What are we doing as a congregation
Social Justice is an important part of Unitarian Universalism. The UUCiA strives to stand on the side of love and make our world a better place to live. The Social Justice Committee of the UUCiA meets and engages the congregation in activities such as carrying out service projects, bearing witness, fund-raising, and raising awareness on legislation around issues of concern.
Overall guidance of our congregation’s social justice programs is directed by the Social Justice Committee (SJC). Permanent funding comes from the congregation’s Social Justice Endowment investments as well as from operating budget support. The contact for the SJC is Ellen Prokopow.
The principal focus of the following local programs is Lawrence, the city of our origins, and/or Lowell. The following are places where the UUCiA and its members volunteer/donate regularly:
The UUCiA is also a founding member of LGBTQ Welcoming Communities of Faith (also known as Welcoming Faiths) a coalition of faith congregations in the Merrimack Valley who are united by their commitment to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer and/or Questioning individuals and families. Welcoming Faiths is a lay-led group that was established in the spring of 2011. The Welcoming Faiths contact for the UUCiA is Nancy Mulvey. We proudly display a rainbow flag.
Members of the UUCiA are also active with the newly forming Merrimack Valley Chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ). The UUCiA strives to be supportive of the Black Lives Matter movement. We have participated in local vigils and rallies and have had several worship services on aspects of the movement for black lives. We proudly display a Black Lives Matter flag.
Special Sundays: Periodically during the year the Congregation coordinates special campaigns (Book Drive, Present Drive, Coat Drive, etc.) to give adults and the children a hands-on service experience together. Contact person: Director of Religious Education Thea Shapiro.
Plate Give-Away: The Board of the UUCiA recently made the decision that once a month, we will give our Sunday plate away to a different charity. This begins in January 2017!
The UUCiA is a member congregation of UU Mass Action. Since 2006, UU Mass Action has had a history of mobilizing the 140 Unitarian Universalist congregations in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts around social justice issues. UU Mass Action focuses around three or four main campaigns, which are selected through polling congregations, consulting with activists, both Unitarian Universalist and non-Unitarian Universalist, as well as consulting with communities that are largely marginalized by the wider society. UUCiA minister Rev. Lara Hoke was on the Board of UU Mass Action from 2010-2015.
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee: Guest at Your Table brings together thousands of U.S. families and individuals as well as some UU communities abroad in a shared commitment to stand with people struggling daily for their human rights. Guest at Your Table is UUSC’s most visible program for congregational involvement. All monies collected benefit UUSC’s programs. UUCIA is considered a UUSC Honor Congregation, because over 10% of our members are also UUSC members.
UUCIA serves Fair Trade Coffee from Equal Exchange. Equal Exchange was founded in 1986 to create a new approach to trade, one that includes informed consumers, honest and fair trade relationships and cooperative principles. As a worker-owned co-op, Equal Exchange has accomplished this by offering consumers fairly traded gourmet coffee direct from small-scale farmer co-ops in Latin America, Africa and Asia. The coffee served after worship service on Sunday morning comes from Equal Exchange (donations appreciated). Using internationally recognized fair trade standards, Equal Exchange seeks to balance the inequities found in the conventional coffee trade. Coffee is a leading source of income for the Developing World. Through fair trade, it can be a delicious and powerful tool to bring about positive change for small farmers and their families.