God calls us to work for Justice. We know the fight for justice is long and uphill. But we believe that the world can change – not just through prayers and Facebook likes, but by rolling up our sleeves and doing the work. Justice is deeply intertwined with our other two core values. The example of Jesus’ ministry highlights practices of love, fairness, grace and peace. Often justice is thought of in terms of retribution but the spiritual aspect of justice as practiced by Jesus is justice in terms of restoration and healing. And justice without inclusion is no real justice at all. Going to church is not enough. When we work for justice, we think we ARE the Church.
Missions are the main justice issues we fight for and support. When we talk about missions, we’re not feeding the hungry. We’re trying to fix why people are hungry in the first place. Missions tend to be bigger, more amorphous ideas, and they speak to our need for justice and inclusion. Click the buttons below to find out about our missions.
We take individuals into sanctuary on a case-by-case basis. The fight for immigration reform is weighed down with politics and rhetoric; real lives and families are at stake. Our work with sanctuary makes a difference to those trying to navigate a broken system. More information about sanctuary can be found here.
O.W.L. stands for “Our Whole Lives,” and is a comprehensive human sexuality course for kids, youth, and adults. Each age group focuses on age-appropriate accurate information and knowledge, all through a framework of inclusion, justice, and personal values and responsibility. This curriculum was developed jointly by the UCC and the Unitarian Universalist Association. More information about OWL can be found here.
In 2014, we voted to become an “Economic Justice Covenant Church.” We work to educate and promote fair trade, fair wages, and bridging the inequality gap in our society. We also recognize that economic justice is more than just pay inequity. It affects voting rights, educational opportunities, neighborhood development, and just about every other aspect of society.
You can find more about Economic Justice, including a copy of the covenant, here at the Justice Action Team page.
We try to be a green church whenever possible. Going paperless, recycling, conserving energy, and our new solar panels are small ways we help protect our beautiful earth.
We are proud to be an “Open and Affirming Church” since 1999. We welcome friends of all sexual preferences and gender identities, and support causes that bring equal rights, freedom, and love to all our brothers and sisters.
We stand with teachers and schools to provide great learning environments for our kids. We’ve partnered with Save Our Schools Arizona and other non-profits to educate community members on education issues on our ballots, and other pressing needs and reforms in schools.
Causes are the symptoms of the missions we listed above. Working to solve hunger (for example) takes time. Meanwhile, our neighbors go hungry all around us and need our help. Our causes provide relief and much-needed support on a smaller scale in our neighborhoods and community. Click the buttons below to find out about our causes.
Four times each year, we host families on our campus through Family Promise. This organization provides help and support to temporarily homeless families. Our guests stay with us for one week, and we provide dinner and evening companionship, as well as overnight chaperones. We have been participating in this program for about 20 years now! More information about Family Promise can be found at their website.
It is unconscionable for individuals to die in our desert while they seek a new life for themselves. We work with Humane Borders to periodically refill and maintain water stations in southern Arizona.
Desert Mission Food Bank
There is always a need for food at Desert Mission Food Bank. We collect canned and boxed food throughout the year, as well as special food drives (like around Thanksgiving). Donations are always welcome – just look for the large shopping cart in the parlor or out on the patio on Sunday morning!
Our Prayer Shawl Ministry not only makes beautiful handmade prayer shawls for those in the hospital or recovering at home. They also knit hats and scarfs for the homeless, or crochet thick mats for homeless individuals to sleep on.
Our Justice Action Team holds a street cleanup many times a year, and anyone is welcome to join them. We are responsible for maintaining a section of 31st Avenue, between Thunderbird and Cactus. We try to carpool together, so please meet in the church parking lot, and wear sturdy shoes!
We have several on-going donation requests that you can contribute to at any time. Look for the marked boxes in the Education Building’s parlor. We are currently accepting:
- used eyeglasses
- used clothes
- canned or boxed food
If you have something else you’d like to donate, please check with the church office first. We may be able to take it and get it to someone in need, but our storage space is limited.
Throughout the year, there are many opportunities to share with others in our community. Whether it’s a back-to-school drive for kids, or our Stepping Stone Angel Tree at Christmas, or Turkey Trot in November, keep an ear out for all the different projects we have going on!