September has whizzed by and your Social Justice Coordinating Committee is fully engaged in keeping up with the many involvements serving the causes of social justice in our community. As always, our first activity in the fall is our support of Lincoln School. The Special Collection on September 16th netted $1090. Teachers who receive this gift will make good use of the extra help to purchase materials they will otherwise do without. Another contribution to the success of our Lincoln partnership is our participation as tutors, mentors, classroom assistants and afterschool helpers. This year Jeme Baker has succeeded Mary Lewis as coordinator of this group. If you are considering doing social justice through this activity, contact Jeme (or any of the volunteers) to learn why they find satisfaction and joy in this effort.
Center for Transformation
The Center for Transformation, a program that supports parolees returning to the community, and an interfaith project which People’s has supported for years, reports a new partnership with the Cooper Street Prison in Jackson. This unique opportunity will allow prisoners to communicate with mentors through interviews arranged via video chat before they are released. The hope is that building these mentor/parolee relationships earlier may increase the chances of parolees successful reintegration into society.
New Social Justice Calendar
Thanks to Dolores Strom, Cylise Snow and Chris Schleuder, the new Social Justice Calendar is available on our website! Now you can find information about many more local opportunities for participation, and even add your own, if you wish. Go to http://peopleschurch.net/faith-in-action/current-social-justice-content/#sjcccalendar
Potluck in Bronson Park
In mid-September, several church members brought their concern for people in the homeless encampment in Bronson Park to the SJCC. Given the need not only for food but also for relationship, which Rev. Rachel had heard from a meeting with key people involved this issue, she suggested we use our strengths and host a community potluck in Bronson Park. Members already involved with the Encampment made inquiries with people in the park and others to be certain that this outreach would be welcome, and we moved forward immediately with additional leadership from Julie Schneeberger and others. Word spread quickly, with Rev. Rachel’s posting the idea online and with her colleagues downtown. The Potluck with the Encampment was launched. By Tuesday the 18th offerings were arriving at church and Bronson Park. As folks began to see the activity, volunteers from other churches pitched in, including tables borrowed from First Congregational across the street. Many People’s people helped with setup and cleanup, working alongside the campers. Julie estimates as many as 175 to 200 may have participated. We recognize that the solutions to homelessness in our community are far from resolved. But for this moment of community, we celebrate and thank all who supported this effort. Well done, everyone!
Anyone is welcome to sit in on SJCC meetings. The Social Justice Coordinating Committee meets the second Saturday of each month at 10:30 a.m. in Room L2.