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And More Congregational Social Justice

We are still running stories of congregational social justice projects because we received so many great stories!

North Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Lewis Center, OH

The NUUC Social Action Committee (SAC) has been involved in numerous projects during 2014 to raise awareness, encourage participation in social justice, and provide assistance to address human needs. Our congregation participated in UUSC’s Guest at Your Table program, hosted an Empty Bowls luncheon to raise money for the Mid-Ohio Foodbank, collected school supplies to benefit students served by the Delaware County Juvenile Probation Department, and collected gifts and donations to support Montana de Luz, a faith based organization in rural Honduras that provides a home for children affected by HIV/AIDS. Each month we donate our Loose Change Offering to an organization that provides educational awareness or support services to those impacted by social injustice. Our monthly Fair Trade sales of coffee and chocolate support fair wages for farmers and the proceeds from sales are used to sponsor a child at Montana de Luz.

During 2015 the Social Action Committee offered several educational programs on different social justice topics to provide information to members of our congregation and the surrounding community. Our environmental group watched “The Story of Solutions” discussed steps we can take to move toward a more sustainable future. We showed A “Place at the Table”, a documentary about hunger in America. We hosted a screening and discussion of “Disruption! “. We sent ribbons for the Climate Ribbon Project with two members to the People’s Climate March in New York City. We also showed “Dollarocracy – The Influence of Money on Our Democracy and What We Can Do About It.” Unitarian Universalist Church of Amherst, New York

In October, our committee offered a book reading called an " Innocent Man" by John Grisham about a innocent man with mental health isues, convicted of a crime and all the inequities in our legal, prison and mental health systems. Then we had a storyteller from Prisoners are People too and had a special collection for them.

Our Committee also provides a meal and chaperones for a homeless family by partnering with the UU Church of Buffalo through Family Promise. The Buffalo Church hosts familes for a week four times a year and our church assists with one evening meal and sleep over for the family or families.

We hosted a potluck for a UU minister Rev Mark Kiyimba from Uganda, He presented a documentary from Uganda regarding the abusive treatment of LGBT in his country. His church runs and orphanage for children whose parents died of AIDS and we collected money for his work.

The UU Church of Amherst belongs to VOICE - Buffalo, an organization of faith groups, teacher's union, many other groups that want to improve the public life in Buffalo, NY. On Nov 6 VOICE had a public meeting and our church was represented with many other churches and groups. At that meeting we invite politicians, and those in power, along with the community and asked for their support publically on issues to improve our life here in Buffalo. This year our focus was on restorative justice,, improving the mental health in Erie County and the County Jail, We also wanted to reinstitute the local conditional release program for non-violent prisoners. At the meeting the public officials announced their support in front of about 700 people.

West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church in Rocky River, Ohio

This year the Social Action Committee decided to honor long time member and one of the founders of the SAC, Jane Metzger, by renovating and expanding the food pantry at West Shore. The pantry is open every Sunday morning as well as during the week. We have two major food drives, one in October and one in February, and use the food collected to restock the pantry and also to share with Urban Hope a UU based drop in center for the homeless, and St. Paul's church where low income and homeless people can go for assistance.

In April we celebrated the 5th anniversary of the social action film series. We have shown films about PTSD, sustainability and climate change, human trafficking, economic inequality, drones, women's rights, marriage equality, and genetically altered food. There is a regular group of attendees but we have partnered with task forces at West Shore as well as other community groups to increase the viewing audience.

We participated in Homeless Stand Down and for the third year we collected shoes to be distributed by Walk A Mile In My Shoes. We also collected school supplies for Case School, where 10 members of West Shore regularly volunteer. Several of our members participated in raising awareness of mass incarceration issues and hope to focus on this issue in the coming year.