Social Justice Ministry Action Teams carry out activities focused on specific areas of concern. Most teams work independently, but also work with other teams and members of the congregation on shared social justice issues. Meetings are open to visitors and potential members. Current action teams are listed below.
The UUA Partner Church Program was established in early 1990 to organize a support network of North American churches to help over 150 Unitarian churches in Transylvania, Romania recover from decades of persecution by the Ceausescu regime. Resources from abroad have been essential to keep alive the Unitarian movement in the land where it originated. In the meantime, the Partnership Program has been expanded to provide support to the Unitarian movement in Hungary, the Czech Republic, India and the Philippines.
The Partner Church Task Force here at RRUUC was established in February, 1992, when we were matched with the Unitarian Church of Fiatfalva, Romania. Eight delegations from RRUUC have visited Fiatfalva, with our former minister, Bill Murry, being in the first group.
On January 11, 2007 RRUUC established a second partnership with the Unitarian Church of Kyrdem in the Khasi Hills of Northeast India.
The Animal Ministry group at RRUUC has been meeting since March of 2016. Our purposes are to explore the human relationship to pets, wildlife, and livestock who share our world, considering this relationship as a moral and religious issue; and engage in concrete action that bring about change on the individual, family, congregational, community, and societal level.
In addition to our own monthly meetings, we have been in contact with other Animal Ministry chapters at UU congregations and also to the national UU Animal Ministry. We plan to implement joint activities with the Animal Ministry chapter from the Columbia UU congregation, and we intend to offer programs at RRUUC that will be educational for both adults and children. We will also reach out to various animal-related organizations in our community.
Action in Montgomery (AIM)
RRUUC is a member of Action in Montgomery (AIM) because we believe in a community with justice for all.
We invite you to join others from River Road to help AIM create change. By adding our voices and our efforts to AIM’s powerful collaborative work, we can help to build a community with justice for all.
Working with AIM gives RRUUC an opportunity to collaborate with over 20 faith communities and neighborhood organizations in Montgomery County, and thereby inspire political and corporate leaders to make necessary changes. This year, AIM’s focus will be on low-income housing and African immigrants.
Join us in the next “Action” to influence those in power to make just decisions.
AIM Action Team at RRUUC
This team is responsible for recruiting people to attend the big AIM Actions, as well as assisting with logistics at the Actions. If you are interested in the AIM Action Team or any of the projects, please email AIM(at)rruuc.org.
To learn about upcoming actions, please contact Linda Bleadingheiser and John Ruthrauff at AIM(at)rruuc.org.
To check out prior AIM accomplishments, visit the AIM website at: www.actioninmontgomery.org.
Environmental Task Force
As a UUA Green Sanctuary, RRUUC is committed to creating a religious community that has a fundamental, bottom-line, commitment to living in harmony with the Earth and that promotes sustainable lifestyles for its members as individuals and as a faith community.
The Environmental Task Force (ETF) focuses on education and raising RRUUC awareness about environmental justice by inspiring, facilitating and supporting personal, congregational and denominational practices that sustain the Earth and promote justice for those impacted by environmental degradation. Activities are available to fit members’ various schedules and interests
Immigration and Refugee Justice Team
This team supports advocacy and witness actions for immigration policy reforms as well as service through sponsorship of refugee families. In conjunction with other faith institutions, we provide support and partnership to Dreamers, TPS-holders, refugees, asylum-seekers and undocumented persons seeking paths to residency and citizenship. Contacts: Anne Sullivan and Charlotte Jones Carroll.
Latin American Task Network (LATN)
The Latin America Taskforce Network (LATN) gives expression to Unitarian Universalist principles by its support of those who seek social, political, and economic justice in Latin America and the Caribbean and by its humanitarian concern for refugees escaping poverty and conflicts in those regions.
We directly support economic and educational development through funding for university scholarships for high school students from Santa Marta, El Salvador. We sponsor allocations to groups working in those regions and for immigrant programs in the local area.
We also support and work with many national and international organizations to improve conditions in Latin America and the Caribbean and to heighten awareness here in the United States about these regions. These organizations include Guatemala Human Rights Campaign, LAWG, EPICA, and Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA). The Task Force is a supporting group of Companion Community Development Alternatives (CoCoDA), a non-governmental organization located in Indianapolis, IN, that has established special working relations with 6 non-governmental organizations in El Salvador.
We work to engage our members and educate our congregation to persuade Congress and the President to take actions to improve conditions in Latin America and the Caribbean. Our past efforts have included advocacy for the elimination of military assistance to El Salvador and Guatemala, support for the peace process in these countries, closing the School of the Americas, removing the embargo on Cuba, and immigration reform.
In 2013, RRUUC and LATN received an award from Montgomery County for its work in El Salvador and in the local community. Contact LATN at email@example.com.
RRUUC Volunteers Have Been Serving at Shepherd’s Table for More Than 20 Years!
Shepherd’s Table is a soup kitchen operated as a cooperative effort by a group of Montgomery County faith communities. Located in Silver Spring, Shepherd’s Table has been serving dinner to about 150 hungry men, women, and children every day of the year since it opened in 1983. Counseling, medical care, showers, clothing, shelter referrals, and other assistance are also provided.
Each participating congregation takes responsibility for preparing and serving meals one day each month. RRUUC is now in its twenty-third year of staffing Shepherd’s Table on the second Tuesday of the month. The team of twelve changes from month to month, giving many congregation members an opportunity to contribute their time and energy to this important activity. Each person works for about an hour and a half, with shifts starting at 5:00, 5:45, and 6:30 pm. Volunteers can come once, infrequently, or on a regular basis.
RRUUC also supports Shepherd’s Table financially through the social justice pledging process and with food from the weekly food collection. Visit the Shepherd’s Table website. Kathy and Peter Benjamin coordinate our team and they are always happy to add new volunteers to the RRUUC contingent
The goal of the Middle-East Task Force (METF) is to achieve greater understanding of this important region and its complexities and issues and through that promote peace and social justice. To achieve this end the METF:
Seeks to educate the congregation and legislators about current problems and obstacles to peace in the Middle-East;
Fosters mutual understanding among Christians, Jews, Muslims, and concerned citizens of the world;
Collaborates with coalitions, religious communities, and organizations that share similar objectives;
Supports the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations’ (UUA’s) membership in Churches for Middle-East Peace (CMEP) and Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East (UUJME);
Updates members on lectures, symposiums, meetings and other events in the Washington area dealing with the Middle East; and
Forwards interesting articles on the Middle East to members.
For over a decade the Task Force has brought speakers to RRUUC with real expertise on the Middle East to talk on most of the countries and issues in the region. It has sponsored courses on understanding Islam and the history and complexities of the Israel/Palestine dispute.
The Racial Justice Task Force (RJTF) is dedicated to promoting justice, economic fairness and dismantling racism though learning, witness and advocacy. We begin by examining our inner selves while working outwardly in solidarity with and on behalf of others. This includes:
- holding weekly Black Lives Matters Vigils; and
- leading classes on white supremacy and race; and
- supporting the College Access Fund which awards scholarships to economically-challenged graduates of DC public High Schools; and
- volunteering as homework helpers, tutors or teachers at Beacon House in northeast DC; and
- working as partners with other congregational efforts and area organizations like SURJ and AIM to advocate for policy changes at the local, state, and national levels.
The RJTF meets monthly after the second service on the Second Sunday of the month. We welcome all to this life-sustaining work.
RRUUC has a number of ongoing social justice groups but new energies, needs and ideas do arise. The Social Justice Ministry Team wants to assure that those that become full-fledged new groups reflect the passions of a critical mass of members (a minimum of five persons). Contact the Social Justice Ministry Team to apply to create a new Team or lead a discrete effort.