Living the promise of peace, justice and dignity in the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan and beyond...
The EPPN issued a newsletter outlining the actions of General Convention, including the peace, justice and advocacy issues addressed at General Convention. The "What's Ahead: The Issues" section highlights areas that people of faith can advocate for in our communities and in the nation. The latest newsletter can be found HERE.
Covenant 5, the peace and social justice advocacy committee of the diocese, urges each Episcopalian to re-affirm her or his commitment to our fifth baptismal pledge of “striving for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being.” Renewal of our baptismal vows makes a positive and constructive statement during these tumultuous times when we are challenged with so many peace and social justice advocacy issues.
Talk to your clergy person about incorporating reaffirmation in worship as the Book of Common Prayer (p. 312, 4th paragraph) provides for Renewal of Baptismal Vows on designated holy days. The following peace and social justice issues dominating our current dialogue help make baptismal re-affirmation a positive way to express positive values. The following specific issues and concerns illustrate only some of the problems we face:
+ The lengthy, multi-faceted probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, and, the political attacks on law enforcement agencies and their personnel
+ The continued consequences of the #MeToo/Time’sUp sexual harassment and abuse movement including all domestic violence issues and other attacks on the rights of women
+ The generations-long gun violence issues and concerns, including 17 school shootings, 34 mass shootings and over 2000 deaths from gun violence during the first 7 weeks of 2018 alone, and our leaders continuing indifference and inaction to promote public safety and security
+ The urgent need for a comprehensive review of police policies, procedures and accountability standards as well as long-delayed criminal justice and prison reforms
+ The long-standing, multi-dimensional problems with immigration, DACA reform, deportation and security concerns and policies
+ The decades-long epidemic of all types of bullying and harassment, including workplace bullying, and the terrible rise in suicides among young people, military veterans, and others
+ The increasing disparity and inequality of wages by income class, sex, race, etc. that was further exacerbated by tax “reform” legislation, which also added greatly to the national debt
+ The opioid addiction crises, the worst addiction epidemic in U.S. history, resulting in drug overdose deaths of nearly 64,000 per year
+ The steady erosion of moral values and democratic principles upon which our nation was built
+ The increasing need for essential environmental protections, including ‘climate change’ safeguards so that 2017’s many natural disasters do not become an annual occurrence
+ The on-going discrediting, “fake news” attacks on the press’s freedom of investigative powers
+ Free and fair elections, with no election map gerrymandering, preconditions or requirements
We have other concerns, too, (e.g. the despicable human trafficking practices and the need for real campaign finance reform), and, more will arise, but during these trying and difficult times, NOW is the time for each of us to renew her/his baptismal pledge “with God’s help.” You will also be pledging to “seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself.”
The Rev. Charles (Chuck) Swinehart
Co-chair, Disability Awareness Committee
Member, Covenant 5
Welcome to Covenant5.org, the Web site of Covenant 5, a community of ministries in the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan educating and advocating for social justice. If you are concerned about peace, justice and dignity issues and want to do something positive about them, you are in the right place.
The origin of Covenant 5 of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan dates back to a meeting in 2002 in which Bishop Gibbs gathered those who were members of existing diocesan social justice ministries and others who had an interest in working for social justice. Bishop Gibbs envisioned a coalition of ministries who related to the fifth Baptismal promise -- "Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?".
Covenant 5 ministries have long had an emphasis on advocacy as a way to fulfill the gospel imperative of seeking justice, peace and equality. The definition of advocacy ministry as we understand it focuses on striving to formulate and implement public policy, and supporting grass-roots efforts for social change and other justice concerns. Examples include organizing or joining legislative advocacy efforts in conjunction with the Episcopal Public Policy Network, sponsoring educational events, and letter-writing campaigns.
Diocesan ministry members of Covenant 5 include Disability Awareness, Economic Justice Commission, Episcopal Peace Fellowship, Prison Ministry, and TBLG Concerns.
Every year, Covenant 5 awards Peace and Justice Advocacy Grants to local and national agencies and organizations. A list of the most recent grantees can be found HERE.
To contact Covenant 5, send email to Cov5@comcast.net, or click on the button below.