The 2016-2017 CPC Justice & Witness Ministry Team includes:
Aleita Hass-Holcombe, First Congregational UCC of Corvallis
Aleita is currently very involved in issues of homelessness and serves as volunteer director of Corvallis Daytime Drop-in Center which serves 75 – 100 folks daily M-F from 9AM-2PM. CDDC serves as a hub for information and access to a variety of social services in Corvallis. (See the CDDC web site at Corvallisddc.org.) Aleita is also passionate about the work of Witness for Peace, an NGO that advocates for peace, justice and sustainable economies in the Americas by changing U.S. policies and corporate practices. She is proud of current and past work with Rev. Denise Anderson to encourage Central Pacific Conference churches to intentionally develop just peace statements and formally commit as Just Peace Churches.
Alice Forsythe, First Congregational UCC of Portland
Dave Sutton, Ainsworth UCC
When my commitment to justice collided with the polity of the church in which I was raised and active for 40 years (United Methodist) I spent 10 fruitless years working to change it, before deciding I had to leave. I searched for one with no bar to inclusion, welcoming participation, membership and ordination by all. While my former church’s bar was sexual orientation, the issue for me was even broader – how a church could draw any line separating “welcome” from “not eligible”. First Church Berkeley (CA) and UCC ended the search, and when we moved to Portland ten years later, it was Ainsworth UCC. It’s been a welcome home for me and ALL my friends and my privilege to serve in a number of congregational and conference positions. I wasn’t asked to join CPC Justice & Witness. It was I who asked to join.
Rev. Elizabeth Durant, First Congregational UCC of Portland – Co-Chair
Elizabeth is a queer poet-preacher, activist, and rabble-rouser who deeply loves Mama God, her family, Buffy and Jesus (not necessarily in that order). She believes that spiritual growth and social transformation are twin sides of our calling to be church. Elizabeth is an active member of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) and co-leads the Portland chapter’s Interfaith Action Group. She serves as Assistant Minister at First Congregational UCC in downtown Portland.
Rev. Jim Ruyle, Hillsdale UCC
Rev. John Newton Hickox, UCC Congregational – The Dalles
In August 2016, before I left for 3 months in Palestine I stopped in on the three men who “represent” me in D.C. All three of them warmly welcomed me, even Greg Walden. In late November, as previously agreed, I contacted each of the three offices to schedule a time to meet to discuss what I’d learned while there. Only Merkley’s office responded. I chose this photo taken in his office on December 2, not because Jeff is very close to speaking out against the atrocities of the Occupation. I’m including it because he is at least willing to hear the hard truths about what’s really going on over there. I told him the common belief that Israel is modeling themselves after us in carrying out their abuses of God’s Palestinian children is entirely wrong. Actually, many of our most atrocious policies here are modeled after Israel’s 60 year treatment of Palestinians. Consider jack-booted police shooting Black teenagers in the back; or immigrants from Muslim countries being held in airports for example.
Joanie McClellan, Kairos-Milwaukie UCC
Molli Mitchell, Bridgeport UCC
With over a decade of non-profit program management experience serving families experiencing trauma, Molli brings a broad range of skills to support youth and mentor relationships to her position as Program Manager with Marathon Scholars. Molli holds a BS in Human Development and Family Studies as well as a Masters in Social Work, both from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. In her spare time, Molli enjoys cooking, spending time with friends, working to dismantle systemic oppression, being a part of a social justice-focused faith community, and jogging.
Salome Chimuku, Ainsworth UCC
Salome Chimuku is Angolan-American. Her family immigrated to Portland, OR in 1990 where she was born. Ms. Chimuku attended Willamette University in Salem, Oregon with a focus on Political Science. While at Willamette she also studied German and Russian. Salome speaks five languages (Bantu, Portuguese, English, German and some Russian). At the PSU LECC, Salome handles coordinating committee meetings, regional events/training, the profiling complaint process and reports. Ms. Chimuku previously served as Public Policy & Advocacy Director for the Center for Intercultural Organizing, and worked for many state wide elected officials in the Oregon Legislature.
Rev. Dr. Sally Godard, McMinnville
Sally serves as the Executive Director of Unidos Bridging Community, a growing non-profit organization that advocates for Latinx immigrant families and builds bridges of support and understanding among Latinos and non-Latinos in Yamhill County. Affiliated with Salem First Congregational UCC and Forest Grove UCC, Sally’s ministry is one of justice and witness at the local level. Sally is winding down her 30 year career in psychiatry where her focus has been on individuals and systems where mental illness collides with poverty. She and her spouse, Ron, live among goats and fruit trees, and always look forward to time with their children and granddaughters.
Susan Lea Smith, Salem – Co-Chair & Board Representative
I serve the World Council of Churches, the national UCC and the Central Pacific Conference as a resource on human right to water and sanitation and water justice. I am involved in efforts to minimize climate disruption and address other eco-justice issues, and to create a place for Salem’s homeless to call home. I am also devoted to the causes of racial justice and sensible criminal justice policy. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.