Faith Leaders Oppose Senate Healthcare Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In response to the unveiling of the Senate GOP healthcare plan, faith leaders from the Interfaith Healthcare Coalition released the following statements:

Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, Executive Director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice:

“The ‘plan’ unveiled by Senate Republicans today continues to be un-American. Their mission is clear: the GOP wants to push people off of healthcare coverage in order to give more tax breaks to the very wealthy. This bill is a crass political calculation carried out by 13 white, male Senators who are out of touch with the realities of millions of ordinary families in every state. They are about raw power – not working for the common good. Democracy works best when there are hearings, debate, and discussion to craft a bill that works for everyone, not just a few Senators.

“My faith challenges me to heal the sick and care for the widow and the orphan. This Republican bill does the opposite. This is not the faithful way forward. We urge a NO vote on the Better Care Reconciliation Act.”

Rev. Jimmie Hawkins, Director of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness:

“The draconian cuts to heath care are an unacceptable threat to God’s people, particularly those who have the least access to resources in our society. Passing this bill means that people will die from lack of healthcare, a reality that we as Presbyterians cannot accept. We urge all Senators of good conscience to recognize their responsibility to vote NO on the Better Care Reconciliation Act.”

Barbara Weinstein, Director of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism:

“We vehemently oppose the Senate health care proposal released today. The bill’s devastating cuts and restructuring of Medicaid will profoundly and negatively impact our nation’s most vulnerable—low-income Americans, the elderly, children, and people with disabilities. Jewish tradition’s emphasis on caring for the sick and uplifting those in need inspires us to demand that the Senate reject this harmful legislation and work to expand, not restrict, access to affordable health care.”

Rev. David Beckmann, President, Bread for the World:

“Ending the Medicaid expansion at a slower rate still means that millions of Americans will have their health care coverage taken away. Senators who support this bill will be voting to take away health insurance from the elderly, the disabled, and children. Medical bills often drive families, especially those who struggle to make ends meet, into hunger and poverty. Instead of making our health care system worse, Congress should strive to improve the system so that all Americans have the health care coverage they need.”

Rev. Dr. Leslie Copeland Tune, Director, Ecumenical Poverty Initiative:

“We are deeply disappointed in the Senate version of the AHCA, which will negatively impact millions of Americans including the poorest in our nation, children and the elderly. The cuts to Medicaid are reprehensible and the planned phaseout will put people’s lives in jeopardy and make America sick again. It seems that the thirteen Senators who drafted this bill have had their moral compass demagnetized by political posturing, an unhealthy desire to dismantle, rather than fix, the Affordable Care Act, and to pay for tax breaks for the wealthiest in our nation– all at the expense of the American people. This is both shameful and unjust. We call on U.S. Senators to put people first. Reject this bill by voting against it. Lives are at stake and so is the moral fabric of our nation.”

Rev. Jason Carson Wilson, Justice & Peace Policy Fellow, United Church of Christ Justice & Witness Ministries:

“Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness were promised to us all. Deep Medicaid cuts are destined to bring death and sadness to many. Children, seniors and people living with disabilities’ lives hang in the balance. As a follower of Jesus, I’m called to comfort the afflicted. Drastic Medicaid cuts will only create more chaos and pain for those already facing challenges. What would Jesus do? He would champion healthcare for all.”

Diane Randall, Executive Secretary, Friends Committee on National Legislation:

“The Senate version of the AHCA is beyond irresponsible; it is immoral. The draconian cuts and restructuring of Medicaid do nothing to address instability in the marketplace or lower premiums. Instead, states will be forced to eliminate health services, leaving millions without access to needed care. These Medicaid cuts will fall particularly hard on low-income children, seniors, and people with disabilities. Never before have I seen legislation that would do so much harm to senators’ own constituents, especially for families struggling to make ends meet. Rather than cutting Medicaid in a rushed and secretive process, Congress should work in a bipartisan and responsible manner to truly address the real problems within America’s health care system.”

Larry Couch, Director, National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd:

“Learning about the proposed deep cuts in Medicaid passed by the House of Representatives, the American people looked to the Senate.  Sadly, the Senate plan proposes even deeper cuts in Medicaid.  This wanton disregard for human life must be stopped.  Millions of children living in poverty, people with disabilities, and older people in nursing homes will be denied life-saving medicine and care.  Call your legislators today to stop this vicious attack on the most vulnerable people in our communities.”

 

Communities of faith are strongly opposed to Medicaid cuts and are taking action throughout the country. If you are interested in learning more about our efforts or scheduling interviews with any faith leaders, please contact Ashley Wilson at awilson@networklobby.org or 202-301-7856.

 

UCC Disabilities Ministries Seeks Nominations for Board of Directors

Featured

The UCC Disabilities Ministries Board’s Nominations Committee is seeking people who are passionate about disability ministry who would like to serve on our Board. Our Board is made up of people with disabilities, professionals who work in the disability field, and family members of people with disabilities. Our mission is to encourage our denomination to create worship and meeting places, programs and leadership that are accessible to all (A2A) and welcoming and inclusive of all persons with disabilities.  

Some of our short term goals include increasing the number of A2A congregations in the UCC; providing guidance to associations, conferences, camps, and other settings of the UCC about how they can live out the commitment to be Accessible to All; encouraging the formation of Conference Inclusion Teams; increasing disability awareness; and major fundraising to support the future of the ministry.

Someone interested in serving with UCCDM should be someone who is a member of a UCC congregation; regularly reads, responds to, and is comfortable with using email; and someone who can devote a minimum of ten (10) hours a month to this work, which includes a monthly conference call meeting of about 90 minutes to two hours. Being a Board Director includes a willingness to make a financial commitment to our disability ministry each year and serve on at least one Board subcommittee. At this time we are looking to fill two terms that will run October 2017-September 2023.

We encourage interested candidates to visit our website at http://www.uccdm.org to learn more about us. The UCCDM Board of Directors is currently most in need of members who are authorized ministers or have completed theological education, as well as men and persons of color and ethnic background,the nominating committee strongly encourages these persons to apply. The nominating form must be filled out online at UCCDM Nominations 2017. Nominations must be received by July 11, 2017.

Yours in Ministry,

Rev. Kelli Parrish Lucas, Chair UCC Disabilities Ministries Board

Call for Nominations for UCCDM Awards 2017

The United Church of Christ Disabilities Ministries has a tradition of making awards at the UCC Synod. The UCCDM Awards recognize the contributions of congregations, other church settings, and individuals who have contributed to the inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of the life of the church.

Nominations are now open for the UCCDM Awards which will be announced at the Health and Wholeness Luncheon at Synod 2017. Individuals, churches, and other settings of the church may nominate others or themselves. Awards may be given in the following categories:

  • churches & organizations that have demonstrated leadership in accessibility,
  • individuals who have shown exceptional leadership in disabilities ministries, and
  • the Virginia Kreyer Award, a lifetime achievement award given to an individual who has made significant contribution to disabilities ministries in the larger church. The Virginia Kreyer Award has only been given twice and is reserved as a high award given only on occasion.

Nominations can be submitted on-line at UCCDM Synod Award Nominations 2017  The Deadline for nominations is June 9, 2017.

UCCDM Updates Publication to Help Congregations, Associations, and Conferences Become Accessible to All (A2A)

The UCC Disabilities Ministries (UCCDM) has recently released an updated publication entitled “Any Body, Every Body, Christ’s Body: A Guide for Congregations, Associations, and Conferences for Becoming Accessible to All.” The subtitle is a response to the growing need for all settings of the UCC to become “Accessible to All” (A2A) persons with disabilities. The call for the UCC to become accessible in all aspects of church life including worship, fellowship, and leadership was made clear when the Twenty-Fifth General Synod adopted the resolution “Called to Wholeness in Christ: Becoming a Church Accessible to All” in 2005.

The updated “Any Body, Every Body, Christ’s Body” contains four concise sections. The first section introduces various forms, but not all forms, of disability and accessibility. The second section addresses how leadership can be accessible to all. Third section addresses attitudes that often discourages people with disabilities and their families from church participation. The fourth section addresses ways to create accessible communication for the church community. These sections will help UCC settings address specific needs called for by the Synod “Called to Wholeness in Christ”. These sections will help UCC settings learn how to establish an inclusion task force, how to explore your building and programs for accessibility, how to invite persons with disability to church and into leadership positions and how to seek out resources and mentors in the disability committee so that the civil rights “nothing about us without us” commitment to persons with disabilities is maintained.

This new publication provides information and resources that will guide congregations as they answer the call to become Accessible to All. The resource is available for free at uccdm.org. The UCCDM Board of Directors looks forward to being a resource to other setting of the church. How-to support for becoming A2A is available. Questions can be directed to chair@uccdm.org or secretary@uccdm.org.

UCC Disabilities Ministries Seeks Nominations for Board of Directors

The UCC Disabilities Ministries Board’s Nominations Committee is seeking people who are passionate about disability ministry who would like to serve on our Board.  Our Board is made up of people with disabilities, professionals who work in the disability field, and family members of people with disabilities.  Our mission is to encourage our denomination to create worship and meeting places, programs and leadership that are accessible to all (A2A) and welcoming and inclusive of all persons with disabilities.  

Some of our short term goals include increasing the number of A2A congregations in the UCC; providing guidance to associations, conferences, camps, and other settings of the UCC about how they can live out the commitment to be Accessible to All; working to have a UCCDM presence at Synod 2017; and major fundraising to support the future of the ministry.

Someone interested in serving with us should be someone who is a member of a UCC congregation; regularly reads, responds to, and is comfortable with using email; can devote a minimum of ten (10) hours a month to this work, which includes a monthly conference call meeting of about 90 minutes to two hours. Being a Board Director includes a willingness to make a financial commitment to our disability ministry each year and serve on at least one Board subcommittee. At this time we are looking to fill two terms that will end in September 2017. According to UCCDM by-laws persons who fill these seats at this time would be eligible to be re-elected for the 2017-2023 term on the UCCDM Board of Directors. Two other seats for the 2017-2023 term will also need to be filled and persons applying at this time will also be considered for those seats.

We encourage interested candidates to visit our website at http://www.uccdm.org to learn more about us. The nominating form must be filled out online at  UCCDM Board Director Nominations 2016. Nominations must be received by December 9th, 2016.

Yours in Ministry,

Rev. Kelli Parrish Lucas

Chair, UCC Disabilities Ministries Board of Directors

UCCDM Spring & Summer Update 2016

Grace and peace to those who may be interested in the work of the UCC Disability Ministries Board–Friends, UCC Members, UCC Clergy, UCC persons with disability and our ecumenical partners.

This is to provide you with an update of the work of the UCC Disabilities Ministry (UCCDM) Board of Directors during our Spring and Summer quarters of 2016.

We are pleased to announce one new member to the board and a new ex-officio member. Early this summer UCCDM extended an invitation to Rev. Gunnar Cerda, from the Ohio Conference, as a board member.  As much as we are excited to welcome our new board member we also said goodbye to four board members. Rev. Susan Burns, Minnesota Conference and Vice Chair, and Rev. Nancy Erickson, Nebraska Conference, have submitted their resignations from the board.  Rev. Dr. Sarah Griffith Lund, Ex-Offico Mental Health Network, also stepped down.

We regret to inform that Minister Brenda Waleff, Minister of Communications for Penn Central Conference and cherished board member of UCCDM (class 2017), recently passed due to medical complications. Brenda Waleff contributed greatly to UCCDM including fundraising which lead to reaching our goal for the Virginia Kryer Scholarship of raising $100,000 in 2015.

Exciting News Regarding A2A Guidance

We are happy to announce an updated version of our A2A guidebook for congregations seeking to become A2A. The new guidebook will accompany the A2A Checklist for churches and the Church Building and Program Accessibility Audit tool, now available on the uccdm.org. Board members have been hard at work over the past year updating information to provide the most up-to-date information for congregations, associations, and conferences who are considering becoming Accessible to All.

UCCDM Outreach

The UCCDM was present at a number of UCC Conference Annual Gatherings this summer. Workshops were given at the Rocky Mountain Conference and South Central Conference. Tables were hosted at the Penn Central Conference, Southern California Nevada Conference, and Vermont Conferences. A2A information was also made available at Annual Meetings of the Nebraska Conference and Southwest Conference.

If you would like to have the UCCDM present in your Conference, please ask your Conference staff to invite the UCCDM. If you would like to host a table at your Conference event please contact the Board two to three months in advance so materials and training can be provided to you.

UCCDM Believes….

Ms. Danielle Rochford represented UCCDM at Believe National Youth Event from July 26th to July 29th. During NYE we met amazing youth and church leaders from all over the nation joining together at Disney World to talk about what it really means to believe.  During TIE Hall times Danielle met many who became excited upon learning that there is a ministry that advocates for their needs, youth who wanted to know how to include those with disabilities, and heartfelt conversations focusing on parents and youth personal stories.

2016 Annual Meeting Chicago, IL

UCCDM Board Directors are preparing to meet for our Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL September 29th-30th where we will be discussing future works of UCCDM for the 2016-2017 year.

In Grace,
Ms. Danielle Rochford
UCCDM Secretary

Annual Meeting of the UCCDM Board of Directors

The United Church of Christ Disabilities Ministries Board of Director’s Annual Meeting will be held on Thursday September 29 and Friday September 30, 2016. The meeting will take place at the Hilton Garden Inn in Addison, Illinois. Some Board members will arrive early to attend the Pathways to Promise Conference on September 28th.

UCCDM By-laws allow for persons interested in the work of the UCCDM to attend the Annual Board meeting at their own expense. This meeting will not be webcast, limited conference call access may be available. Anyone interested in attending this meeting should complete the Call to the UCCDM Annual meeting 2016 form. Anyone needing accommodations to attend this meeting should contact the UCCDM Chair, Rev. Kelli Parrish Lucas at chair@uccdm.org no later than September 15th.