Grow Justice. Know Peace.
Background: At a recent congregational meeting, Rock Spring members voted to transfer the balance of the Winfield Peace to a new fund and merge with the “Mission Fund” (resources as of 2022 in the Mission Fund have been fully allocated) to establish one fund called the Justice and Peace Mission Fund. Justice and peace are core values of the United Church of Christ and Rock Spring.
The Just Peace Church vision is a hallmark of United Church of Christ’s (UCC) theological identity. For over three decades, the Just Peace Church pronouncement has informed UCC witness across the life of the church and inspired a grassroots movement of UCC congregations committed to corporately naming and boldly proclaiming a public identity as justice-doing, peace-seeking church.  THE UCC calls out four components of Just Peace:
- For Just Peace in the community – so that all may live free from fear;
- For Just Peace with the Earth – so that life is sustained;
- For Just Peace in the marketplace – so that all may live with dignity;
- For Just Peace among the nations – so that human lives are protected.
As proclaimed on the Rock Spring’s website, WE ARE A JUST PEACE CHURCH.
“We now need to put as much effort into defining a just peace as we have done in defining a just war.” This was the challenge from Dr. Robert V. Moss, the second president of the United Church of Christ, in 1971. The UCC has defined Just Peace as the interrelation of friendship, justice, and common security from violence. Our commitment to being a Just Peace church inspires us toward direct service, legislative advocacy, and courageous witness.
Purpose: As described to the Rock Spring congregation, the Justice and Peace Mission Fund’s purpose is to “enhance Rock Spring’s Wider Mission by responding to new or urgent social needs, at the initiative or discretion of the Social Action and Mission Board in support of Rock Spring’s communities whether local, regional, national or global. The intention is to encourage Rock Spring to be nimble and innovative in responding to social need.” The Justice and Peace Mission Fund will be flexible, with funds available for disbursement throughout the year.
The UCC advises Just Peace churches “to determine areas where your church can go deeper in its Just Peace ministry or begin something new. Consider systemic issues inherit in justice issues facing our world and society and the work that needs to be done to dismantle or reform the system in order to create a just world for all.”
Therefore, the SAM Board agrees that the Justice and Peace Mission Fund should focus its giving in support of the four core areas outlined by UCC and the specific activities Rock Spring has identified to signify its commitment to being a Just Peace church.
As described to the congregation, the resources for the Justice and Peace Mission Fund would come from:
- the funds outstanding in the two original funds,
- memorial gifts currently being offered by members,
- other gifts from members and friends of the congregation, and
- any other funds approved by SAM and/or the congregation for the general support of Rock Spring’s Wider Mission.
Donations to the Fund are not directed donations. Decisions on grants will be made by the SAM Board (see below). It is recommended that the Fund carry a $5,000 balance with a goal of $30,000 annually.
Requests are made from congregational members to the SAM Board and the SAM Board will make final decisions regarding disbursement of funds. It is recommended that a grant minimum be set at $1,000. SAM Board members will evaluate the level of donations received and giving impact and provide a yearly summary. SAM will assess how the Fund evolves over time.
As noted, the SAM Board agrees that the Justice and Peace Mission Fund focus grant making criteria on activities that advance the purpose of a Just Peace church as outlined by UCC, and Rock Spring’s three areas that are the “how to” demonstrate our community’s commitment to being a Just Peace church. Therefore, the Justice and Peace Mission Fund request form, asks for information on how grant disbursements will support these areas and activities. Given that Rock Spring has several channels of giving, establishing a distinction for this Fund versus other opportunities of giving can help in decision making both by the donor and the SAM Board (see a summary of giving channels below).
Giving Channels at Rock Spring:The Rock Spring community has several ways to financially support the mission and values of Rock Spring. Each of these giving opportunities are distinct and are summarized here.
Application: If you are interested in submitting an application, you may do so by completing the Request for Support Form.
 Just Peace Handbook