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 three “branch” committees: a Peace Committee, a Green Sanctuary Committee, and the Welcoming Congregation Renewal Committee.
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 are the MainSpring House Homeless Shelter in Brockton and the Evelyn House in Stoughton, for which we prepare 100 lunches once a month. For this we rely 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 the majority of 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 Brockton Interfaith Community, the Bridgewater Communities for Civil Rights (BCCR), the Bridgewater DICE program, and the Coalition for Social Justice. We also collect food and household paper goods throughout the year to be delivered to the Bridgewater Food Pantry.
Because of the COVID pandemic, several in-person programs that this committee used to sponsor are currently on hold. We look forward to renewing these in the future, particularly hosting a Coming Out Day Pot Luck at the church with LGBTQ+ students, staff and friends from Bridgewater State University. Our guests would lead a discussion on issues relevant to the LGBTQ+ community. Other programs on hold due to COVID are volunteer efforts at the Old Colony Correctional Center, including a Read to Me, Father program.
Since 2018 the SJC has co-hosted a Black Lives Matter film series with BCCR. We would hold a monthly BLM film viewing and discussion, open to the public in our Sanctuary. Since March 2020 these have been done remotely with the viewing done individually prior to the discussion. We hope to resume these in-person shows and discussions at the church when it is safe to do so.
First Parish also supports our statewide social justice organization, UU Mass Action. Until the COVID pandemic cancelled many in-person events, members volunteered for UU Mass Action’s Annual Advocacy Day at the State House. In the past year, this event was held remotely through Zoom and by conference phone calls. We expect Advocacy Day to go back to in-person lobbying in the future.
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 to the Guest at Your Table program.