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Interested in advocacy? These events are for you

PC(USA)’s CPJ Training and Ecumenical Advocacy Days set for the end of April

by Darla Carter and Rich Copley | Presbyterian News Service

Participants in Lobby Day during Ecumenical Advocacy Days 2019 gathered in front of the United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill, where numerous church advocacy offices are housed, including the PC(USA)’s Office of Public Witness. (Photo by Rich Copley)

LEXINGTON, Kentucky — While stories such as the war in Ukraine, structural racism, systemic poverty, the plight of refugees from around the world, and the increasing impacts of climate change make headlines, people of faith are advocating for scripturally-based positions on those issues and many more.

If you want to learn more about what the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and its ecumenical partners are doing and how you can get involved, the last two weeks of April are for you.

On April 19 and 20, the Tuesday and Wednesday after Easter, Compassion, Peace & Justice (CPJ) Training will focus on work the PC(USA) is doing both nationally and internationally for human and civil rights. The following Monday through Wednesday, April 25-27, Ecumenical Advocacy Days (EAD) will shift the focus to how ecumenical partners come together to advocate for these important issues, culminating in an afternoon of lobbying congressional representatives.

Musician, speaker and activist David LaMotte provided the keynote address during Compassion, Peace & Justice’s Training Day, which took place April 5, 2019, at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Rich Copley)

All events will be virtual. Both CPJ Training and Ecumenical Advocacy Days were in-person events in the Washington, D.C. area through 2019. This is the third year they have been held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. CPJ Training is free. EAD does have registration fees, and scholarships are available. Early Bird registration is available through Sunday, April 10.

Click here to learn more about and register for CPJ Training

“This year’s Compassion Peace and Justice Training and Ecumenical Advocacy Days focus on the urgency of human rights both at home and abroad,” says Catherine Gordon, Representative for International Issues in the PC(USA)’s Office of Public Witness in Washington D.C. “As we look around the globe and right here at home we see the slow erosion of rights — voting rights, civil rights, land rights, environmental rights — and increasing authoritarianism and autocracy.  We hope that participants in this year’s EAD and CPJ will learn why there is a fierce urgency to speak out for civil and human rights.

Office of Public Witness Representative for Domestic Issues Christian Brooks (left) and director the Rev. Jimmie Hawkins address the Presbyterian meeting at Ecumenical Advocacy Days on April 6, 2019, at the Doubletree Hotel Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia. (Photo by Rich Copley)

“At Compassion, Peace and Justice Training we hope to show people the intersectionality of issues like racism, food sovereignty, immigration, corruption, voting rights and human rights.  Also, we hope to show people how the Presbyterian Mission Agency is working on these issues and how they can get involved. We hope participants will come away from the two forums, international and domestic, with a new understanding and knowledge and with tools to act.”

Click here to learn more about and register for Ecumenical Advocacy Days

Among the speakers at EAD will be one of the most prominent Presbyterian voices today: that of the Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, Co-Chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival and Director of the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice at Union Theological Seminary. She will speak at the lobby day sendoff on April 27. The overall event will be emceed by the Rev. Jimmie Hawkins, Associate Director of Advocacy in the CPJ ministries and author of a new book, “Unbroken and Unbowed: Black Protest in America.”

Rounding out the list of speakers at EAD are the Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III, senior pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago; Rev. Barbara Williams-Skinner, CEO and Co-Founder of the Skinner Leadership Institute; and Zeina Ashrawi Hutchinson, Advocacy Officer for Children International Palestine.

Gordon says CPJ Training organizers hope that participants “will continue on to Ecumenical Advocacy Days, which will go even more in depth into the issues like voting rights and militarism, and have country-specific workshops on human rights in Cuba, Cameroon, and Israel-Palestine.”

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