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Moral Movement Maine: Talk May 25 on multi-faith-based social action efforts

Group of clergy, faith leaders seeks to expand efforts statewide
May 21, 2019
The Rev. Allen Ewing-Merrill

Belfast — The Rev. Allen Ewing-Merrill will present a public program on Moral Movement Maine, a multi-faith-based social action organization focusing on justice, inclusion and compassion, Saturday, May 25, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the First Church in Belfast, United Church of Christ.

Moral Movement Maine, a group of Maine clergy and faith leaders, has been active primarily in Southern Maine, organizing public demonstrations around various justice issues such as immigration policies, fair taxes, measures to address food insecurity, and health care. The group now seeks to expand its activities statewide.

The Maine movement takes its inspiration from Moral Mondays, begun in North Carolina to protest many wide-ranging issues under the blanket claim of unfair treatment, discrimination, and adverse effects of government legislation on the citizens of North Carolina. It was founded by the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, now co-chairman of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.

“Soon after the 2016 election, Moral Movement Maine emerged as a formalized expression of deep interfaith relationships that already existed among faith leaders in Greater Portland, many of them already actively engaged in advocacy efforts, who recognized the need for a more organized, galvanizing, risk-taking activism effort, one that could mobilize colleagues statewide to amplify a progressive moral message in a time of national crisis,” Ewing-Merrill said.

Over the past two years, Moral Movement Maine has advocated for refugees and asylum seekers, opposed an immoral and unjust tax bill, defended the Affordable Care Act and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and rallied against the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Today Moral Movement Maine leaders are turning their attention to issues around the opioid epidemic and global climate devastation, among other issues, with a focus on both state legislation and federal policy that impacts the people of Maine.

A Searsport native, Ewing-Merrill is co-pastor of HopeGateWay, a United Methodist Church in Portland. He has recently been named as the new executive director of The BTS Center, the organizational successor to the former Bangor Theological Seminary, a post he will assume July 1 with the retirement of the Rev. Dr. Bob Grove-Markwood.

Denise Goodman, convener of the First Church Social Justice Team that is sponsoring the May 25 event, said, “Not since the 1960s has our nation faced such critical public issues, in an atmosphere of increasing hyper-partisanship, that call for an active faith-based witness for the values of justice and caring for those on the economic and social margins.

"All people of faith and conscience are invited to this Belfast gathering to learn how a Belfast-based group might organize to join that statewide effort," she said.





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