Tagged: “UU”

Enabling Culturally Relevant Prison Ministry

Due to special circumstances Dr Quick Hall has closed this fundraiser; no pledges made to this project will be processed.

Saving Split Rock

Stretch Goal Added- See details below

Near and dear to the Ramapough Lenape Indian Nation is their sacred site of Split Rock or Tahetaway, which means The Gate that Opens. It is considered a power point for gaining wisdom and understanding. Ancestors would meet there and powwow out their decisions.

This ancient rock formation is central to a series of giant turtle formations, which line up and are just off summer sunrise solstice. The stones had been shaped, modified and put into position. There are two astronomical alignments still functioning. According to anthropologist David Johnson from Poughkeepsie this site qualifies for a national historic preservation.

Relatives from the Andes have implored the Ramapough to reactivate this portal for the healing of the people and Mother Earth. In keeping with their indigenous traditions, on June 20, 2020, a sunrise ceremony was held at Split Rock with Unity Earth to begin reactivating this sacred site.  Unity Earth is traveling around the globe, engaging with Indigenous nations and peoples for the healing of human kind and Mother Earth.

Our goal is to support the reactivation of this sacred site. Plans are for a large ceremonial tipi to be erected at the site for hosting ceremonies. This will allow relatives from the global community to visit and offer prayers and blessings. The cost of the tipi is $3,000.00.

At this year’s UUA General Assembly, an Action of Immediate Witness, “400 Years of White Supremacist Colonialism” addresses the white colonial settler history and effects on Indigenous nations and people’s. Excerpt:

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that we, the delegates of the 2020 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association, call upon the Unitarian Universalist Association and its member congregations to:

Continue to gather in solidarity with the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, Standing Rock nation, and all Indigenous peoples struggling to preserve their lands, waters, peoples, sacred sites, and sovereignty.

Continue to push for release of Indigenous Water Protectors from prisons, end public policies that criminalize resistance to extractive colonialism, and adopt a vision of prison abolition.

Work nationally, statewide, and locally on public policy that is decolonizing – such as establishing Indigenous Peoples Day, including Indigenous peoples’ histories in public education curricula, and eliminating racist monuments, flags, and mascots.

Work to stop and reverse ecological harm in genuine collaboration with and taking leadership from communities most consistently and harshly impacted by extractive exploitation of land, water, air, and all beings.

Research, identify, and acknowledge the Indigenous peoples historically and/or currently connected with the land occupied by congregations, and find ways to act in solidarity with or even partner with those Indigenous peoples.

Examine practices relative to Indigenous people’s histories, cultures, spiritual traditions, and rights must be respected. Unitarians and Universalists seek to be more inclusive and accountable.

This is a new project in support of the Ramapough Lenape Indian Nation, honoring their culture and traditions, working towards saving their sacred site. As Unitarian Universalists, we are called to work with communities marginalized by our society. Our call to justice, particularly in 2020 with the anniversary of the Mayflower landing, asks of us to support Indigenous Nations which have suffered great harm from the time of first contact through to today. Our Anti- Racism work must go further than our own congregations to support the call of Native Nations as they protect their sacred sites and work to renew Mother Earth. This is our present work in the UUA, and my ministry serves to support this; our Associations progressive stance is aligned with creating a world community.


We are also aligned with efforts to heal the environment due to the climate crisis. This goal and the spiritual practices of the Ramapough Lenape are intrinsic to the goal of healing Mother Earth for seven generations into the future. We are grateful to the Unitarian Universalist Association for providing this platform for us to fund raise.

For more information on the Ramapough Lenape, view #612, On Demand video from 2020 General Assembly. Also view American Native or Mann v. Ford, both on Amazon Prime. Anushiik! (Thank You!)

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.

Be sure to share this campaign using any of the icons near the top of the page. Take your pick from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or dozens of others. By sharing this campaign you will make it 3x more likely that we reach our goal!

Champaign County COVID-19 Relief

DISASTER RELIEF CAMPAIGN:

ALL donations will be processed immediately

(NO ALL-OR NOTHING GOAL FOR THIS CAMPAIGN)

Food insecurity has skyrocketed in Champaign County as a result of the outbreak of COVID-19. The Social Action Committee of the Unitarian Church of Urbana-Champaign has created a Faithify crowdfunding campaign to help ease the suffering and uncertainties of families in our community experiencing hardship.

We have selected three organizations whose outreach to families in our community are both reliable and effective. They are

  • CU Better Together
  • CU FAIR’s Pandemic Response Fund
  • Channing Murray’s Bucket Brigade

Funds during this campaign will be shared equally among these organizations. Our goal is to collect at least $10,000 in this initial round of fundraising. We will continue to offer this as rolling 30 day campaigns to meet the ongoing needs of these organizations.

Many of us have, or will be receiving checks from the government as part of the recent relief package passed by Congress.  Would you be willing to donate some – or potentially all – of those funds to our campaign?

Even if you aren’t receiving a stimulus check, but are looking for the best way to help those in our community who are in need, this campaign will target the funds where they are needed. In Illinois the peak of the virus impact is going to be mid-May to mid-Jun so now is a critical time to act.

Thank you in advance for your generosity.

Social Action Committee
Unitarian Church of Urbana-Champaign

CU-Better Together

CU-Better Together is a combined effort of several organizations to support families with school-aged children who are suffering from food insecurity during the pandemic. This project is designed to work within the food distribution structure set up by the Champaign and Urbana School Districts. It utilizes the large spaces available at the Stone Creek Church and the Vineyard Church for organizing food. Large initial donations came from United Way, the Community Foundation, the Stephens Family YMCA, and the C-U Schools Foundation. Several local churches and other organizations are supporting this project.

CU FAIR Pandemic Response Fund

Thousands of undocumented immigrants in our community do not qualify for unemployment benefits, and they are among those who need our help. Champaign Urbana Friends and Allies of Immigrants and Refugees (CU FAIR) has established a Pandemic Response Fund.  They are working with local organizations such as the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, the PTA Council of Champaign, and the Immigration Justice Task Force of the Unitarian Church of Urbana-Champaign to provide food and other support to our immigrant and refugee families.

Your funds will be used to purchase and deliver groceries and hygiene and health supplies, free of charge. Information about COVID-19 and how to access healthcare resources that has been translated into Spanish, French and English will be inserted into grocery bags, and emergency cash assistance is provided to those most in need.

Channing Murray Bucket Brigade

Channing-Murray has been preparing a #bucketbrigade of essential grocery deliveries for extremely low-income families in Urbana who are recommended by staff at the Champaign Township Office and the Cunningham Township Supervisor’s Office. These buckets have beans, rice, cereal, soup, eggs, and often some prepared meals.  Each and every item is sanitized, then delivered to the doorsteps of the families served.

Channing-Murray has been C-U’s home for social justice programming over many years, and now there is no better time to put our values into action!  Your contributions will be considered a part of a local movement, to provide aid, to be courageous, and to choose a spirit of generosity over scarcity.

Risking in Community

Uncertainty can feel really horrible. Uncertainty can feel invigorating. It depends on what is at risk, how grounded we feel in the moment, and what we have to lose.

Immigrant Detainees Face Horrendous COVID-19 Conditions 

Most detainees are incarcerated for only the civil offense of lacking documentation. No one should risk serious sickness and possibly death because they do not have the right documents, but this is the reality detainees are facing as Covid19 positive cases and deaths rapidly increase within New Jersey’s jails and detention center.

YOUR SUPPORT IS NEEDED NOW!

UUFaithActionNJ has joined with our long-time advocacy partners to demand the release of immigrant detainees from these inhumane conditions. While we take this fight to ICE, detainees are desperate and alone. Your UU generosity can make a difference. A donation today will directly benefit a detainee in need.

In collaboration with our partner, First Friends of NJ and NY, who has ongoing support programs for immigration detainees, we are collecting donations to provide material support for both detainees who remain incarcerated as well as aid for those who are being released from detention. All donations collected go to:

  • Purchase inmates’ personal products available in the facilities’ commissaries,
  • Pay for added time on detainees’ phone cards so they can maintain contact with families, friends and attorneys,
  • Pay for Uber rides for those released from detention, and
  • Pay for additional Covid19 protection supplies (masks, gloves, hand sanitizers, etc.) for released detainees.

ACT NOW!

Our New Jersey detained neighbors need your support NOW! Your financial support furthers our first, second, and sixth UU Principals:

  • Recognize the inherent worth and dignity of every person,
  • Strive for justice, equity, and compassion in human relations, and
  • Strive for a world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all.

PLEASE CONTRIBUTE HERE ON FAITHIFY.ORG AS GENEROUSLY AS YOU CAN TO SUPPORT NEW JERSEY’S DETAINEES.

While our UUFANJ funding goal on faithify.org is $1,000. Please, help us BLOW past this goal to foster immediate improvements for as many detainees as possible facing these horrendous life-threatening circumstances.

FORWARD THIS URGENT REQUEST FOR DONATIONS TO YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS, FRIENDS, AND ADVOCATES FOR JUSTICE.

THANK YOU!

Social Differencing, No Child Goes Hungry Making a Difference during COVID-19

According to NPR, as of April 23, 26 Million Americans have lost their jobs due to the novel coronavirus. Also, nearly 35 million children who rely on school-based nutrition and financial assistance lost access to vital services when COVID-19 forced states to shut school doors. As a result, millions of American families are being forced to choose between heating their homes and putting food on their table, and critical financial and health aid resources are being rapidly depleted.

No Child Goes Hungry is committed to filling the gaps for food-insecure families across the nation during the COVID-19 pandemic by partnering with local non-profits to launch innovative programs that ensure that families are getting enough nutritious food and that no child goes to bed hungry.

Since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), we have received over 17 requests for funding of community-based hunger advocacy initiatives. Many of the applications represent new partnerships with innovative, passionate, and persistent community leaders looking to make a difference in society and fill the hunger gap caused by COVID-19.

So far during the pandemic, NCGH has already funded several grant requests, totaling $8,500 which include such initiatives as:

  • The addition of a Little Free Pantry on the grounds of All Souls Unitarian Church in Washington, DC.
  • Both food for the immediate need and funds for the startup of a new community garden with The Good News Community Kitchen in Occoquan, VA.
  • Funds to the Bull Run Unitarian Universalists to build a Little Free Pantry.
  • Partnering with Food for Neighbors located in Reston, VA, to help them as they supplement breakfasts and lunches to school children in need.
  • Funded a Little Free Pantry in Tylertown, Mississippi, which will be placed on the property of Velma Jeans Chicken and Waffle House.
  • Partnered with So What Else to provide both funds for food for its Little Free Pantry in Rockville, MD, and also to help provide bags of food for kids in the inner city of Baltimore, MD.
  • Sent funding to the Children’s Learning Center in Jackson, WY, which is using their van to drop off bags of food for their kids in need. So many of their parents are out of work.
  • Supplied a grant to help My Why in Cincinnati, OH, as they raise funds for a van to drive much needed donated fruit and vegetables to their inner-city families.

While these partnerships are creating an impact in communities in need and helping us make a social difference, we aren’t nearly ready to stop. With more requests being received monthly, we need your help raising more funds to share with non-profit organizations across the nation that are ready to roll up their sleeves and ideate and execute grassroots solutions to the exacerbated issue of hunger caused by COVID-19.

Please know that any donation in any amount makes a significant impact. The average cost to feed a child a school lunch is only $3.41. Our commitment is to end childhood hunger one child, one meal at a time, and our pledge to our donors is to use every dollar raised in this campaign to fund our community grants.

Please, help us make a difference during COVID-19.

Let’s feed some kids!

Volunteers cancel, Guatemala town struggles

Named after the Brazilian environmental activist, Chico Mendes, who lost his life protecting the rainforests, the Chico Mendes Reforestation Project was started in 1998, when the loss of forests and its consequences were evident to those living in Pachaj, Guatemala. This community is located near Quetzaltenango, in the Northwest Highlands of Guatemala.  Jorge Armando Lopez Pocol, a respected forester, and his family established a nursery and organizes the village as well as international volunteers to plant seeds, grow seedlings, and protect trees. The average number of trees planted each year in the last five years is 15,000. Currently, Jorge Armando has 40,000 trees ready to be planted.

One of Jorge Armando’s main goals is to plant the pinabete tree on the mountainside near his community.  The pinabete is the one tree where the rare Quetzal, national bird of Guatemala, will nest.  Planting the pinabete thwarts mining companies from destroying the mountainsides and will ensure good water quality for the village.

See the Chico Mendes website:  https://www.chicomendesguatemala.org

Because of the pandemic, nine volunteer groups scheduled to plant trees in Guatemala for The Chico Mendes Reforestation Project have canceled. This is devastating for a community that is living on the edge.  The Project depends on volunteer groups to transfer seedlings and to plant young trees, which in turn helps support the reforesting of the mountainsides.  In addition, income for the community is generated when volunteers pay to stay with families and take Spanish language classes. Without this income, the families and Spanish teachers will lack funds to feed their families.

From the three service-learning trips, many in our congregation have ties to the Chico Mendes Reforestation Project and have been supportive in past fundraisers.  Our UU accreditation as a Green Sanctuary congregation was due in part from this partnership.  In addition, we are knowledgeable about other groups who have traveled or were planning to travel there this spring and summer.  We are also well connected to various environmental groups and will communicate the needs of this project to them.

The funds raised will go for seeds, fertilizer, tools, supplies, and staff salaries to maintain the young trees and protect the forests.  Families who provide homestays and Spanish teachers will be compensated.

Contributions and support now will ensure the continuation and survival of the Chico Mendes Reforestation project.  The welfare of these community members and the protection of fragile ecosystems in the Guatemala Highlands also depend on contributions to weather the current crisis caused by the pandemic.  In the future groups will again take trips and plant trees with the villagers of Pachaj, hosted by Jorge Armando.

Testimonials:

“When I was in Guatemala, I observed the Chico Mendes group grow healthy seedlings and plant trees where they had been cut down.  Reforestation is an important job for humanity in terms of climate change.”  -Dr. John Hartman, Plant Pathologist Emeritus, University of Kentucky

“The Chico Mendes Reforestation Project not only provides clean air and water for the local people, but it also sends the message that sustainability is possible if everyone contributes.  By donating to this cause, you will be improving the local people’s quality of life and showing the world how vital sustainability is for our well being”.  -Justine Reschly, High School senior

“What most impressed me about the Chico Mendes Reforestation Project in Guatemala was the engagement and investment in youth.  They didn’t just work on reforestation, but they educated, hired, and mentored youth to participate in their work.  They understand the importance of youth education and involvement to bring change in future generations. “ -Meredith Gall, parent and participant

“The Chico Mendes Reforestation Project is as much a community and social justice effort as it is an environmental justice organization. Planting trees and protecting the environment is intimately related to protecting and providing for the local community. The connection with the local community both supports Chico Mendes and also provides a community stake in both the project and their environment. Our family’s connection with the community was good for us, them and, I firmly believe, the wider world.” -Dan Gall, parent and participant

Faithify Campaigns and COVID-19

In March, we created new policies to help our Faithify community weather the uncertainties of fundraising when everything is changing so quickly.

Roundtable Revival Mentoring Program for Persons Who are Reentering the Community 

Persons returning to the community face significant barriers rebuilding their lives after experiencing contact with the criminal justice system (Coates, 2015). Examples include those citizens on probation or parole or those returning to the community after a period of incarceration in jail or prison. These challenges are being magnified by the COVID-19 epidemic.

Currently in Eau Claire County, WI, we do not have a comprehensive reentry program that can serve those being released from jail or prison, so even a brief jail stay could result in the loss of housing, employment, family disruption, health care coverage, or transportation. Recent estimates suggest that each year 15-20 women return to the Eau Claire area after release from prison. In 2017, the Eau Claire County Jail released 4,916 people. Roundtable Revival has a goal of providing resources and programming to support reintegration into the community and reduce recidivism.

We will ultimately offer a variety of reentry programs, including the Mentoring Program, Reentry Peer Support, a First Stop program for people being released from jail, and an alcohol-free tavern as a place where people can gather in the evening to socialize, relax, and have fun. Roundtable Revival utilizes a foundation of Certified Peer Support Specialists. Training for the Peer Support Specialist is provided by the State of Wisconsin and their hours are billable through Medical Assistance. These specialists have the advantage of having personal experience with the criminal justice system and have been trained in understanding the available community resources. Ultimately, we hope that any added programs will contribute to the goal of empowering returning citizens and enhancing their overall physical and mental health. We want to offer them the opportunity for an equal place at our roundtable.

Objectives: For the Mentoring Program, we plan to draw upon the power of a mentoring relationship to empower persons as they seek to negotiate the challenges of obtaining housing, employment, substance use and alcohol misuse treatment, healthcare, mental health treatment, and other needed resources. Funds raised will be used for start-up and initial operational expenses. The outcomes will consist of a tracking success across the areas of individual need and an evaluation of the mentoring program by the mentors and mentees.

Mentoring Program Design: The program will be modeled after similar successful programs, best practices, and evidence-based models. Area churches and congregations, the Synagogue and the Mosque as well as the general community will be approached for support by providing weekly meals, Life Skills presenters, and Mentors. The program will meet weekly at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Eau Claire for three hours with each session consisting of socializing and sharing a meal, group support and life story sharing, an educational presentation on life skills, and individual mentoring. Mentors will be trained prior to each cycle and will be asked to attend group mentor meetings periodically during the cycle. The initial focus will be providing a safe space for adult females who volunteer and are accepted into the program. If there is enough interest, a second site will serve adult men. We envision conducting  mentoring program cycles in the fall and spring. A graduation ceremony will be held at the conclusion of each cycle.

All mentors will be asked to complete an initial six-hour workshop training. Group meetings of Mentors will occur prior to the weekly meetings every third week of the program duration. Mentors will be given a manual with a mentor job description and training materials.

Expected outcomes: Our mission is: To cultivate inclusive, accepting, and empowering spaces WITH people who face barriers due to a conviction history: Facilitating full reintegration into our community. We plan to link individuals with community resources for housing, employment, substance use and alcohol misuse treatment, mental health treatment, and other needed resources. An overall goal of Roundtable Revival is to foster a more responsive and collaborative system for the employment, housing, mental health, healthcare, and substance use and alcohol misuse treatment needs of returning citizens.  In addition, we will instill a sense of community and belonging among individuals who are returning citizens.

How the project will be sustained: The Eau Claire County Department of Human Services operates two programs that will be a source of collaboration and support, The Comprehensive Community Services (CCS) and Community Support Program (CSP). We have also established a beginning relationship with the Eau Claire County Jail, the State of Wisconsin, Department of Corrections, Probation and Parole and The Transition Center (day treatment center) in Eau Claire. Roundtable Revival is incorporated as a State of Wisconsin, certified nonprofit social service agency or 501(c)3.

Unitarian Universalist Songleaders Convergence 2020

UPDATE May 1 : DUE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, THIS CAMPAIGN HAS BEEN CLOSED. ANY PLEDGES MADE WILL NOT BE PROCESSED. THANK YOU.


UPDATE 4/29:  It is with heavy hearts that we must share with you that the Association for Unitarian Universalist Music Ministries Annual Conference in Ann Arbor has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the first time in 38 years that we will not gather together to share our riches of talent and friendship. Read the full statement here.


We’re excited to bring the Songleaders Convergence back to the Association for Unitarian Universalist Music Ministries Conference to share skills, best practices, wisdom, and of course, songs! The Convergence offers days of learning and networking to nurture a deeper culture of community singing in our congregations and wider community.

We’re asking our wider UU community to help us with a match grant. A match grant means that if we meet our $6,000 goal, the UU Funding program will match it with ANOTHER $6,000! This means if you give $20, you’re actually contributing $40! 

We’re inviting songleaders from across our Faith and all those who love community singing to converge for what promises to be a transformative gathering of resonance, harmony, and rhythm. The Convergence scholarship opportunities are aimed at making it possible for new leaders and participants of color who may not otherwise have the chance to participate to be with us in a community of growth and welcome.

Money raised will provide scholarships for leaders and participants of color and for first time attendees to the AUUMM Conference. 

What can attendees expect?

  • Confident & invitational songleading
  • Songleading for worship and in the streets
  • Deepening cultural context, story, worship, and preaching through songleading
  • Harmony singing, vocal technique, circle songs, and more!

Who’s invited?

  • Ministers and seminarians
  • Religious Educators
  • Choir members and singers
  • Musicians both professional and recreational
  • Anyone leading or wanting to lead songs in worship, around the dinner table, at the board meeting, or in the streets
  • You!

The Wisconsin Unitarian Universalist State Action Network

The Wisconsin Unitarian Universalist State Action Network aims to build a statewide advocacy network employing the power of the collective voices of Unitarian Universalists in Wisconsin. We uphold the worth and dignity of every person while acting to further justice, equity, and compassion. Through a website and social media the Wisconsin Unitarian Universalist State Action Network hopes to provide portals for Wisconsin UU congregations to share what they are doing and see what other UU congregations are doing to advance justice, equity and compassion, through the website and social media to provide in depth information about the issue critical to the citizens of Wisconsin, and to provide a forum for individuals to express their actions and need for justice, equity and compassion.