Justice and Witness Missional Team
Called to be witnesses of the Good News of God’s Reign in Jesus Christ, the Hawai’i Conference Justice and Witness Missional Team, in covenant with its local churches, Associations, and partnership ministries, seeks to discern and develop compassionate ministries of justice, peace, and the stewardship of creation, as God intends, both in this life and in the world.
The mission of the Justice and Witness Missional Team is to equip congregations on justice and witness initiatives. The team provides materials, resources, guidance and support to congregations.
Equipping congregations with worship and study resources on justice and witness initiatives locally, nationally and internationally.
Inviting volunteers in congregations to be resource persons or advocates for these initiatives in their local churches, communities, associations, etc.
Educating churches on these initiatives through Conference communications, resource and study materials, workshops and presentations, etc.
Advocating for justice and witness concerns in the public arena, as well as in denominational, ecumenical and interfaith settings.
MEET THE TEAM
Linda Rich, Chairperson
"Church of the Crossroads has been my community of faith since 1979. I have served on its Peace, Justice, and Stewardship of Creation Mission Team for many years, as well as the Worship Committee and the Churchʻs Coordinating Council. I find great joy in singing in the choir. I am a retired social worker and addictions counselor.
Why have I agreed to chair this Missional Team?
If there ever has been a time that urgently called for Christians to proclaim Jesusʻ Way of justice, reconciliation and peace, and the kindom of God, it is now. Here at home, on the Continent, and across the world, the pandemic has exposed inequities in access to health care, growing poverty and hunger, and racism. Our Hawaiian brothers and sisters in Christ continue to seek justice. We see gun violence in our daily news, and hateful speech and violent actions magnifying political divisions. Sadly, Christianity also is deeply divided. The amazing creation placed in our care breathed a sigh of relief and began to heal while we have been forced to slow our travel and other polluting activities and has shown us that our behavior can restore or destroy the creation that supports all life. I look to Micahʻs admonition that we are called to DO justice, act kindly, and walk humbly with God, and to Matthew 25:34-45. I believe that we are called, in the UCC, to act and witness for justice. Your HCUCC Justice and Witness Missional Team is here to facilitate our churches and members answering that call."
"PhD Candidate in Political Science UH Manoa (International law, Hawaiian Kingdom law, Humanitarian law, Indigenous Studies), waitlister on Hawaiian Homelands waitlist failed federal program for 20 years, English Language Arts teacher at the only public Hawaiian language immersion program on Hawai‘i island. Student in the Masters of Theology program at the Vancouver School of Theology. Member of Kalapana Maunakea First Congregational Church on the east side of Hawai‘i island. Hawaiians have been targets of war crimes for over 128 years since the state of war began from the U.S. marine invasion on January 16, 1893. My family has been working for justice for Hawaiians for three generations."
"I am affiliated with Iao UCC located in Wailuku, Maui. I presently serve as the Co-Chaplain of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries serving with Bishop Yvette Flunder. I have worked at the City of Refuge Oakland for the past 20 years. I currently do two podcasts a week—an LGBT Veterans program on Tuesdays and also Triumphant Thursdays with my Co-Chaplain Rev. Dr. PJ Anderson of Space for Grace WithOutWalls UCC (Lansing, MI).
I am interested in many issues. City of Refuge believes in Radical Inclusivity, that all are welcome in the House of God. I bring that spirit with me. I am used to serving a marginalized community. With San Francisco Night Ministry I walked the streets of the Tenderloin which abound with homeless from 10pm to 2am. I am certified in Mental Health First Aid and have a strong interest in this area. I identify as a member of the LGBT community. I also have a background in Recovery, working with people in Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation. These are my primary interests. I will serve this committee to the best of my abilities working with those who need to be represented. Thank you."
The Reverend Joe Medlin serves as the pastor of Hilo Coast UCC. Joe, Crystal, and their son, Solomon, moved to Hawaiʻi Island from New York City in 2017. Island life has helped him slow down and pay closer attention to the sacred rhythms of the day. Joe remains a lover of silence, but not in the face of oppression. His passion for justice and equality are expansive, yet of particular concern is his work in confronting and rooting out all forms of White supremacy and privilege, homophobia, and xenophobia. Rev. Joe believes that the church is called to stand in solidarity with all who are oppressed, be a voice for the voiceless, and embody God’s compassion.
"I'm a member of Community Church of Honolulu. I am a sophomore at Kaiser High School, and a dancer for Drill Team Hawaii and have been dancing with them for 6 years now. 2020 has been the year that my whole generation and I woke up to the justice issues in the world such as racism, healthcare, and gun violence. I've come to care deeply about these issues among other issues, and I am very excited to get to help do what I can to try and eliminate these problems."