The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
Our Split-the-Plate recipient for the final calendar quarter of 2021 is the UU Service Committee. In the past, we have supported UUSC through congregant memberships, the holiday Guest at Your Table program, and Justice Sunday.
For those new to UUCBV and UU in general, the UUSC is an organization that is separate from but closely affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Association. It assists local, national, and international organizations doing work doing work consistent with our UU Principles. Started during World War II and modeled loosely on the Friends Service Committee, an original focus was helping Jews and others escape Nazi persecution. Sometimes, the UUSC is the only organization concentrating on helping oppressed minorities and indigenous groups in gaining their rights or receiving aid during natural disasters.
At present UUSC is working in various regions and on a range of issues. Close to home, it has even provided grants to Texas UU Justice Ministry. Some current programs include:
Climate Justice is at the junction of environmental and social justice. UUSC partners with indigenous organizations and others, with especially strong partnerships in Alaska and the Pacific islands dealing firsthand with the most extreme effects of climate change.
Crisis Response in the U.S., Caribbean, and elsewhere, including Burma (Myanmar) where the Rohingya people are suffering genocide and displacement.
Central American migrant justice partnering with organizations all along the migrant trail from El Salvador through Mexico to the United States.
Please be generous with your Split-the-Plate contributions this month. And find more information on work of the UUSC at www.uusc.org.
Update on Texas UU Justice Ministry
The Texas UU Justice Ministry, our denominational voice in Austin as well as a social justice resource for our congregations, is going through a transition. Many of you know the Executive Director Rev. Chuck Freeman from his regular sermons at UUCBV promoting TxUUJM. Unfortunately, he has been dealing with a long-term illness and recently moved to a long-term acute care facility.
Another familiar face at UUCBV, the Rev. Erin Walter, will be assuming duties as the acting director. She is working actively with the TxUUJM Board to help us navigate the trying times after the last legislative session. Rev. Erin was previously a reporter for the Austin American-Statesman and legal editor for the Texas Legislative Council, so she is quite familiar with the workings of the Capitol. You can look forward to hearing more from TxUUJM in the near future.
Recap on the CROP Hunger Walk
Thanks to our walkers and members and friends who contributed to the 2021 CROP Walk on November 7th. Team Brazos UU’s raised $1,190 to combat hunger in the Brazos Valley and the world. We came in third overall of the local churches and organizations who participated. In all, $16,542 was raised by the Brazos event, with a quarter of those proceeds going to the Brazos Church Food Pantry, where UUCBV members have volunteered in the past.
It Starts with Faith: Organizing School for Teams
UUCBV members attended a great training over the past nine weeks presented by Side With Love, the UUA's public advocacy campaign. It Starts With Faith: Organizing School for Teams was designed to build faith-rooted organizing teams that are able to tackle organizing efforts with proven tools and a welcoming heart. It was a training that was equal parts learning how to work with one another in covenant and reviewing tested organizational tactics and activities to build effective social justice efforts. Pastor Kiya Heartwood, Jerry Wagnon, Isabel Lambertz, Allison Faber, Gaye Webb, and Darbi Lockridge worked together to investigate the landscapes of power in our community, mapping partners and opposition, and gained important insight into leadership development, volunteer management, and more! It was an informative, fun, and spiritually fulfilling time together where our members came away with a better understanding of advocacy organizing but also with closer relationships with one another.
Bringing this training back to UUCBV will bring new life to lots of organizational efforts within the church and in the community. Our diligence and efforts to show up week after week have also earned us the opportunity to get additional coaching in 2022 from the Side With Love team. Our church community is undergoing so many changes over the next year as we settle into our new church home, with our new minister, in a new area, and this ongoing training will be an energizing force as we springboard into revived social justice efforts in this new space. The participants are eager to put their learning into practice with you all soon!