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Justice & Advocacy - an affiliate website of The Lehigh Conference of Churches

Justice and Advocacy Committee

Our Vision

We envision a community answering to God’s movement among us in which basic rights of fairness and freedom from poverty for all people prevail.

Our Mission

The Justice and Advocacy Committee, as the independent voice of the Lehigh Conference of Churches, is an advocate for social justice. The Committee reaches out to a diverse community of member congregations and other faith organizations to inspire and encourage engagement for problem-solving. We provide educational opportunities and public forums for theologically-based discussion as we call out mutual concerns and unjust conditions.

Our Work with Congregations

We partner with our local congregations as well as local, state, and national organizations, such as Bread for the World and the Pennsylvania Council of Churches to provide faith based educational workshops, public forums, and training events on current social justice issues and public policy advocacy. We can also provide or recommend speakers on current social justice topics for study groups and judicatory events.

From time to time, J&AC organizes local workshops on social justice issues, such as our annual Food/Hunger workshops in partnership with Bread for the World each spring; and fall workshops on immigration reform (2007), Health Care (2008), Homelessness (2009), Jobs, Workers, & Economics (2010), the Growing Economic Divide (2011), Affordable Housing (2012), and Criminal Justice / Restorative Practices (2013, 2014), Fair Legislative Redistricting (2017,2018), Support for Local Immigrants (2017,2018), Healing Communities Training (2018).

We have also organized several informal gatherings "Congregations in Mission: Finding Common Causes" for missions/outreach/social concerns committee members from different congregations to get acquainted with each other and to form new partnerships where there are common interests.

More Resources on Racism and the Church

September 7th, 2020
  • Several Faith in Action training sessions from the summer of 2020 are posted at vimeo.com/fianational:
    • White Faith Leaders Denouncing White Supremacy Media Call (June 5)
    • What does it mean to defund the police? – Rev. Ben McBride (June 24)
    • A Conversation about Whiteness and Liberation – Rev. Michael-Ray Mathews (July 7)
    • A Brief History of Whiteness (July 28)
    • The Spiritual Crisis of Whiteness – Ruby Sales (Aug 11)

Also, here are two new books along with links to author interviews: … read more »

Responding to Racism in the Church during COVID – Resources

August 16th, 2020

There has been intense discussion this summer about racial/ethnic bias in police practices, including discussions in city councils and county government. However, there has been less attention to structural racism in the church. While systemic racism is best addressed with intense face-to-face dialog, here are a few resources to begin the conversation in the context of COVID. … read more »

More Resources During the Pandemic – Spring 2020

May 15th, 2020
  • The organizers of Ecumenical Advocacy Days have posted this list of national events:
    Ways to Engage During the Quarantine
  • An overwhelming list of congregational resources have been created – many of them available through denominational offices – in response to the pandemic. Here’s just one:
    48 questions to ask before reopening your church
    ( kenbraddy.files.wordpress.com/2020/04/48-questions-to-ask-prior-to-reopening-your-church-3.pdf )

Episcopal Peace Fellowship – Earth Day videos

May 15th, 2020

The Green Faith working group has put together a list of climate change video resources to explore in honor of Earth Day. Feel free to share any others you find with your community! … read more »

Resources for Public Policy Advocacy during the pandemic

May 15th, 2020

(How Quakers redesigned FCNL’s Spring Lobby Weekend in response to COVID-19)

Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL)
Spring Lobby Weekend – March 30-31 on Climate Change legislation:

  • plenary and breakout sessions were presented on-line, and recordings are posted.
  • there were also virtual meetings of local groups to plan lobbing visits, and virtual lobby visits with Members of Congress after the program presentations.
  • See details here

Also see FCNL resources on virtual meetings with Congressional offices.

Webinar Series on COVID-19 and Social Justice Issues

May 15th, 2020

(United Methodist Church — Church and Society)

The weekly series, called “Pre-existing Disparities Revealed,” explores how the pandemic intersects with topics such as systemic racism, the carcel system, and access to food. “COVID-19 revealed societal injustices that already existed. This pandemic has magnified familiar societal, political, and economic disparities—now with the added urgency of a public health crisis,” said Aimee Hong, Senior Executive Director of Education and Engagement.”

Webinars will occur every Thursday, starting May 21 at 2 PM ET. Topics include:

  • May 21: Systemic Racism and Discrimination during COVID-19
  • May 28: Confined and Vulnerable: Detained and Incarcerated during COVID-19
  • June 4: From the Ground to the Table: Food Insecurity during COVID-19
  • June 11: A Just and Peaceable Global Relief from COVID-19
  • June 18: Imagining a Just Economy post COVID-19

All webinars are free and open to all, but you must register for individual sessions. See details and register

Allentown Spring Events on Justice and Advocacy

March 3rd, 2020

COVID-19 Advisory – Due to the corona virus pandemic, the following events have all been cancelled or postponed indefinitely

(click on event titles for more details)

  • “Embracing the Full Household of God” (on Immigration)
    March 28, 2020 (Saturday, 9am-3pm) at First Presbyterian Church, Allentown
  • The Color of Justice: “Bail Reform: The Time Has Come!”
    April 15, 2020 (Wednesday, 7-9pm) at Muhlenberg College
  • Spring advocacy event: “The Bread of Justice”
    April 18, 2020 (Saturday, 9am-3pm) at First Presbyterian Church, Allentown
    making the connections between racism, poverty, and hunger
      • Poor People’s Campaign: A Call for Moral Revival
      • Bread for the World: Nutrition and the Racial Wealth Gap
      • Traces of the Trade: Slavery, Racism, and Reparations
  • Campbell Lectures with Katrina Browne
    “Reparations: A Faith, Spiritual and Biblical Engagement”

    April 23, 2020 (Thursday, 7:00-8:30pm), April 24, 2020 (Friday, 9:00-10:30am)
    responding to America’s legacy of racism, slavery, reconstruction,Jim Crow, red-lining, and mass incarceration
    at Dubbs Center (Lehigh Conference of Churches – 5th and Allen Streets)

Celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.

December 24th, 2019

Allentown Events – January 19-20, 2020

  • January 19, 2020 (Sunday, 6:00pm) “Traces of the Trade”
    A special screening of the feature documentary, “Traces of the Trade” which examines the largest slave-trading family in U.S. history. Given the myth that the South is solely responsible for slavery, viewers may be surprised to learn that they were Northerners.
    Sponsored by the Lehigh Conference of Churches and First Presbyterian Church, Allentown.
    Location: First Presbyterian Church, Allentown. For details and [free] registration, see www.lehighchurches.org.
  • January 20, 2020 (Monday, 9:00am) Interfaith Prayer Breakfast with Sheryll D. Cashin who will be speaking on “A Case for Reparations from the Faith Perspective.” Dr. Cashin is a Professor of Law, Civil Rights and Social Justice at the Georgetown University Law Center. Please join us for prayer, breakfast, and fellowship.
    Location: First Presbyterian Church, Allentown. Cost: $25. For details and registration, see www.lehighchurches.org.
  • January 20, 2020 (Monday, 11:00am) Allentown NAACP Celebration with
    Dr. Tina Q. Richardson, Chancellor, Penn State University, Lehigh Valley campus.
    Location: St. James AME Zion Church, 410 Union St., Allentown.

NCC Peace & Social Justice Conference

September 26th, 2019

October 1, 2019 (Tuesday, 9:00am-9:00pm) Northampton Community College
Peace and Social Justice Conference with workshops and presentations
on prisons and restorative justice.

  • 9:30 – 10:45am – Lipkin Theatre – Restorative Justice Workshop
  • 2:00 – 3:15pm – College Center 220 – Prison 101: Prison Industrial Complex
  • 3:30-5:30pm – Lipkin Theatre – Documentary Inside/Outside, with Nandini Sikand.
  • 5:30 – 6:30pm – Lipkin Theatre – Panel Discussion: “At the Intersection of
    Education and Punishment on Prisoner Education Initiatives”
  • 7:15 – 9:00pm – Lipkin Theatre – Climbing PoeTree musical performance
    (… and more … See program schedule for details).

All events during the day are free and open to the public.

Lights for Liberty: A Vigil to end Detention Camps

July 2nd, 2019

On Friday, July 12, 2019 at 7pm Lights for Liberty will bring thousands of people to detention camps and other significant sites across the country. In Easton, PA, there will be speakers beginning at 8pm and a silent candlelight vigil at 9pm.
Location: Riverside Park Amphitheatre, Easton, PA
The Easton event is sponsored by College Hill Presbyterian Church and Lehigh Valley for All. For further information, see the Easton facebook event and www.lightsforliberty.org.

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