On Sunday, October 5th, Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregations in Northern Virginia participated in the founding day of action for the brand new congregation-based community organization (CBCO) VOICE (Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement).
Founding members include the UU Church of Arlington (UUCA), UU Congregation of Fairfax, and Bull Run UUs as well as Accotink UU Church and Mt. Vernon Unitarian Church, along with 40 Muslim, Roman Catholic, Protestant, & Jewish groups of different races, nationalities and languages.
Over 2000 people attended in total, including 27 elected officials (including former Gov. Mark Warner, running for US Senate) as well as the Bishops from the Episcopal, Methodist, and Presbyterian faiths.
Together with forty other member congregations, UUCA committed to support VOICE with $234,000 in dues next year. Attendees demonstrated publically that the congregations have the people, the money and the commitment to be a power player in the politics of northern Virginia. The new VOICE theme proclaims a "New Dominion" of new voices for a new agenda in the old Commonwealth.
UUCA's 210-person turnout was 10% of the total assembly! Rev. Linda Peebles co-chaired the event with collegial eloquence and authority. Also speaking from the podium, Robert Buckman of UUCA summarized the rich diversity of faiths united behind the action.
In recognition of UUCA's rising leadership within the VOICE community, the UUCA will host the formal internal evaluation of the founding action on Monday, October 27th. Clergy and lay leaders from all forty member congregations will attend.
Sunday's VOICE action drew significant press coverage. See pictures and videos of 2000 energized people, many in yellow highlights, and read the details of who was there and what they said:
- One powerful video that captures the essence of the action
- VOICE leader Jeanne Mitcho took some excellent photos at the action
- More photos
- Audio on NPR Station WAMU 88.5 FM, Monday October 6
- A Binding Concern for the Poor, Washington Post, Saturday October 4
- Politicians Urged to Target Poverty, Washington Post, Monday October 6
- Thousands of Church Members Meet Near Dumfries, Potomac News, Monday October 6