone of Skype, now the entire meeting is held online.

JWM does not shy from challenges. 

Its history includes establishing the successful Justice Leadership Program, now in its fifth year and a model for the nation about how to nurture young adults’ passion for justice into effective faith-based leadership, said Steve. 

Three years ago, JWM decided to change how it operated. 

Previously, it was following the justice interests of its members.  Now, it is trying to follow a program that connects and expands the many justice initiatives that conference churches and members have started. 

This work began with a survey of churches to identify PNC church members committed to a justice issue, Steve said.  This work has yielded a database of 100 individuals from 34 churches. 

“This year, the JWM is beginning a church directory of our justice work,” he said. 

The committee aims to have developed the first copy of the directory by this fall’s Annual Meeting at N-Sid-Sen. 

“The first edition won’t include all the churches, but will show attendees the format to be used for future amplified editions,” Steve said. 

The committee will let people hear more about how they can provide data for this project before the September Annual Meeting.  There will also be opportunities at the Annual Meeting for delegates to help to fill out JWM’s understanding of their church’s justice, service and advocacy work.

“JWM wants to provide the conference with continual reminders of justice opportunities and responsibilities,” Steve said. 

“To that end, the previous conference blog it had is being replaced with a soon-to-be-launched, Justice and Witness website that mimics the format of the Conference website, so that movement from one to the other is seamless,” Steve said.

In addition to information about the JWM, what it is doing, who is on it and how it operates, the website will feature issue pages to serve as key hubs of conference initiatives and a “Justice Hot Sheet” listing upcoming justice events. 

Unlike the blog, that required an active search within the conference website, the new JWM website is designed to be used actively where it reaches out and draws interested conference churches and members to it. 

As an example, since January, the Justice Hot Sheet component has been posted monthly on the conference listserv.  The hot sheet contains hot links to each item listed and, in the future, will also include links to the relevant issue page on the JWM website. 

“As JWM develops issue pages, we are including links to relevant past Fig Tree and Pacific Northwest Conference News articles,” said Steve.  “In this way, we are pleased to extend the usefulness of the Fig Tree’s and Conference News’ reporting.”

JWM is looking forward to the Fall Gathering. 

There, the committee will work with attendees on implementing the PNC’s Immigrant and Refugee Welcoming Resolution passed at the Spring Annual Meeting.

“Finally, JWM has a strong commitment to telling the conference what it is doing, then holding itself accountable for producing action,” Steve said. 

The following is a link to JWM’s 2017 goals:!At4A1ODoFJGKkk_gSKxBMqsXnWb-.

The following is a link to JWM’s annual progress report to the conference is!At4A1ODoFJGKjzlwwz6CtTzHOg8o.s!At4A1ODoFJGKjzlwwz6CtTzHOg8o.


Pacific Northwest Conference UCC News © Summer 2017


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