Our Justice Commitments
First UCC is staunchly committed to living out Jesus’ call for a just and more loving world.
In addition to being a Just Peace, Open and Affirming, and Immigrant Welcoming congregation, First UCC is strongly committed to racial justice, education and acknowledgement of our colonizing past, and creation care.
First UCC is also a member of ISAIAH, a faith-based coalition working for justice and equity in Minnesota.
The Covenant, a monthly social justice e-newsletter, has news and updates from all of the social justice ministries at First UCC.
As members of the First United Church of Christ of Northfield, we covenant with God and each other to engage in the work of racial justice to unmask, dismantle and eradicate racism from our society. We make this commitment knowing we are fallible people in a fractured world. Our actions will include building an anti-racist community through confronting our own racism, owning our racist history, and repenting of our role in systemic racism; fostering existing and new relationships to work toward racial equity; committing resources to racial justice; and listening to, trusting, and valuing the experiences of the people most impacted by racism. Our commitment to this covenant rests on our belief that God envisions a world in which people are treated with equality and dignity.
Open & Affirming
First UCC became an Open and Affirming congregation in 1994. After nearly 30 years, the statement was ready for an update. The revision is the form of a covenant which was approved at a special congregational meeting on June 19, 2022:
First United Church of Christ of Northfield, Minnesota, is an Open and Affirming church. We covenant with God and one another to work together to make our church open to and affirming of all regardless of gender, gender identity or express, age, economic or marital status, race, physical or mental ability, cultural heritage, or sexual orientation. We will seek to strengthen, encourage, comfort, and affirm each other as we strive together and individually to understand and experience God’s unconditional love.
Beyond Land Acknowledgement
The Beyond Land Acknowledgement (BLA) Team invites you to participate in field-trips this summer! We hope you’ll join us! Dates, info and details can be found below.
BLA is pleased to coordinate the following August field trips. We believe that seeing will lead to better understanding. All are welcome – bring family and friends!
Note: All of these sites are open to the public. You may visit them anytime. These organized trips offer an opportunity to explore and learn in the company of other First UCCers and friends.
Wednesday, August 9: The Mdewakanton
Dwellers of the Spirit Lake
This extensive public exhibit, which is part of the Shakopee Hoċokata Ti, provides visitors with a cultural experience that enhances their knowledge and understanding of the Mdewakanton. It’s a perfect field trip for hot or wet weather as it’s an indoor facility.
- Carpooling will leave from the church parking lot at 9:30 a.m. for the 45-minute drive to Shakopee.
- Admission fees range from $5-8 depending on age.
- Contact Margit Johnson for more information!
Tuesday, August 22: Waterford’s Indigenous River Crossing
This field trip consists of a hike in Carleton’s Lower Arboretum with Matt Rohn. We’ll be crossing the ford along the Dakota trail between the Mississippi and points south and west.
- Carpooling will leave the church parking lot at 9:30 a.m. for the drive to the Lower Arb.
- Bring water and shoes to wade in the river.
- This event will be canceled in the event of rain.
- Contact Matt Rohn at [email protected] for more information!
Before your trip, please consider these things:
- Contact the person listed with the event at least 2 days in advance to let them know that you’ll meet them in the church parking lot. Please also note if you’re able to take passengers in your car or if you’ll need a ride.
- Visit the links associated with each trip to learn more about the sites before you go.
- Pack water, snacks, or lunch – depending on your appetite and the location. Some will be near restaurants and others are not.
- Bring money for enterance fees (when required). See descriptions.
- Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring rain gear if weather threatens. If severe weather is forcast, the trip will be canceled.
Contact the Church Office at [email protected] if you’re interested in attending either of these trips, or if you would like more information.
A collage and description of past field trips will be gathered and published on the church website. To see July 8th’s trip, please click here! Past and future trips will be coming soon.
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An Indigenous Perspective on Forest Management and Forest Fires
Had enough of smoke-filled skies this summer? In this video, Mike Dockry, a previous U.S. Forest Service member and a current professor for the Forestry Department at UMN, describes how the Potawatomi tribe traditionally managed their forests. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation himself, Mike delves into how the timber yields in the forests which the tribes in central Wisconsin managed continuously outpaced the lumber baron’s clearing and cutting practices of the 19th and 20th centuries. This video is about an hour long and is worth watching as we rethink how forests are managed as our climate changes.
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Through a process of research, education, and conversation, First UCC adopted a Land Acknowledgement Statement on January 30, 2022 to recognize the colonial history of our church and of the 19th-century settlement of the Northfield area.
Recognizing that a statement is just a starting point, the Land Acknowledgement Task Force continues to provide opportunities for learning and awareness about the people on whose home we reside.
As a community of faith, we at First UCC Northfield acknowledge that our church was formed on the ancestral homelands of the Wahpekute Band and other bands of the Dakota Nation. Our church began here in 1856 when the Dakota were being forcibly removed from their homelands. With God’s help, we strive to repair ongoing injustices and grow toward right relationships with Indigenous people.
We lament the broken treaties and genocide that happened in the Dakota homeland Mni Sota Maçoke and the unjust legacy that persists. We faithfully commit ourselves to interrupt this legacy as part of our pledge to work toward racial justice.
We will continue with acts of healing through our commitment to hear stories of this place and those who have lived here for generations, to learn about Indigenous history, current stories, and public policies that impact Indigenous people, and to take appropriate action to begin repairing the injustices done to Indigenous people.
In November 2021, First UCC officially became an Immigrant Welcoming Congregation. This is a formal process of education and discernment through the United Church of Christ. The Immigrant Task Force continues to provide opportunities for learning, advocacy, and volunteering with our immigrant neighbors.
The Immigrant Welcoming Statement adopted by First UCC reads as follows:
Our scriptures, our experiences, and our hearts all tell us that, as people of faith, we must commit ourselves to a just world for all. Therefore: We covenant with God and each other to seek out, welcome, and deepen relationships with our immigrant neighbors and to work together with them to see that immigrant justice is done.
Immigration policy and the crisis faced by thousands at the U.S./Mexico border are complex and emotional issues. The Immigrant Task Force at First UCC has worked to compile materials from the Minnesota Conference, the broader UCC, and other reliable sources in hopes that they will aid in our congregation’s understanding of these issues and of our immigrant neighbors. We also hope you find inspiration and hope in the work that is being done by so many to lift others up and make them feel welcomed.
Material and links will be updated with regularity as many of the situations surrounding this topic are extremely fluid.
- Migration Policy Institute
- Immigrants in Minnesota
- Immigration in MN Facts & Figures
- Current Administration – Immigration Issues
- Green Card Voices
- UCC Stance on Immigration
- UCC Faith and Immigration
- COVID Cases Rising in ICE Facilities
- Unprecedented Number of Migrants at Border
Whether you are interested in making an educational trip to the U.S.-Mexico border, are wanting to volunteer here in our own community, are looking to engage in strategic partnership in communities where migrants originate, or are looking to reach out to individuals at the local, state or national level; there are countless ways to GET INVOLVED and make a difference!
Creation Care- Environmental Justice
Over the years, the Creation Care Team has worked to install rain gardens, solar panels, and energy-efficient LED lighting. Recently, the Creation Care Team has endeavored to introduce composting to the church building.
ISAIAH: Faith-Based Community Organizing
First UCC is a member of ISAIAH, a faith-based coalition working for racial and economic justice in Minnesota. We are called by our faith to not only care for the poor and the stranger, but to change the systems that lead to poverty and discrimination. ISAIAH at First UCC works in tandem with other faith communities in our area and our own First UCC social justice teams on advocacy and policy solutions. ISAIAH at First UCC has worked on housing and environmental issues both in Northfield and at the Minnesota Legislature. Issues ISAIAH advocates for include paid family leave, access to childcare, affordable and accessible health care, public safety, Islamophobia, voting access and other topics. There are myriad opportunities to get involved through advocacy with state and local legislators, door and phone campaigns, and community organizing training. Interested in learning more? Email for more information..