Covenant Partner Spotlight: The Anti-Defamation League

Covenant Partner Spotlight: The Anti-Defamation League

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In a recent video interview (at right), Executive Conference Minister the Rev. Darrell Goodwin spoke with the Rev. Jake Joseph, a UCC pastor who recently began working as the associate regional director of the Anti-Defamation League of Connecticut.

Rev. Joseph, who formerly served as the associate pastor at the First Church in Guilford, CT, explained that he grew up in an interfaith family, with a father who is Jewish and a mother who is Christian.

"They chose to raise us as Christian with a deep appreciation for our Jewish heritage, family and traditions," he said. "So I grew up in this very cool interfaith envvironment."

Rev. Joseph said he was particularly drawn to the ADLs work against hatred and bias due to the increase in those types of incidents through the pandemic and the last election cycle. He said it especially hit home last year, when his church's annual meeting was disrupted by Zoom bombers.

"The church was targeted because I was an out LGBTQ minister. The Zoom bombing was horrible. We lost control of the Zoom, which happens because you're in a panic. It was a very horrible attack on the congregation," he said. "After that experience, I also became aware through my family on my dad's side - talking to my nieces, my brother, my half brother and sister - about the increase in fear and antisemitism that they are witnessing and experiencing. And this all came together this summer when I saw this position open as associate regional director dedicating this time to responding to all the incidents in Connecticut of hatred and bias and antisemitism, of homophobia, of racism, et cetera, here in this state."

"Our world is at a time when we need all of us, no matter what titles or positions we hold, to dedicate ourselves to fighting hatred bias and extremism in all of its forms," he said. 

Rev. Goodwin and Rev. Joseph spoke about the missional alignment of the Southern New England Conference and the ADL, and the ways in which they can help one another.

Rev. Joseph said the most important thing congregations can do to fight against hatred is to continue to build deep relationships with local synagogues and communities of all faith traditions.

"Those relationships come to the forefront in any moment of crisis or bias in the community," he said. "That's what helps us and helps other communities know that they're not alone and can show up for each other."

Rev. Joseph also urged anyone who experiences an incident of bias or hatred to go to the ADL website at https://connecticut.adl.org/ and report it using the form there. 

And finally, he encoruaged anyone looking for resources to visit the website where they can find content and curriculum that can help in responding to all kinds of bias and hate.

And - as Rev. Goodwin pointed out in the video - the resources are free.

"It's literally something that the Anti-Defamation League is just making available so that we can start to sort of push the conversation around anti-bias and making this world a more inclusive place," Rev. Goodwin said. "And you don't have to have a budget in your church for it."

Rev. Joseph invited anyone who wants more information to contact him through the website, and also said he can help churches outside of Connecticut to connect with the ADL in other parts of New England. 

"I just really want to encourage our churches lean in with this covenant partner and take advantage of many of the resources that Rev. Jake Joseph has offered today," Rev. Goodwin said. "You know, one of the things that I really appreciated in my meeting with ADL of New England is this understanding that we are in this work together. Where we see injustice, all of us need to step up and do something about it. And if we can find a covenant partner to walk alongside in the mission and the ministry together, then I think the Anti-Defamation League is definitely one of those partners who's willing to do the work."



 
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