If you have an interest in establishing a new social justice action group or a short-term project, the first step is to contact the social justice coordinator, Jennifer Bright, via email or at 206-525-8400 x24.
If your idea fits logically under the goals of an existing social justice group or committee, the next step will be to contact that group. If your idea involves establishing a new group, you will need to assemble five church members who are willing to work with you. Once you have assembled a group of committed individuals, you will need to articulate the goals and next steps of your project: how you see your work fitting in with UUC's mission and the UU principles; and what support - financial or otherwise - you might want from the church.
This process is not intended to be onerous, but simply to help you clarify and articulate your thinking. It culminates in the completion and submission of a simple form, which in most cases becomes the committee charter required of all committees and groups by our church's bylaws. This request is reviewed by the social justice coordinator and social justice steering committee.
Official social justice groups have the right to request funding through UUC's budget process; the right to speak in public settings in the name of their group (although not on behalf of the entire UUC congregation); and the support of the social justice coordinator, the social justice steering committee, and UUC's ministers. Thus, by going through the formal approval process, groups and committees are enabled to act with the blessing, financial and practical support, and moral voice of the congregation.
In return, each group must revisit its goals, activities, and support needs each year, to assess whether its purpose and activities remain viable and vibrant. The group also identifies goals, budget requests, and fundraising needs for the upcoming church year. Each group must name one or two main points of contact. If the group is spending or raising money, it must adhere to the financial and fundraising policies and procedures of the church. Lastly, each group must commit to doing its work in a way that cultivates openness, respect, integrity, and personal relationships.
No. Sometimes ideas come along for simple one-time projects, or unexpected issues that require a quick response. Sometimes a covenant group or adult religious education class wants to do a service project and is looking for guidance. Sometimes creativity and passion just bubble up with a great idea that doesn't fit neatly into a box! For these sorts of ideas, the social justice coordinator can help you to decide whether the idea is feasible and appropriate, and the best way to get it done. Contact Jennifer Bright about your idea.
No. UUC participates in the University Churches Emergency Fund, which does an excellent job of assisting people with rent, utilities, moving, transportation, toiletries, and food, as well as referrals for other needed services. We therefore refer community members who come to us for basic assistance to UCEF (206-524-7885). Members of UUC's congregation who find themselves in need of assistance are encouraged to contact our care team.
UCC does have policies and limitations regarding fundraising activities, to ensure that these efforts don't compete, duplicate, or overwhelm. In addition, we are moving toward using our Living Justice Grants Fund as the mechanism for providing financial support for outside organizations and causes that are consistent with our social justice goals and UU principles. The priorities and procedures for the Living Justice Fund are under development at this time. Contact Social Justice Coordinator, Jennifer Bright, for more information.
The Green Sanctuary process pushes us to assess our environmental impact and take positive steps to make our church and congregational practices more sustainable. While sustainability is an issue of stewardship, ethics, health, and spirituality, it is also absolutely an issue of social justice. The US has less than five percent of the world’s population, but produces 21 percent of carbon emissions. The US agricultural system generates 20 to 25 percent of our greenhouse gasses. Meanwhile, climate change is projected to disrupt global food production and expose 75 to 125 million more people to hunger. Over one billion tons of pesticide products are used annually in the United States, including 380 million pounds of known carcinogens. And children, pregnant women, and Latinos carry more pesticides in their bodies than the general population.
For these reasons and more, Green Sanctuary falls under the social justice umbrella at UUC.
UUC has a social justice steering committee made up of congregation members, and a half-time social justice coordinator.
The church's social justice work is supported financially by two dedicated funds: the Social Justice Program fund, which supports our program costs, and the Living Justice Grants Fund, which provides grants and donations to outside organizations and causes consistent with our social justice goals. For more information on these funds, visit the Funds for the Future and Living Justice Fund pages.