Justice

Justice

Are you looking for ways to connect with others in a more meaningful way that also impacts our local community?

First Church partners with various community organizations to serve the needs of all people. We offer the opportunity for all in our local community to discover how they can make a difference in other people’s lives without the question of whether they have to attend church or not. Our church focuses on engaging in our local community, seeing that all people are treated justly and equally.

Our congregation is led by the members or lay people along with clergy. This creates a church of faith in action. Here at First Church Phoenix we encourage all of our members to practice their faith in action by engaging in our Justice and Outreach Programs. We have teams of volunteers that help out with a variety of projects and outreach both within our local church community and missions throughout the wider world. If you have the desire to connect and engage with other like-minded individuals, please join us. These opportunities are ever changing and always growing. Contact Us for more information or visit our Volunteer Registration page to submit your information to gain access to our online volunteer management system.

 


 

Task Force on Homelessness

Homeless Feed

A collaborative effort where we host a weekly event in which food, clothing and hygiene products are provided to the people experiencing homelessness in our downtown Phoenix community. This is facilitated at 4 pm every Sunday in partnership with Hope 4 Phoenix Thankful Sundays.

Pet Ministry

Providing food to pets of people experiencing homelessness or economically challenged individuals – This group also coordinates the Annual Blessing of the Pets held in the early fall.

Grace Lutheran Summer Respite

This is a collaborative effort with Grace Lutheran Church in which we provide over 200 sandwiches for sack lunches and chaplaincy support to the people experiencing homelessness in our downtown Phoenix community eight Mondays during the summer when the temperatures can be challenging to all who live here.

 


 

Task Force on Immigration Reform

Except for our indigenous brothers and sisters, we in the United States are all descended from immigrants, whether voluntary or involuntary. Caught once again in an era of intolerance, how quickly we forget that welcoming the stranger has been a blessing for us all.

The education of immigrant children is not only a smart investment; as an expression of the call to love our neighbors ad ourselves, it is also a moral imperative. The issues of immigration and immigration enforcement affect the children in immigrant families and the public schools that serve those children.

This First Church UCC team is working to organize around immigration reform. Currently, the Immigration Task Force is meeting the 2nd Wednesday of the month from 6-7:30 pm.

Keep Phoenix Together - Immigration Clinic

This is the mission: Keep Phoenix Together (KPT) is a free, community-based immigration legal clinic based in Phoenix. KPT aim is to stop deportations and keep families together. We help DREAMers apply for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and assist in certain deportation proceedings.

DACA - On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and meet several guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. They are also eligible for work authorization. Deferred action is a use of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action against an individual for a certain period of time. Deferred action does not provide lawful status.

Our strength is our committed volunteers and the word-of-mouth about the clinic. We are 100% volunteer-run.

We meet on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month from 1-4 pm at First Church UCC in Phoenix at 1407 N. 2nd St. Our phone number is 602-730-1585.

To date, 17 DACA scholarships have been awarded for a total amount of $7,995.

Restoration Project

We work with faith-based groups and people of conscience to build a network of mutual support with those being detained and who have been released.

Together, we are restoring our human community. Together we are weaving a sustainable lifeline of hope, solidarity, and tangible support through letters, visits, and by offering our hospitality to men, women, and youth just released from detention. Little by little. Poco a poco. We walk the way together. Becoming community. Honoring the dignity of all. Seeking to ultimately end mandatory detention of immigrants.

Our work is divided into three main areas:

  1. Letter-writing to people in detention: We organize a main holiday card-writing party per year. Folks at FIRRP (Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project) address and deliver the cards to us, and whoever writes back we try to match with a pen pal.
  2. Greyhound welcome: We welcome men, women, and occasionally family units who have been released from ICE or CBP custody to the Phoenix Greyhound station. We provide snacks, water, and hygiene supplies to them at the station and help with travel arrangements.
  3. Hosting: Sometimes we host people we meet at the bus station, if they can't get a ticket until the next day or later. Sometimes we host people who have been referred to us by FIRRP (such as their clients working on asylum cases). Sometime FIRRP refers to us youth (about to turn 18) who are aging out of youth facilities and will have to be transferred to adult detention unless they have a place to stay while awaiting the outcomes of their cases.
Sanctuary

As part of the faith community, we are called to accompany our community members, congregants and neighbors facing deportation. By offering sanctuary we can fight individual cases, advocate to stop deportations, and make it possible to win deferred action at a case-by-case level to keep families together.

On January 26, 2017, First Church declared itself a Sanctuary church when Rev. James Pennington announced, “In times of crises people of faith have to return to ancient traditions. Refugees in the Roman Empire found sanctuary in Christian churches. Slaves in pre-civil war United States found sanctuary in the Underground Railroad and congregations across the country. Political refugees from the civil wars in Central America found sanctuary in over 500 churches in the United States when our federal government failed to offer asylum or refuge under existing laws. First Church joins the many congregations already offering sanctuary today in the face of one of the most urgent and large scale humanitarian crisis in the United States."

Immigration Accompaniment Program: The program pairs immigrants in final removal proceedings with volunteers who accompany them to their required, periodic check-ins with immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). It is a concrete way to extend sanctuary for the most vulnerable among us. Sanctuary is not a physical entity but the spaces wherein all of us can breathe freely and in dignity.

Sanctuary into the Streets AZ: A network of faith communities and individuals offering support to those in sanctuary by providing hospitality within our places of worship and making a visible, public presence of solidarity for those facing deportation orders.

Ofrenda

Ofrenda is a special day of cultural activities that surround the traditional Mexican “Day of the Dead”. The tradition of setting up ofrendas dedicated to the departed dates back to the Pre-Hispanic era. They are prepared a few days before the 1st and 2nd of November, the dates when it is believed that the dead return to visit their friends and relatives. The 1st of November is dedicated to children, and the 2nd to adults. The elements of the ofrenda stem from this idea of celebration of death in life.

 


 

LGBTQIA

Rebel & Divine

Rebel & Divine grew out of a Christmas mission project to give new shoes to people experiencing homelessness, marginalized, at-risk, and less fortunate LGBTQ teens in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Rebel & Divine's mission is to built a community that encourages health and wholeness for at-risk youth and young adults and is a safe space where they can be who God created them to be. First Church UCC works in collaboration with Rebel & Divine to carry out their mission of health and wholeness.

I Have a Dream Boutique

This clothing boutique is open for transgender teens and adults every Saturday morning at First Church UCC from 10 am - 12 pm. I Have a Dream offers a safe and compassionate place for transgender-identified individuals to receive clothing and personal hygiene items.

 


 

Economic & Global Outreach

P.O.W.W.O.W. Produce Market

Held at First Church on the 4th Saturday of the Month from November through May. This program brings healthy and affordable produce to our local community. For a $10 cash donation to Borderlands Food Bank, attendees will receive 60 lbs. of produce.

Hours are from 8:00 - 11:00 am, November through March and 7:00 - 10:00 am April & May

Wilson School Outreach

Wilson Elementary School Back to School Drive is facilitated every July at First Church UCC. Backpacks and school supplies are collected to support approximately 25 first graders.

Wilson Elementary School Christmas Celebration is an annual Christmas project in which First Church UCC adopts approximately 25 first graders and provides them with pajamas, a gift, pizza party and a trip to the zoo.

Arizona Faith Network

The mission of Arizona Faith Network, further known as the ‘Organization,’ is to bring together People of Faith, under the inspiration of God, as a bridge to understanding and action – Being Together, Talking Together, Acting Together.

We have a unique and powerful role to play in the life of our communities. Working together, over many months, with prayerful consideration, the Organization has determined that the following Missional Imperatives place us at the heart of a virtuous cycle, inviting more people to dialogue, action and visible transformation. As friends in faith we seek to create a social milieu that is built on charity, virtues, mercy, justice, patience, integrity and gratitude.

Those Missional Imperatives are:

  • Promoting Civil Discourse: In a state where solutions to persistent social problems are impeded by polarization, individualism and fragmentation, we will facilitate respectful, civil conversations that engage church, government and community in constructive dialogue around issues for the common good. This model of civil discourse serves as a template for others who seek to maintain relationships while addressing issues that are divisive and will promote mutual respect and encourage new perspectives.
  • Community Initiative: We are a living example of the shared commitment that we have to love, respect and promote justice for all people, especially those who are most vulnerable. Whether we seek to follow the way of Jesus Christ or other noble faith traditions, we will bring, in diverse ways, the values that we hold in common to pray and work together. To that end, we identify our collective energy and resources on a specified geography in collaboration with community partners. We will collaborate with partners to utilize our collective resources to impact community.
Café Justo

Café Justo is a coffee grower cooperative based in Salvador Urbina, Chiapas, Mexico whose goal is to employ members of the community with fair wages and benefits to create sustainable local business. First Church UCC congregants support this program by distributing the coffee.

Global Ministries

Global Ministries is the common witness of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ responsible for nurturing relationships with international partners on behalf of Disciples and the UCC. The core values of Global Ministries are Community, Mutuality, Justice, Peace and Presence.

Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC)

Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC) brings the moral power of religious communities to ensure reproductive choice through education and advocacy. The Coalition seeks to give clear voice to the reproductive issues of people of color, those living in poverty, and other underserved populations.

Unbound

Unbound is a special program that partners with families in Latin America who are living in poverty, empowering them to become self-sufficient and fulfill their desired potential. First Church UCC congregants sponsor youth as they pursue their education.

Valley Interfaith Project (VIP)

Valley Interfaith Project (VIP) is a broad based, non-partisan organization of dues-paying member congregations, schools, unions and non-profits committed to building relational power through organizing people for sustainable social and economic improvement. This is done through institution-based leadership development; the building of relationships within and between institutions; the identification of and research on issues of mutual self-interest; and disciplined, organized action.

Through this organizing strategy, VIP develops a constituency of leaders to become citizens in the fullest sense: participants in democratic decision-making and agents of the creation of a more just society through the exercise of relational power. Valley Interfaith Project is affiliated with the Industrial Areas (IAF), the oldest and largest national organizing and leadership development network in the United States.

First Church UCC

1407 N Second Street
PhoenixAZ 85004
 (602) 258-6891
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 Contact Us

Service Times

Sundays at 10:30 a.m.
with Pastor James Pennington

Office Hours
Mon - Fri: 9:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Closed Saturday & Sunday