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Social Justice and Outreach

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    The Interfaith Federation of Greater Baton Rouge held the annual meeting of delegates from member congregations at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church on Sunday, July 16. Our church was represented by delegates Maida Owens and Becky Cureau, who also serves as Federation president. The Reverend Robin McCullough-Bade, Director of the Federation, reviewed the activities of the past year, which celebrated the Federation’s 30th anniversary, which founded on September 16, 1986 as the Greater Baton Rouge Federation of Churches and Synagogues. A major focus of the year has been a re-institution of partnerships between black and white congregations, originally begun in 1996 to address racial tensions resulting from burnings of black churches in Mississippi. A goal of the partnerships is to create better relations through dialogue and development of relationships through shared activities. Ten new partnerships have been formed, with several in the process of forming. Our on-going partnership with Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church is one of the only two partnerships that have continued for the past twenty years. 

    Reverend Mc-Cullough-Bade also gave an overview of several activities to be instituted in the coming months, with special emphasis on the Federation’s major activities of the year: the Sounds of CommUNITY, held in the spring, which this year featured choirs from partnership churches and in which members of our choir performed; and the Annual Community Prayer Breakfast, held in the fall, which brings together more than two-hundred members of the community representing the diverse faith communities. This year’s Prayer Breakfast is on Thursday, September 7, 7am at Boudreau’s, located at 2647 Government Street. Tickets are $20.00. Each year our church is represented by a large number of attendees. Email rcureau@cox.net to reserve your ticket, or purchase after Sunday services. Future weekend announcements will include information about the Prayer Breakfast and other information about the Federation. 

    The mission of Interfaith Federation is to pursue unity, justice, and peace through interfaith cooperation in the Greater Baton Rouge area. See the bulletin board in the Coffee Room for more information about the activities that seek to fulfill this mission, and for opportunities for involvement. 

~Becky Cureau, Director of Outreach

    Our shared offering for the month of August is The SBP, formerly the St. Bernard Project, which was established as a non-profit organization in March of 2006 to rebuild homes destroyed by hurricane Katrina within St. Bernard Parish.  As of December of 2016 SBP had rebuilt over 1000 homes nationwide.  SBP has worked in Baton Rouge, Joplin, MO, New Jersey, New Orleans, New York, Columbia, SC, and West Virginia.  Their stated mission is to shrink the time between disaster and full recovery by ensuring that disaster-impacted citizens and communities recover in a prompt, efficient and predictable manner.

    Our church hosted the third Together Baton Rouge training session July 10th to prepare for the July 13th School Board meeting.  Approximately 80 TBR members were present on the 13th including a good number of UU's for the Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce's presentation of ideas and suggestions related to the Industrial Tax Exemption Program (ITEP).  The speakers from the audience were largely from our group of trainees and their heartfelt pleas for recovering those tax dollars were effective.  The major points made were that the school board needs to collect those exempted funds in the future from our industrial community who are predominantly here and established.  All felt that these industries need to be good tax paying members of the community.  The board members expressed appreciation for the Chamber presentation and for the public commentary on this issue.  The second event which the ITEP trainees attended was the July 26th Metro Council Meeting.  The result of that event will be reported in the next newsletter.

    Please help Mikel Albagdadi, a recent LSU graduate and VIPS Reading Friend and Dustin LaFont of Front Yard Bikes to get every student at Highland Elementary a bicycle.  Support the effort through GOFUNDME.COM/HELPINGHIGHLAND   If you have an old or even broken bike, please donate it to the project.  Bring it to 700 Terrace St. or to the church.  For more information call Mikel at 225-302-1817 or contact Sylvia L. Martinez from UCBR at slmartinez@bellsouth.net 

    The next meeting of the Social Justice Team will be either late August or September.

~Bobby Thompson, Director of Social Justice