Maine Episcopal Network for Justice (MENJ)

The Maine Episcopal Network for Justice (MENJ) invites Episcopalians and all others who are committed to working toward justice and peace for all people and public policies that respect the dignity of every human being, both in the State of Maine, the United States, and the world. Members of this group work, with God's help, to affirm the essential relationship between what we believe and how we live.  

 
 

WEEKLY ADVOCACY UPDATES New

The Maine legislature resumed their work this year facing an enormous number of bills, some carried over from the last session and over one hundred new "emergency" bills. MENJ will do our best to highlight the bills we think are of interest to people of faith and offer insights about the process with a weekly update newsletter.
 
Click below to read the latest updates:
 
Sign up for MENJ's email newsletter to receive these updates in your inbox.
 

 

Maine State House Legislative Resources

The new legislature is organized and ready for the challenges ahead. Committee assignments are in place and you can find them here.   

The Weekly Legislative Report is a valuable tool to monitor new bills as they are released from the Revisor's office and referred to a committee of jurisdiction for public hearing later in the session.   
 
The Legislative Calendar lists all public hearings and work sessions as legislation moves through the process.    
 
 
 

EPISCOPAL CHURCH STATEMENT ON IRAN January 7, 2020

 
Amid escalating tensions between Iran and the United States following the strike that killed Qasem Soleimani, The Episcopal Church continues to be guided by the teaching of Jesus Christ, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” We affirm that, “It is crucial in this time of instability and threat of violence that our government and our neighbors seek diplomatic and humanitarian solutions rather than violence.” We pray for wisdom, restraint, and divine guidance for our leaders and decision makers, that they can move us away from violence and conflict and towards mutual understanding.
 
July 2019 Statement:
 
In times of conflict, The Episcopal Church, as community of followers of Jesus Christ, is called back to His words, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” Tensions have risen between the United States and Iran over attacks on shipping vessels, the shooting down of a U.S. surveillance drone, and the threat of air strikes in retaliation. Tensions have escalated following the U.S. withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (also known as the Iran Nuclear Deal) in May of 2018. The U.S. withdrawal undermined an international agreement that was designed to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and threatened prospects for peace and international cooperation. Increased sanctions have led to increased economic hardship of the Iranian people, including Christians and other religious minorities. It is crucial in this time of instability and threat of violence that our government and our neighbors seek diplomatic and humanitarian solutions rather than violence. We recognize the need for all parties to work towards peace in the region, rather than fighting proxy wars. Together, we can work to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The Episcopal Church urges the United States government to re-join to the Iran Nuclear Deal and to pursue a multilateral and international agreement to work towards regional security and denuclearization. We further hope that the United States will end sanctions on Iran that do not target armed militancy and weapons proliferation, recognizing the effect of broad sanctions of the Iranian economy and, in turn, the Iranian people.
 
General Convention Resolutions:
 
2018-D051: Support Recommitment to the Iran Nuclear Deal
1997-D022: Support the Goal of Total Nuclear Disarmament
1976-D052: Commend Efforts to Control Nuclear Weapons
2019-MB 009:  Support for Multilateralism and the Work of the United Nations: 
"Resolved, That the Executive Council hereby expresses the Church’s continued support for the principles of multilateralism that underpin global dialogue and concerted action in the world; and be it further,
Resolved, That the Executive Council encourages all member states of the United Nations to continue to support and engage in its work and functioning, including through timely payment of their dues." 

 

HOW YOU CAN HELP ASYLUM SEEKERS

WATCH BISHOP BROWN ALONG WITH OTHER BISHOPS OF THE EPISCOPLAL CHURCH IN THIS VIDEO 

ST. ELIZABETH'S ESSENTIALS PANTRY:  Please keep St. Elizabeth's, a Diocesan Jubilee Center serving 200 or more individuals each week, many of whom are immigrants and refugees, in your prayers as they work to respond to the overwhelming needs of our new neighbors. Consider contributing financial assistance to help in these efforts. You can find their Amazon Wishlist here: http://bit.ly/StElizabethWishlist. Please ship or drop off essential items (see website and Amazon list for needs and drop-off hours) or mail checks to St. Elizabeth's Jubilee Center, 134 Park Street, Portland ME 04101. Contact Martha Parshley  to volunteer or reach out to the Rev. Holly Hoffmann  or call 772-5434 with any questions.  

YARMOUTH COMPASSIONATE HOUSING INITIATIVE (YCHI): Since 2015, this collaborative of 3 Yarmouth churches (First Universalist Church, St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, with the participation of First Parish Church of Yarmouth)  has supported over 40 families in Greater Yarmouth through partnerships with the Chestnut Street Family Shelter, Maine Medical Center and Family Promise. The group hosts families in members’ homes for up to 4 weeks until housing becomes available at the family shelter, helps families move into their own homes from the family shelter, encourages and mentors them as they seek employment. The group is offering English language learning classes to the community of new arrivals living in Yarmouth hailing from Iraq, Congo, China, Spain, India, Japan and Burundi at Merrill Memorial Library.  More than 100 Yarmouth residents have been involved in hosting, connecting, mentoring, befriending and providing material support to our new neighbors through this initiative.  To learn more, contact co-coordinators Carla Hunt and Deborah Keefe at 

The following organizations, provided by the Human Rights Center of Maine are coordinating volunteer efforts and donations for Asylum seekers.

PORTLAND COMMUNITY SUPPORT FUND: The City of Portland has set up a portal where people can donate toward the Community Support Fund which provides shelter/housing assistance and basic human necessities for asylum seekers. Link: https://www.portlandmaine.gov/1554/Support-Asylum-Seekers

HOPE ACTS: Provides housing for asylum seekers, as well as English language acquisition and practice, legal support toward their asylum case, work authorization and securing employment, and making mutually beneficial social connections with Americans and fellow immigrants in Maine.https://hopeacts.org/

GREATER PORTLAND FAMILY PROMISE: Families who are guests in the program are provided food, shelter, case management, and hospitality as they work to find sustainable housing, employment, childcare, and educational opportunities. https://greaterportlandfamilypromise.org

NEIGHBORS IN NEED: Assists asylum seekers in obtaining household and personal items by enlisting the aid of a broader group of willing hands with the hope of easing their transition to their new lives as they begin to settle and make a new home here. https://www.neighborsinneedmaine.org/

FURNITURE FRIENDS: Furniture Friends partners with over 100 local social service providers, hospitals, faith-based organizations, municipalities, and schools to identify people in need who lack the financial resources to purchase furniture on their own. http://furniturefriends.org

CATHOLIC CHARITIES OF MAINE: From cultural orientation and referrals to case management and ongoing support, CCAM provides professional resettlement, orientation, employment, and cultural adjustment services. https://www.ccmaine.org

IMMIGRANT LEGAL ADVOCACY PROJECT (ILAP): The Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project helps low income immigrants improve their legal status and works for more just and humane laws and policies affecting immigrants. https://ilapmaine.org

GREATER PORTLAND IMMIGRANT WELCOME CENTER: The IWC serves as a hub of collaboration that strengthens the immigrant community through language acquisition, economic integration and civic engagement. https://www.welcomeimmigrant.org 

MAINE IMMIGRANTS RIGHTS COALITION: Coalition of a number of organizations that focuses on improving the legal, social and economic conditions experienced by Maine’s immigrants through advocacy, information sharing and collaboration both through and among our member organizations. https://www.maineimmigrantrights.org 

You also have the power to advocate to change the system that helped create this problem.  Do you have ideas? Concerns? Ways to make it better? Contact your legislators on both a federal, state, and local levels! Scroll down for legislators' contact info.    
 

HOW YOU CAN HELP OUR PLANET

DIOCESAN-LED SOLAR FARM PROJECT 

LEARN MORE ABOUT MENJ AND GET INVOLVED

The hope for MENJ is based on a belief that people of faith have a unique voice to share on the real crises that many Mainers experience every day.  MENJ will work with ecumenical, Interfaith, and community partners on common concerns through the legislative process. MENJ will work to implement social policy teachings and commitments of the Episcopal Church at the statewide and local levels through engaging grassroots leadership in the 60 congregations across Maine through training and information sessions.  

We will focus our advocacy, organizing, and education efforts on the Gospel imperatives: feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, welcoming the stranger, freeing the captive, ministering to the sick, caring for creation, and giving voice to the most vulnerable among us. 

We invite Maine Episcopalians to participate in a number of ways: 

Invite John Hennessy, director of MENJ to come to your church (your Vestry or Bishop's Committee or an education forum or during announcements) to talk about the Network and answer questions about important issues in Maine, including the upcoming legislative session. Be in touch with John to set a date at  or 207.772.1953 ext.126.

Join the MENJ Facebook group for news, links, and events.

Sign up for the MENJ's email newsletter and for occasional urgent action e-bulletins.

Another great step, to be up-to-date on national and international issues related to peace and justice, is to join the Episcopal Public Policy Network.

Through engaging in analysis, education, advocacy, and through supporting members, congregations, and Jubilee Centers and other social ministry organizations in their call to public witness, MENJ seeks to help fulfill God's vision of justice among God's people and Jesus' call to care for our neighbors.

Read Bishop Lane's invitation to MENJ here.

Learn how it got started on the New Northeast blog.

Download Alexia Salvetierra's presentation at the Faith-Rooted Organizing Workshop as a PDF here.

Photo album from the spring 2016 advocacy training event at St. Luke's Cathedral in Portland

 

CONTACT YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS

Find your Maine Representative 

Find your Maine Senator 

Senator Susan Collins  

Senator Angus King

Rep. Chellie Pingree (Dist. #1)

Rep. Jared Golden  (Dist. #2)

 

 public policy button

 

143 State Street | Portland, ME 04101 | Phone: (207) 772-1953 |