Office of Social Justice News | December 2016

2016 was a big year for the issues for which we educate and advocate. Read below about the ways we’re preparing for 2017. Your voices and actions will be key in the year ahead for the issues you care about. Will you partner with us to maximize our impact in 2017?


Sanctity of Human Life

OSJ’s Angie Kuiper shares her daughter Eloise’s story for Sanctity of Human Life Sunday.

We’re grateful to be part of a denomination that seeks to speak up for and protect the lives of preborn children. Join us this year in advocating for legislation that reduces the demand for abortion and protects the lives of the most vulnerable. Though access to abortion may become more difficult in 2017, we, as Christians, still need to make focused efforts to create communities where women who choose to parent their children have access to the resources needed to do that well. We’re committed to honoring the sanctity of every human life created in God’s image. Will you join us?

Religious Persecution

OSJ Coordinator Peter Vander Meulen speaks at an interfaith press conference on religious persecution.

There’s a growing epidemic of persecution of religious minorities around the world. These religious minorities are often also ethnic minorities who suffer economic and social isolation as well. In Cairo, a Coptic church was bombed just last week, killing 25 worshipers. In the United States, there’s been serious talk of requiring immigrants from some majority-Muslim countries to register with the government. We are ready to work with churches to stand up for the persecuted church, especially through our resources for the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. We’re also ready to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with other religious minorities. Will you join us?

Creation Care

West Michigan CWP teams host film on climate change.

The Climate Witness Project (CWP) launched in 2015 in response to Synod 2012’s call to action on climate change and in preparation for and in support of the Paris COP 21 climate meetings. A little more than a year later, the project continues to gain momentum. Our nearly 300 CWP partners from 36 congregations in the United States and Canada have endorsed the CRC’s call to action on climate change, have received communications, and have been taking action on climate change. 2017 will be an equally important year for climate concerns as we work to ensure that the United States and Canada are committed to the Paris Agreement and working toward protecting and restoring creation. Will you join us?

Indigenous Justice

OSJ helps facilitate the Blanket Exercise for a group in Chicago.

So often, stereotypes of Indigenous peoples and quick dismissals of their rights persist because many of us don’t know our common history. That’s why Kelsey has been facilitating the Blanket Exercise in congregations across our denomination. We’re committed to continuing to tell the untold parts of our history so that we might flourish together as Indigenous and non-Indigenous people on this land. Will you join us?

Joseph Visser Photography



An individual shares how immigrants have blessed him at a Blessing Not Burden event.

Throughout 2016 we made strides to change the conversation in our own circles and with lawmakers to overcome myths surrounding immigrants and their impact on communities. As we enter 2017, we are ready to continue to spread the truth: immigrants are a blessing. Kate is working hard to develop concrete resources for churches to partner with the immigrant community so that together we can follow God's call to protect the cause of immigrants. We recognize the significant threat that immigrants may face under the new administration in Washington, and we commit, with thousands of other Blessing Not Burden advocates, to continue to speak and act boldly for immigrant justice. Will you join us?

Action Center

OSJ’s Ali Short phones her representative.

The Action Center is an important advocacy tool for all of our issues. Ali is ready to respond quickly and effectively to policies that affect the most vulnerable among us. Right now, we are standing up for refugees. In the midst of the greatest displacement of people in recent history, we must remember that each individual seeking refuge is made in the image of God. As Christians, we have a unique opportunity to use our biblical call to welcome the stranger and defend the cause of the most vulnerable to speak into this moment. Whether you’re in the United States or Canada, you can add your voice. Will you join us in the work of biblical advocacy? Visit our Action Center today!

We’re ready to go. Will you join us?

In Case You Missed It

  • If you haven’t yet ordered your free bulletin inserts for Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, please do so TODAY at

  • Check out the newsletter we sent about standing with Standing Rock against the Dakota Access pipeline, and learn more about this issue.

  • MLive in Grand Rapids, Mich., wrote an article about our Blessing Not a Burden campaign. Check it out!