Making the invisible visible is the work of social justice within Unitarian Universalist congregations. We have a deep intuition of radical interdependence, which we’ve articulated in the seventh of our contemporary UU statement of principles and purposes, a call to engage this interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
At the same time we acknowledge how each of us sees only a part of the picture, like that old story the Buddha told of the five blind men and the elephant.
People of Faith, Standing on the Side of Love For full size & more info, visit our video page.
So, while we feel there is an urgency to engage the hurt of the world, we are also mindful of our limitations and attempt to engage the great issues with humility as well as energy. We have been engaged in a number of areas of concern, including homelessness, affordable housing, racial justice, marriage equality and immigration rights.
Following is a list of some of the wide range of projects in which we are currently active.
Green Sanctuary focuses on deepening our environmental consciousness and extending green
strategies to the congregation and community. This group explores our personal relationship to
the environment, and provides education and ideas for action. Members and friends are encouraged
to join in envisioning a flourishing planet and choosing to restore and heal our magnificent
home. This is a member group of the UU Ministry for Earth.
Denominational and Interfaith Connections
Denominational and Interfaith Connections seeks to assist and inspire the members and friends
of First Unitarian to grow in spiritual and institutional health by supporting and participating in
Ballou-Channing District and Unitarian Universalist Association activities, including UUA General
Assembly and interfaith groups such as the RI State Council of Churches.
Community and Food Share Pantry
The church-based Community Food Share (CFS) Pantry collects and stores food and household products
for free distribution to low-income and needy people in the greater Providence community.
Distribution is on the third Monday of every month in the Parish House Atrium.
The CFS Committee recruits a large team of volunteers that procures, prepares and presents the
food and manages the distribution each month. Participants in the church school also assist the
program.The number of people who depend on our pantry is increasing due to the weakening economy. Volunteering for the Food Pantry can be a rewarding experience. We need help setting up, serving as “personal shoppers,” helping clients select food items, and cleaning up. We particularly need people who can help in the late afternoon.
World Affairs Committee
The World Affairs Committee serves to bring together congregants who want to learn about and
provide assistance for humanitarian crises and concerns throughout the world. Programs typically
focus on education and fund raising. The Committee has sponsored programs on the war in
Iraq, the effects of the tsunami in the Pacific, the status of women in India, Native Americans, and
similar topics. Annually, they sponsor a letter-writing campaign to secure the release of prisoners
held for political reasons, in conjunction with Amnesty International.
The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC), a human rights organization, is an independent
UU institution supported by individual members across the nation and world and by a
generous matching grant from the Veatch Program of the Shelter Rock congregation. Guest at
Your Table boxes also support UUSC programs. Programs are both international and domestic,
with experiential opportunities through work camps and activism.
The Girl Effect – Task Force
The Girl Effect is a new group at our church that will concentrate on raising funds to contribute directly to girls’ education. We will work with The Girl Effect, www.girleffect.org, a non-profit group founded on the principle that, "Girls are the most powerful force for change on the planet." When given a chance, women and girls can lift themselves out of poverty, and their villages along with them, thus multiplying the impact. This new group has developed from the Village Bank Task Force and has many of the same goals. Our main fundraising event will be the holiday sale in December (selling handicrafts from less developed countries, thereby benefiting the workers as well.)
The Transylvania Partnership Committee
The Transylvania Partnership Committee works to support First Unitarian’s ties with
Transylvanian Unitarians by becoming a partner to the Unitarian Church in Szentegyhaza. After
several years of preparation, a visit by a group of Providence congregants to Szentegyhaza and a
reciprocal visit by the minister, the Rev. Szabolcs Kelemen, and board chair, Mr. Sandor Racz,
from Szentegyhaza to us, the goal of partnership was accomplished. A motion to become a partner
church was brought to congregational vote this spring and was unanimously accepted.
In the upcoming church year, the Committee will sponsor several educational events,
designed to inform the congregation about our Unitarian roots and upcoming joint projects
between the two congregations. A new trip is planned to Szentegyhaza in the summer of 2009
and we hope to recruit new members. One of the potential events that we are very excited about
is a youth exchange between Providence and Szentegyhaza.
Welcoming Congregations Committee
Recently formed, the Welcoming Congregations Committee works to formally join our congregation to our denominational project of being officially welcoming to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered folk. Through this committee we are also focused on Marriage Equality issues in Rhode Island.
The Wholly Rollers
The Wholly Rollers are Providence area UUs
and their friends of all ages who work together
to raise funds for the Rhode Island Chapter of
the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Wholly
Rollers train by riding together from April to
June. Some ride the one-day 25-mile MS Quick
Ride in April; others ride the two-day, 150-mile
MS Bike Tour in June. We raise funds to support
scientific research to find a cure for multiple
sclerosis and provide services in Rhode
Island for those with MS. Wholly Rollers set
personal goals for funding raising and training.
Some don't ride but donate funds on behalf of
the team and provide all around encouragement.
It's FUN, a challenge, fellowship and a
great opportunity to serve others!
To learn more visit our website.
Habitat Work Group Third Saturdays monthly
"Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit,
ecumenical Christian housing ministry.
HFHI seeks to eliminate poverty housing and
homelessness from the world, and to make
decent shelter a matter of conscience and
action. Habitat invites people of all backgrounds,
races and religions to build houses
together in partnership with families in need.
Habitat has built more than 200,000 houses
around the world, providing more than
1,000,000 people in more than 3,000 communities
with safe, decent, affordable shelter.
HFHI was founded in 1976 by Millard Fuller
along with his wife Linda." (from the main habitat website)
The First Unitarian Church Habitat Work
Group has been working for the past two years
with the Providence chapter (Habitat for
Humanity of RI — Greater Providence, Inc.). The Providence
chapter usually has several houses under construction. Volunteers of all skill levels are welcome — the only requirement is a willingness
and ability to do physical work, and minimum
age of 16.
The Peace Flags Project
The Peace Flag Project (PFP) is based on the
ancient tradition of Tibetan prayer flags, which
send out hopes for peace, compassion and
kindness. We provide the opportunity for people
to create flags that connect to their deepest
hopes and dreams for themselves and the
world. We believe the flags work in many ways:
creating them is an individual experience,
which allows each person to evoke something
important — some wish or hope or prayer;
hanging the flags keeps that inspiration before
us and shares it with everyone who sees them.
Together these flags reflect our collective
yearning for a just, kind, and loving world.
Fluttering in everyday places, they connect us
with the best in ourselves and in each other. If
peace is our gift to one another, and we believe
it is, these flags are one way to share that gift.
Join us in sharing the PFP with our greater
community by volunteering in schools and for
other events, or sew peace with us on our
sewing nights here at church.