The Christian Citizenship Seminar to be held next year on April 23-28, 2016, will focus on the theme, “Proclaiming Freedom: The Racial Injustice of Mass Incarceration.” The theme scripture is taken from Hebrews 13:3, “Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured.”
The CCS seminar is offered annually for high school age youth and their adult advisors, except in National Youth Conference years. It is sponsored by the Youth and Young Adult Ministry of the Church of the Brethren. Also involved in leadership of the event are staff of the Office of Public Witness. CSS provides high school aged students the chance to explore the relationship between faith and a particular political issue, and then act from a faith perspective regarding that issue.
“As disciples of Jesus, we need to take seriously scripture’s direction,” said an announcement. “In the past 30 years, our prison population has increased over 500 percent. Now there are over 2.4 million in American prisons, representing 25 percent of the total prisoners in the world, even though the United States represents 5 percent of the world’s total population. Additionally disturbing is the way the US criminal justice system disproportionately incarcerates people of color. If current trends continue, one in three African American men will spend time in prison.”
The 2016 event will begin on Saturday, April 23, at 2 p.m. in New York City, and will continue through 12 noon Thursday, April 28, in Washington, D.C. All high school youth and their adult advisors are eligible to attend. Churches are strongly encouraged to send an advisor with their youth, even if only one or two youth attend. Churches are required to send one advisor for every four youth. Registration will be limited to the first 100 participants, so early registration is encouraged.
Cost for registration is $400 per person, which includes: event programming, lodging for five nights, two dinner meals–one in New York and one in Washington, transportation from New York to Washington. Each participant will need to bring additional money for other meals, sightseeing, personal expenses, and subway/taxi fares.
CCS registration is now open online at www.brethren.org/yya/ccs .