UUC’s Mission & Vision and Hosting Tent City 3

We cannot create justice without getting close to places where injustices prevail. We have to get proximate.

Bryan Stevenson
Founder, Equal Justice Initiative
Author of Just Mercy, the Unitarian Universalist Association Common Read selection for 2015-2016

As shared last week, representatives of three UUC social justice groups—the Social Justice Steering Committee, Teen Feed, and Lake City Partners—are exploring the possibility of UUC hosting SHARE’s Tent City 3 in the next year. This week we offer some thoughts about why doing so would further our Mission and Vision Statements.

Our Mission Statement

UUC is a community that covenants to awaken spirit, nurture hope and inspire action.

We believe that one way our spirits are awakened is by “get[ting] proximate to places where injustices prevail,” as founder of the Equal Justice Initiative Bryan Stevenson exhorts us in Just Mercy. At he elaborated at a BYU graduation, “I couldn’t believe how even in my ignorance that being proximate allowed me to have an impact on someone’s life [and] allowed me to make a difference.” When we “get proximate” we are pulled out of our narrow focus on ourselves and our immediate needs and drawn into community with others. Hosting Tent City 3 would give us an opportunity to get proximate to individuals who are experiencing homelessness, to be reminded of their “inherent worth,” as articulated in our 1st Principle, “the inherent worth and dignity of every person” and to make a difference to some of our Seattle neighbors who are experiencing homelessness, .

We believe that hope is nurtured when we act together to show that the world can be a better place. Hosting Tent City 3 could cultivate hope by our taking a small step to address Seattle’s seemingly intractable problem of homelessness, as many other congregations have done, either on a one-time or repeat basis.

We believe that hosting Tent City 3 could inspire us to further action, both as individuals and as a community. More direct service in our Teen Feed and Lake City Partners programs that serve unhoused individuals. More advocacy and lobbying through the JUUsticeWashington Advocacy Network or Act on Faith Advocacy Duos in favor of the changes necessary to end the scourge of homelessness: fund and build more permanent housing, temporary housing, and services for addicted and mentally ill individuals.

Our Vision Statement [partial]

  • We will create a more connected multigenerational community where all individuals welcome, value, and support one another and contribute to the common good.
  • We will risk leaving the safety of known ways in order to open ourselves to experiences of awe and mystery and deepen our sense of gratitude and awareness that we are connected to creation
  • We will vocally and actively oppose injustice and stand in prophetic judgment of all that would diminish the equality and dignity of human beings or harm the web of life. We seek partnership with those who share our goals and creative dialogue with those who challenge us in our search for larger truths.

If UUC hosts Tent City 3, we could choose to provide a meal once a week to the residents. This would provide an opportunity to connect members of all ages in contributing to the common good. Our children could make welcome signs or bake cookies.

For a variety of reasons, many of us are uncomfortable around homeless individuals. Hosting Tent City 3 would allow us to “leave the safety of known ways” and deepen our sense of gratitude for all that we have.

Hosting Tent City 3 can inspire us to “vocally and actively oppose [the] injustice” that exists when so many of our neighbors lacking stable housing. It would bring us in partnership with SHARE, an organization that shares our goal of housing for all.

Please join us in exploring the links between our Mission and Vision statements and the proposal to host Tent City 3.

Questions? Please contact Dave Mentz or Sallie Dacey.