Joan Lund, September, 2012
email@example.com or 813-931-9727
Welcome to a “new” season in many congregations. In some of our congregations September begins with a “Water Communion” which is an expected and welcome rite. There is also something new for us at the national level. The UU College of Social Justice (UUCSJ) is an endeavor of the exciting collaboration between our Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC). This new College has been a part of a UUSC strategic plan dating back approximately two years.
The UUSC, founded in 1940, is a nonsectarian organization that works to advance human rights and social justice worldwide. Partnering with grassroots organizations and advocating for changes in public police the UUSC helps people in needed areas such as organizing workers and relief in the wake of a disaster. Without writing too much about our UUA, established in 1961 as the result of a merger of the Universalist Church of America and the American Unitarian Association, let it be said our UUA helps UU congregations thrive and promote the values of Unitarian Universalism. Both institutions share the mission of becoming true allies of oppressed people, and acting as catalysts for justice.
The UUCSJ is directed by newly appointed Rev. Kathleen McTigue who will lead the organization in offering current leaders and future activists of any age a broad and effective portfolio of service-learning and justice-education experiences. There will be no funding from the operating budgets of our UUA or UUSC because the UUCSJ is being funded by designated gifts from donors. At General Assembly (GA) it was announced there has already been a $1million gift. In approximately a year the UUCSJ plans to provide programs at the congregation level the help them determine justice priorities and develop local social justice alliances and partnerships.
I venture to say all of us have been challenged to make a difference in our world. The various social justice experiences/trips the UUCSJ already has offered and/or will be offered in the future are a way to experience an opportunity for personal transformation. Recently a group of 60 UUs traveled to Haiti to assist in the continued re-build there. Another recent trip involved a group of youth/young adults who journeyed to Tuskegee, Birmingham, Selma, and Montgomery to learn about the history of the civil-rights movement. They returned with reports of being overcome with emotion upon learning about Bloody Sunday, and the use of tear-gas and brutal beatings, including the death of one man, during the ultimately successful march to Montgomery.
If your congregation would like more information about the UUCSJ and/or upcoming social justice trips contact uucsj.org. If you would like to contact me please email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you. May your upcoming congregational year be spiritually enriching and rewarding in all of your endeavors.