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Valerie Russell Scholarship for African American Lay Women

UCC_logoMay 11, 2017

Greetings Conference Ministers and Pastors,

Your National Office is buzzing with anticipation, as final preparations are underway for General Synod!  We are excited to welcome you all as we convene for both the business and joy of what it means to be the church together!  For me, it has been an amazing year that far exceeded my imagination of what it would be like to serve with you as Acting Executive Minister of Justice and Witness Ministries.  I have a deep appreciation for all those that have faithfully served before us and for all with whom I am privileged to serve presently.  Each of you are included in that number.  Thank you for every invitation to speak, every opportunity to share in your joys and concerns, and every opportunity to join the visioning of how we might build a uniting church of revolutionary love and righteous resistance in the midst of trying times.  I am forever grateful.

JWM has planned several acknowledgements of the ministry happening throughout the life of our church.  Thank you to those of you who nominated people, churches, and organizations for the Justice Awards this year.  We have also added a Movement Makers Award.  The Movement Makers Award is reserved for people, churches, or organizations whose actions have a national impact in an area of Justice reflective of the concerns of The United Church of Christ.  The recipients in this inaugural year of the award are the indigenous youth leaders of Standing Rock.

We would also like to continue the tradition of awarding a Valerie Russell Scholarship during the Valerie Russell Lecture this year.  As of now, we have not received any nominations.  I am writing you to inquire whether or not you might know someone deserving of this scholarship.  The $1,500 scholarship is awarded to assist the recipient with continued education or training that advances their involvement in the justice area of their choice.  The recipient must be an African American UCC laywoman who is not pursuing any form of authorized ministry at the time of receipt.  The awardee will be our guest at General Synod where they will receive the award.  If you know of any deserving candidates for this award, you are invited to submit a nomination letter to Justice and Witness Ministries.  Please forward your nomination letter by May 26, 2017 to Ms. Linda Long of Justice and Witness Ministries electronically at longl@ucc.org or via postal mail.

Thank you for your thoughtful consideration and we will see you in Baltimore!

In Christ’s Name,

Rev. Traci D. Blackmon
Acting Executive Minister
Justice & Witness Ministries

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