by Raphael Guillen, Disciples Peace Fellowship intern
2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:2-4 ESV
The author of Matthew makes a good point here when speaking about how we treat children. We were all children once before, and we minimize them so much. In the ministries of Disciples Justice for Children, as well as Disciples Palestine-Israel Network, they make an emphasis on justice for families and children all over the world as well as awareness.
Disciples Justice for Children is a ministry focused on advocacy and justice around family and children. Rev. Kate Epperly, who teams with other ministries, focuses on many issues affecting families and their safety and well-being, such as gun control, domestic violence, and children being separated from their families at the border. Because there are so many issues that families face, particularly now with COVID-19, it is more pertinent more than ever to think about how families are being affected by the pandemic and by the everyday issues this broken world creates. Rev. Epperly has a passion for these and more issues surrounding families and children.
While the Disciples Palestine-Israel Network (DPIN) does not focus specifically on children, they are still at the forefront of advocating for children overseas. DPIN seeks to bring awareness to Disciples about the conflict between Palestine and Israel. Revs. Marla Schrader and Jeff Wright co-coordinate DPIN. The primary goal is to influence policy makers to end Israel’s occupation. DPIN also seeks to move Disciples from our complacency to advocate for a just peace agreement to end the conflict. Because Israeli authorities detain and prosecute around 700 children each year, DPIN seeks to stop US dollars from supporting the these incarcerations illegal under international law.
What can you do to aid each ministry?
- Disciples Justice for Children
- Contact and network with Rev. Epperly about specific projects or passions you have about families and/or children
- Do the Equity Challenge! Take note of who’s in your community (or church, TV, locality) and who’s not and ask why?
- A resource for families as a partership with The Poor People’s Campaign will be finalized by September 1st.
- Send in Christmas Cards for children at the detention centers at the border: Contact Rev. Epperly for more information.
- Disciples Palestine-Israel Network
- Begin to see how interconnected are all the rising cries for justice–Black Lives Matter, Indigenous Peoples Movement, LGBTQ+, Poor Peoples Campaign, and other global movements such as the Palestinians plea for an end to Israel’s occupation
- Read a book that counters the triumphal religious narrative we hold of ourselves as Americans, such as An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States
- Participate in the Cry for Hope’s signature campaign: www.cryforhope.org
- For more information on Disciples Justice for Children: https://www.discipleshomemissions.org/missions-advocacy/disciples-justice-for-children/
- Follow them of Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DisciplesJustice4Children/