Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Labor in the Pulpits

I know it is a bit early to be planning for Labor Day. But Sunday, September 2, is the Sunday before Labor Day - a day in the United States where we intentionally remember and honor the struggles of organized labor, all our forebears have won us through that struggle, and rededicate ourselves to that ongoing quest for workers' rights and dignity. It is also an opportunity for people to become aware of actual labor struggles that are going on around them - actions and issues that all too often go unnoticed.

Speak to your worship planners now, and get it on the calendar so that it won't be scheduled over later. You can invite someone from the labor community to speak - either as the main sermon or as a homily leading up to the sermon - on the situation of organized labor in the country, and what specifically is going on in your community, and most especially how we as Christians and citizens and well-meaning people can engage and participate in those labor struggles to support our fellow workers.

"Labor in the Pulpits" is something that can help make real for congregants the connection between our faith claims about working for a more just world and the concrete struggles to bring about such a world in our midst. It will also broaden our minds as to what all is included under the umbrella of our faith commitment. And it will inject into our worship and church-discussions a real-world note that just might change the key of our singing for an afternoon... maybe longer.

Consider suggesting a "Labor in the Pulpits" element in your churches on September 2. Contact your local Labor Temple, Jobs with Justice Coalition, union or branch of the American Federation of Labor or Change to Win Coalition, to enlist an appropriate representative of the labor movement to speak. You likely have several long-time union members in your own pews!

Some worship resources for this sort of thing on the AFL-CIO website (for future reference) are:

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  • The UFCW is entering contract negotiations - the first since the unsuccessful strike in 2003 - and is interested in getting more community support. They are willing to do short presentations on what unions mean for workers, what the issues under negotiation are, and how that connects to the lives of all working families. Contact me if you want information on how to get a UFCW representative to speak at your church or community event.

    By Blogger Christian, at 11:28 AM  

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