Social Justice is an important part of our ministry as a church. Our church has three levels of social engagement defined by our social mission policy.
1. Approving special financial collections for community projects or agencies. Each year we have approved four agencies for our quarterly collections.
The agencies for 2017-2018 are:
- The Aware Shelter
- Jackson Personal Care Ministry
- The Jackson Pride Center
- Planned Parenthood
Previously chosen agencies include:
- The Aware Shelter (chosen all 12 years)
- Planned Parenthood (chosen 9 years)
- The Brooklyn Food Pantry (chosen 9 years)
- The Jackson Interfaith Shelter (chosen 7 years)
- Jackson Personal Care Ministry (chosen 4 years)
- Jackson Interfaith Peacekeepers (chosen 4 years — group no longer exists)
- Fair Trade Coffee (chosen 1 year to start our fair trade coffee program)
2. Approving special social action or social service projects or programs that the congregation would support and members would be involved with. The programs may be programs of other agencies, programs that the church will sponsor, or programs that the church would lead.
Our church has voted to support the following agencies:
- AWARE SHELTER – Aware Shelter has been consistently chosen for our quarterly collections. Individual members are involved.
- BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS – We worked with Big Brothers, Big Sisters for one JXN Community Forum. Individual members have had past involvement.
- BROOKLYN FOOD PANTRY – We have had special collections, food drives, and volunteers work at the Brooklyn Food Pantry. Individual members are involved.
- CHURCH WORLD SERVICE – CROP – We have had members participate in CROP walks as a group. Individual members are involved.
- COMMUNITY ACTION AGENCY (JACKSON COUNTY) – Individual members have worked for CAA, and CAA has participated in JXN Community Forums.
- THE CLARA BARTON CENTER FOR DIABETES EDUCATION – The AUUW Group of our church used to donate regularly as an independent group to the Clara Barton Center, which was originally created by the Universalist women’s groups nationally.
- DISABILITY CONNECTIONS CENTER FOR INDEPENDENT LIVING – We have worked with disAbility Connections CIL for a church audit and for adult religious education. We held a JXN Community Forum with them in 2007.
- FAIR TRADE COFFEE – Our church supports the use of and sells Fair Trade coffee.
- FAMILY SERVICE AND CHILDREN’S AID – Our minister has been a member of their board, they have participated in JXN Community Forums, and presented a worship service at UUCEL.
- JACKSON INTERFAITH SHELTER – They were chosen for a level one quarterly collection and our 2007 Christmas Eve offering. Minister & individual members are involved.
- JACKSON PERSONAL CARE MINISTRY – We regularly donate items and volunteer at JPCM.
- JACKSON PRIDE CENTER – We have members on the advisory committee and who are individual or family members of the Pride Center.
- LEADER DOGS FOR THE BLIND – The AUUW Group of our church also used to donate regularly to this organization, which is based in Michigan.
- MICHIGAN UU SOCIAL JUSTICE NETWORK – This is a state-wide advocacy network for Unitarian Universalists.
- PARENTS, FAMILIES AND FRIENDS OF LESBIAN AND GAYS (PFLAG) – JACKSON – PFLAG awarded us an award, and we initiated an attempt to work together on a JXN Community Forum (that was ultimately cancelled). Minister & individual members are involved.
- PLANNED PARENTHOOD – JACKSON CLINIC – Minister & individual members are involved, and PP has been chosen once for a special collection.
- STANDING ON THE SIDE OF LOVE – This is the UUA’s social justice organization that focuses on identity-based oppression.
- UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST SERVICE COMMITTEE (UUSC) – We have had Guest at Your Table and Justice Sunday programs yearly.
3. Approve public statements on particular social issues, such as supporting gay marriage, or approve actions which would be taken by the congregation and its members regarding a specific social issue, such as a public boycott, or creation of a “violence-free zone”.
Actions our church has taken in this category include:
- Becoming a Nuclear-Free Zone (pre-2004)
- Becoming a Welcoming Congregation (2004)
- Voter Registration Drives (2004, 2005)
- Opposing Proposal 2, an Anti-Affirmative Action State Constitution Amendment (2004?)
- Endorsing the UUCEL JXN Community Forum programs (2005)
- Using only Fair-Trade Coffee (2006)
- Support for the November 2008 Michigan ballot initiative on Health Care (2008)
- Hanging a Standing on the Side of Love Banner on our church every June