bethechangeJustice For All People

Social Justice Policy

Responding to Jesus’s call to love our neighbors as ourselves, Pioneer Congregational United Church of Christ is passionately committed to working for social justice through preaching, prayer, education, direct service to our community, and public policy advocacy, honoring each church member’s freedom to reach their own individual decisions and with no implication that the church speaks for all its members.

Under the church bylaws and subject to any other actions the congregation may take, the Church Council is responsible for church policy on all of the church’s social justice work. The council, speaking for the church, decides on specific activities and advocacy positions, except that the council delegates to the pastor and president (or vice president in the president’s absence), acting jointly and within church policy, the authority to decide on activities and positions in four fields. However, the pastor and president instead refer any decision in these four fields to the council when either of them deems it prudent to do so. The fields are:

  • LGBTQ freedom and equality.
  • Homelessness and affordable housing.
  • Disability rights.
  • Racial justice.

Seeking to speak truth to power, the church’s advocacy is generally directed at the decision-makers in our community, such as elected representatives and voters, but may also coordinate with UCC bodies, the California Council of Churches, and other state, national, and international social justice organizations.

In considering their social justice decisions, the council, pastor, and president consult the Social Justice Committee.

The Social Justice Committee is part of the Outreach Board, which selects the committee chair. The committee is open to all members and friends of the church. The committee speaks with, not for, the church, including by recommending policies, activities, and positions to the congregation, council, pastor, president, and other church bodies. In speaking with the church, the committee may sponsor educational events that also attract the community. The committee may speak publicly for itself, after consulting the pastor and president and always being careful not to imply it is speaking for the church.

The council, pastor, president, and Social Justice Committee seek to keep the congregation informed of all the church’s social justice work and to invite all church members and friends to participate, including by suggesting, agreeing, or disagreeing with any policies, activities, or positions.

Honoring the separation of church and state and to protect the church’s tax-exempt status, the church, including the Social Justice Committee, is careful never to support or oppose candidates or political parties, never to appear to do so, and never to spend more than 5% of the annual church budget on public policy advocacy. 

Adopted by the Church Council on May 17, 2015

Amended by the Church Council on April 2, 2017

Amended by the Church Council on July 27, 2020

 

– Homeless and Affordable Housing –

Pioneer Church has a history of speaking the truth (as we see it) to power on behalf of our homeless neighbors and for affordable housing for all who need it. This month we wrote Sacramento City Councilmember Steve Hansen inviting him to talk with us at our Fellowship Hour about our church’s support for better police treatment of people who are homeless and for strengthening, not weakening, the city affordable housing ordinance. While speaking for the church, we also honor each church member’s freedom to make their own individual decisions, and there is no implication that the church speaks for all its members. The letter is posted on the bulletin board.

 

– Winter Sanctuaries in Sacramento –

This winter is so cold, and we will have a lot of rain! Here is the information about Winter Sanctuaries for homeless people. Click here to go to the 211 Sacramento web site.

– Where can I find help?

Sacramento Steps Forward manages the Sacramento City and County Homelessness Continuum of Care. They work to coordinate, develop, and implement policies that address homelessness, with a focus on solutions that will improve system efficiency and reduce the number of individuals experiencing homelessness in the Sacramento region.

You can go to the “Find Help” page from this link.

Do you know that over 60% of the homeless population in Sacramento has a mental illness or substance abuse? Their needs are not only food but also appropriate mental health care. If homeless people want to take a mental health service from the county, they must contact the Guest House.

– Guest House –

1400 North A Street, Bldg A, Sacramento, CA 95814

916-440-1500

Hours: M-F

Provides full-range professional outpatient services, including psychiatric medication evaluation and treatment, mental health nursing, service coordination, and linkage/referrals for housing and ongoing services. Saturday clinic hours are available.

– Sacramento County Mental Health Respite Services –

These mental health support places for homeless people will not give them medication but make a bridge to access the appropriate mental health care from our community.