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Addressing Violence and Injustice

by  Mary E. Howe-Grant, Moderator, First Congregational Church of Santa Barbara, UCC

A year without war 2We live in a world where the levels of violence and injustice, especially against the innocent, seem to be constantly increasing.  It’s distressing to pay attention and more difficult to discern how to respond.  However, it’s important that we, both as individuals and as faith communities, bear witness and act as best we can to alleviate the suffering.

What can be done?   First Congregational Church of Santa Barbara, United Church of Christ (FCCSBUCC), a Just Peace church,* has taken action by signing on to support the crazy-A**, pie-in-the-sky idea of A Year Without War in 2020—only six years hence!

You, too, can bear witness to the possibility of world-wide peace by registering your support as an individual for A Year Without War.  This grassroots, nonpartisan organization, which started as a result of a Santa Barbara City College student asking “what if …,” has been promised a large donation from a donor, IF they can substantially increase their number of supporters.  So this is the time to 1) go to their website:  www.ayearwithoutwar.org,  2)  join! as an individual (no money is required) and 3) spread the word to other congregations far and wide, family members and friends, asking them to follow suit.  Your participation can truly make a large difference.  The more people throughout the world who support the possibility of a year without war, the closer that possibility becomes.

What else can we do?  We can pray.  Whether together in communities or as individuals, we can set aside time to pray for the victims of violence and injustice.  We can do so in our homes, at work, on street corners, in parks, even in houses of worship.

FCCSBUCC has designated Fridays from 12:30 to 1 pm as a time of prayer for children everywhere, but especially those who are beset by violence or unjust acts.  Those attending the prayer vigil gather in the sanctuary.  Those unable to attend are asked to set aside some of this time to join with others spiritually.   For Jesus said, ‘when two or three are gathered together in my name, . . .”

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* The Just Peace Church program is a grassroots movement of UCC congregations committed to corporately naming and boldly proclaiming a public identity as a justice-doing, peace-seeking church.  For more information go to www.ucc.org/justice/just-peace/.

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