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St. Paul's UCC at March For Our Lives
by Karen Schafer
St. Paul’s was well represented in the March for Our Lives in Rio Rancho on Saturday, March 24. Our pastor, Jocelyn Emerson, accompanied by our ordained member, Anna Taylor Sweringen, carried signs, one with a Biblical quote about plowshares and one with a Martin Luther King quote. A number of our members and friends joined them for the Rally and March.
More than 500 people attended the event with local students taking the lead in the program presentation, music and signage. We marched on Highway 528 and received many “thumbs up” and honks. It was a great feeling. We were in the forefront as the only church visibly participating in the event.
Coming Together for Positive Change
by Deni Nordmeyer, Family Ministries Coordinator
Church of the Beatitudes
I know by walking with my father in Chicago during the civil rights movements that marching as a group can create change. I also know what it means to be young and passionate about a cause as the youth from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School stand up to end gun violence in schools. When I heard that Cameron, one of our High School students from Church of the Beatitudes, was willing to go with a small group of other UCC youth across the country to the Washington DC march, I knew I needed to march in Phoenix to show solidarity with this courageous young man. Hence, a Friends of Beatitudes group joined the Phoenix March for Our Lives.
Our group of a dozen Beatitudes marchers joined with the larger contingent of the First Congregational UCC Church. We aligned ourselves behind their United Church of Christ banner. We united around uncertainties related to our children and gun violence. While listening to the bold speeches of passionate youth, we talked about other convictions and our past protest marches. This gathering reminds me that I am not alone in my fears and many together can create change.
The chanting started, providing a marching drum, as the mass of people moved forward. I looked ahead and saw endless bodies; then I looked behind and saw the same. Thousands marched together in response to a call for action from teenagers. Most of us marching believed in the hope that someday our children will attend school to learn without fear of gun violence.