Social Justice Opportunities

We are inspired to boldly and compassionately live in to our by laws, ends-statements and voted on resolutions…

BY-LAW IV – WELCOMING CONGREGATION

At the April 27, 1997 Congregational Meeting it was voted that UUCA become a Welcoming Congregation affirming UUCA’s commitment to address the needs of bisexual, gay, lesbian and transgender persons by having inclusive language and content in worship services; incorporating experiences of bisexual, gay, lesbian, and transgender people throughout all church programs, including religious education; engaging in outreach into the bisexual, gay, lesbian and transgender community by actively supporting affirmative groups, including but not limited to encouraging a chapter of ; and by speaking out in the community when the rights of bisexual, gay, lesbian, and transgender people are in jeopardy.

BY-LAW V – ANTI-RACIST, ANTI-OPPRESSIVE, AND MULTICULTURAL

UUCA is committed to becoming and sustaining an anti-racist, anti-oppressive, and multicultural religious community where people of all races, ethnicities and colors see their identities reflected and affirmed in all aspects of congregational life.

BY-LAW VI – ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY AND JUSTICE

UUCA is committed to giving deliberate and consistent attention to environmental sustainability and environmental justice in all aspects of congregational life.

 

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UUCA CONGREGATIONAL ENDS STATEMENTS:

Global Ends Statement – The UUCA exists to create the Beloved Community by inspiring and empowering all souls to live bold and compassionate lives.

  • Ends Statement 1.0  – Faith Development – UUCA creates meaningful opportunities for deepening spirituality for all persons within a safe and challenging environment.
  • Ends Statement 2.0  – Social and Environmental Justice – UUCA’s theological and spiritual culture calls us to put our principles into action by creating and supporting systems that address environmental and social injustices.
  • Ends Statement 3.0  – Larger UU Movement – UUCA creates meaningful opportunities that encourage participation and leadership in the larger UU community to promote the growth of Unitarian Universalism.

 

2017  RESOLUTION:  UUCA IS A SANCTUARY CONGREGATION

On April 1, 2017, UUCA members voted to become a Sanctuary Church. Since that time, various individuals have begun work in three distinct areas: Community Outreach, Hosting, and Advocacy. Outreach: Anita Ramundo – a_ramundo@yahoo.com; Hosting- Pat Fleeharty  pfleeharty@hotmail.com; Advocacy – Eric Machinist eric_machinist@hotmail.com.

Ministries, Groups and Other Organized Groups at UUCA

 Arthur L. Hansen Prison Ministry Program is an emotional/social literacy program that provides healing and coping skills to inmates at the Maryland Correctional Institute – Jessup (MCI-J, a medium-security men’s prison.  We teach two classes: ‘Houses of Healing’ and ‘Nonviolent Communication.’ These provide skills in emotional literacy, mindfulness, self-empowerment, and nonviolent communication that give the incarcerated a greater ability to function civilly and successfully within prison and outside of prison when they are released. After completing a class, participants often then share what they learned with fellow inmates struggling with more effective ways to resolve conflicts and heal broken relationships – within themselves, with others in the prison, and with their family and friends on the outside.  These 16-week in-depth programs are transformative for both the participants and the volunteers who facilitate. Contact: Rev John Crestwell, Lead: jcrestwell@uuannapolis.org.  Houses of Healing class:  Caroline Hadley:  cshadley11@gmail.com.

 

Annapolis Immigration Justice Network (AIJN)

Since becoming a Sanctuary Congregation, various individuals have begun work in three distinct areas for immigrants: Community Outreach, Hosting, and Advocacy. Outreach: Anita Ramundo a_ramundo@yahoo.com; Hosting: Pat Fleeharty – pfleeharty@hotmail.com; Outreach – Eric Machinist – eric_machinist@hotmail.com

 

African Diaspora Identity Group (ADIG) is a covenant group tied to our UU Faith Community composed of members who identify as part of the African Diaspora. We are a relational group of adults that meet regularly to share personal knowledge and experiences negotiating the challenges of racism. We function as a think tank to offer support in order to help us all heal from the negative repercussions of racism and provide support and direction to further the cause of dismantling institutionalized racism within our church and beyond. We affirm the inherent worth and dignity of all humans while questioning the purpose of the construct of race itself. We are caretakers to the mission of liberty and justice, particularly for people of African descent. We support Bylaw V — UUCA’s commitment to being an anti-racist, anti-oppressive and multicultural religious community. We promote growth, healing and connection with all members of our congregation and community. We seek justice, equity and compassion for people of all origins and background. Contact: L.E. Gomez, LE_for3@yahoo.com

 

The Building Beloved Community Team – BBC’s mission is to provide training and tools to promote the intercultural competence and racial literacy of UUCA members with the goal of increasing the ability of members to welcome, accept and value differences. Contact Don Patterson – don5052@comcast.net

 

Coming to the Table (CTTT) www.ComingToTheTable.org is a non-faith based organization with ten years of experience in creating understanding through conversations. CTTT provides leadership, resources, and a supportive environment for all who wish to acknowledge and heal wounds from racism. CTTT meets every 3rd Monday of the month at 7 pm at UUCA. Join @ComingtotheTable Facebook and get access to a listserv with local events about conversations, learning and actions about race. Contact: Jane Carrigan – jane.carrigan54@gmail.com

 

Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) www. ShowingUpforRacialJustice.org SURJ is a national network of groups and individuals organizing white people for racial justice. Contact: Melissa Merritt-  mfaithmerritt@gmail.com

 

Homework Haven & The 100 Books Challenge  – HH is an after school program for elementary school children. Most of the kids live in Woodside Gardens, a housing community on Newtowne Drive in Annapolis, just off Forest Drive and near the Safeway store. Most of the kids attend Eastport Elementary School; a very large majority of the students are African American; a few are Latino. The immediate goal of Homework Haven is to have caring adults help kids with homework, play games, and similar things to help the kids build life skills. The longer term goal is to help the students prepare for Middle and High School to increase the likelihood that each will graduate from high school.

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis has been a major supporter of Homework Haven for some 15 years. Each year, from 3 to 6 UUCA members have worked as tutors for the program. After Homework Haven lost its government funding in 2009, the UUCA, the UUCA Endowment Fund, and individual contributors have provided around two-thirds of the total funding. Homework Haven is a primary example of UUCA volunteers going into the larger community to work to counter the effects of racism and oppression from living in and attending school in rampant segregation situations. We help the kids succeed in school so that they are better equipped to deal with the racism and oppression they face in the wider world. Homework Haven has been a safe and loving place for the kids to grow into successful and caring adults. Working at Homework Haven is deeply rewarding for the UUCA volunteers. It provides a window into the lives of people whose experiences are very different from ours. We are looking to revamp the program with more input from the child and educational professionals. Contact: Darrel Nash, nash.darrelnash@gmail.com

 

The Mindfulness Practice Group http://www.mpgannapolis.org/ was founded in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh, originator of Engaged Buddhism, which aims at both social and economic justice. We have maintained this spiritual practice of Engagement via letter writing, films, participation in marches, fundraising, and by taking our core values into programs in Anne Arundel County & the schools. We are resolved to remain the leader among UUCA’s spirituality groups in explicitly antiracist & multicultural programming & informational activities. Contact: Phyllis Culhum, jcbluejay@live.com

 

 Sunday Shared Plate Ministry – Each week UUCA shares 50% of its “plate” donations to a charity from the local community.   Members choose from a list which organizations will receive our financial support. Some of the recipients include: The Light House Shelter, Habitat for Humanity, Centro de Ayuda, Seeds for Success, AA Conflict Resolution Center, Arundel House of Hope, UULM-MD, NAACP, AA Scholarship Trust, Homework Haven, and the Banneker-Douglass Museum to name a few.

 

 UU Legislative Ministry of Maryland  https://www.uulmmd.org – The Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of Maryland (UULM-MD) is a statewide advocacy network of Unitarian Universalists. We work to educate, mobilize, and coordinate UUs on specific issues before the Maryland General Assembly. Working in coalition with established state and national organizations, we as UUs model a reverence for the interdependent web of all existence which fosters justice, health and equity in society.  We encourage you to join us on this journey as we engage Marylanders, expand freedom and nurture an inclusive, life affirming system of government.  From our website: “As a legislative ministry, the Board of the UULM-MD is committed to approaching each action issue through the lens of systems of oppression, to deepen in understanding of the impact of policies on communities and individuals of color and to encourage intentional anti-racism/anti-oppression sensibilities.”  As a legislative ministry, the UULM-MD focuses on legislation coming before the Maryland General Assembly.

During the 2016 Session, we worked in coalition with the Maryland Alliance for Justice Reform (MAJR) to pass The Justice Reinvestment Act, which included reduction of some sentences for low-risk and non-violent offenders, and a requirement that a risk and needs assessment be conducted on each inmate in order to provide earlier drug treatment, mental health treatment, and alternative dispute resolution programs.  We also worked with the Maryland Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability to pass Public Safety and Policing Workgroup–Recommendations, HB1016. This bill revised some provisions of the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights in order to make it easier to file police complaints and to ensure greater transparency in the complaint process. It also allows local jurisdictions to include citizen participation on their police review boards. We anticipate continuing work on these issues with both of these coalitions during the 2017 General Assembly Session. Contact: info@uulmmd.org

Non-Profit & Other Programs UUCA Supports

Black Lives Matter & Black Lives of UU –  UUCA Supports the BLM movement that demands that black lives are just as important as all other lives. This has historically not been the case.  We also support BLUU http://www.blacklivesuu.com/ which was formed in the wake of several conversations among Black UUs at the July 2015 Movement for Black Lives Convening in Cleveland, OH – the BLUU Organizing Collective works to provide support, information & resources for Black Unitarian Universalists. They also work to expand the role & visibility of Black UUs within our faith.

 

Habitat for Humanity International’s goal to eliminate poverty housing throughout the world and make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action.  Along with other local congregations, our church works with the Chesapeake chapter of Habitat for Humanity, where we seek to raise money to build a home every two to three years. A current project is almost finished in the Clay Street community. Contact: Patrick Fleeharty, pfleeharty@hotmail.com

 

Light House, A Homeless Prevention Support Center has been steadfast in its mission of rebuilding lives with service and compassion by providing shelter, preventing homelessness and empowering people in Anne Arundel County as they work to become self-sufficient for over two decades.  Our UUCA congregation makes and serves dinner on the 2nd Saturday each month. Also, each year, during the month of March, we are responsible for keeping the shelter’s food pantry stocked. We also assist with fundraising events, as well as arranging in-kind services from specialists from our congregation (doctors, dentists, tradesmen, etc.). Contact: John Fischer – jwlfischer@gmail.com

 

Center of Help.  www.centrodeayuda.org is a community resource and referral center that assists Latino-Hispanic and other new American families in Annapolis, Anne Arundel and Maryland, as far away as helping people from our countries. For more than 10 years, we have been the area’s only non-profit charitable organization to help families assimilate successfully into U.S. culture–assuring that these New Americans become employed, educated and fully participating members of society.  Members of the UUCA congregation volunteer their time, talent and resources to ensure the organization’s goals are met. UUCA also “shares the plate” (CdA). Contact: Anita Ramundo: a_ramundo@yahoo.com

 

Greater Annapolis Interfaith Network (GAIN) www.gainonline.org a local interfaith organization made up of several religious communities (Christian and non-Christian) in Anne Arundel County, MD that are committed to achieving community and justice through interfaith partnerships.  UUCA is a member of GAIN and participates in forums, interfaith dialogues on social issues, and in GAIN’s annual New Year’s Eve interfaith worship service where hundreds attend. Contact: Liz Vanden Huevel liz2vh@comcast.net

 

Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) – UUCA and other interfaith communities have begun a partnership with IAF for Anne Arundel County to do community-based organizing around issues that impact us all.  Look for more information about how you can get involved in this community-based organization. Contact: ltmundy@yahoo.com

 

UUCA Green Sanctuary

The Green Sanctuary program is a path for congregational study, reflection, and action in response to environmental challenges. It provides a structure for congregations to examine their current environmental impacts and move towards more sustainable practices grounded in Unitarian Universalism. Green Sanctuary encourages focus in four areas: Environmental Justice / Climate Justice, Worship and Celebration, Religious Education, and Sustainable Living. Contact: Scott Eden seden4100@gmail.com , or Melissa Merritt- mfaithmerritt@gmail.com