Tagged: “UU”

Complete MUUSJA’s “Wider Circles” Matching Grant

MUUSJA , Minnesota UU Social Justice Alliance, is pledged a matching grant of $7,500 to support our 2022 “Wider Circles” initiative, if we raise that same amount during 2021. The pledged match is from the UU Funding Program ($5,000) and from a Minnesota philanthropy ($2,500).

MUUSJA unleashes courageous leadership and collective power to build a more just and loving world. We organize 30 UU congregations across Minnesota, North and South Dakota in spiritual reflection, learning, connection, and action for social and environmental justice. In 2021, our work to #StopLine3, #ProtectImmigrantWorkers, & #UutheVote mobilized hundreds of volunteers, mostly UU’s, co-leading with frontline community partners, and attracted national support.

Our 2022 Wider Circles initiative will broaden the scope & impact of MUUSJA’s justice work & coalition-building.  Wider Circles will require additional staff hours to communicate, recruit, train and organize with our congregations. We aim to sustain existing programs while exploring three new areas of social justice which MUUSJA has not previously addressed:

  1. “Making the Koolaid” will be a social justice teaching/learning forum for children, youth, and parents focused on how to engage young families in social justice action.
  2. “Access for All” will be a forum for all UU’s centering people with disabilities, including elders, focused on how to make social justice work accessible.
  3. “All Ages Need Apply” will be a forum focused on strategies for engaging seniors in the work of #UUtheVote in 2022.

Throughout the year, MUUSJA also will continue our regular programming. We amplify opportunities and organize UU congregations & teams regionally to participate in events and forums for learning, reflection, connection, and action to resist oppression and exploitation, and build Beloved Community with local, regional, and national partners. This work includes:

  • March 15th, 2022, Day on the Hill with people of faith for affordable housing and anti-poverty legislation, with the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition;
  • Earth Day observance with Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light;
  • Truth and reparations work related to Dakota, Lakota, and Anishinaabe genocide, with Honor the Earth and the Dakota 35+;
  • Pride parades and festival booths across our region, with OutFront Minnesota and the Welcoming Congregations committees of UU congregations;
  • Collaboration to share, apply, and amplify programming from the UUA Organizing Strategy Team (Side With Love), UUSC, UUCSJ, UU-Rise, and UU Ministry for Earth/Create Climate Justice.

The planning/partnering/debrief teams associated with particular events or forums are ongoing participants in bi-weekly Convening Circles which currently include four groups:

  1. Climate Justice and Honoring Treaties (which grew out of the StopLine3 work);
  2. Defending Democracy (regional work to implement #UUtheVote);
  3. Sanctuary and Immigration Justice (resisting detention & deportation);
  4. Racial Justice (anti-racism and Eighth Principle implementation).

Refugee Sponsorship of the Zaki Family

DISASTER RELIEF: All donations processed as they are given.

   On August 25, 2020 Saba Sahar’s car arrived as usual, at 7 a.m., at the back gate of her home in Kabul, Afghanistan, with 3 bodyguards, to take her to work. Ms. Sahar was acting Deputy Commander of Security and Director of Human Rights at the Ministry of Interior of Afghanistan, a well-known figure in the field of cinema, and an activist for the protection of womens’ rights. Shortly after leaving her home that morning, with her 4 year old daughter beside her, her car was attacked by several gunmen, who wounded 2 of her bodyguards, and shot her 4 times in the abdomen. Here is the account from one media outlet: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-54084848

     Ms. Sahar was severely wounded, but survived her injuries following multiple operations, and eventually was transferred to Bagram Hospital at the U.S. run Bagram Air Force base. Meanwhile, her family continued to receive anonymous threats against their lives. At Bagram, Saba’s nurse was a young man who soon returned home to the U.S. and related Saba’s story to his Aunt Sue. Sue knew that the family had to flee Afghanistan to save their lives, and she began to raise funds from among her family and contacts, including using this Facebook Go-Fund-Me page, which includes pictures: https://www.facebook.com/savingsabasahar.

     Sue’s financial help made it possible for the family to flee to nearby Tajikistan, where they have been granted refugee status. Meanwhile, finding that the U.S. was not accepting refugee applications, Sue’s research led her to Canada, where eventually she was connected with our group, The Refugee Sponsorship Committee of the Unitarian Fellowship of Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.

     Our group has been active since 2014, and has successfully raised all the necessary funds, and our congregation of just 120 members settled 3 refugee families in Peterborough. When our sponsorship team heard the story you have just read, we could not say “no” to this family’s needs. Sponsorship involves supporting the family financially for one year and helping them get established in Canada in numerous ways, such as learning English, preparing for employment, receiving needed medical care, supporting the children’s education, understanding Canadian culture, etc. Our team of Settlement Volunteers meets weekly, and works very closely with the family.

     Our application for sponsorship has been approved by the Canadian government, and the family await vetting overseas by the Canadian consulate. Sue has raised 3/4 of the funds required for this sponsorship and has transferred those funds to us, but we still need another $15,000 U.S. to carry off the sponsorship. Here we have set our goal for $10,000 U.S. In today’s world, it is easy to feel helpless in the face of so much need. This sponsorship is for us a way to do something personal. We hope you feel moved to be a part of it.

Level Up Vibrant...

Stretch Goal Added: $3,000  – see info below

Sanctuary Boston is a community of vibrant worship and real connection. We’re grounded in Unitarian Universalism and open to seekers of all kinds. In addition to small groups and other programs, we offer contemporary worship gatherings on Wednesday evenings. Sanctuary Boston is a covenanting community of the UU Association.

Sanctuary has always been a community of experimentation, recreating ourselves and finding new ways to offer care and connection to one another.

Like many spiritual communities, we went all-online in 2020 and found that we were able to connect with people near and far in a whole new way. Now we’re beginning to meet in person again and we’re once again recreating the shape of our community. We’re imagining new ways of gathering, new ways of connecting, and striving to bring together the best of online accessibility and in-person connections.

To do this, we’re investing in each other and investing in this community. More people are volunteering in more ways. More leaders are imagining more possibilities for programs and connections.

We’re also investing in the tech that makes worship not only accessible, but beautiful. And we’re investing in the music that is the heart and soul of Sanctuary worship.

This summer, our board approved a deficit budget to purchase tech for multi-platform worship. In the next few months, as we re-gather in person, we’re also hoping to invest another $2,500 in better sound equipment for the in-person and online experience.

If we make this goal of $2,500, two donors have offered matching grants of an additional $2,500. This $5,000 total will make a huge difference to our small budget. It will mean better sound and more moving music experience for our growing worship community.

Thank you for your contributions and thank you for creating sanctuary with us!

Full Hearts. Full Plates.

Families across the nation continue to face exacerbated hunger levels due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and they are approaching another holiday season with empty plates and worried minds.

Supporting the Schools and Education Leaders Helping Fill Kids’ Plates

This Fall, No Child Goes Hungry has received a significant number of grant requests from schools, social workers, and teachers building daily meal support programs for students. In our new reality of childhood hunger, weekend backpack programs are no longer enough. Teachers and school staff recognize that many students need snacks and meals daily to support what they receive at home and from the school’s free meal assistance programs.

Staff and supply chain shortages are complicating matters further. Simply getting a granola bar, apple, small fruit cup, and juice box into a child’s hands before getting on the bus has become a more significant challenge than ever before. In some cases, the shortage of school bus drivers results in students arriving at school after the free breakfast program has closed for the day—leaving them with nothing to eat before starting schoolwork. Some teachers pay out-of-pocket to keep something in their desk drawers to feed students, which adds a financial burden to our teachers.

No Child Goes Hungry supports students in need and their school heroes and wants to ensure that our teachers don’t have to use their hard-earned salaries to help feed students. We’re sending healthy food boxes all over the country where the food supply chain is sorely interrupted with not enough truck drivers. The typical response is gratitude and comments like, “This is like Christmas. I can feed the kids something before they get on the bus.”

About No Child Goes Hungry

When NCGH was founded in 2016 and through 2019, it awarded 56 different grants in three and a half years, 14 to 16 grants a year on average. Then 2020 hit and the number of grants NCGH receives on average soared, and it distributed 71 grants—more than all the other years combined. 2021 and the pandemic have shown no slowdown. This year, NCGH has already given 71 grants with more in the wings to give before the year ends. Before 2020, NCGH received two to three applications a week. Now, it receives that many each day.

NCGH provides grant money and mentorship opportunities so that community organizations can build hunger advocacy programs that will thrive and grow as their communities continue to tackle the problem of local food insecurity. Such sustainable programs include afterschool backpack programs, little free pantries, community food pantries, and donation programs.

Here’s a video detailing how our model works: No Child Goes Hungry Business Model Video

NCGH also strives to educate the community on food insecurity issues and arm people with the knowledge to help. NCGH offers age-appropriate lesson plans to help local organizations to talk to people of all ages about the issue of food insecurity, helping to fuel future generations of childhood hunger advocates. The lesson plans are designed for schools, churches, or any group that would like to learn more about what they can do to eliminate childhood hunger in their community and are available to use at no cost. Lesson plans are available for Preschool-Kindergarten, Grades 1-3, Grades 4-7, Grades 8-12, and Adults.

To adapt to the changing needs of hunger advocacy groups, NCGH has partnered with new and different groups and individuals and brainstormed with them how to first get food and how to either deliver it or make it easily accessible.

Here are just a few examples of the critical partnerships we have forged this year and the impact that donated dollars have made for children in need:

Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School, Bronx, NY

No Child Goes Hungry donated nonperishable food items to Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School in Bronx, New York. The donated items are helping keep the school’s free food pantry stocked with nonperishables, toiletries, and clothing for students and their families in need. Many of the students at Fannie Lou Hamer come from families that suffer from significant food insecurity. The school’s food pantry is one of several critical support opportunities in the area for families and children in need.

Community Emergency Assistance Programs (CEAP) of Brooklyn Center, MN

No Child Goes Hungry provided a $1,000 donation to CEAP of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. The grant is helping fund its children’s Birthday Bag program. The initiative provides parents in need with party décor, favors, plus a cake or cupcake to ensure that every child feels celebrated and cared for on their birthday. The cost to provide one birthday bag plus CEAP essentials for one child requires $30 in financial support.


Mott Haven Fridge

In collaboration with the Healthier, Greener, Kinder Foundation, No Child Goes Hungry provided Mott Haven Fridge Network with a $2,000 grant. The funds enabled the non-profit to add and winterize a third community refrigerator to its hunger-relief network in Uptown Manhattan and the Bronx.

Two sixth-grade teachers founded Mott Haven Fridge Network in response to the widespread food insecurity they witnessed among their students’ families. Today, Mott Haven Fridge maintains two outdoor, freestanding refrigerators that provide community members in the poorest congressional district in the United States with 24/7, no-questions-asked-access to fresh produce and other essentials. The fridges are stocked by donations from individuals, local businesses, and community partners and cleaned and maintained by a grassroots community volunteer network.

El Cajon Valley High Community Garden

No Child Goes Hungry donated $1,000 to  El Cajon Valley High School in El Cajon, California, to support the construction of its community garden initiative. The garden is operated by students and parents and provides fresh food options for the El Cajon community. In addition, NCGH’s donation helped fund the purchase of wood from a local lumber business to construct separation boxes in the garden.

Blackburn Community Outreach in Todd, North Carolina

No Child Goes Hungry provided a $1,000 grant to Blackburn Community Outreach in Todd, North Carolina, a non-profit 501(c)(3) with a mission to engage and mobilize the Todd Community for social, economic, and environmental vitality. The grant helps financially support the season’s youth apprentice in the organization’s Beatitude Garden. This year’s summer intern, a 16-year old young man named Bebo, who is of Cherokee heritage, will work as an intern in the gardens for ten hours a week for 20 weeks this season.

Still, more help is desperately needed. The need is vast, and it continues to grow. Every dollar donated to NCGH is used to help feed a child in need. Help us create full plates and full hearts this holiday season.

Let’s Feed Some Kids!

BUC Lower-Level Flooding Repairs

DISASTER RELIEF: All donations processed as they are given.

classsroom with flooded floor Classrooms became indoor swimming pools. (Photos post-remediation)

Classroom with cabinets torn out Ruined cabinetry has been torn out.

Hallway after water damage Main hallway is unusable.

Elevator shaft showing water level Elevator shaft taking forever to dry.

Water pooling outside building Standing water fixes needed: never again!

Yikes: water damage! Please help Birmingham Unitarian Church in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan repair our lower level and restore community activity!

Flood damage due to historic rapid rainfall in the Detroit metro area this summer affected the entirety of BUC’s lower level: 2400 square feet of classrooms plus kitchen, furnace and electrical room, and elevator. We want to not only remediate but also to protect our facility from likely future rainstorms like this.

Returning our lower level to usable space will help us bring back (COVID-safe) Religious Education programs and congregant meetings, as well as restore rental opportunities to groups such as AA that depend on our facility as much as we do on rental income.

The BUC community has grit and a DIY spirit. For example, several congregants helped with clean-up and one person bought 25 Rubbermaid tubs, packed, and carried our choir’s many years of sheet music upstairs to a safe space. In 2019, BUC completed a capital campaign to make our facility completely accessible, so we’re experienced in raising funds. But the type of renovation needed now is beyond our current ability.

The following hard cost of $180,000 is based on obtaining several estimates from local contractors (all of whom are swamped with this type of work):

  • $62,000 (actual cost, spent) for immediate remediation: water removal, cleanup, and tear-out of damaged walls, flooring, cabinetry, and furniture
  • $93,000 for interior build-back: flood-resistant flooring, drywall, baseboards, wall-hung lower cabinets, and some replacement furniture
  • $25,000 for exterior repairs and improvements to storm drainage systems to prevent future flooding

Our resources to fund the above are the $25,000 maximum allowed from flood insurance as well as cash from church savings and our endowment funds, plus a most welcome UUA disaster fund grant. We still are $12,000 short of what we need for restoration and, therefore, our request today.

We sincerely appreciate BUC’s family and Faithify friends for considering our beloved community for your charitable donation; thank you!

Safe Playground Needed!

Wider Beloved Community,

In March of this year, our minister, Rev. Julie Conrady, was retrieving her 2 year old, Ezio, from a two story piece of our church’s playground equipment, when the wooden stair collapsed under them. Rev. Julie cushioned her toddler’s fall with her own body, and because the equipment was too close to the church building, she hit her head on the church building, giving her a concussion that neurologists say will take months to heal (but will heal, thank goodness!).

After a safety inspection of our playground, it was determined that multiple wooden structures were infested with wood rot, and our small but humble playground was too dangerous for our children. We have removed all dangerous equipment from the playground at this time.

Our RE program had 80+ kids pre-pandemic, and we are already back to over 45 kids at the time of this writing. We desperately need a safe playground for these children – the future of Unitarian Universalism in Birmingham, Alabama.

We want to install a commercial grade, metal playground to counter the buckets of rain Alabama receives each year. 2021 is one of the wettest summers on record here, and it rains daily from May through well into October. Our wooden playground, as gorgeous as it was, could not bear the brunt of climate change.

We have raised over $6,000 from our own congregation, but the playground we hope for is $31,000. It is not large or extravagant, and provides pieces for each stage of development. It is, however, built to last, and thus the price tag. We are hoping to raise $20,000 through this Faithify campaign so our children have a safe playground again.

Please help us to rebuild our playground! Our children (and all of our congregation) are so appreciative for your generosity.

For More Details: Playground Committee Presentation

Help KC Marie Complete Seminary School

This is a UU Religious Professional Credentialing/Development category campaign and all gifts will be immediately processed.

Hello hello hello!

My background:
My name is KC Marie Pandell, I am a second year Unitarian Universalist Seminary student at Meadville-Lombard, currently serving as intern minister for two years at Tapestry Unitarian Universalist. I began my journey to UUism after a great loss, and the UU Congregation in Fullerton, CA held me through grief and into great growth and change, setting the foundation for me to hear a call to ministry, and supporting me in my formation. Since then, I have served as Worship Chair, and currently serve on the Board of Trustees before and throughout the pandemic, alongside having completed a summer of CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA.
I am shaping up to be one of the first ministers ordained by UUCF in the congregation’s history, an honor I am deeply grateful for.

As of last semester, I was at a 4.0 GPA, and am on track to continue it this semester.

My Theology:
What drew me to UUism, after a lifetime of non-religious ideology, was love: losing love, being held in love, and living through life with deepest love. It is with love that I have served Fullerton, am serving Tapestry, and love that guides me to serve other UU communities in the future. Our principles are rooted in it, and my journey to ministry is lined by it. It is love the makes our community one of kindness, and that seeks that which is right and good in this world.

How You Can Help:
Even with a deeply generous tuition grant from my school, I fall far short of the finances required to complete my degree. I come from a low-income family, who are wildly proud of my journey, but unable to assist financially to make it a reality. I don’t qualify for loans of any sort, and am paying for school (including books, travel to campus, and various associated fees and costs) almost completely out of pocket. A few generous friends and family have assisted where possible along the way. Despite working 40 hour weeks alongside full time schooling, I don’t hit the mark.

Our ministers are not formed solo, in a vacuum. It takes the support of many, from family and friends, to our congregations, to our communities at large, and any show of that support through a donation towards the completion of my seminary education is would be held with the deepest, most loving gratitude. I thank you for you generosity and support.

Watch a Sermon:

An Unexpected Journey

Graceful Love, or Loving Gracefully
Finding the Awe in the Every Day

UU Wellspring for Youth

Youth Programs have long been described as life saving. UU Wellspring, a spiritual deepening program for UUs, has long been called transformational and more recently an anchor in these challenging times. Merging them created an 8-week spiritual practice program focused on UU Sources. This Faithify will fully fund 10 Youth Programs in 10 congregations that are new to UU Wellspring. Whether a congregation has three or ten or more youth, the program will offer a sacred space to:

  • offer lifelong spiritual practices
  • create curiosity about UU Sources
  • connect deeply to peers, advisors, and the UU Faith

Programs are easy to use with step-by-step directions so youth advisors facilitating the program can focus on connecting with youth. Ample check in time is provided within each session as well as thoughtful questions, short videos, poetry, readings and spiritual practices. Youth engage in their own spiritual development, something many tell us they are yearning for. One 18 year old shared:

“UU Wellspring is definitely helping though and the last session was so refreshing and grounding, which I didn’t realize how much I needed until afterward! I love the structure of this too with the videos to watch beforehand without being too long but still interesting and impactful. I can’t wait for the next one honestly!”

Youth Sample Session

UU Wellspring for Youth Calendar

Send Emily McKown to Seminary!

This is a UU Religious Professional Credentialing/Development category campaign and all gifts will be immediately processed.

Emily begins her seminary journey: September 2021! She will be attending part-time (for 4-5 years), while continuing her position as Director at Channing-Murray Foundation in Urbana as well as her active membership at UUCUC! She is pursuing an inter-religious chaplaincy program, and following her passion for youth/young-adult, social-justice, and music ministries.

A few words from Emily-

“I’m so grateful to my UU community near and far. My childhood congregation and strong circle of elders at Dakota U.U. raised me with confidence and compassion, while my UUCUC family took up the baton, and helped me discover my passion for ministry. Your financial, emotional, and spiritual support means the world to me. Your financial boost will lessen the stress of divinity school while I head heart-first into the huge question of our time- how DO WE, in fact, cultivate beloved community? I feel your love. I’ll be sure to spread it around!”

Emily’s application essay for United Theological Seminary:

Countless converging pathways in my life have brought me to apply to United; feels like divine guidance indeed. My U.U. identity, my Twin Cities roots, my passion for social justice, my calling in music therapy, and my dream jobs I’ve found in youth and young adult ministry — are all key inspirations in my search for seminary. It would be a privilege to continue my education at United.

When I was a teenager I was a part of a planning team for a U.U. youth conference (at YMCA Camp Icaghowan) for 5 years; and I loved to plan worship. One late night we danced under the stars in an open field. The darkness made us feel secure, the song was intoxicatingly jubilant, and our liberation manifested as laughter. I knew then, that moments of freedom were precious, and I know now, it is worth working my whole life to find and share them.

While the majority of my twenties were spent exploring art and activism away from the church, I found a role three years ago as youth coordinator at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Urbana-Champaign, and this job has revealed a calling. I love participating in worship planning, program facilitation, and curriculum building. I especially appreciate the shared-ministry approach UUCUC upholds.

And while I love curating the youth program at UUCUC, my newest job as Executive Director of the Channing-Murray Foundation has brought my passion for ministry to a new level. I came to leadership at this U.U. campus center at a critical time. Just a couple months before pandemic hit, I was tasked with guiding the organization through uncharted waters. Very quickly we reinvented ourselves, not as an event center, but as a mutual-aid coordination hub. Since March, our ministry has come in the form of a food pantry delivery service. This volunteer-driven, intersectional program not only activates our values but is also a grounding ritual for many of our members and young adults who crave a meaningful and connective task to help ease the pain of a hurting world.

I am approaching seminary with a sense of awe and excitement. I’m hopeful it will help me grow my dreams and see beyond. I’m eager to pursue interreligious chaplaincy because of my experience volunteering in hospitals, prisons, and nursing homes and my passion for music therapy. That said, I know that United will help me to discern a calling even more specific and revolutionary! I want my education to help me connect with sacred music social movements and bolster my nonprofit leadership skills, as well as prepare me for U.U. ordination. United feels like the place where all my passions can be free to dance together.”

How to stay connected:

We are UU’s supporting other UU’s! Donate what you are able – all will get a thank-you and an opportunity to opt-in to a newsletter each semester fully of songs, essays, and pictures.

If you’d like something a little more personal- you can choose to sponsor a credit! A full credit is $655 and a half credit is $327.50. Sponsor a half credit and Emily will choose a course and dedicate to your support, and share her findings with you. Sponsor a full credit and Emily will consult with you on dedicating a particular course of interest to you, share any writings/essays, and meet with you once a month during the course to share in the journey!

Worthy Now: Sponsor an Incarcerated UU

This Faithify campaign is so essential to the incarcerated Unitarian Universalists who are members of the Church of the Larger Fellowship. What we’re asking you to do is support the membership of our over 1,300 incarcerated members who live behind prison walls all across the country.

Through our Worthy Now Prison Network, we are able to provide programming for UU’s who live in various forms of incarceration. In practice and on principle, we do not ask for financial stewardship from any of our incarcerated members. The programming we offer to our incarcerated UU’s comes in the form of receiving a variety of printed material which includes:

  • Two prison ministry newsletters a year
  • A printed copy of the UU World magazine
  • A printed copy of the monthly CLF Quest magazine.  

Additionally, with your help, we can offer our UU incarcerated members a number of the Tapestry of Faith classes which we have converted into correspondence format.  These rich materials supply valuable religious education to our incarcerated siblings. 

Every dollar you donate today goes TWICE as far.

Thanks to the generosity of the Unitarian Universalist Funding program, every donation will be matched dollar for dollar.

Perhaps our most popular program, after becoming members and completing the New UU Class, they are eligible to receive a pen pal connection with a free-world person (that’s you and me who live our lives outside of prison walls).

Eileen Raymond, a free-world pen pal, details her experience exchanging letters with a UU in prison. CLICK HERE TO WATCH.

These pen pal relationships are often the lifeline for giving and sustaining hope within prison walls. It is the connection to the Power of We that is so vital to our Unitarian Universalist faith. Can you imagine hearing that you’re worthy of love and justice inside a system that often dehumanizes your very presence?

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 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 prisons 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!

“What we ‘long-haulers’ [referring to COVID] need is a ministry of hope, of love, of a celebration of life that teems all around us. My CLF writing partner, Quest, CLF, and the denomination and its ministry brings this to us if we but open ourselves to what is before us. Thank you for all of you and especially folks like you, who take time to drop a line to us when we need it so much. To show we are persons and not just numbers, not just faceless addresses on the mailing list means so very much to each of us.”

—Jack, incarcerated in Texas

One of the incredible benefits that we can offer our CLF incarcerated members is our reading packet program. In a fantastic partnership with Beacon Press and Skinner House Books, we can send reading materials to our members in prison. Because of the many rules and regulations surrounding books in prisons, we can only do this by the generous sharing of text from Beacon Press and Skinner House Books of UU-identified books. The Church of the Larger Fellowship has permission to print a chapter at a time and share them in letter form. This way, people like Jack in Texas have access to beautiful books filled with learning and faith.

But we need your help!

There are significant paper, printing, and postage costs that go into this program.

By funding all or part of the $150 per person program, you amplify our important message that people living in prison

are Worthy Now of Love and Justice.

Last year we sent over 2,600 mailings to our members!

Wouldn’t it be cheaper to send books? Possibly, but prison regulations across the country are diverse. The rules around books are so complex that this is the best way to share Unitarian Universalism with our CLF  members living in prison. Books such as Testimony; UU Humanist Voices in Unitarian Universalism; Amethyst Beach: Meditations; Our Seven Principles in Story and Verse; and Everyday Spiritual Practice ~ Simple Pathways for Enriching Your Life are bringing Unitarian Universalism to Church of the Larger Fellowship members experiencing incarceration.

We have over 1,200 incarcerated UU’s depending on us.

Can you give $50 or more to fund our Worthy Now ministry?

Thanks to the generous challenge grants supported by the Unitarian Universalist Funding Program, every dollar given to this Faithify campaign will be matched.

Sound Improvement

The UU Church in Meriden, Connecticut is a small congregation with a small residential home as a church building.   We need a portable sound system with enough power and volume to use for outdoor services and concerts.  We are currently holding worship services outdoors on our front porch and front lawn due to the Delta variant of COVID-19 and the recent increase in severity of the virus and updated public health recommendations.

Our church building is on a residential street that gets a modest amount of traffic, but behind our property is a major Interstate highway with a constant rumble (at best) and roar (at worst) of traffic noise.

We have a sound system built into the sanctuary with speakers and multimedia throughout the building. This is wonderful when we can use the sanctuary, but the sanctuary is small with a capacity of 50 people. Public health recommendations currently have us holding services outside as meeting indoors with masks and social distancing would severely limit our capacity.

The only sound system we have that we can use outside is an old 25-watt guitar amplifier with a microphone. It’s far from ideal and far from loud enough, so we have been borrowing small portable sound systems.  It looks like outdoor services will be the norm for the fall. Given the pandemic, we may need to be outdoors in the spring as well.  Many of our members are having trouble hearing due to competing noise and lack of amplification power.

During the last year we produced a successful series of online concerts and in person outdoor concerts as fund-raisers.  The live, in person concerts have required artists to bring their own sound system. It would help us continue this small but important income stream if we had a portable sound system with enough power to get over the traffic noise.

We are looking at the Electro-Voice Evolve 30M Portable Column PA System – 1000-watt Portable Powered Column System with 8-channel Digital Mixer, 10″ LF Driver, 6 x 2.8″ HF Drivers, DSP, Onboard Effects, and Bluetooth.   Retail price is $1299.

Our board of trustees has approved a grant from our Memorial Fund and along with some fundraising last year, we already have $600. We need to raise $700 more.  Your kind gift will help us reach our goal!

The UU Church in Meriden began as a Universalist congregation in the 19th century.  We are the only Unitarian Universalist congregation between Hartford and New Haven along route 91.  We promote Unitarian Universalism and represent our tradition in our social justice work, which includes raising thousands of dollars to assist our undocumented neighbors during the pandemic, support of Moral Mondays Connecticut, and housing an undocumented scholar from Indonesia and his wife in sanctuary.  A sound system of our own is a necessity to keep the voice of our liberal faith alive in central Connecticut.

Re-Imagine Religious Education

“If we are to bring the the love and grace of this faith to our families’ lives, we must intentionally support the faith formation of children and adults.”

–  Kimberly Sweeney, The Death of Sunday School

A “ReVision “team was formed in March 2020 at Second Unitarian Church in Omaha, Nebraska with the goal to reimagine religious education.

  • The traditional model of Sunday School is labor intensive and ineffective –  only 12% of our UU youth remain UUs.
  • Many churches (including Second Unitarian) are finding Sunday School unsustainable in our present culture.

It has long been recognized that parents and families play a significant role in faith development. Faith formation is a life long journey.

Photo of a 1960s style church interior with a congregation standing and singing. Many are holding flowers PreCOVID Flower Communion Worship in our sanctuary.

  •  Children (and adults!) need rituals. Rituals help us to find comfort and wisdom in the celebration of our faith and the ups and downs of life. Rituals help us to celebrate who we are as Unitarian Universalists.
  • We all need a Beloved Community where we ‘belong,’ and a community of good role models in life. We also need special time with our UU peers of similar age
  • There is a strong need for intentional ministry to young families, for their sake as well as for the future of our church. 
  • Beloved Community encompasses all ages and abilities. 

“Faith development is all we do. Unitarian Universalism is the faith we teach. The congregation is the curriculum.”

religious educator Connie Goodbread

The vision – what we expect religious education in action to look like

A screen capture of the Soul Matters website We desire to connect all ages to a cohesive faith message.

  • Supporting faith development in the home
  • The monthly Soul Matters themes will be used in worship and supplemental curricula
  • Children and adults of all abilities will be welcomed as part of the Beloved Community in worship on three out of four Sundays
  • On the last Friday of the month, September – May, we will have an evening meal and short vespers service, followed by related activity options to close out the worship theme for the month. This is intended to be for all ages, and it is especially intended to be parent friendly.
  • Children will be welcomed to participate in Social Justice causes to live their faith and be with role models that demonstrate living our faith.4 individuals socially distanced standing outside our church building with a Black Lives Banner behind them We are active in social justice causes: we want to give our children and youth more oppotunities to be involved.
  • There will be a variety of faith formation opportunities for adults.
  • The DRE will be involved in overseeing religious education for all ages, including adult programming.
  • Teen Ministry will consist of YRUU, teen/adult groups such as a “Popcorn Theology” movie discussion or book discussions, and Coming of Age programming culminating in a service where teens have an opportunity to share their Credo statements.
  •  Our Whole Lives (OWL) sexuality classes will be offered periodically for the different age ranges K-adult.A screen capture of the OWL page on the UUA website We want more regular OWL programming for all ages to serve our community.
  • Vacation Summer Camp could be offered with an emphasis on the history of our faith with lots of play, acting out of the stories and fun activities

Religious education happens when people in our church listen, value and encourage us toward our better selves. In order for Second Unitarian to carry out these inspirational goals, we need the guidance and support of our very gifted Director of Religious Education. We want to increase her hours to provide faith formation, Support ReVision, and coordinate childcare. To do so fairly and to adhere to suggested UUA salary guidelines, we would need to raise $4700.00.