Peace and Justice Ministries
Shalom UCC engages with the wider community in a variety of ways. We are a member of CONECT (Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut). We support Christian Community Action (CCA) where we participate in the Adopt-An-Apartment program. We have contributed recently to both the Connecticut Bail Fund and the Immigrant Bail Fund. We partner each year with other New Haven area congregations in providing dinner for Abraham's Tent. For the past few years we have participated, along with members of Church of the Redeemer and United Church on the Green, in a Joint Projects Committee. Together we have organized projects as simple as filling duffel bags for individuals returning to the community after a prison term and as complex as bringing a replica solitary confinement cell to New Haven to advocate for changes in the use of solitary in state prisons. For more information about the latter, please scroll down to "Inside the Box."
In addition, Shalom serves as the fiscal agent for Unidad Latina en Accion (ULA). Those wanting to support ULA may do so by making checks out to Shalom UCC, writing ULA in the memo line, and mailing them to ULA, P.O. Box 21, New Haven, CT 06501.
Shalom has identified several mission partners, and we financially support their work and witness. Indeed, over half of Shalom's annual budget is dedicated to these mission partners. Through them we are able to extend and express our social justice and peace commitment.
In 2017, Shalom UCC was one of several community, religious and university organizers of Inside the Box, a movement dedicated to reforming solitary confinement in Connecticut. The project brought the National Religious Campaign Against Torture's replica solitary confinement cell to New Haven for three weeks. The cell was then transported to the State Capitol in Hartford, Connecticut. The project introduced hundreds to the practice of solitary confinement and the harms caused by isolation. But for some, the experience of a replica cell was a re-traumatization. The project received widespread media coverage, which you can read about here.
On the first day the replica cell was installed in the New Haven Public Library, 8 people came forward and said they had experienced solitary confinement. We quickly learned just how immediate the experience of solitary confinement is to a wide array of people within the community.
National & Global Issues
Shalom UCC also is engaged in national and global issues. We are a participating member of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. We connect to the wider church through our support for Global Ministries' mission co-workers, specifically Michael Joseph with Justapaz in Bogota, Colombia and Loren McGrail with the YWCA of Palestine in East Jerusalem. We also participate in the God Is Still Speaking Campaign of the United Church of Christ, and regularly support Our Church's Wider Mission and One Great Hour of Sharing, as well as Church World Service.