Peace, Affirmation, and Justice at First Church

First Church, through its Peace, Affirmation, and Justice Committee, actively seeks to study, support and advocate for the dignity and equality of all people and the protection of the environment.  We believe that harmony, friendship and understanding is God’s plan for all of humanity as expressed by this wall art on the Palestinian side of the separation wall in Israel: Five Fingers – The Same Hand: Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish and Christian.

International Day of Peace:
September 21st annually.  Members of First Church are joined by area churches and peace groups to honor the United Nations International Day of Peace.  Church bells around the world ring out at noon, followed by a moment of silence.  Our celebration also includes singing, readings and comments by invited guests.  See Church calendar under CONNECT for time and location.

Prison and Re-entry Ministries is dedicated to providing on-going support to returning citizens, women and young men in prison, and children of incarcerated parents.  For joining the Prison Ministry Network and seeing further information of the ministry activities go to Prison and Re-entry Ministries page.

The Rev. Sandra Wiens, First Church’s Prison Ministry Coordinator (sandrawiens@aol.com, 203-376-9167), works with Opal Ellison, Resettlement Program Manager, assisting re-entering women.

Each year we sponsor a Prison Ministries Intern from Yale University Divinity School under the supervision of Sandra Wiens.  Kevin Dean, 2014-15, became a mentor with a young man at the Mason Youth Institute in Cheshire, CT.   Oana Marion, 2015-16 Intern, will be working with the arts program for women in prison and children of incarcerated parents. The Peace Affirmation and Justice Committee supports the United Church of Christ Resolution: Dismantling Discriminatory Systems of Mass Incarceration in the United States approved at the General Synod, July 2015.

Peace Is Possible for Palestine and Israel:
A study group on the document Kairos Palestine 2009: A Moment of Truth, grappled with the call to action by Palestinian Christians to engage in nonviolent measures pressuring Israel to end its occupation of Palestinian territories.  One of the non-violent grass roots efforts we support is the Art Bus for Palestinian children who suffer from daily fear, abuse, and trauma living in the occupied villages.

The Peace Affirmation and Justice Committee supports the United Church of Christ, Resolution: A Call for the United Church of Christ to Take Actions toward a Just Peace in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict approved at the General July, 2015.

Legislative Advocacy:
We work with Michele Mudrick, Legislative Advocate of the Connecticut Conference of the Untied Church of Christ, on issues related to criminal justice, environment protection, gay rights, gun control and other social justice concerns.  You can reach her at michelem@ctucc.org or 860-796-3822.  Conversations with Representative Sean Scanlon and Senator Ted Kennedy Jr. provide opportunities to work with our legislative representatives on issues of mutual concern.