Occupy Movement: Interfaith Worker Justice joins forces

Ecumenical economic fairness group reaches out to all faiths

IWJ reaches beyond its Chicago home to people of all faiths worldwide.

As the Occupy Wall Street movement spreads to cities around the world, a Chicago-based interfaith worker justice group has published a downloadable model prayer service format.

Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ) says the prayer service template is designed to help people reflect on a moral economy and basic human rights within the context of their religious tradition. Written for clergy and religious leaders, the prayer service is aimed for those in the Occupy Movement, both at the New York Stock Exchange and in other cities, and for congregational use.

Religions believe in justice for workers, proclaims Interfaith Worker Justice

Interfaith group takes to the streets in support of the growing 'Occupy' movement.

“Many people of faith are seeking to understand how their tradition calls them to respond to the (Occupy) movement,” the IWJ stated in its press release.

Joe Hopkins, a young adult missionary of the United Methodist Church, working with IWJ’s Workers’ Center Network, was one of 175 arrested on Saturday, October 15, in an act of non-violent civil disobedience at an Occupy Movement site in Chicago’s Grant Park.  (See video clip below from ABC’s Channel 7.) The crowd chanted together, “We are unstoppable; another world is possible.”

Hopkins said, “Imagine that world: families live together in their houses, the sick and elderly receive care, workers receive payment before the sun sets. I invite you to take a moment of silence to reflect on the voices so often ignored. Then when you’ve listened to those voices, break the silence. Join us in that possible world. We are building that world together right now, and you can build it with us.”

Kim Bobo, Executive Director of Interfaith Worker Justice, told the National Catholic Register, “The core issues here are the growing inequality in the nation, the lack of responsiveness to that and the job crisis.”

“There is a growing frustration,” Bobo said, “with what people have witnessed in Congress, which almost had a total meltdown this summer and couldn’t get anything done at all. People are just like ‘What are our options right now?’ We’ve got to get attention from our policymakers on these issues.”

The Interfaith Prayer Service is available as a free download here.

Interfaith Worker Justice and faith and labor communities across the nation were holding meetings Nov. 17-20 to prepare for action to develop an economic system oriented around workers rights and Just Jobs.

Interfaith Worker Justice has been organizing, educating and advocating at the intersection of faith and work since 1996.  Organizers has sensed a natural fit between IWJ and the Occupy Movement.  IWJ is located at 1020 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.,Chicago, IL 60660, and may be reached by phone at 773-728-8400.  For more information, contact Kelly Fryer via email at kfryer@iwj.org.