Love & Justice
Inspired by the prophets and Jesus, who taught us to love God with everything we have, and to love our neighbor as ourselves, we live our faith out loud as we work for justice. At Black Lives Matter protests, LGBQTIA+ rallies, the Women’s March, Climate Change events, and activism around gun violence, prison reform, the rights of immigrants, and a living wage, we are there. We affirm the transformative power of moral imagination to create a more just society.
Ending racism is a spiritual practice. We must seek to do this practice every day. Because we are people of faith.
Middle Church understands that the so-called American Dream has been a nightmare for racial-ethnic minorities. America was built on stolen land by people stolen from their land. From Jim Crow to Japanese Internment to the Trail of Tears, we know America has behaved poorly toward groups who are not White and Anglo-Saxon.
At Middle Church we understand that economic justice, racial justice, and LGBTQIA+/gender justice are inextricably bound together. We are a proud partner in the Poor People's Campaign. We've partnered with key organizations to work for a living wage and paid family leave. In partnership with Momentum, before COVID we offered two hot meals on Mondays and a food pantry. We prepare and deliver brown bag lunches to the hungry in local parks on Sundays. We also offered nutritious food alongside Sunday worship, understanding that we are feeding souls and bodies.
Each person is made in God’s image. Every one. Each straight, gay, lesbian, bi, trans, queer, asexual, intersex person is divine. We've known love is love is love for as long as we've been doing ministry on 7th Street and Second Avenue. We celebrate Love.Period. all year. We opened our doors to the HIV/AIDS community in the late 1980s offering hot meals and funerals. We organized to change ordination laws in the Reformed Church of America.
Women and girls matter at Middle Church. Our staff is led by strong women in collaboration with staff from all genders, sexualities, and ethnicities. We honor women's voices, women's experiences, and their right to determine what happens to their bodies. We are womanist in our ethics, feminist in our ideology, and liberationist in our theology.
Criminal Justice Reform
On December 6, 1865, the required number of states ratified the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, “…except as punishment for a crime.” In her acclaimed film, 13th, Ava DuVernay quotes President Obama, “The United States is home to 5% of the world’s population, but 25% of the world’s prisoners. Think about that.”
Middle Church has responded in real time on the ground through organizing, rebuilding, fundraising, and advocacy after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Hurricane Sandy in New York City and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Global warming affects people of color and the poor in disproportionately higher numbers. We see the inter-sectional justice issues of the environment, racism, and poverty. And we seek structural change. Our children and our senior minister have preached about climate change and creation care, confirming our long-term commitment.
Rev. Jacqui Lewis, Rev. John Janka, board members Edna Benitez and Darren Johnson and our director of communications, Christina Fleming, traveled to the Mexican/United States border wall near El Paso, Texas. They joined faith leaders and activists from around the country to hear stories from immigrants and scholars near the border. Faith leaders spoke against the immoral and unjust policies that have separated families. Faith leaders also denounced the administration’s proposed policy to imprison families indefinitely who enter the country as refugees.