December 3

By: Rev. Erica Poellot, Minister of Harm Reduction and Overdose Prevention Ministries, UCC National

So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the Child of Humanity is near, at the very gates. - Mark 13:24-37

“Hope is a discipline.” – Mariame Kaba 

Abolition asks us to commit to birthing the communities we want to live in and want our children to be able to grow up in in the future. It asks us to imagine anew how we want to be in relationship with one another, with ourselves and with the world, far beyond the reaches of punishment and policing. Abolition asks us to practice these new ways of being together, ripe with the possibility of freedom and flourishing for all of creation.

The systems pregnant people currently birth in are shaped by criminalization, stigmatization, capitalism, and white supremacy. The experience of pregnancy and parenting for people who are already marginalized often looks like heightened surveillance and profiling by medical and social service providers, criminalization of HIV status, documentation status, or substance use history, the involvement of family policing systems for ‘non-compliance’ or ‘child endangerment,’ and medical paternalism and violence.

Today’s scripture invites us to awaken to the signs of transformation emerging in our midst as indicators of God’s closeness. Perhaps we can experience the nearness of God-in-the-flesh when we imagine what communities of care and justice with pregnant and parenting people might look like and commit to putting our faith into practice to midwife a world which supports the flourishing of all families. Perhaps we awaken to the signs of Love among us when we practice unconditional positive regard for all pregnant and parenting people, recognizing and honoring their full humanity. By centering self-determination and bodily autonomy, we would trust pregnant people to make decisions about their own well-being and the well-being of their families – then we know, God is near. If we listened in to the experience of pregnant and parenting people, we would respect their agency and wisdom to tell us what support is needed or wanted, and we would prioritize keeping families together –  then we know, God is near. And, if we led with compassion and care, we all might experience freedom – then we would recognize that the Child of Humanity is near, at the very gates.

Abolition is hope in action to bring about the world we want to live in and want our children to be able to grow up in in the future. This is how the hope of God-with-us comes near.



Awaken us, Holy One, to the acts of abolition, of freedom for all bodies,
that are signs of your presence always drawing near to us.
As you call us to create your kindom on earth, reveal to us the emergence of your Love in flesh and bones,
as close to us as the communities of flourishing and freedom we are building.
Until this kindom comes, we pray.  Amen.


Artwork: “My Body. My Choice” Part of a Triptych by artist Kill Joy.
Used with permission CC BY-NC-ND
Find more at Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative


“Rarely, if ever, are any of us healed in isolation. Healing is an act of communion.”- bell hooks

Take Action

Abolition is...hope in action.

  1. Support pro-active approaches to decriminalize healthcare for parents.
  2. Learn about pregnancy and substance use and connecting to care.
  3. Get involved with the 16 Days of Activism to End Gender-Based Violence using the UCC’s Activism Guide, Media Toolkit and Worship Resources.
Promote Pregnant People's Personhood

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