Folks at Judson are passionate about social justice and deeply committed to peace. We seek out opportunities to create community, to join with others similarly committed, and to address the needs of those often left out in our neighborhood, New York City, and across the world.
These are some on-going projects at Judson. Your participation is welcome in all of these activities. Contact the Church for information about meeting dates and times.
On April 10, 2007, Judson Memorial Church voted to become a sanctuary congregation, in cooperation with the national New Sanctuary Movement. A growing task force of about 12 members directs the work at Judson in providing moral and legal support for a Haitian family threatened with unjust deportation. Additionally, Judson is a leading participant in the NYC New Sanctuary Coalition, an interfaith organization that is a member of the nationwide New Sanctuary Movement.
For information on the national New Sanctuary Movement, visit www.newsanctuarymovement.org; for the NYC branch, visit www.newsanctuarynyc.org. If you want to learn how to be a sanctuary church, contact Minister Michael Ellick or Senior Minister Donna Schaper.
Judson Memorial Church is proud to serve Fair Trade coffee, tea & cocoa during Coffee Hour. In today's economy, where profits rule and small-scale producers are not part of the bargaining process, farmers, craft producers, and other workers are often left without resources or hope for their future.
Fair Trade helps exploited producers escape from this cycle and gives them a way to maintain their traditional lifestyles with dignity by guaranteeing them a fair price/living wage for their products. (See www.globalexchange.org). Generally, members of the Judson community offer Fair Trade products (coffee, chocolate, cocoa) for sale on the second and fourth Sundays of the month following the worship service. Profits from the sales are used to support social/economic justice projects at Judson
We’re not in the habit of counting, but we estimate that about one-third of active folks at Judson are gay or lesbian. The culture of the church has long been affirming of all sexual orientations; designations as "Open & Affirming" and "Welcoming & Affirming" of our affiliate denominations were uncontroversial for us. Sadly this is not true for all churches. The American Baptist Churches USA are not exempt from the debate over homosexuality that threatens to split many American denominations these days.
Conservative forces in the ABC are pushing the denomination to take more militant stands, specifically against gay marriage and gays in church leadership. Judson has registered its strong disagreement with these trends by numerous letters and personal statements to ABC denominational officials. Fortunately, Judson can stand proud as a congregation also affiliated with the United Church of Christ; that denomination has taken strong stands in favor of gay rights, specifically voting to affirm gay marriage at the UCC national meeting in 2006.
Even as we live in hope for a more enlightened and inclusive world, we continue to celebrate our sexual diversity. Our Gay Pride Sunday service is a highlight of our worship year, and exuberance that extends to our joyous marching in New York's Gay Pride parade for the past 30 years.
Many in the Judson community are active voices in current debates about American participation in Iraq and other areas of the world. Ad hoc demonstrations, occasional teach-ins, and the witness of the "message board" war dead counts are ways that we bear witness.
"Safer Injection Kits" Assembly at Judson
One very concrete difference that members of the Judson community make is assembling "safer injection kits" to prevent the spread of HIV among intravenous drug users. We assemble between 200-300 kits at each work party. With 25 work parties per year, that's at least 5000 kits that can save lives.You can find specific dates for the work parties on our Events page.
Picture the Homeless
Judson Church helped support this independent group when it was first founded and provided an office during the early days. Judson folks continue to support the work of Picture the Homeless, for example, hosting an annual "longest night vigil," to remember those who have died on the streets over the last year.