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Faith in Action: Maine Advocacy Days, March 27 & 28

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Maine Episcopalians are invited to gather with people of faith from across the state for a first-ever training in Augusta on March 27 and 28. “Faith in Action: Maine Interfaith Advocacy Days,” sponsored by the Maine Council of Churches, Maine Episcopal Network for Justice, and Preble Street Faith Action Network, is designed to bring people together to worship, learn, and advocate effectively with Maine’s elected officials on pressing issues faced by our neighbors and our wider communities.

On Day 1, Monday, March 27, participants will gather at South Parish Congregational Church located at 9 Church Street in Augusta. After worship and prayer, the Rev. Bill Barter, long-time social justice advocate and rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Lewiston, will offer a keynote address, “A Case for Faith-based Advocacy: The Ethics of the Collective ‘We.’”

Barter says, “In faith-based ethics, we focus on the oneness, on the collective “we” of our humanity. The keynote will focus on advocacy as an ethical decision made by all people of faith, reminding us that advocacy is only truly authentic when it comes from a place of honest self-awareness, and a recognition of our oneness with others. Ethically, there is no “them and us” – we are all simply “us”.  And in this recognition, in this identity, we find our way to advocacy and justice.”

Participants will then choose two workshop focused on the following issues: hunger/poverty, homelessness/housing, health care, and climate justice. In each workshop a policy expert and a faith leader with expertise on that issue will guide participants through current bills under consideration by the Maine legislature, a faith-based rationale for advocacy, and strategies for talking to legislators and policy makers.

Workshop presenters are:

Hunger/Poverty: 
Mr. Joby Thoyalil, Policy Analyst, Maine Equal Justice Partners
Ms Jan Bindas-Tenney, Advocacy Director, Preble Street
The Very Rev. Ben Shambaugh, dean of St. Luke’s Cathedral in Portland and Preble Street board member

Homelessness/Housing:
The Rev. Jim Gertmenian, retired United Church of Christ minister and Preble Street board member
Ms Donna Yellen, Chief Program Officer, Preble Street

Health Care:
The Rev. Suzanne Roberts, MD, St. Luke’s Cathedral in Portland and family physician
Mr. Mitchell Stein, Health Care Consultant and Policy Expert
Ms Ann Woloson, Policy Analyst, Maine Equal Justice Partners

Climate Justice:
Dr. Elizabeth Parsons, past faculty, Boston University School of Theology
Ms Beth Ahearn, Political Director, Maine Conservation Voters
The Rev. Dr. Steve Hastings, United Church of Christ minister serving at Leeds and Hartford Presbyterian Church

After lunch, representatives from Muslim, Jewish, and Christian traditions will offer a panel discussion on the impetus for faith-rooted advocacy in each faith. Rabbi Joshua Chasan; the Rev. Maria Anderson, of St. Ansgar’s Lutheran Church in Portland; and the Rev. Calvin Sanborn of St. George’s Episcopal Church in York Harbor; will offer their perspectives on faith in the public square.

On Tuesday morning, March 28, equipped with information and inspiration, participants will meet in the Cross Cafe of the Cross Office Building (11 Sewall Street) adjacent to the State House before going to speak directly their representatives and senators about pending legislation. Opportunities will also exist, depending on the legislative schedule, for participants to sit in on a legislative session or attend public hearings held by legislative committees.

A registration fee of $20.00 covers morning refreshments, a buffet lunch on Monday, and a lunch voucher at the Cross Cafe on Tuesday.

Registration is now open at www.tinyurl.com/AdvocacyDays.

Co-sponsors of Maine Interfaith Advocacy Days include: the Capital Area Multi-faith Association; Winthrop Area Ministerial Association; Faith Linking in Action, Bangor; and Maine Unitarian Universalist State Advocacy Network (MUUSAN).

For more information contact:
John Hennessy at the Maine Episcopal Network for Justice, at jhennessy@episcopalmaine.org or Jane Field of the Maine Council of Churches, at jfield@mainecouncilofchurches.org.

Click here for an event flyer  or a bulletin insert.

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