Office of Social Justice

Blessing Not Burden PlayGroup

BNB PLAYGROUPCome out for the first playgroup of 2016!

We are so excited to be partnering with The Office of Social Justice and the Blessing Not Burden Campaign and Zeeland Christian School for this group. If you are in the Holland Area we hope you might come and join us!

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Serve together by using our voices in a photo booth to share how immigrants have blessed you.

Name jar

Read The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi about new Korean immigrant Unhei. As she decides on a new name, she finds her classmates eager to help her transition to America. Friendship opens the door for her to embrace her Korean identity.

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Participate in play stations-

  • world volleyball
  • crafting- with stencils and passport stickers and world coloring pages
  • an old-fashioned Ellis Island simulation
  • immigration timeline walk from The Church Between Borders
  • take a citizenship quiz
  • world landmark sensory tub
  • play doh with letters to make your name
  • who is my neighbor Instagram interactive art.
  • language soup
  • what would you pack? station

 

Take Home: 

  • Immigration Family History Handout
  • Ways to get involved in the Blessing Not Burden Campaign

All Ages Welcome! Zeeland Christian School is located at 334 W. Central Ave. Zeeland, MI.

Keep updated at the Facebook Event Page. Email me at aboutproximity@gmail.com if you would like to receive email updates about what is new with #TalkJustice playgroups. Exciting things are happening this coming year! And I would love you, your families, and your wise voices to be a part of it.

 

#TalkJustice Together October Edition

 

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#BlessingnotBurden

This past Thursday, The Office of Social Justice had a launch party for the Immigrants are a Blessing not a Burden Campaign at the Holland Museum. Your family can join in too. Visit the website to Sign, Share and Wear! My family shared below, as you can see immigrants are very dear to us. Open up conversation with your kids. Immigrants are all around us deepening our lives and contributing to our communities.

#blessingnotburden

Holiday Kindness Camp

What?! How is it mid-October already? The leave are beginning to change colors here, which is beautiful and also a little bit of a bittersweet feeling to me, because I know winter is lurking. If you look at a calendar you know holiday preparations and fun will be filling our weeks soon. Join the sequel to Kindness Summer Camp, Holiday Kindness Camp. We’ll be giving out great ideas to incorporate kindness for five weeks in November and December.

Fall #TalkJustice Playgroups

If you are local, don’t forget our upcoming fall #TalkJustice playgroups, a veterans playgroup in partnership with Herrick District Library and Hope College’s Big Read, and a playgroup benefitting Kids Food Basket in partnership with Grace Episcopal Church. Join the Facebook Event Page to get updates!

Creation Care

Sit down together and look through the images in the article What Humans are Really Doing to the Environment. Ask about their thoughts on the photographs.

#GivingTuesday

Get ready for #GivingTuesday, this year on December 1, 2015. Talk about what organization or family you might like to support. Make plans ahead of time to be able to make it a reality on Dec. 1.

Global Education

Watch the movie trailer He Named Me Malala, the story of Malala Yousafzai shot by the Taliban for attending school, and later winning the Nobel Peace Prize for her activism. If you have read the book, you will also see reflected in the movie the strength of Malala’s Father. He broke conventional beliefs to make education for Malala and other girls a priority. As adults we make a difference when we talk about justice with young people.

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Read

My Teen Daughter Asked for 17,000 Pairs of Shoes: Why I said Yes about the foster care system and the basic needs of children. When we pause long enough to take statistics in; we realize how much we have, and how much we have to give.

Trick or Treat

Consider trick or treating for UNICEF! Or maybe matching the number of treats your kids collect to a family donation. $15 provides safe drinking water for a year to a child. $30 provides Measles protection to 100 kids. Just $5 provides five meals to a hungry child. I’m going to have Ant Man and Scarlet Witch this year!

October is Fair Trade Month 

Check out the Buy Fair Trade Fair website. See if you can substitute a product you use in your life with a fair trade equivalent.

Hunger

The busiest times for food banks is around the holidays. Before you take a hands-on shopping trip to donate, try calling first and asking about high need items. When we did a justice playgroup for our local food pantry this summer, they really needed personal hygiene items. We were able to gather and meet their greatest need at that time. Here is a list of high-quality items that can benefit most food pantries.

What are you all up to this month?

Open Our Hands

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I planned to share a new campaign from World Renew and the Office of Social Justice.

Immigrants are a Blessing Not a Burden.

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I didn’t plan to share this-

At church this morning, a congregation member translated for a legal worker. He stood up in his pew, hand over his heart as she spoke. He picks blueberries at a local farm. His seventeen year old son embarked from Guatemala to join him. His paperwork was not done right, and he was detained in Arizona. Documentation to prove he is a minor was provided from Guatemala, but to be released to his Dad pending trial, he needs 7,000 dollars in bond money. A father in Michigan picking blueberries. A son in immigration detention in Arizona. These stories are told daily, because our system is outdated and broken.

What struck me most, was how small the father looked, standing there so still, his hand over his heart.

Like somehow, he could keep his boy safe that way.

 

In light of stories like these, and also the pictures of despair we have witnessed from Europe, we can take a few moments to enter in conversation, to make a difference. This is so, so important.

Immigrants are a Blessing Not a Burden Website. 

Follow updates on Facebook. Invite friends.

Unlearn here. Sign, Share, or Wear here. Sign up to be a social media ambassador here.

 

The last few weeks I have been guest posting at WholisticWoman.com about being intentional.

Being Intentional: Slowing Down 

Being Intentional: Pausing for Prayer 

Being Intentional: Consumption

 

This coming weekend, I will be at The Breathe Christian Writers Conference! I will be presenting a social media for writers workshop with Amy Sullivan. I would love for you to pray with me, because I will also be pitching a book proposal for Talk Justice Playgroups (our Fall Facebook Event Page is here). I can’t wait to gather new ideas to share with all of you, and meet new people to introduce you all too.

Sometimes, I feel so small. I want to grab everything from God’s hands and try to force it to where I want it to go. I’m so afraid to open my hands. He definitely calls us to be more. He asks us to do the harder thing, and trust him.

Dear God, please open our hands when we can make a difference. 

What is new in your life? How can we pray for you? 

Where There is Injustice, There is Silence

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A Guest Post by: Rev. Kris Van Engen 

Sometimes silence speaks. Sometimes silence kills.

I’ve been in the position of a congregational justice mobilizer for two years now and if I’ve learned anything, it is that silence plus lies (or the more congenial term “myths”) equals oppression. We all know this simple equation is true but we are strangely drawn to it.

 

While Martin Luther King sat in a jail in Birmingham, his elders sent him a letter telling him to be quiet and leave the segregation issue to the courts. When AIDS was becoming an epidemic in the 1980s, the stigma was on the victims; discussing how to change the situation was considered akin to condoning sin. Pick a modern issue of injustice and surely you will find groups who, in spite of having the power to be heard, remain silent–maybe because of uncertainty, maybe to stay neutral, maybe to be a good listener, maybe for good or bad intentions. At any rate, where there is injustice, there is silence.

The scenario is as true on a small scale as it is on a large scale. Consider the family with an abusive parent. The child is scolded, “What happens in our house is nobody else’s business.” The spouse defends the abuser to critics, “Well, if our son watched his behavior he wouldn’t have these problems.” The critics say, “Oh, I guess it’s more complicated than I thought.” The abuse continues. The child waits for someone to ride in and speak the truth. The victims of AIDS, preventable famine, changing climate, racism, and needless deportations wait with him.

 

We celebrate Jesus’ birth into a land of silence and lies. The threat of his voice moved Herod to put an early ransom on his head. This is the brave voice our world needs. Jesus doesn’t fall into the temptation of silence like we do. The spirit of the Lord is on him. He sees through the myths. He is anointed to proclaim good news to the poor.

Of course, Jesus himself was silent from time to time. The most notable occasion, shortly after sharing the last supper bread and wine with his disciples, was remaining speechless before Herod. It was the death of him. A temporary death that resulted in new life.

This would become Jesus’ gift to us. Light shed on a dark scene. If we are victims, he stands with us. If we need certainty mixed with courage to break from the ranks of neutrality, he offers it through the Holy Spirit, his word, and the communion of saints. He is the prince who replaces injustice with peace.

In this new year, what is an opportunity you could take to SPEAK? 

 

KrisKris Van Engen is the Congregational Justice Mobilizer for the Office of Social Justice and World Renew. He equips people as they act on Jesus’ instructions to be peacemakers, to do justice, and to prevent the root causes of poverty and hunger. You can read his article Social Justice 101 here. 

Kris previously worked for 10 years as a pastor and church ministries director. He and his wife Lisa have two children, Ellie and Josiah.

Contact Kris by email at kvanengen@crcna.org.

 

Social Justice 101

The Office of Social Justice responds to God’s call to let justice flow like a river, especially as it relates to hunger and poverty.

I want to point you to a resource on their web page. The resource is called Social Justice 101. I encourage anyone who has wondered about the following questions to take a moment to read through the information.

  • Why should Christians be politically engaged?
  • What does the Bible say about justice?
  • What does social justice have to do with my personal faith?
  • What is advocacy and how does it connect to charity?
  • Whose role is it to care for the poor?
  • What are systems and how do they contribute to injustice?

I also want to introduce you to my husband Kris today, who works for World Renew and the Office of Social Justice! He is kind to a fault and has a huge heart for making a difference because of his faith.

Confession: The first time I told Kris that I loved him, I was driving. I got so nervous I ran a red a light. (Don’t tell the police.)

Kris Van Engen is the Congregational Justice Mobilizer for the Office of Social Justice and World Renew. He equips people as they act on Jesus’ instructions to be peacemakers, to do justice, and to prevent the root causes of poverty and hunger.

Kris previously worked for 10 years as a pastor and church ministries director. He and his wife Lisa have two children, Ellie and Josiah.

Contact Kris by email at kvanengen@crcna.org.