Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Gun Control Rally

Below are some pictures from the StandUp Washington Gun Control Rally on Jan. 13, 2013. They had a crowd of over 1000 people, incredible speakers, and a powerful message. Both The Church Council of Greater Seattle and the Faith Action Network were sponsors of the event.

Bundled up in five layers and as many buttons as I could fit on my shirt to hand out to marchers. 

We marched from Westlake Mall, down 4th and to Seattle Center.


The people on stage all represent organizations that co-sponsored the event. 


Senator Murray and Immigration Reform

Last Thursday I had the exciting opportunity to attend a meeting that had been put together by Senator Patty Murray's office to discuss comprehensive immigration reform (CIR). This is an issue that is relatively new to me, but is something that The Church Council of Greater Seattle has been involved in for a number of years, and so I have been to several meetings about the hopes for getting CIR on the legislative agenda for this year. Of course, this has been complicated by the prolonged negotiations regarding the federal budget, as the continue into 2013, but there are many individuals, organizations, and politicians who are still moving forward. 

I ended up sitting right across the table from the Senator, and she opened with her own priorities and why she believes that our broken immigration system needs to be fixed in a comprehensive way. She spoke about keeping families together and the importance of the DREAM Act, among other priorities, and said that we need to get it done, and we need to get it done right. We then heard from five individuals whose lives have been dramatically impacted by our current immigration laws, in destructive and long-term ways. Even though there were at least fifteen other people in the room representing organizations, nothing speaks as powerfully as a personal story. 

In due course, I had my two minutes to explain the priorities of The Church Council directly to the Senator, and wow was that something! I've never met a Congressional representative and was so appreciating that Kathryn had put the image in my head of the "mom in tennis shoes" which Murray had used a lot during her first campaign. The Church Council's message was essentially that the Christian community is standing united with the immigrant community; that families are the backbone of our communities and that we need principled legislation that provides a pathway to citizenship and protections that lead to family reunification. There was so much more to say on the issue (visit http://www.washingtonsanctuary.webs.com/ or http://www.interfaithimmigration.org/ for more information about what The Church Council supports) and it was amazing to hear the unique perspectives that each individual and organization brought to the discussion. 

At the end I was able to shake Senator Murray's hand and get a picture with her!


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Serving at Sacred Heart

Serving at Sacred Heart
           It’s been awhile since most of us have posted on the blog (Jenn's carryin' the team lately)!, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to write a little bit about my recent experiences outside of my day to day work at FAN (Faith Action Network), and share some of the good work being done at Keystone, which I’ve had the pleasure of helping with.
          Just a bit of background first… Sacred Heart is a Catholic church in Downtown Seattle with a women’s shelter, housing many people who would otherwise have no place to stay. Throughout every month, Keystone Congregational Church provides a dinner once or twice to these very women, and my two experiences helping with this has been awesome, to say the least.
         Most recently, I went and served with Jo and Marianne, and it was great to see everyone’s face light up, and the gratitude expressed over what (in my eyes) was a relatively simple kind gesture of an offering of food. There were women at this shelter, but also families. It really made myself reflect upon my upbringing, and my daily challenges, and inspired me to continue the good work that we’re here in Seattle to do. I’m reminded of one of my favorite scriptures from Micah:

               “He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
     and what does the Lord require of you
     but to do justice, and to love kindness,
     and to walk humbly with your God”? (Micah 6:8 NRSV)

In this light, all of us are equal, and seen the same way, but somewhere along the way, it’s told to us that those of lower socioeconomic demographics shouldn’t be seen in this same “loving kindness”. Seeing these families gratefully eating their meals, and sharing the meal with them was a great experience, and an awesome change from the inevitable separation that sometimes occurs with more politically oriented advocacy-related work. I’m certainly looking forward to more of these meals in the future, and to see these families again, whom God loves just as he loves us. 


Monday, January 7, 2013

March and Rally This Sunday Against Gun Violence

Visit the website for more information!

Even if you can't make it to the event, you can also sign the petition from Plymouth Church here!


The Herald is the Plymouth Church newsletter that goes out once a week. Below is the article that I submitted as the "pastoral musing" for the week- you can also find it here.

The Church and Social Justice 

“What do we want?” our leader yelled through the megaphone, “Justice!” we responded. “When do we want it?” she yelled again, “now!” we answered, our voices echoing off of the tall walls of the Grand Hyatt in downtown Seattle. As the UCC Social Justice intern for The Church Council of Greater Seattle and Plymouth Church, I have been participating in a lot of actions (protests, strikes, vigils) with community, union, and faith groups in the last few months. I have learned during that time, that while chanting you never quite know if you’re going to be crying out for worker’s rights, human rights, or justice, but it is always something that is needed “now!” It is humbling to realize that Jesus was asking for justice and basic human rights for those who are ignored by society over 2000 years ago. It was something that he was calling out for “now” and it is still a calling that we must carry out today.
Housekeepers are asked to do back breaking work, lifting heavy beds and sheets over and over with less and less time being allotted to clean each room. I have heard stories from women who work two jobs and commute great distances in order to just barely make ends meets. This is dramatically different for housecleaners who are unionized and therefore protected from these injustices. They are able to tell a story of hard work leading to a stable life that they enjoy.
I walk by these hotels on the way to Plymouth Church a few times a week and I wonder how many people understand all that is going on within those walls. I would like to think that if only people heard the stories of the workers, that they would support them, stand with them, and use their own privilege to create change. I know that this is not the way that the world really works, however. I know that there are demands on everyone’s time, passions, and energy. This is when I come to the challenge of what I believe Jesus calls me to do. The parable of the Good Samaritan is a story of how those who are supposed to help are often the ones who just walk by. I wonder if the Priest and the Levite had already helped someone that day, or were on their way to help someone else. I wonder if they didn’t think that this man was the one they were meant to help.
Jesus never answers a question in the way that people expect. He gives us a clear message, but part of our faith journey is finding out how to live that message in our daily lives. Coming together as a community of faith, we can help to define the message for ourselves, unite behind a cause, and create real change in the world.
In faith,
Jenn Hagedorn