Social Justice Committee Meeting
November 3, 2014
7:00 PM to 8:30 PM
(send an email with subject “subscribe” to receive communications)
Chair: Suanne Ansari: email@example.com;
Vestry Liaison: Nina Fair, Secretary (Pro Tem): Kris Rife
Mission: To engage in the pursuit of social justice and responsibility on the congregation’s behalf; Act as an umbrella group to coordinate and promote social justice activities; Provide awareness, information, and inspiration about social needs and opportunities for action; Serve as the church’s primary social justice outreach to the community.
Logistics: Committee meets October, January, and May, 7-8:30 pm in lower Gage Hall. Meetings are open to church members and friends. We communicate via the social justice email list, the Gateway, the Weekly Update, and the church website.
Ways to Serve: The “work of the Social Justice Committee” is done by subcommittees. A variety of activities provides many opportunities for service, depending on an individual’s time and talent. All interest is appreciated, all skills are needed. To become involved in the following activities, please contact the group leader.
1) Advocacy and Awareness
This subcommittee, or individual, keeps us informed of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s social justice activities on a national level. Contact Suanne Ansari, firstname.lastname@example.org, if you wish to lead.
2) Charleston Area Justice Ministry (CAJM)
Co-Chairs, George Tempel and Bill Thomas; Members, Diane Boyer, Frank Hardie, Suzanne Hardie, Richard Hayes, Joanna Innes, Joe Krause, Diane Narkunas, and Adrienne Troy-Hamilton
Based on the values of justice and compassion, shared by many faith traditions, CAJM is organized to do powerful justice in the Charleston tri-county area. Our congregation is a CAJM leader, and we join with others, including: African Methodist Episcopal, Baptist, Congregational, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Reform Judaism, and United Methodist. Contact Diane Boyer, email@example.com, or Diane Narkunas, firstname.lastname@example.org.
3) Candlelight Concerts (sponsored by the Music Committee)
Co-Chairs, Richard Nelson and Sally Newell; Members, Amy Ball, Frank Hardie, Joanna Innes, Claire Law, Myrtle Staples, and Johanna Evenson (ex officio)
The primary social justice outreach of the Music Committee, Candlelight Concerts raise money for area public school music programs. In the past, proceeds have benefited James Simons Elementary School.
4) Coffeehouse Concerts
Volunteers: Suanne Ansari, Bob Egelson, Mark Farnham, Mike Griffith, Lisa Hajjar, Kathy Hale-Getman, Richard Hayes, Bill Morris, John and Diane Narkunas, Donna Reyburn, Kris Rife, Dan and Gail Schiffer, and many others
Since 2003, Coffeehouse Concerts have raised approximately $45,000 to support academic enrichment in Charleston public schools. Currently, proceeds fund math and science programs at Mitchell Elementary School. Contact Mark Farnham, email@example.com, and Bill Morris, firstname.lastname@example.org, Coordinators, to learn how to volunteer, bring food, and attend concerts. Contact John Narkunas, email@example.com, to learn how to become a volunteer on school field trips.
5) Community Outreach Giving
Since 2007, the congregation has contributed over $45,000 to support organizations in the Charleston tri-county area that improve the quality of life for underserved populations. Recipients include the Alston Wilkes Society, Begin with Books, Carolina Youth Development Center, The Clemente Course of Trident Technical College, Darkness to Light, Florence Crittenton Programs, Habitat for Humanity, Lowcountry Food Bank-Backpack Buddies, Our Lady of Mercy Family Literacy Program, South Carolina Strong, and Women Build. For more information, contact Diane Narkunas, firstname.lastname@example.org.
6) Community Outreach Volunteering:
Volunteers: Dimitri Cherny, Krystina and Stan Deren, Lisa Dunleavy, Ralph Haller, Lisa Hajjar, Kathy Hale-Getman, Robert Hawley, John Klintworth, Marilyn and Ray Mattice, Jackie McGee, Will Moredock, Kris Rife, and Rhoda Sterling
Subcommittee promotes volunteer opportunities and supplies volunteers where we already serve. E.g., to ensure students have enough to eat over weekends, every third Saturday, church members pack healthy food items through the Backpack Buddies program of the Lowcountry Food Bank. Contact Kris Rife, email@example.com.
7) Green Sanctuary
Chair: Laura Moses; Members: Beth Bento-Dalton, Dimitri Cherny, Erin Demory, Nina Fair, Bill Grayson, Jonathan Lamb, Richard Moss, Sharon Strong, and Paul Vanwagenen
The subcommittee works to minimize the church’s ecological footprint through environmental education and energy-saving improvements. Projects are suggested by members and allocated according to interest, talent, and time. Subcommittee collaborates with church committees and green organizations in Charleston. Meetings generally take place on the first Monday of the month, 7-9 pm in committee members’ homes. Check the Gateway, Weekly Updates, and Social Justice emails for upcoming events. Next Earth Day service is April 19, 2015, with guest speaker Rudy Mancke, ETV Nature Scene host. For information, contact Laura Moses, firstname.lastname@example.org.
8) Welcoming Congregation
Co-Chairs: Richard Hayes and Sue Weller; Members: Jen Bennett, Steve Clem, and Jeffrey Fleming
Our church strongly supports full human rights for our LGBTQQI* brothers and sisters. Our Welcoming Congregation Committee promotes community organizations, e.g., Alliance for Full Acceptance (AFFA) and SC Equality. One yearly highlight is the Annual Charleston Pride Parade. As in the past, our church supported the 5th Annual Pride Parade on August 9, with over 70 marchers—the largest representation of any organization in the parade. For information, contact Richard Hayes, email@example.com, or Sue Weller, firstname.lastname@example.org.
(*Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning & Intersex.)
Our church is a compassionate congregation; social justice is important to all of us. Indeed, that is why many of us have found our spiritual home here at the Unitarian Church in Charleston. Together, we are making a difference in our community. On behalf of the Social Justice Committee, thank you for your time, your energy, your donations and your tireless support. Thank you for demonstrating compassion in all you do. Remember our slogan: DEEDS not CREEDS!
Special THANK YOU to:
Joe McCormack - Our Sexton, makes sure our events go off without a hitch, our venue is prepared, and we have everything we need for successful concerts, potluck dinners, meetings, etc. Thank you Joe!
Reverend Dan Reed - for supporting everything we do, being involved with many activities, and for being awesome!
Sandra Selvitelli - Sandra, our Congregational Administrator, helps us communicate with you and coordinates many efforts. She is very patient with deadlines also!
Janet Watts, our Director of Religious Education, and our Teachers and Youth/Teen Leaders - they teach social justice values to our children and work with our committee on joint efforts. Janet is involved with many of our events and is truly super at everything she does. Kris Rife is Social Justice Liaison to the Religious Education Committee.