Worthy Now: Sponsor an Incarcerated Unitarian Universalist
We are both excited and distressed to report that the Church of the Larger Fellowship’s incarcerated membership continues to grow each year. Excited about the prospects of sharing our life-saving and hope building faith as well as distressed that our sibling Unitarian Universalists are caged within the prison industrial complex. We now serve over 1,200 prison members and with that comes an increase in costs, both material and spiritual. It costs the Church of the Larger Fellowship at least $150 per person to provide hope in the form of Unitarian Universalist programming and services to incarcerated individuals. Many people living in prison learn about the UU message of liberation and inclusivity through Church of the Larger Fellowship’s Worthy Now prison ministry outreach.
Every dollar you donate will be doubled!
Can you give $50 to fund hope today?
By contributing to the success of this Faithify Campaign,
you will be helping over 1,200 UUs living in prison.
Your financial support of the Church of the Larger Fellowship Prison Ministry provides vital programming and services to over 1,200 incarcerated Unitarian Universalists:
- Pastoral Care
- UU World
- Quest Monthly
- Worthy Now Prison Ministry Newsletters
- Reading Materials from Skinner House and Beacon Press
- New UU Classes
- Pen Pals
- Tapestry of Faith Religious Education Correspondence Classes
Your generous contributions help the Church of the Larger Fellowship run our letter writing ministry. This program provides one-on-one contact between UUs in the free-world (that’s you) and one of your Unitarian Universalist siblings living in prison. We have over 300 letter writing partnerships. Every year thousands of letters are forwarded through the Church of the Larger Fellowship’s office to our members living in prison. This program is the heart of our ministry—and is a lifeline to many of our members.
“Part of my ministerial calling is focused on making sure that our incarcerated members are seen in the fullness of their humanity. And for that to happen we in the “free” world need to realize that this is not an us vs. them situation because, as Fannie Lou Hamer said, not one of us is free until we all are free.”
—Christina Rivera, Minister of the Worthy Now Prison Network powered by the Church of the Larger Fellowship
This year we are pleased to participate in a partnership with Melchor-Quick Meeting House and The African American Education & Research Organization. We’re collaborating to determine the racial and ethnic identities of our incarcerated members in order to provide more culturally appropriate ministry.
Melchor-Quick Meeting House was created to foster the preservation of African American history and culture. In this project, The African American Education & Research Organization (AAERO) is working with Melchor-Quick Meeting House to improve access of incarcerated African Americans to culturally appropriate materials for the exploration of ethical and moral values and practices.
Currently, the racial and ethnic identities of our incarcerated members are unknown. Our collaboration with these organizations will add race and ethnic identity to our database of nearly 1,200 members.
The cost of all this programming is about $150 per person. It would mean so much to the lives of these members if you, your friends, and/or your congregation could sponsor an incarcerated Unitarian Universalist (or several!) That is less than 50 cents a day to fund this spirit sustaining ministry. And we know that perhaps a different gift amount may be more in your range. The truth is, whatever you can give, every dollar counts; every dollar helps bring programming and the message of hope and Love to Unitarian Universalists living in prison all across this country.Being loud and proud about our faith comes in many forms, so we invite you to consider if this is the way you can bless someone’s life with the hope of Unitarian Universalism. Sponsor a sibling UU who is living behind prison walls!
Click on the FAQ tab to learn more!
Nashua Host Home Network
STRETCH GOAL ADDED! SEE DETAILS BELOW
Help Inna stay in the US and escape persecution
Inna is from Cameroon and has been in the US since 2015. She is currently in deportation proceedings and is seeking asylum.
In Cameroon, a local chief asked Inna to marry him. He already had more than ten wives and many children. Inna refused. As a result of her refusal she was subsequently the victim of physical assaults by masked men, loyal to the chief. During one of the assaults, masked men threatened to rape her daughter. In 2015, Inna fled to the US.
In the US, she earned a Certificate as a Nursing Assistant in September 2016 and started to work in an assisted living community. She also volunteered at a nonprofit that runs a food pantry and secondhand store. In 2018 she began paralegal studies at Mount Wachusett Community College. In 2019, due to being misadvised regarding her deportation case, she did not attend a court hearing.
ICE detained her at the border, and put her in jail, where she spent the next 7 months.
A coalition of local New Hampshire immigration support groups and faith organizations, including UU Action NH, The NH Conference United Church of Christ, the American Friends Service Committee, and Never Again Action, are supporting Inna. They helped pay her bond. A local family invited her into their home, where she is now staying. Inna hopes to get a work permit, finish her paralegal studies, win asylum, become a US permanent resident and eventually become a US citizen. She also wants to bring her daughter to the US.
After her experience with incarceration, she also wants to devote herself to helping people in jail. But to accomplish her goals, she needs to resume her asylum case, and eventually win.
Inna’s legal fees will exceed $10,000. Local donors have stepped up with over $3000 already, but more is necessary in order to restart and complete her asylum case. Inna needs your help. We are compelled by our faith in peace, liberty, and justice for ALL, to support asylum seekers like Inna. Anything you can give would help greatly. Any money raised that goes beyond Inna’s needs will support other asylum seekers in New Hampshire.
Unitarian Universalist Meetinghouse of Provincetown Sanctuary Restoration
A pew and floor in the Sanctuary.
Sanctuary restoration and accessibility project at the Unitarian Universalist Meetinghouse of Provincetown.
During this time when we cannot gather together in the UUMH of Provincetown, we want to use the time our temporarily going online affords to engage in stewardship of the historic interior of our Sanctuary. We have been entrusted with a beautiful and historic building, and we want to preserve, restore and steward it, as well as increasing accesses for all members of our congregation and guests, now and into the future.
We will also improve accessibly and inclusion for members of the congregation and guests who use wheelchairs or scooters, by carefully removing one row of pews to create more room while being mindful of the historic integrity of the Sanctuary.
We have a budget of $20,000 for this work with a match of $10,000. We are seeking to raise $10,000 from the congregation, UU’s worldwide, as well as friends and visitors. You can donate online by credit card here, or mail a check payable to UUMH of Provincetown to PO Box 817, Provincetown, MA 02657. Please make a note “Sanctuary Restoration” in the memo field if donating by check.
Center aisle of the Meetinghouse.
This project is being undertaken in consultation between the Board and a member of the congregation with a master’s degree in historic preservation to sensitively restore the Meetinghouse pews, floors, hymnal racks, handrails, etc in a historically appropriate way. We are keenly aware of both the emotional and historic significance of our building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and want to do our best to do this work in a historically appropriate way.
Gay For Good – Board Development
Gay For Good (G4G) is the nation’s leading LGBTQ volunteer service organization, mobilizing thousands of volunteers annually, to enhance LGBTQ visibility, cultivate understanding and build positive relationships between diverse groups of people, while helping the environment, animals and people in need. Gay For Good volunteers have logged thousands of hours with our sixteeen chapters throughout the USA and are steadily growing to become leaders in social impact.
Since 2018, the all-volunteer Gay For Good board has hired the organization’s first full-time employee, added five new board members, and grown the organization by adding six new chapters. Each summer the board meets for a retreat. This year, with COVID-19 travel restrictions, we are forgoing our in-person retreat. Instead we will dedicate time to further our own understanding of non-profit leadership with the assistance of a governance coach. We are in final stages of selecting from three very strong proposals, and this Faithify campaign will fund that training plus ongoing follow up.
So why does this matter? Why is this important?
While our nation is often celebrated as a cultural melting pot, made up of citizens from a variety of backgrounds, races, sexual orientations and beliefs, those differences can also be its greatest challenge to overcome. Many neighborhoods are formed by people of a shared familiarity: cultural identity, religious alignment, economic status or political viewpoints. These neighborhoods exist both geographically and virtually (online), where many people primarily interact with only those who share similar history and beliefs. Fear of those who are different is exacerbated by these divisions, leading to isolated groups of people living in proximity to each other geographically but miles apart in their understanding of their neighbors. Those who perceive themselves to be an “other” within these silos can feel isolated and may struggle to find a sense of belonging in their own backyard.
Gay For Good brings people together. Through interaction and shared goals, people of different backgrounds can foster new relationships with each other and discover through their shared experiences that they have more in common than they knew.
As an incredible byproduct of our work, our volunteers have found community within our community. Often, volunteers lack family support and turn to the LGBTQ community to fill the void left by family rejection. Some face increased challenges connecting with like minds where marketing and traditional business models favor more lucrative social interactions like night clubs and parties. Gay For Good offers an alternative way for people to connect and our members have forged family-tight bonds.
What are the connections between Gay For Good and Unitarian Universalism?
When our board recently revised our non-discrimination policy, we used the policy on the UUA website as a guide to be sure that we created a policy that was as inclusive as possible. Our Boston chapter has a long-standing partnership with Arlington Street Church, which has given grants as part of their support of community programs and also provided space for our volunteer projects. Our current national board chair, Art Nava, has been a member of Arlington Street Church since 2004 and also serves as a lay leader at the regional and associational level. His leadership has been shaped by his Unitarian Universalism, and he brings his experience from UU settings to his work with our organization.
Photos: Rev. Kim K. Crawford Harvie and members of the Arlington Street Church worship team help build wagons at an annual Gay For Good project in Boston that has provided over 600 wagons to partner organization Toys4Joys.
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Support Military Ministry
In World War II, the Church of the Larger Fellowship (CLF) was founded to reach out to those who were serving our country both at home and abroad. Today, our Military Ministry program is one of the CLF’s leading outreach programs. There are over 25 Unitarian Universalist chaplains serving in all branches of the Military, located all over the United States and in Germany. The CLF supports UU military chaplaincy and active and returning military members.
Every dollar you donate will be tripled!
Can you give $50 to support the CLF Military Ministry today?
By contributing to the success of this Faithify Campaign,
you will be helping hundreds of service members across the globe.
Unitarian Universalists have served, and do serve, in the military (sometimes this feels like the best-kept secret in our denomination). In recognition of this, the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) has made strides towards welcoming military personnel and veterans into our congregations. In 2010, the UUA issued a Statement of Conscience entitled “Creating Peace” in which they declare:
“We bear witness to the right of individuals and nations to defend themselves, and acknowledge our responsibility to be in solidarity with others in countering aggression…We affirm a range of individual choices, including military service and conscientious objection…as fully compatible with Unitarian Universalism. For those among us who make a formal commitment to military service, we will honor their commitment, welcome them home, and offer pastoral support.”
Unitarian Universalist military members may have difficulty finding religious support that reflects their progressive values. These challenges often continue when UUs come home. Veterans may feel isolated and wonder how they will be welcomed back to their congregations.
That’s where the CLF Military Ministry comes in. We aim to provide spiritual support to service members and their families during active duty and when they come home. While educating and empowering the next generation of military chaplains to continue this crucial work.
“Marines would fall asleep in two minutes if I read a sermon to them. They expect 100% authenticity and 100% excellence, and if it’s not there, they don’t trust you. Preaching at the Church of the Larger Fellowship strengthened my instincts for creating sermons without writing a word. This has been an essential part of my success in chaplaincy.
—Susan Maginn, U.S. Navy Chaplain
Rev. Jake Morrill, former military chaplain, and current CLF Board Member, writes:
Whether in combat or not, a Service member’s duty involves ongoing decision-making, with high moral stakes. Promoting and supporting the capacity for ethical decision-making leads to an even more ethical, morally-grounded military culture. Military ministry is important because people in uniform, mostly young adults, are often encountering stressors different from stressors in civilian life…
In the military Unitarian Universalist ministry, in particular, plays an important role. As the military population, like the rest of the country, becomes steadily more secular and “un-churched,” a Unitarian Universalist military ministry can support meaning-making in the Humanist tradition. Unitarian Universalist ministry in the military celebrates GBLTQ Service members and their Families, and can provide vital programming, with an ethic of inclusion. When a Service member is Pagan or practices some other minority-status faith tradition or expression of spirituality, Unitarian Universalist ministry in the military doesn’t balk, but instead supports the free expression of that person’s faith, as upheld by the First Amendment.
When you donate $50, we receive $150.
Every single gift is being tripled.
The Church of the Larger Fellowship is crucial to the formation and support of military chaplains (MCs) around the world. We have built a sustainable pipeline to create and support the next generation of MCs. How do we do this?
- We serve as the MCs home congregation
- We provide pastoral support to MCs
- We host monthly meetings for MCs
- We assess aspirant MCs
- We provide MCs a congregation to which they can officially affiliate as community ministers and receive support
In short, we give military chaplains (who move around frequently) a place to call their own.
Your donation will help us provide resources to service members around the globe.
With your funding we can provide our military personnel and their family with:
Online Community Gathering Space
Written Resources and Materials
Read more about our Military Ministry program at www.clfuu.org/military.
*Due to generosity from the Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock and a coalition of 12 individual donors, every dollar will be tripled.
Bounty for Babies Forever
Bounty for Babies Forever
A justice project of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ellsworth (UUCE)
In December 2019, after learning that families who needed food and supplies for babies were having to be turned away from the Loaves & Fishes food pantry due to inability to stock these products, UUCE launched a very successful Reverse Advent justice project in which the congregation was asked to donate specific foods and supplies for babies daily during Advent. The items were donated to Loaves & Fishes food pantry, and distributed as needed to the families served by the pantry. This project was a big success, and generated over $2000 in cash and goods. Our church has committed to continuing the project into perpetuity by asking congregants for weekly donations as baby items get used from the Loaves & Fishes stock. Our goal is to ensure that no family goes without obtaining the needed food, diapers and health care supplies for their babies. This project is run under the auspices of our Peace and Social Action committee and is managed by the Bounty for Babies Task Force.
Although the project has only been in existence for two months, we have already made a huge difference in the lives of families in our community. Since its inception, no one has had to be denied items they need for their babies. The program serves over 30 families each month and, at the request of the families served, has been expanded to include food and supplies for toddlers. Additionally, we provide Birthday Bags, which contain a small toy and the supplies needed to bake a birthday cake, to parents of children of any age.
To date, this project has been fully funded by UUCE. A very generous anonymous donor has now come forward with a proposal to match up to $5000 in donated funds to support the Bounty for Babies project, and to form the basis through which it can be sustained.
Please support us as we strive to raise the matching funds so that we can carry this project far into the future. In honor of this donation, and with the hope and expectation that we will reach our goal to match the funds, we are renaming the project Bounty for Babies Forever.
Help our MidMaine YoUUth service project team get to Safe Passage/Camino Seguro in Guatemala City this July!
UPDATE April 9, 2020: DUE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, THIS CAMPAIGN HAS BEEN CLOSED. ANY PLEDGES MADE WILL NOT BE PROCESSED. THANK YOU.
Safe Passage let us know they are canceling all visitors for 2020, so it’s off. Our general plan is to reschedule to next year. Thanks to those who were willing to donate!
Original Description follows for archive purposes.
Safe Passage/Camino Seguro is a top-rated charity working in Guatemala City since 1999 to bring hope, education, and opportunity to the children and families trying to make a living around the city’s garbage dump—one of the largest landfills in Central America. Their mission: “We help children in the Guatemala City garbage dump community break the cycle of poverty through education, emphasizing life skills and perseverance in order to thrive in work and contribute to their community.”
Our group of UU youth and adult leaders will serve as Support Teams at Safe Passage for a week, engaging with “affiliates of all ages – from the littlest learners in the Jardín to the women in Creamos.” We will learn about Safe Passage and their programs while we provide valuable assistance: in English classes, as classroom assistants, planning and leading activities in our Escuilita English classes, meeting and working with the women-artisans of Creamos (buying their fabulous jewelry), and supporting the operations team with much-needed tasks, etc. It is a hand-on opportunity to see how an organization clear in its mission can make a difference, and give us the opportunity to do so as well by showing up and helping out.
Our MidMaine YoUUth group has been preparing and fundraising for this trip for the last 18 mos. Last year, we studied about and engaged with our Wabanaki neighbors, learning about our shared, painful history. This year, as we prepare to go to Guatemala, the lessons from Maine are helping us understand more about the conditions for indigenous people in Guatemala, including discrimination, poverty, and lack of education. and opportunity. Our time with Safe Passage will change our lives.
The participants each make a personal contribution of $600, collected over two years to ensure it is affordable for any of the youth in our congregations who want to participate. These personal dues cover about 25% of the total cost. The rest we raise through an ask to our individual friends and family, as well as the members of our four congregations. This Faithify campaign is a way of extending the reach of our ask throughout our UU denomination, while spreading the word about Safe Passage/Camino Seguro (https://www.safepassage.org/) and our collaborative youth program. We are proud of what we have and will accomplish together!
Help rejuvenate this...
Our Unitarian Universalist church was built almost 170 years ago by a group of abolitionists, including our main founder, who was not a funeral director but drove a hearse around town as a means of helping formerly enslaved people find their ways to freedom. One of our other early members went with a group of women to Town Hall on Election Day, where they demanded to vote — before the vote for women was officially allowed in 1920. (She was not a woman to be crossed, and the group was allowed to vote.)
Dr. Edward Everett Hale, Mark Twain, Ralph Waldo Emerson and many other key thinkers of their day have given lectures in our church hall (yes, the very hall we’re trying to renovate).
We’ve have a lot of fun in the old hall, including after church services during coffee hour.
We’ve been working to keep our founders’ dreams alive ever since the church began, making social justice a cornerstone of our community — raising money for Habitat for Humanity, hosting community suppers, becoming a Welcoming Congregation, hosting educational events about racial, economic and climate justice, holding Amnesty International letter writing campaigns, and holding a vigil and fundraiser to help reunite separated immigrant families.
Thing is, our church is really starting to show its age despite our small congregation’s best efforts, and we’re trying to increase our outreach to include everyone we can in the awesomeness of our beloved community. Under the rubric of our Spiritual Growth and Community Center, we host dozens of programs every year that are open to the community and that take place in Union Hall.
Recent and ongoing programs include: the Sessions open mic and coffeehouse, Japanese playgroup, drum circles, annual clothing giveaway, murder mystery dinner theater, potluck suppers, games nights, Mooncircle full moon rituals, labyrinth workshops, Red Tent events, Dungeons and Dragons, “Shake Your Soul” Yoga Dance, yoga, a rank choice voting informational musical event, Halloween Harry Potter-themed open house and fundraiser, winter blues beach party and many more. We also lend our space to Hudson town conservation meetings and the downtown holiday stroll.
The hall is in dire need of some updating.
We’d love to do even more, including increasing our attractiveness to outside renters as a way of improving our financial self-reliance. But be honest: If you didn’t already know and love us, would you really want to hang out in a place with cracked paint that’s in semi-darkness? (Neither do we, but we really need coffee after the service. You know.)
So, please, consider helping us buy new tables, upgrade to dimmable LED lights, cover Ye Olde Radiators with pretty fabric, and buy paint (for a DIY project). If our Faithify goal is exceeded by $1,500, we will also upgrade the wiring for the stage and the hall in general. (Yes, we have a stage, from the days before television, when folks used to engage in quaint activities like putting on plays and making music to entertain themselves and to raise money for the church.)
From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for any help you can give us. And whether you donate or not, please visit us in wonderful downtown Hudson, Mass. – we’d love to meet you! (Even if the lighting is suspect, at least we’ll be able to offer you some coffee. And there are lots of great restaurants and cool shops to check out afterward.)
For more information about our church and our wonderful minister and staff, head to www.ucmh.org.
Sanctuary Travel Fund
The Cambridge Interfaith Sanctuary Coalition (CISC) is a small group of Cambridge, Boston, and area congregations walking the journey with people facing deportation and unjust laws.
CISC is committed to following the lead of people who are facing the greatest risks, while honoring their strength and resilience. CISC currently helps to support a woman (and her two children) who fears for her life if deported to her country of origin.
As part of our sanctuary efforts, there is an urgent, repeated, and ongoing need for funds to support the team of people who accompanies our guest to her out-of-state court hearings, and other important sanctuary journeys. This Faithify campaign will help off-set the cost of this vital travel, including food, airfare, and ground transportation.
Supporting the travel fund helps us continue doing what we do. Thank you for being part of our sanctuary efforts.
Please don’t share this link through social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) or your congregation’s website.
“I Hope to...
Update: We have a donor who will match any gift toward completion of this campaign!!
“I Hope to Find a Way Out”: Bonding out Asylum Seekers in New Hampshire
On August 24, some 200 marchers from four New England states met at the Strafford County detention center in New Hampshire where immigrants are held. They conducted a mock funeral ceremony for immigrants killed at the Mexican border; as they marched by the prison they could see detainees pressed against the slim rectangular glass windows and hear them pounding against the walls.
The first speaker said:
We gather here today outside the Strafford Detention Center in solidarity, witness, grief, and hope.
We are here in solidarity with our siblings detained within.
We gather here to witness to a broken system that uses black and brown bodies for profit, dehumanizes Muslims, cages children and causes death.
We gather here today to mourn the dead, and we are here today to call for a different future.
The bond fund we are working to create aspires to be part of this different future.
Some immigrants came to New Hampshire just recently, seeking safety after suffering repression at home. Others have lived here for decades, working and raising families. Increasingly, ICE is imprisoning members of both groups. The good news is, many detained immigrants are eligible to be released on bond. But that takes money that they often don’t have. Here are some of their stories. Their names have been changed for their protection:
Harold escaped certain death in the Congo, his home country, for his ethnic identity. His family went into hiding, but Harold fled to the U.S. on a visa —only to be seized by ICE at the NH-Canadian border. His crime? Attempting to cross over to Quebec where people speak French, his native language. Thanks to help from our fund and other supporters, Harold was bonded out and is now living at the UU Church of Manchester while awaiting his day in immigration court. In the meantime, Harold has received his working papers, NH driver’s license, and he has landed a new job.
Sally, from Zimbabwe, was jailed by ICE on a routine traffic stop. She described jail to us as “the worst thing that can happen to a person.” Personal power and choice are taken away. Sally told us that no soap or lotion are provided and there is no opportunity ever to go outside. Officials took her documents and subsequently lost all of them. Sally was bonded out through the help of the United Church of Christ. Recently she had her asylum hearing and she won her case!
John recently wrote us from the Strafford County detention center, where he’s been held for the past year. It’s been harder than he imagined it could be. “I got detained a month after my daughter’s birth,” he wrote. “I feel that I have failed her as a father. I wasn’t there for her when she needed me. She’s been through two surgeries already before she even turned one year old, and I wasn’t there for her…I am in a dark tunnel. I hope to see the light soon. I don’t know how long I can go on.”
Working in concert with immigrant organizers, UUs from across New Hampshire, and other communities of faith, the New Hampshire Bail and Bond Fund is working to pay immigrant bonds, which can be anywhere between $1,500 and $20,000 per person, and to provide other support to immigrants fighting for asylum.
The need for bond money is as great as the cause is compelling. As John wrote, at the end of his message “Because of you I might be saved. I hope to find a way out.”
Nurture Justice Ministry in NH!
The mission of UU Action New Hampshire is to amplify Unitarian Universalist voices and values in the public square throughout New Hampshire. After running for two years as an entirely volunteer organization, this spring, we hired Tristan Husby as our first Executive Director, in order to take our work to the next level. Your donations will help us fund Tristan’s new position, which is funded in large part by a matching grant from the Fund for Unitarian Universalist Social Responsibility.
As our only staff member, Tristan is growing our organization through relationships, education, and action.
Our goal is to build and sustain relationships with communities directly impacted by the injustices we oppose: Tristan will deepen our connection with the immigrant communities in New Hampshire, which we have formed through our work on the NH Immigrant Solidarity Network as well as the NH Bail and Bond Fund.
In the 2019-2020 church year, Tristan will travel to UU congregations across New Hampshire, both our member congregations and currently unaffiliated congregations. By building these intra-faith relationships, Tristan will foster collaboration among congregations and ensure that churches share effective methods and actions with each other.
He will also remain in touch with our membership by maintaining our online presence, including our newsletter, website and social media accounts. Through these channels, Tristan will ensure NH UUs know when and how to contact their elected representatives on bills such as granting drivers licenses to immigrants without social security numbers and raising the cap on net-metering.
In collaboration with partners such as the UU College of Social Justice, Rights and Democracy NH and others, Tristan will host workshops designed to sharpen the skills and analyses of NH UUs to make effective change. We currently have such workshops scheduled for Saturday, October 5.
Finally, Tristan will help UUANH foster new projects, particularly around climate justice in NH.
Your donation today will ensure that we can support all of this programming, as well as administrative work, that is necessary to take our State Action Network to a new level.
Help us REOPEN Downtown Church in Greenfield MA after asbestos found
-Click the “Updates” tab to read earlier updates on this project.-
What’s wrong? Greenfield All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church is totally closed, sealed by the Greenfield Health Department due to a public health contaminant discovered during a demolition and rehabilitation attempt. Church members and volunteers gutted a former mold and water damaged classroom in preparation for productive use of the space. Just as the demolition was almost complete it was discovered that many of the materials contained asbestos. Now Department of Environmental Protection is mandating remediation which will cost us over $17,000.
We are a “Little-Engine-that-Could” congregation of about 70 members who are desperately seeking funding to re-open the church as soon as possible. Our current operating budget is so slim that we are currently lay led. Recently a group approached us about using our spaces during the week and we jumped into action to make those spaces habitable and ready. That’s when our disaster struck us and closed down our beautiful home and vibrant community gathering place. There are no funds available to rectify this emergency without your help!
All Souls Church is a Unitarian Universalist Congregation located in the historical downtown section of Greenfield, Massachusetts. We are a very active social justice oriented church with a small membership. We’re a downtown church, in one of Massachusetts’ lowest income communities, Greenfield. In addition to our Sunday services; we host the Stone Soup Café, Wednesday evening AA groups, recitals and concerts, community forums, our annual Anti-racism Film Festival, we host a myriad of economic and green justice initiatives. The Stone Soup Café (thestonesoupcafe.org) provides a weekly Saturday meal, feeding lunch to 90 – 150 guests on a pay-as-you-can basis. Stone Soup also serves 700 – 1,000 people at an annual Free Harvest Supper and supports many other community non-profits with food donations as well as catering from our kitchen.
We have been a major force for community-building and social justice in action in Greenfield; the inability to access our church creates difficulties not only for the congregation, but for the hundreds and hundreds of others we serve through our ongoing ministries.
Your help is really needed!
- Until we are able to complete the asbestos abatement and pass all the tests, no one is allowed to enter the church.
- The $17,000.00 clean up bill poses a serious threat to our ability to stay open.
- We are faced with at least tripling the cost for the renovation of this classroom space and will need as much help as possible.
- Your assistance will be greatly appreciated by the congregation and all those that we serve.