At the First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis, Minnesota, people of all ages carry their own Passport to Justice. They are on a journey to help others. By the end of the church year, this congregation's members, young ones and older, will have passports filled with stamps from the places they have been. But where have their travels taken them? Not Amsterdam, Bangkok, or Caracas. No place far, at all. Just destinations in their own community where their presence can make a difference.
Why volunteer at a soup kitchen? Why tutor younger children after school? Why work in a community garden? What is this journey all about?
It is a journey to follow the call of justice, simply because that path is the right one, and for what other purpose are we here on earth but to find and walk the right path? In the Passport to Justice program, people let their hearts turn them toward a place the world is hurting and they can help. They use their heads, to discover a way their time and talents can make things better for others and the world. Then they put their hands to work making, teaching, witnessing, doing—and earning a new travel stamp.
First Unitarian is one of Unitarian Universalism's explicitly Humanist communities. A few years ago, the minister of First Unitarian Society, Reverend Kendyll Gibbons and a committee of members crafted these words to help explain what that means. Here is what they wrote:
The First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis is a Unitarian Universalist congregation in the Humanist tradition, offering personal growth and service opportunities without supernatural beliefs. We affirm the radical notion that human connections and human resources solve human problems, and help us to become the people we hope to be. We welcome diversity of people, ideas, and questions as we build community together.
Personal growth and service, without supernatural beliefs. It's humans that the people of First Unitarian believe in—what we are, what we are capable of, and how we should help one another. No god or rule book tells them where to follow the call of justice, what to do when they get there, or why. The Passport to Justice holders are Humanists. They love, and care, and act because they know it is right.
If you are called to justice not by a god of any kind, simply by your belief in human potential, your moral sense of responsibility to others, and a wish to use science and reason to determine how you can help, then you might use a Passport to Justice, too.
(With thanks to Jan Devor, Director of Religious Education, First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis.)