Justice and Advocacy Program
We are the advocacy and public policy arm of the
Lehigh County Conference of Churches. The purpose of the LCCC
Justice and Advocacy Committee (J&AC) is to engage advocates for justice in meaningful,
theologically-based discussion which may lead to public statements or action. Through the Justice and
Advocacy Network, we invite churches, church committees and individuals to partner with us and each other
in addressing social justice issues of concern to the local community.
LCCC focus areas are Hunger, Homelessness/Housing, At-Risk Youth, and Mental Health.
From time to time, J&AC organizes local workshops on justice issues, such as our annual
Food/Hunger workshops in partnership with
Bread for the World each spring; and fall workshops on
immigration reform (2007),
Health Care (2008), Homelessness (2009), Jobs, Workers, & Economics (2010), the Growing Economic Divide (2011), Affordable Housing (2012), and Criminal Justice and Restorative Practices (2013).
We also organize annual informal gatherings "Congregations in Mission: Finding Common Causes" for missions/outreach/social concerns committee members from different congregations to get acquainted with each other and to form new partnerships where there are common interests.
Justice and Advocacy Network
In 2008 the Justice and Advocacy Committee (J&AC) began laying the groundwork for a network among representatives
of participating congregations to support local church advocacy on several issues of local interest and to
coordinate efforts among the congregations engaged in those issues. Several of
our congregations work on hunger-related public policy issues.
The process of building the network begins with conversation between J&AC members and representatives of our
local congregations to identify issues of broad interest and the network functions that would be of most value
to participants. In recent years, LCCC J&A has focused on issues that include hunger, poverty, afforable housing,
at-risk youth, health care, and immigration -- and we may consider working on other issues that are of significant
interest to our constituent congregations.
Here is an outline of what the network might look like -- but this description will change as we are in conversation
with each other. Please contact us if you or your congregation would like to take
part in forming or participating in the network.
Who will be participants in the network?
Participants will be members of congregations and organizations in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, who have
an active concern for social justice.
What is the role of the Justice and Advocacy Committee?
- identify educational resources and speakers on priority issues
- organize leadership training and issue-focused workshops
- link congregations with similar justice and advocacy activities to each other
- build advocacy networks around one or more specific issues
- assist J&AC in developing current or new issues and framing them for the Lehigh County Conference of Churches
Board of Directors and member churches
What should contact persons associated with local congregations expect from the Justice and Advocacy Committee?
-information, services and resources
- educational resources or/and speakers bureau on key issues
- leadership training for effective advocacy
- web-based resources for public policy advocacy, including contact information
for local government representatives
- access to denominational resources
- links to other social justice organizations
- a clearing house for new initiatives
What should the Justice and Advocacy Committee expect from our congregational contact persons?
- to pass on information to pastors and congregation members
- let us (J&AC) know what is going on in your congregation
- reprint LCCC/J&A articles for members of your congregation
What is Justice?
What is Advocacy?
The church is called to charity and social service as well as justice and advocacy, but sometimes justice
is mistakenly equated to charity, or advocacy to social service.
Justice versus Charity
"He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice,
and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" --Micah 6:8
Charity entails giving as an act of generosity; we are often inclined to charity at Christmas
and Easter or other occasions when we hear of natural disasters that affect many people.
Doing justice, however, reflects a lifestyle that acknowledges God's ownership of all creation
and exercises social, economic, and political power for the benefit of all people, and, in fact, all creation.
Advocacy versus Social Service
"Speak up for people who cannot speak for themselves. Protect the rights of all who are helpless.
Speak for them and be a righteous judge. Protect the rights of the poor and needy." -- Proverbs 31:8-9
Advocacy recognizes that vulnerable people (whether individuals or whole communities) are sometimes treated unfairly and actively works for justice
Social service provides direct assistance to people in need.