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Tuesday
May242016

MATCHING GRANT FOR KY GIVES DAY

TODAY IS THE DAY, Tuesday, May 24:  Today, the Kentucky Council of Churches is participating in Kentucky Gives Day, a 24-hour charitable campaign sponsored by the Kentucky Nonprofit Network.  Please take a moment today, take a moment right now, to visit https://kygives.razoo.com/us/story/Kentucky-Council-Of-Churches and make a donation to benefit the KCC

 
Double your donation by giving today! Your contribution of up to $1,700 will be matched by a generous donation.

You can also help by spreading the word: We will be posting on Facebook and Twitter throughout the day. Share our Facebook posts, and retweet our tweets. We could win prizes to add even more to our total funds.

Why should you take this opportunity to give? Here are four good reasons
 
#1 -   KCC offers a strong voice for justice, mercy, and compassion by advocatingfor legislation to benefit all Kentuckians.
#2 -   KCC equips people to live their faith in the 21st century through its Annual Assemblies including topics such as civil dialogue, restorative justice and religious diversity.
#3 -   KCC encourages relationships among people of faith and beyond, providing a “place” where religious leaders can meet to find common ground and cooperation.
#4 -   KCC needs your support to keep its ministry strong today and tomorrow.
 
For more reasons to give, visit www.kycouncilofchurches.org.
 
Don’t forget to give today, Tuesday, May 24 at https://kygives.razoo.com/us/story/Kentucky-Council-Of-Churches!  
 
Thank you for your support of the Kentucky Council of Churches!

Monday
May232016

INVITATION TO BLESSED RAMADAM PROJECT

TO: Faith Communities of Kentucky

FROM: Kentucky Council of Churches and Interfaith Paths to Peace

 

Old South Church, Boston, MA

RE: Blessed Ramadan Project 2016


Dear Friends,

We are writing to invite you to participate in a state-wide “Blessed Ramadan” project by putting a sign or banner in your church or temple yard that reads: “To Our Muslim Neighbors: Blessed Ramadan.” Begun by the Minnesota Council of Churches, this is becoming a national call for respect and love.

The Issue:

We are in the context of increased disrespect for Muslims. From hate crimes to a presidential campaign where fear and hate speech seem to becoming more of the norm.  That is not who we are in Kentucky.  When we are our best selves, we are a welcoming, caring, respectful community and there are people of faith all over the state who want to offer their own witness to that fact.  

A Response:

By posting a sign or banner on your faith community’s campus June 5 - July 5 (Ramadan), you will make a profound statement about your commitment to peace, religious tolerance, and inclusivity. It's a simple statement, but when that message start to show up on the marquee or in the yards of hundreds of congregation and temples in the state, we could very easily see a shared narrative of respect that stands in quiet opposition to the bigotry and hatefulness.

You may also choose to produce inexpensive yard signs for members to put in their private yards. Imagine the impact of thousands of signs in the yards of Christians, Jews, and other non-Muslim faith groups. We could see a great outpouring in the faith community.

To plant a sign of goodwill will do three things:

1.       Counter balance the negative narrative in this campaign year.

2.       Give Christians, Jews and other people of faith who are longing to offer a signal of good will an opportunity to do just that.

3.       Give every faith community and every individual a chance to face the reality of hate that they know is in their community. They will know that just putting the sign in the yard offers a target for some of the hate and fear that unfortunately exists in Kentucky.

 In closing

We are very concerned about the national narrative of anti-Muslim sentiment, what that is doing to Muslims (especially Muslim children) and what it is doing to the soul of the nation when we allow that narrative to stand without some kind of larger response. We invite you to be a part of redefining that narrative.

For more information about the program visit:

http://www.mnchurches.org/respectfulcommunities/interfaithprogramming/BlessedRamadan.html

 Peggy C. Hinds, Interim Executive Director                                                     

Kentucky Council of Churches                                                                         

 

 

 

 

Haleh Karimi, Executive Director

Interfaith Paths to Peace

Tuesday
May102016

Another National Call for S2123 to Be Heard

We signed on to the following letter to Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid, once again encouraging a hearing for the federal Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act. This is a bipartisan bill, and the only thing standing in the way of a hearting is Senator McConnell. 

To: Senator Mitch McConnell and The Honorable Harry Reid

May 5, 2016

RE: Faith community calls for vote on the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, S. 2123

Dear Majority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Reid:

Last week sponsors of the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act (S. 2123) announced new changes to strengthen their bipartisan criminal justice reform legislation. Indeed, eight new senators last week joined the long list of cosponsors. The 62 undersigned faith organizations are delighted by the progress made in advancing this critical legislation and the broad bipartisan consensus calling for an end to the federal prison crisis. We urge you to support S. 2123 and to act quickly to bring the legislation to a floor vote this month.

Our faith communities are on the front lines in neighborhoods ravaged by a broken criminal justice system. From our vantage point, we see this nation’s reliance on mass incarceration to solve drug addiction, poverty, mental illness and joblessness as an affront to justice and human dignity. As people of faith, we are called to comfort and serve those harmed by crime and support accountability, rehabilitation and restoration for those who offend. To that end, we are joined in our commitment to advancing the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act.

A federal prison crisis is looming due to overcrowding caused by excessive mandatory minimum sentences and a prison system with limited rehabilitative opportunities. Our moral sensibility compels faith leaders across the country to call for reform and we can no longer wait for action. To miss the opportunity to pass the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act would be a major setback for thousands of people awaiting justice and a fairer sentencing system and in need of rehabilitative support.

Moreover, we believe inaction will harm children and families across the country. The burden of mass incarceration is felt most intensely by children with parents in prison or labeled with a criminal record. The long absence of mothers and fathers, who despite their failings are loved, valued and critical to maintaining their children’s well-being, has a lasting impact. Nationally, one out of nine African American children has an incarcerated parent. Their likelihood of incarceration increases when this disruption enters their life.

The bill’s provisions to limit federal life sentences for youth and adults are particularly commendable, and consistent with a respect for human dignity, as are its provisions to end solitary confinement for youth. We are also eager to see this legislation provide for furthering rehabilitative programming, including expanding access to treatment and restorative justice programs and education for those in prison.

While we object to the implementation of the new mandatory minimum sentences and mandatory enhancements currently prescribed in S. 2123, we acknowledge the bill’s overall contribution to furthering a fair and proportional justice system. We urge you to take the important next step of allowing a vote on S. 2123 by the full Senate this month.

Sincerely,

  • Adorers of the Blood of Christ, U.S. Region 2
  • Africa Faith & Justice Network 
  • African American Ministers In Action 
  • Alliance of Baptists 
  • American Baptist Home Mission Societies 
  • Bend the Arc Jewish Action 
  • Bread for the World 
  • BuddhaFest 
  • Buddhist Association of the United States (BAUS) 
  • Catholic Charities USA 
  • Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good 
  • Church of the Brethren 
  • Church of Scientology National Office 
  • Conference of Major Superiors of Men 
  • Disciples Center for Public Witness 
  • Disciples Home Missions 
  • The Episcopal Church 
  • Evangelical Lutheran Church in America 
  • Exodus Foundation.org 
  • Faith Action Network – Washington 
  • Faith in Public Life 
  • Franciscan Action Network 
  • Friends Committee on National Legislation 
  • Glenmary Home Missioners - Commission on Justice 
  • The Global Justice Institute Healing Communities 
  • USA Ignatian Solidarity Network 
  • Insight Meditation Society 
  • Islamic Society of North America, Office for Interfaith & Community Alliances 
  • Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States 
  • Jewish Council for Public Affairs 
  • Kentucky Council of Churches 
  • Lutheran Services in America 
  • Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office 
  • Methodist Federation for Social Action 
  • Metropolitan Community Churches 
  • National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd 
  • National Council of Churches 
  • National Council of Jewish Women 
  • National Religious Campaign Against Torture 
  • NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby 
  • Nichiren Order of North America Office of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, Comboni Missionaries, North American Province 
  • The Office of Social Justice of the Christian Reformed Church 
  • Pax Christi USA 
  • Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) 
  • Provincial Council of the Clerics of St. Viator (Viatorians) 
  • Riverside Church – New York City 
  • The Salvation Army National Headquarters 
  • Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference 
  • Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, Institute Justice Team 
  • The Society of the Divine Savior USA 
  • Sojourners 
  • Tampa Bay Center for Community Transformation - Florida 
  • T'ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights Union for Reform Judaism 
  • Unitarian Universalist Association 
  • United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries 
  • United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society 
  • United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development
  •  United (Vietnamese) Buddhist Churches 
  • Volunteers of America 

Friday
Apr222016

EARTH DAY PRAYER

 In honor of Earth Day, a prayer of confession from Creation Justice Ministries’ Earth Day Worship Resources for 2015, “Have You Anything Here to Eat: Sustainable Food in a Changing Climate"

Gracious God, We have taken the fruits of your creation and your merciful abundance for granted. We have uttered prayers of thanksgiving without true gratitude.

        Meanwhile, we have failed to recognize the suffering of the earth and of the people who have produced our food. Ignoring our con­nection to the rest of your creation as we reap nourishment, we move further away from your vision of your beloved community.
        Forgive us, O God, and transform us. Open us to the richness and beauty in connecting our food—at the Lord’s Table and at our individual tables—to all the natural and human resources who have brought it to those tables.
        Help us give thanks not just for our food but for all those who have brought it before us and to work that they might also flourish.
        Encourage us to work for justice for all, so that all may give you thanks and be fed. In Christ Jesus we pray, Amen.

 

Friday
Apr152016

For those lost in the system…

April 15, 2016 - letter to our congregations

Dear Christian Sisters and Brothers,

As you are aware, our state administration has begun the process of dismantling the kynect system for applying for health insurance, or diskynecting as some have penned it. At the same time, a new system, called benefind, has been rolled out that will be used to replace the Medicaid enrollment side of kynect. 

Whether you agree with this move or not, I want to draw your attention to an urgent situation the transition is causing. At least 63,000 participants have lost their benefits, or have had them put on hold because of glitches in the systems. Though the Kentucky Cabinet of Health and Family Services is working hard to fix the problems, there is a huge backlog. We have heard stories of critically ill patients not being able to get treatment because their Medicaid payments have been halted, and families who have lost their SNAP and TANF benefits.

Churches have always been on the forefront of caring for people in crisis. I am writing to you let you know that you may get more requests for assistance during this transition time, and to encourage you to reach out to persons adversely affected by the move from kynect to benefind. Check with your vulnerable parishioners and folks in the communities surrounding your church to be sure they have what they need until they are back in the system and getting their benefits.

My prayer is that by working together we can help those with the most need get through this time of confusion, disappointment, and pain. This tragedy is also an opportunity for congregations to reach out and be the healing presence of Christ in their communities and across the Commonwealth.

Thank you for your ministry and mission – for being the Body of Christ in and for a hurting world.

Peace be with you,

Rev. Dr. Peggy Cecil Hinds

Interim Executive Director