A Commitment to Social Justice
The mission of the Social Justice Committee (SJC) is to inform the congregation about social justice concerns, both locally and globally, and to lead it in taking action where possible. The Social Justice Committee oversees its own projects, while also acting as a facilitator for several “branch” committees: a Peace Committee, Green Sanctuary Committee and the First Principle Project.
The main goal of the SJC is to “Think globally, act locally.” To that end we support several local non-profit organizations. Chief among them is the MainSpring House Homeless Shelter in Brockton, for which we prepare 50 lunches once a month, relying on food and monetary donations from church members and the enthusiastic support of several loyal volunteers.
The congregation supports other local non-profits through our Share the Plate program, in which half the undesignated Sunday Offering is donated to charities in the area selected by the SJC. Among these are the “Kids to Camp” scholarship drive for the Natural Resources Trust of North Easton, the Matthew 25:40 Project in Taunton, the Brockton Interfaith Community, and the Bridgewater Food Pantry.
Each November, the SJC hosts a Coming Out Day Pot Luck at the church with the GLBTQ students, staff and friends from Bridgewater State University as our guests. Parishioners provide the food and our guests lead a discussion on issues relevant to the GLBTQ community.
During the year, the SJC holds programs and workshops focused on key issues of the day. A recent example is a program open to the community on the impact of anti-Muslim actions on local Muslim residents.
First Parish also supports our statewide social justice organization, UU Mass Action. Not only do we contribute through our Share the Plate program, but members volunteer for UU Mass Action’s Annual Advocacy Day at the State House. After a worship service and lunch at the Arlington Street Church, we proceed up Beacon Hill to lobby our state legislators. This past year the focus was on economic justice and criminal justice reform.
As part of our global outreach, the church purchases and promotes the sale of fair trade items, such as Equal Exchange products … coffee and tea… for church use. We also support our denomination’s UU Service Committee through generous annual donations.
Every other year, we hold an Empty Bowls Project with our Religious Education Program to raise money for the Bridgewater Food Pantry and our MainSpring House lunch project. We also collect food and household paper goods throughout the year to be delivered to the Bridgewater Food Pantry.