It had already been a momentous week for our nation with the January 6 hearings, as well as several Supreme Court conservative-majority rulings striking down concealed-carry gun laws, limiting enforcement of Miranda rights, and impacting the separation of church and state. And today, our hearts are all the more heavy with the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, a ruling protecting the human right to make decisions privately concerning reproductive healthcare, including the right to abortion.
We know this latest news will surface a range of reactions and responses—despair, rage, grief, denial, trauma, confusion, and more. We acknowledge that the topic of abortion is complex, and some may experience ambivalence at this news. We are grateful for God’s all-embracing love and for our household of faith which has room for us all. Today and in the days ahead, we call upon God for hope, solace and strength, and for courage and clarity in our witness.
First Church is a member of the United Church of Christ, which has for decades taken stands on reproductive rights and today reiterated their affirmation of the God-given agency and bodily autonomy of women. Through resolutions like these,* our denomination and many First Church clergy and members have supported women to make reproductive healthcare decisions with their doctors, families, and God in ways that are consistent with protections that Roe v. Wade has held for almost 50 years.
As people of faith, we remember Jesus: who listened to and trusted the wisdom of women; who healed the bleeding woman in the crowd with touch; who commanded us to love one another, to care for the poor and vulnerable in our midst (including children), and to love our enemies. We know this decision will impact women across the country, especially low-income people and persons of color. We also know this will affect non-binary people, trans men, and all who bring life into the world. We join in calls for justice and dignity with and for all persons who do not have a choice over what happens to their bodies or the resources or privileges to help navigate a new post-Roe reality.
If you feel moved to pray, act, gather and/or learn in response to this moment, we offer the following suggestions, and we invite your ideas, as well.
- Join us at the center of Cambridge Common this Sunday, June 26, at 2:00 p.m. Come pray with us, rage with us, cry with us, make art with us. Together, we will pray, in community and with other Harvard Square congregations, for wisdom and strength to navigate this post-Roe world.
- Join the officers, members of the national staff, and movement leaders of the United Church of Christ tonight at 6:00 p.m. for Hope Beyond Roe, A Service of Gathering and Lament. Register here.
- We invite you to join us, as your conscience leads you, at marches, rallies today in the coming days and/or to contribute financially to organizations that are supporting reproductive care and equitable abortion access. Learn more here and here.
- If you are interested in gathering with folks at First Church to share responses to this letter and for facilitated conversation that welcomes different ideas and perspectives on how to make sense of this moment in the context of our faith, please sign up here. We will be in touch soon with a date or dates.
- If you are interested in learning more about the history and context of this issue and in reading contemporary spiritual and theological reflection from a range of sources, please visit these resources pages, and please stay tuned for a Faith and Life group later this summer where we can do some learning together.
Finally, if you or someone you know needs extra support at this time, Dan, Lexi, and Jaz are available for confidential, pastoral conversation. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to one another, too! The ways in which we take care of one another, our neighbors, and how we respond to the repeal of this ruling collectively and individually will be essential as we navigate how to live in a post-Roe world and sustain our hope in God’s vision for a more just and caring world.
Yours in faith,
Dan, Lexi, Jaz
*In our Congregational tradition, UCC Resolutions and similar denominational positions like these are offered as public and prophetic witness that “speak to” churches and members, however they do not “speak for” everyone in our churches or every First Church member.