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!”

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. For additional information on the Beacon Center, please contact Rev. Liz Larrivee at lizlarrivee@gmail.com

V. YPSI FIRST CONGREGATIONAL UCC HISTORIC SOCIAL JUSTICE FIRSTS

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