Social Justice: A Vital Program for Your Emerging Congregation's Health and Growth
As emerging congregations are new congregations that decide to work toward becoming a member congregation of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), in time they will need to determine what their public ministry is. Social justice issues, from antiracism to environmental justice, can form core programming as the congregation establishes its identity in the community. Some of our established congregations are known in their communities for their sustained social justice work: as the congregation with a green church building, the congregation that works for equal rights for BGLT people, and/or the congregation that works for living wages. An emerging congregation can work toward having such an identity in its community.
Organizing around issues that are important to the members and relevant to others in the local community can make a difference in the world as well as make the congregation a fulfilling center for ministry that draws people to join and calls them to action. The programming itself can be an entry way into the congregation for many people. Discovering how much more we can do as a well-functioning group than we can do alone is inspiring and empowering.
Begin by thinking and discussing what you might do as a congregation.
- The Social Justice Empowerment Handbook (PDF, 141 pages)
has suggestions for finding the congregation’s passion and criteria for finding
a good ‘fit’ for the congregation.
- Holding a Social
Justice Empowerment Program is an excellent way to begin to organize for
sustainable ways to make a difference.
- The UUA Social Justice
Calendar includes information on the Actions of the Month campaigns and
upcoming social justice events that congregations can participate in with UU
congregations around the country.
Each action campaign includes resources and activities for congregations
that help us achieve our UU social justice values and move forward on our UUA
Legislative Objectives (PDF).
up for Justice Action News Lists to stay connected with UUA legislative and
organizing efforts. There
are several justice issues monthly newsletters for particular issues such as
Gulf Coast Recovery, BGLT Rights, Environmental Justice and more. Social Action Chairs News
is a monthly newsletter that provides resources and best practices for UU social
UUA’s Social Justice website has many
resources to help congregations in their social justice efforts.
- See the UUA's Top 5 Social Justice Resources:
- The Real Rules: Congregations and IRS Guidelines on Advocacy, Lobbying, and Elections;
- Inspired Faith, Effective Action (PDF, 39 pages): A Social Justice Workshop and Handbook;
- Social Justice Empowerment Workshop and Handbook;
- Congregation-Based Community Organization (CBCO);
- Socially Responsible Investing.
Over a dozen states now have UU Legislative Ministries and UU State Advocacy Networks. See UU Statewide Advocacy Networks to find if there is one in your state.
For help in adapting these resources to your particular congregation’s context or to hold a workshop on empowering your congregation we suggest that you contact the UUA’s Office of Congregational Advocacy and Witness (socialjustice @ uua.org).
For more information contact socialjustice @ uua.org.
This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.
Last updated on Monday, May 16, 2011.
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