Faith Leaders Advocate for Children

Deaconess leads delegation to Child Advocacy Day

April 1, 2016 — On Wednesday, April 6th, Deaconess Foundation, a ministry of the United Church of Christ, will lead nearly 150 church members, community leaders, parents, children and representatives from child-serving agencies to Jefferson City to participate in the 34th Annual Missouri Child Advocacy Day. The day-long action begins at 9:00 a.m. and includes a march, a rally, workshops and conversations with legislators to advance child well-being in Missouri. The St. Louis area delegates will join another 400 child advocates from across the state.

“We believe you get stronger policy and legislation when you listen deeply to people affected by it,” said Rev. Starsky Wilson, president and CEO of Deaconess Foundation. “Our faith and community partners have prioritized investment in early childhood education, economic mobility for families, access to comprehensive health care and equity for youth in the justice system.”

The Deaconess-led delegation will include clergy from the United Church of Christ (UCC) and other faith leaders, including Rev. Ginny Brown Daniel, conference minister of the Missouri Mid-South Conference of the UCC, Rev. Wendy Bruner, pastor of Peace UCC in Webster Groves, Rev. Scott Lohse, pastor of St. Martin’s UCC in Dittmer, Rev. Larissa Forsythe, pastor of St. Philip’s UCC in Affton, Rev. Mary Albert, pastor of Epiphany UCC in South St. Louis, Carolyn Randazzo, Co-Chair of Metropolitan Congregations United’s Education Task Force and Deaconess trustee Rev. Norma Patterson, pastor of Good Shepherd of Faith UCC in East St. Louis. Other congregations participating include Christ the King United Church of Christ in Florissant, First Congregational Church in Clayton and Saint John’s Church (The Beloved Community) in North St. Louis. Busses will depart from and return to Parkway UCC on North Ballas Road in West St. Louis County and Christ the King UCC in North St. Louis County.

“Legislators should pay attention to concerns of members of a geographically diverse denomination with more than 48,000 congregants all over the state,” commented Frank Hamsher, principal of Skyline Public Strategies and chair of Deaconess’ Policy Advisory Board. “People active in faith communities care a lot about the well-being of kids, vote and are vocal in their communities.” 

 Community partners traveling with include staff, volunteers and people served by Beyond Housing; St. Louis Crisis Nursery; Fathers’ Support Center; Family Resource Center; Maternal, Child and Family Health Coalition; The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis; St. Louis Graduates; Hazelwood Southeast Middle School; East St. Louis NAACP Youth Council; and St. Louis Integrated Health Network.

Missouri Child Advocacy Day is a day of action for citizens who work to advance public policies and promote critical funding for programs that improve the lives of Missouri’s children, youth, and families. The Missouri Alliance for Children, Youth and Families is committed to assuring that the public policies impacting children work for them, not against them. More information online: @mochildadvocacy Hashtag:  #MOCAD2016                                                                                                             

Deaconess Foundation invests in the well-being of children, engages our region around the plight of youth, and advocates for change. A ministry of the United Church of Christ, Deaconess has invested more than $75 million to improve the health of the St. Louis community since 1998 and believes healthy, hope-filled futures for children benefit the entire region. For more information about Deaconess, visit Connect with Deaconess on Twitter @DeaconessFound, Facebook and follow #DFChildren.