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One way to encourage participation in the social justice empowerment workshop is to conduct a vigorous publicity campaign. This includes articles in the congregation’s newsletter; announcements over email lists, in the order of service, and from the pulpit; and notices on bulletin boards.
Some congregations identify those people who are involved in their community by rolling a large piece of newsprint on the wall. This can be done before a Sunday service or during the coffee hour after the service. Members of the congregation are encouraged to list on the newsprint the ways they are engaged in their local community or support particular national or international social issues. This helps members become aware of the many ways that people are involved. It helps you identity people who you can use, and as an experience to build momentum for the workshop.
Most congregations have a membership directory. You can go through the directory to identify people who are social activists, and extend a special invitation to them to attend the weekend social justice empowerment conference. Have the minister or ministers, members of the social justice committee, a couple of long time members of the congregation, and a couple of recent newcomers meet to identify those individuals in the congregation who are involved in social justice issues in their church and in community wide activities. Using the congregation’s directory, review each member’s area of professional and avocational involvement. Think as broadly as possible about the ways people are active. For example: teaches in a school, works in a social agency, serves on the Board of Planned Parenthood, contributes generously to the Sierra Club, teaches seminars on women’s issues, has special knowledge of environmental issues, and so on.
Send an email or a letter to the people you identify through this process informing them of the upcoming social justice workshop and extending a special invitation. Set up a phone chain and call these people. Make sure they got a copy of the letter or flyer and know about the event. Ask them if they will be planning to attend.
Another way to create interest in the workshop is to survey the members of the congregation. In this survey you can ask people about the ways they are involved in social issues. And you can request information about what issues members think the congregation can take action on. Surveys can be conducted through a variety of media and outlets, including through the mail, as an insert in the order of service, and over email. SurveyMoney is a free service that allows you to create online surveys that you can email to others.
For more information contact socialjustice @ uua.org.
This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations.
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Last updated on Wednesday, August 24, 2011.
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