Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Rockville, Maryland
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Social Justice Groups

Social Justice Committee

To lead and engage the congregation on social justice concerns, the Social Justice Committee:

  • Provides tangible ways to live our Unitarian Universalist (UU) principles in the community and the world
  • Financially supports UUCR's social justice groups and UU and community allies
  • Works in coalition with UU and other social justice organizations
  • Encourages exploration of -- and congregational action on -- emerging issues

All are welcome to attend the committee meetings, held on the first Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in Room 44 in Building 4.


UUCR Social Justice Groups

Green Team

UUCR's Green Team promotes environmental awareness and activism to make the 7th Unitarian Universalist principle -- respect for the interdependent web of existence of which we are a part -- a vital part of our congregation. UUCR was accredited as a Green Sanctuary by the Unitarian Universalist Association in February 2015. Activities include roadside and stream cleanups, environmental film and book discussions, and advocating for renewable energy.  If you're inspired to care for the earth, join us after the service on the second Sunday each month. 

Contact: Julia Santerre at greenteamchairs@uucr.org

Hunger Relief

This group of volunteers coordinates UUCR's hunger relief activities, which include helping with the annual Thanksgiving food collection for All Soul's Unitarian Church in Washington, DC; scheduling youth servers and adult cooks at The Lord's Table soup kitchen in Gaithersburg, Maryland; collecting and bringing food to Manna, Rockville's local food pantry; and supporting political action for feeding the hungry. 

Contact: Dolores Barnes and Pat Einhorn at hunger_relief@uucr.org

Immigration Action Group

Formed in 2010, the Immigration Action Group (IAG) aims to better understand immigration issues and to develop activities that move us towards a more just immigration environment. Because immigration reform is a high priority for UUCR, we support initiatives such as Comprehensive Immigration Reform and educational activities such as showing films, holding panel discussions, and conducting workshops. The IAG partners with Community Ministries of Rockville to support citizenship and ESOL classes at UUCR, is a co-founder of the annual Greater Washington Immigration Film Festival, and leads immigration advocacy efforts in the congregation. We meet once per month. 

Contact: David Strauss at immigration@uucr.org

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Gender-Queer (LGBTQ) Group

UUCR was designated a Welcoming Congregation by the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations (UUA) in 1998, after a number of congregants completed the UUA course, The Welcoming Congregation.  Since then, the LGBTQ Group has helped the Equality Maryland movement to pass Maryland's marriage equality law (2012) and created Rainbow Youth Alliance (RYA), a support group for LGBTQ teens.  Since 2006, RYA has continuously offered twice-monthly support group meetings and social events to all rainbow teens and their allies in Montgomery County and beyond, free of charge.  In 2013, the LGBTQ Group led 20 congregants in the months-long second UUA course on LGBTQ issues, Living the Welcoming Congregation. The program participants formed a cohesive group that looks forward to working on future projects dealing with LGBTQ concerns. We support and participate in Montgomery County's Transgender Day of Remembrance and join other area UUs in the Capital Pride parade and festival. 

Contact: Stephanie Kreps at lgbtq@uucr.org

Peacemaking Group

Since 2002, when a group of UUCR members and friends formed a Peace Study Group, peacemaking – both internationally and at home – has been a focus of UUCR's Social Justice Committee. We are currently working with local community groups studying and promoting peace and non-violent conflict. During 2016-17, we are hosting a monthly discussion series, "Pivot Homeward," about reducing militarism as a major tool of domestic and foreign policy and refocusing the resources and energies from war abroad to domestic needs at home. These once-a-month meetings run September 2016 through May 2017, generally the last Friday of the month at 7:30 p.m. Full schedule and suggested readings at www.uucr.org/sites/default/files/PivotHomeward.pdf

Contact: Steve Lapham


UU and Community Allies

Action in Montgomery (AIM)

Action In Montgomery builds a citizen power base with the goal of influencing political leaders to make financial commitments to social justice. UUCR is a founding member of this broad-based, non-partisan organization that consists of 30 congregations and neighborhood organizations in Montgomery County. AIM uses grassroots organizing to identify issues of citizen concern and provide a seat at the power table to voice the concerns of poor, working-class, and middle-class citizens. AIM pursues equitable development that decreases the income divide, provides living wages for workers, and creates affordable housing. AIM offers training in organizing and advocacy and opportunities to serve on study committees. 

Amnesty International Group 82

Founded at UUCR in 1976, Amnesty International Group 82 works for the release of prisoners of conscience -- people imprisoned solely for non-violent exercise of internationally recognized human rights -- through letter-writing. We were very active in working to eliminate the death penalty in Maryland, and engage in short-term campaigns for the rights of women, indigenous peoples, and children. Visit Group 82's website for ways to get involved. We meet on the third Sunday of the month at noon in Room 53.

Contact: Roald Schrack at amnesty@uucr.org

Beacon House

Beacon House provides after-school activities, tutoring, and mentoring as well as cultural, athletic, recreational, and nutritional programs to at-risk children. This inner-city Unitarian Universalist community ministry was founded by Rev. Donald Robinson in 1991, and today the nonprofit organization serves at-risk children, ages 5 to 18, in the Edgewood Terrace neighborhood of northeast Washington, D.C. Our volunteers conduct a school supply drive each summer and a holiday gift collection each December for children and adults served by Beacon House. 

Contact: Alberta Maschal at beaconhouse@uucr.org

Community Ministries of Rockville (CMR)

UUCR is a member congregation of Community Ministries of Rockville, an interfaith coalition of congregations serving those in need in Rockville since 1967. CMR operates a health clinic, an emergency assistance program, Language Outreach Program, elderly ministries to enable frail elderly to remain in their home, and transitional housing for homeless men. UUCR participates in a variety of CMR programs, including bringing meals to Chase Partnership House and Jefferson House. UUCR also hosts twice weekly ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) classes and citizenship classes. The congregation makes an annual donation to CMR, and several UUCR members contribute money and time, including service as CMR board members.

Contact: Johanna Marshall at cmr@uucr.org

Habitat for Humanity

Each summer a group of about 20 UUCR teens and adults participate in a Garrett County, Maryland Habitat for Humanity (HFH) summer build work week.  The group spends a week helping to construct homes, making home ownership possible for low income families in western Maryland.

Contact:  Karen Pittleman at habitatforhumanity@uucr.org

Interfaith Works

Interfaith Works pursues social justice by leading and engaging Montgomery County's faith communities in service, education, and advocacy. Founded in 1972 as Community Ministry of Montgomery County, this interfaith coalition of congregations operates the Community Based Shelter in Rockville for homeless men and women, an interfaith housing coalition, an emergency assistance program, a family mentoring program, a clothing center, and vocational training. UUCR is a member congregation and contributes financially; UUCR members provide meals at the Community Based Shelter for one week in June.

Contact: Kay Newhouse at interfaithworks@uucr.org

UUs for Social Justice (UUSJ)

Through UUs for Social Justice of the National Capital Region, UU congregations come together to boost the frequency, impact, and visibility of their collaborative social justice efforts and to celebrate social justice activists at an annual gala awards dinner.  Current focus areas are immigration, freedom to marry, and environmental justice. We conduct workshops, provide training, and facilitate information-sharing via a website and newsletter. UUCR and several individual members of our congregation are members of UUSJ.  Check the Quest newsletter and weekly UUCR emails for upcoming UUSJ events.

Contact: Pat Bradshaw and Gary Magnuson at uusj@uucr.org

Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of Maryland (UULM-MD)

UULM-MD organizes Maryland UUs to works for a state free of oppression and injustice where all are guaranteed their human rights. Formed in 2005, the group alerts, educates, and activates UUs across the state to address human rights and public policy before the Maryland General Assembly. Each winter, prior to the start of the state legislative session, the group chooses three priority issues. Each January, an annual state-wide meeting is held in Annapolis. Opportunities to advocate, whether in person or by writing or calling your representatives, can be found in the Quest newsletter and at information tables on Sunday mornings.

Contact: Andrea Hall at uulm-md@uucr.org

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC)

Founded in 1941, UUSC advances human rights and social justice around the world by partnering with local grassroots organizations in four areas: advancing economic justice, defending civil liberties and access to democratic processes, promoting environmental justice, and protecting rights in humanitarian crises. Our primary activity at UUCR is conducting the "Guest At Your Table" program, in which families and children learn about the people with whom UUSC is working on international social justice issues during the month of November. Look for details in the Quest newsletter, weekly UUCR emails, and information tables on Sunday mornings.

Contact: Ken Sandin at uusc@uucr.org

 

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