Social Justice Programs

The Social Justice Committee

Larry DeSalvatore, Chair / Bill Elliott / Ken Pottel / Stephen Brown / Bob Unger / Rob Hellstrom

The Unitarian Universalist Society of Fairhaven has established the Social Justice committee to stimulate, encourage and coordinate the activities of the many organizations within the church that do social justice work.

The following activities, in which the church is currently involved, fall under the purview of the Social Justice Committee. For more information on how to become involved, please contact the member listed or the Church office.

Year-Round Programs

 

This is a program of community giving sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Society of Fairhaven. Each Sunday, 50% of the non-pledge collections at our church are donated to a local, regional or global non-profit organization, selected on a monthly basis, that does work in keeping with our UU principles.

 

Our church welcomes and nurtures the inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people into the life of the congregation. A Welcoming Congregation Fellowship exists within the church to create educational forums and stimulate the furtherance of this objective.

 

Our church is a “green sanctuary”, as accredited by the UU Ministry for Earth. We have several initiatives underway as we work to maintain our accreditation and do our part to increase sustainable practices in our church and community.

 

Our church takes a turn once a month preparing and serving lunch at the Pilgrim United Church in New Bedford. The lunch feeds many of the poor and homeless living in the center of New Bedford.

 

Non-perishable food donations are collected and delivered to the Shepherd’s Pantry throughout the year.  The Pantry provides food for families in the Greater New Bedford area who struggle to put food on their tables. Our congregation also provides volunteers to pack bags and distribute them to the needy on a 7-week rotational basis.

This subcommittee of the Social Justice Committee includes church members and others in efforts to address a widening gap between the “haves” and the “have nots” in American society.

The CEJ has promoted an active stance by the UUSF in support of the Unitarian Universalist Association Congregational Study/Action Issue “Escalating Inequality” adopted by the UUA General Assembly in June 2014. The CEJ has also become involved with efforts by the national organization Move to Amend to advocate for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that reserves the rights granted under the Constitution to persons, not artificial entities, and permits the federal government and the states to regulate campaign contributions.

 

Coffee purchased 100% from small farmer cooperatives according to Fair Trade Standards is served during Coffee Hour every Sunday and is  available for purchase along with a variety of chocolates and nuts.

 

The church monitors a piece of property along the Fairhaven waterfront. The beach is cleaned bi-monthly, except during inclement weather, and the trash is categorized and reported on to the Coalition for Buzzards Bay’s “Operation Clean Sweep” program.

Seasonal Projects

 

Each year in November, the Women’s Alliance of our church sponsors an alternative gift fair that provides an opportunity for people to purchase gifts and make donations to organizations that create change in our world.

 

Collection boxes are distributed at Thanksgiving and collected after Christmas in support of the UU Service Committee to help fund their charitable and human rights projects throughout the world. Money is placed in these boxes at mealtimes  as a symbol of feeding the needy in the third world.

The church annually helps several needy families through Child and Family Services in New Bedford. People in our church select tags with requested gifts/food and purchase them as a way to brighten the season for families who have fallen on hard times. This is an intergenerational project that also involves the children and youth of the church.