Community Social Justice

Ypsilanti First Congregational United Church of Christ holds an action oriented faith model. We are called to actively live out the teachings of Jesus in our daily lives. With this guiding principle we do church differently!

I. WICIR: WASHTENAW INTERFAITH COALITION FOR IMMIGRANT RIGHTS

Jesus challenges us to minister to our neighbors, especially the marginalized. Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights (WICIR) was born 10 years ago in response to brutal raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement targeting an immigrant community. People were beaten, children were traumatized and families were separated. Ypsi First Congregational UCC was called to respond. WICIR has responded to over 760 requests for assistance and support by those whose lives have been affected by immigration raids resulting in detainment and deportation of hundreds of individuals, permanently separating children from their parents. Contact Melanie Harner (melharner@gmail.com)


To respond to a family in crisis we:

  • Provide trained bilingual urgent response teams who interview the family;

  • Send an attorney to the facility where the detainee is being held;

  • Provide material aid for the family’s immediate needs. i.e., food, shelter, infant/child supplies and partial financial assistance for legal assistance.

II. WeROC: WASHTENAW REGIONAL ORGANIZING COALITION

Ypsi First Congregational UCC is a co-founder of the new local “organization of organizations” WeROC (Washtenaw Regional Organizing Coalition). In many ways, WeROC is a larger illustration of the values and mission we try to live out at First Congregational. The diverse faith congregations and labor and community organizations that make up WeROC are, at our core, focused on intentionally reweaving the frayed fabric of community — at a time when forces are at work every day to keep us fragmented, suspicious of each other, feeling isolated and on our own. We are showing by example that people from many backgrounds and perspectives can, even today, come together in powerful ways around our common values and actually change unjust public policies. WeROC is a part of the S.E. Michigan organization MOSES and the national Gamaliel Foundation. See Tad Wysor (tadwysor@gmail.com, 734 883 3225) for more on how First Congregational is connecting with current WeROC issues and actions.

III. ONA: OPEN AND AFFIRMING COMMUNITY OF FAITH

Open and Affirming Covenant of Ypsilanti First Congregational United Church of Christ

Ypsilanti First Congregational United Church of Christ, celebrates everyone, including people of all ages, races, cultures, sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions, family configurations, economic circumstances, physical, cognitive or emotional abilities, education or spiritual or religious traditions.

All are welcome to participate fully in the life, leadership, ministry, and missions of this church as we seek to grow together in a safe and nurturing community of faith.

We strive to demonstrate in all ways that

“NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE OR WHERE YOU ARE ON LIFE’S JOURNEY,

YOU ARE WELCOME HERE!”

Contact: Donna Eyster deyster63@gmail.com

IV. THE BEACON CENTER

The Beacon Center is Ypsilanti First Congregational UCC’s newest community social justice ministry. As a light to all persons, the Beacon Center’s ministry will support the spiritual formation, creative expression, overall thriving, and advocacy of at-risk students of all ages, including those affiliated with three primary local institutions of higher learning: Eastern Michigan University, Washtenaw Community College, and The University of Michigan. In the Spirit of the UCC motto, “That They All Shall Be One,” Beacon Center serves as a uniting and unifying umbrella ministry across our congregation, serving persons sourced through our three other community social justice ministry networks which focus on serving immigrants (WICIR-Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights), the LGBTQ community (UCC ONA Congregation), and labor and community organization (WeROC Washtenaw Regional Organizing Coalition).

The Beacon Center is committed to advocating for the self-determination and education of all people, especially those students living in poverty, persons of color experiencing racism, and other de-humanizing circumstances and conditions. Beacon Center’s student demographics include: persons of color, immigrants, minorities, LGBTQ folk, women, those with special needs, the economically disadvantaged, those facing housing insecurity, the financially challenged, and the working poor. Contact Rev. Liz Larrivee.

V. HOLY GROUNDS TRINITY ST. JOES MERCY TRINTITY COFFEE MINISTRY

During the Omicron (COVID) surge members of Ypsi UCC provided local coffee, tea, coffee cups, and single packaged snacks for the night shift at Trinity Health St. Joe Mercy Hospital where Rev. Dan Kidder-McQuown is the night chaplain. While the COVID crisis has partially resolved, the stress level of the night staff has not. Contributing factors include the long-term emerging effects of COVID, a lack of staff, a nation-wide nurse shortage, and staff burnout. The night shift greatly appreciates this ministry of hospitality and caring.

Please consider donating coffee that is roasted by local Michigan companies. Tea and single packaged candy or snacks are also welcome. Please contact Marty Kleino at Mgkleino@gmail.com to have your donation delivered to St. Joes. If you would like more information about this ministry, please contact Dan Kidder-McQuown at mcq188@gmail.com.


From the Manager of Spiritual Care at St. Joes Hospital:


We are so appreciative of your congregation's support of Dan Kidder-McQuown's coffee ministry. Chaplain Dan is an amazing servant to those who work the 3rd shift at St. Joes. Dan brings more than coffee to our colleagues. He brings a warm smile, an accepting spirit, a listening ear, and an encouraging word. Our hospital leadership believes in the care Dan offers. Please share with your people that through the donated coffee and supplies, they are helping our care teams to be at their best for our patients.


With gratitude,


Paul

Chaplain Paul Arnold, D'Min., BCC

Manager of Spiritual Care

Trinity Health Hospital--St. Joes, Ann Arbor



VI. YPSI FIRST CONGREGATIONAL COMMUNITY SOCIAL JUSTICE FIRSTS

Church Firsts.xlsx