SOCIAL ACTION & SOCIAL JUSTICE:
THE WORK OF THE CHURCH
We are called, as the church, to be out in the world, doing the work of the church. As a minister, I am empowered to speak on matters on which the congregation has spoken, and also to use my own voice in the community. As Unitarian Universalists, we work together, but also in concert with other faith communities and with secular groups in the community to effect change and do good work.
This work takes on many aspects. I've had Industrial Areas Foundation training, because I believe it's important to be able to leverage power to speak to power. I've signed my name to letters to government leaders from multifaith clergy on matters of social importance. I've attended briefings and press conferences on Capitol Hill. I've attended many marches and vigils over the years, but it's the work I've done with VOICE, the Northern Virginia IAF affiliate, that I believe has been the most effective social justice work. I hope to continue in this community organizing work wherever I'm working, because it's so effective and empowering.
In Pennsylvania, I've been able to work with POWER Interfaith, the Faith in Action community organizing group. I've also worked with the Bethlehem Interfaith Group (B.I.G.), and been the liaison between POWER and B.I.G. Leveraging power in this way is, in my opinion, so important and helpful.
Often social justice work takes the form of social action - of meeting the direct needs of the community. To that end, I do believe it's important to work alongside the congregation in social action projects. I began working as a volunteer long before my time in professional ministry.
My understanding of social justice and social action has become more sophisticated over time. I think we in the church can be a force for good by working in partnership with others rather than by assuming that we have all the answers. By working together, by listening first, by leveraging our power, we can build the beloved community that we seek!
Speaking at the Prince William County Board of Supervisors meeting after a Supervisor bullied a 15-year-old congregant on Election Day. Parishioners attended and spoke during community time.
Witnessing for immigrant rights at Dulles Airport after the first travel ban. Photo by Jack Jenkins of Think Progress. Read the full article here: Inside the Battle for Immigrant Rights at Dulles Airport
Standing on the Side of Love with immigrant families - supporting dreamers marching to the White House
Reclaiming wood at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina
Attending a Congressional briefing on water access
Witnessing for healthcare in front of the Supreme Court with Mike McCurry and clergy colleagues with Faith in Public Life