An Update on the Office of Public Witness: Issue Priorities, Ecumenical Advocacy Days, and Summer Interns

The Office of Public Witness is co-sponsoring Ecumenical Advocacy Days, April 25-27, 2023.

By Jimmie Hawkins

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has empowered the Office of Public Witness to provide a ministry of advocacy on the federal level on both international and domestic policy positions. The Office of Public Witness serves as a resource for Presbyterians to lift a prophetic voice addressing issues of injustice globally. In Washington, OPW engages with the State Department, the White House, and members of Congress. Our work is non-partisan, and our focus is on addressing issues to which the PC(USA) has given a prophetic voice. Justice advocacy is of extreme importance in the life of Presbyterians with a commitment to make a difference in the world through faithful Christian discipleship. Our international work addresses the concern of Jesus to expand our definition of who is our neighbor to those most in need. For the first three months of 2023, internationally, our focus has been on Cuba, Israel/Palestine, and militarism. The war in Ukraine continues to be a major focus as well as the continuing conflicts in Yemen, Syria, Ethiopia, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Sudan, and other impacted regions. Domestically, the debt ceiling debate has been a part of our work as well as the Farm Bill. Gun violence has been lamented by the church for decades as we have advocated for the passage of gun safety laws, the strengthening of background checks, and the banning of assault weapons. We released a statement in March on the continuing cycle of violence we experience and calling Presbyterians to action! Climate change is one of our most important justice issues as we urge Congress to pass laws to save God’s creation from the destruction produced by human carelessness and neglect. We continue to provide webinars, statements, and Action Alerts to provide needed information on effective ways to make a difference. All of these actions help fulfill Matthew 25.

On April 25-27, we will be one of the sponsors of Ecumenical Advocacy Days, a digital conference to educate and train persons interested in justice advocacy. The theme is “Swords into Plowshares” and registration is available online.

We are looking forward to another summer of serving with fellows who minister with us during the months of June and July. The experience is a full one of engaging with coalition partners, conversations with congressional staffs, and writing important papers in support of the church’s policy positions. This summer the work will be done remotely without having to relocate to DC. This is a powerful opportunity for them to grow in their faith and learn more about the work of the church as it fulfills its call to “love justice.” Applications are available at this link. OPW is continuing to do the work for which it has been charged by the PC(USA) and as a part of our Christian charge to be faithful disciples.


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