Learn more about our Social Justice programs
Does UUC provide direct assistance to individuals and families in crisis?
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.
How is UUC’s social justice work supported and overseen?
UUC has a half-time Social Justice Coordinator who reports to our Senior Minister and represents our congregation in many of our external coalitions and partnerships. Our Coordinator is supported by a Social Justice Steering Committee made up of members of the church. The Steering Committee’s role is to work with the Social Justice Coordinator to help make UUC fertile ground for justice work to happen. They oversee the Dedicated Plate Collection and Seeds of Justice programs, and look for ways to support and cultivate social justice leadership and initiative in our congregation. Much of the direct work of social justice is done by our different ministry groups and projects, made up of church members and facilitated by committed lay leaders.
What if I have an idea for a social justice project or group at UUC?
If you have an interest in establishing a new social justice action group or a short-term project, the first step is to contact our Social Justice Coordinator, Jennifer Bright. 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 something new, you will need to assemble five other members of the UUC community who want to work with you. Our Social Justice Coordinator can help you reach out to other people who might share your interest. Once you have assembled a group of committed individuals, you will need to articulate some goals and next steps, how you see your work fitting in with UUC’s mission and vision, and what support you might want from the church. Finally, the group completes and submits a simple form, which becomes the 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.
What are the benefits and requirements of forming an official social justice group or project?
Official groups and projects of the church 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. Each group must name one or two main points of contact. If the group is spending or raising money, it must adhere to relevant 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.
What if I’d like to hold a fundraiser through UUC for a good cause?
UCC has policies and limitations regarding fundraising activities, to ensure that these efforts are grounded in our social justice activities, foster a sense of collective action, and coordinate with the other fundraising needs of the church over the course of the year. Our social justice program has two main fundraising avenues: the Dedicated Plate Collection program, and our Seeds of Justice program. It is also possible for a social justice group to obtain permission to sell fair trade gifts at the year-end holiday season as a way of raising funds.