The PC(USA) Office of Public Witness has released workshop titles and descriptions for Compassion, Peace Justice (CPJ) Training Day, held annually in Washington D.C. The 2016 training date is Friday, April 15. Attending Presbyterians can then join the larger ecumenical community for the next two days in plenaries, worship and discussion as part of Ecumenical Advocacy Days (EAD), which brings together more than a 1,000 people within the Christian community for its annual national gathering.

The event culminates on Monday, April 18, where attendees can lobby their local congressmen on important social justice issues. The 2016 EADs conference theme is “Lift Every Voice! – Racism, Class and Power.”

A wide range of topics is available in the training sessions, including racism, environmental justice, mass incarceration, and immigration. The new interim executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency (PMA), Tony De La Rosa, will co-lead one of workshops. Titled, “Lift Every Voice!: A Conversation…” De La Rosa will share his hopes for the PMA as it seeks to confront racism, class and power in the midst of transition within the agency.  Sara Lisherness, director of Compassion, Peace and Justice Ministries, will also co-lead this session.

Other workshops and their descriptions include:

Anti-racism: Next Steps?  - prepares participants to initiate conversations around anti-racism in their congregations and/or communities. Tools and resources will be made available.

Backyard Beauty, Backyard Pollution: What Role Can We Play in Environmental Justice? – explores how to go beyond changing light bulbs and starting a church recycling project to tackle systemic issues of race, class and power.  It includes a discussion on how to use the environment to bridge divisions that exist in our own communities.

Educate A Child: Disrupting the School to Prison Pipeline – focuses on the domestic component of the church’s Educate A Child initiative, and asks “Who has the power?” in our current education system. Leaders will equip participants with tools to directly serve students who are falling through the cracks and that can impact policy at local, state and national levels.

The Global Refugee Crisis – provides an overview of the current global crisis and suggests ways to respond to the largest number of refugees and displaced persons in the world since the end of WWII.

Locked Up and Locked Out: Addressing the Issue of Mass Incarceration and its Continuous Disempowerment of Low-Income Communities – examines recidivism reduction and the struggle inmates have acclimating to society post-release. It also examines the difficulties current laws pose for released offenders and their employment, voting and welfare opportunities.

CPJ Day participants can also choose to attend workshops titled Engaging Corporations on Human Trafficking; Global Corporate Exploitation: Debt and Taxes; Privilege and Social Capital: The Impact of Race and Class; and Unrigging U.S. Elections: Voting for Citizens, Not SuperPACs, to name a few.

You can view a complete list and description for each of the 17 workshops and register for CPJ Training Day and EAD. The discounted early registration fee ($75 for CPJ Day and $55 for EAD) has been extended to March 1.

In a previous story, Sara Lisherness spoke to the importance of CPJ Training Day, which has grown steadily over the past five years since it’s been integrated into the start of Ecumenical Advocacy Days.

“What’s important about this event is it gets at the essence of what it means to be reformed. We’ve always understood that we care for the spiritual life of faith communities, but we are also called to care for the moral life of our communities, nation and world. We are called to work for justice and peace.”

The Office of Public Witness, which is the public policy information and advocacy office of the General Assembly of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), hosts CPJ Day.