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Welcome to the United Church of Christ in Stoughton! Our new sign, created by church members Gale and Ed Porter, is a clear affirmation of what our church is all about: Love Lives Here! We believe that each person, without exception, is created by God and deeply loved by God, and we do our best to extend that same unconditional, heartfelt welcome to everyone. Please join us for worship on Sunday at 10:00 AM to see for yourself!
Support Survivors of Human Trafficking
January is recognized in the US as Human Trafficking Awareness Month and the 2009 UCC Synod Resolution against human trafficking urged congregations to recognize January 11 as Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Human trafficking, also known as modern slavery, affected some 24.9 million people in 2016 and is one of the most profitable forms of transnational crime. Traffickers prey on those who are in vulnerable communities and force them into labor, exploit them in commercial sexual enterprises, and move them across national or state borders against their will.
On January 8, 2019 President Trump signed the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2018. We applaud Congress and the President for signing this into law and showing our commitment to ending human trafficking. The laws enacted since the TVPRA was first passed in 2000 have served as vital tools to combat modern slavery and human trafficking globally and domestically. This recent bill will establish and reauthorize critical programs to prevent human trafficking, promote justice for survivors, provide services to victims, and increase federal coordination in response to the crisis.
While the reauthorization of the TVPRA is critical, we have also seen in recent months how changes to immigration policy are impacting victims of trafficking in the US. In June 2018, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a new rule regarding “T” visas, a category of visas given to victims of human trafficking that allows them to remain in the US, receive some government benefits, and gives them a path to citizenship. This new rule states that if an application for a T visa is denied, the applicant will be automatically referred to an immigration judge to begin the deportation process. Previously, those referrals were not automatic and immigration authorities usually refrained from taking action to deport them. Victims were already facing stiff requirements to prove they are a victim of trafficking in order to qualify for a T visa. This new rule change means that victims are now less likely to come forward and report their situation.
As people of faith, we must tell Congress and President Trump to keep human trafficking as a policy priority and call for a revamp of our immigration policies that allow for victims to escape exploitation and maintain their dignity.
You can also help victims of human trafficking by donating items to fill Bags of Hope at our event at UCC Stoughton on Sunday, March 24 to raise awareness of human trafficking among youth and their parents. See the list of needed items elsewhere in this issue.
For more information: Visit the UCC Human Trafficking page and the Global Ministries Human Trafficking page
Lunch with the Pastor
February 7 (Thu): Please join Pastor Mary in the Fireplace Room at 11:45am for Lunch with the Pastor. Bring a brown bag lunch and she will provide beverages and dessert. This is a nice way to share what’s going on in our lives. Bring a friend! All are welcome.
Bags of Hope
Help spread hope into the lives of women affected by human trafficking, addiction & homelessness.
WHAT: Bags are filled with items that let women affected by trafficking know that there is a better way, they are treasured & there is help. Filled bags are distributed to women who are living on the streets of Boston. A survivor of human trafficking from the Bags of Hope ministry will also be speaking about her own painful experience.
WHEN: Sunday, March 24, 2019 | 6:00-8:00 pm
WHERE: First Congregational Church | 76 Pierce Street, Stoughton
HOW: Donations to fill the bags will be accepted through Sunday, March 17 in the Giving Corner in the church lobby.
Items needed are:
Toothpaste * Toothbrushes * hair brushes, elastics and hair clips
* 12 oz. bottles of shampoo and conditioner * trail mix (snack packs)
* women’s socks * lip balm
* deodorant * small packages of wipes * feminine products
* nail polish * winter hats, scarves and gloves
* $5 Dunkin Donut gift cards
* Notes of encouragement *
All items must be new, full-size and individually wrapped
Cash donations are also welcome (please contact Marcia Olson | 781-344-9547 |email@example.com)
February 20 (Wed): Mainspring House:
Every other month UCC Stoughton provides dinner for Brockton’s homeless shelter. There are lots of ways to help. We need 2-3 volunteers to serve dinner from 3:30-6pm – it’s a great way for a family or group of friends to serve together. Make a casserole – it can be made ahead, frozen and dropped off to the church the Sunday before it’s our night to serve, or make a monetary donation to defray the cost of salad and dessert. We are so grateful to all who faithfully volunteer to make meals or serve every time we ask – living out Jesus’ most basic tenet – ‘whatsoever you do for the least of these you do unto me.” Please sign up after coffee hour on Sunday or contact Charlene Smith CJTS107@comcast.net
Yard Sale and Clothing Drive
A yard sale is scheduled for Saturday, April 13 (the same day the town recreation department is hosting an Easter Egg Hunt at Halloran Park). We are also collecting gently-used clothing, linens, shoes, accessories (such as belts, scarves and purses), and small household goods. As you do your spring cleaning, please bring your donations to the church during February and March. Please, no computers, computer accessories, TVs or non-working electronics. Some donations may also be given to local families in need or reserved for the church fair in the fall. If you can help or want more information, please contact Marcia Olson firstname.lastname@example.org