Helping Baker Industries Put People Back to Work

bakerindustrieswebMembers of Main Line Unitarian Church immediately recognized the innovative approach of not-for-profit outsourcing and fulfillment company Baker Industries. Volunteers from the church witnessed the application of small business practices to a work rehabilitation program that employs people with disabilities, recovering substance abusers, individuals on parole, and homeless persons.

Stories of economic success are rare enough, but for a company to thrive while providing a living wage to traditionally hard-to-employ people—that is a model for success. Employees in Philadelphia and Malvern, PA are getting the chance to gain a solid work ethic in a supportive, hands-on setting. Many alumni of the program find work in other companies or within the staff of Baker Industries.

On Friday, December 16, Rev. Dr. Justin Osterman met with Baker Industries President John H. "Turk" Thacher, Jr. and Director of Community Relations Jacqueline Johnston and presented them with a check for $2,397 because the company was selected as the church’s Offering Outreach organization for the month of November.

Thacher said of the donation, "At Baker Industries, 65–70 percent of the funding we need each year comes from the services we perform for some 100 customers. The balance we receive from generous individuals and wonderful private organizations such as Main Line Unitarian Church. The church’s Offering Outreach contribution will go toward serving approximately 300 of our workers in their goal to transition into the workplace.

"Baker neither solicits nor accepts any government funds, allowing us to have complete control over our program. On behalf of all of us at Baker: Thank You! Support from our community is particularly meaningful to us. Please come and visit us to see your generosity at work!"

Baker Industries is exactly the type of organization that members of Main Line Unitarian Church consider when they make nominations for the Offering Outreach program, which designates half of the church's monthly collection to a nonprofit organization. Baker Industries is helping some of our most vulnerable citizens to find work, recover their sense of personal dignity, and contribute to society in ways that benefit everyone. To offer a few hours at Baker Industries, or to help plan the several annual fundraising events, visit To learn more about the church's Offering Outreach program, visit

Photo: Rev. Dr. Justin Osterman of Main Line Unitarian Church in Devon, PA (center) presents a check to Baker Industries President John H. "Turk" Thacher, Jr. (right) and Director of Community Relations Jacqueline Johnston (left) in the amount of $2,397. The nonprofit company provides employment for people with disabilities, recovering substance abusers, individuals on parole, and homeless persons. The company was selected in November for the church's Offering Outreach program, which designates half of its monthly collection to nonprofit organizations that put their values into action. Photo by Ed MacDonald.

Working to End Homelessness with Interfaith Hospitality Network

ihnoutreachMembers at Main Line Unitarian Church (MLUC) are proud to be partners with the Interfaith Hospitality Network – Main Line (IHN-ML) in working to end homelessness in local communities. As part of the church’s Offering Outreach program, MLUC recently presented a donation check of $2,374 to IHN-ML.

The Interfaith Hospitality Network – Main Line, headquartered in Norristown, PA, is committed to helping homeless families to achieve lasting independence. The organization provides safe, temporary housing, meals, and support services to families in Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties.

While not a religious organization, IHN-ML does get many of its volunteers from faith-based organizations. Congregations from many different faiths work together toward the important goal of helping homeless families get back on their feet.

Executive Director Sue White-Herchek was happy to participate in MLUC’s check presentation. She said, “IHN – Main Line would like to thank the Main Line Unitarian Church for their generous donation. It will go a long way to help the homeless families we serve become self-sufficient. We value our partnership with area congregations, whose volunteers provide meals and hospitality for our families. Our organization would not exist without them. To volunteer with IHN – Main Line please call Sue at 610-277-0977.”

Rev. Morgan R. McLean, who became Associate Minister at MLUC in August, 2011, was joined by church member Sally Fritzson for the presentation. Fritzson is one of the church’s IHN coordinators, and sets up the four or five family visits each year, as well as facilitates training of new volunteers.

The church’s donation was made possible by the Offering Outreach program, which directs half of each month’s collection to be donated to local charities and nonprofit organizations. To learn more about the program, visit

IHN-ML is one of 115 affiliates in 38 states, including Family Promise in Washington, D.C., whose opening 20 years ago marked the genesis of the now national network. To get involved with IHN Main Line, visit

Photo: Sue White-Hercheck, Executive Director of Interfaith Hospitality Network – Main Line (center), receives a donation check from Rev. Morgan R. McLean (right), and Sally Fritzson, of Main Line Unitarian Church, in the amount of $2,374. Volunteers from the church work with the organization to help end homelessness in Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties.

What is the Greater Philly UU Cluster?

What's all this talk about a UU Cluster? Essentially, the Greater Philly UU Cluster (GPC) is a group of 14 nearby UU congregations (including MLUC as the largest member!). The cluster aims to actively connect these congregations in order to share our message and grow our faith.


How can the Cluster benefit you?

The GPC Google calendar covers events happenening at all 14 UU congregations in the area. This is a great way to meet other UUs and spread the word about MLUC events beyond our congregation.

A few upcoming events at UU congregations...

  • Black Lives Matter forum: October 26, 7:00 p.m. at UU Germantown
  • GPC Racial Justice Advocacy training with Paula Cole Jones: Saturday, October 29, at MLUC (more details to come)

Want to get involved? The next GPC meeting is open to all: Saturday, September 17, 9:30-11:30 a.m. (meet and greet at 9:00) at the UUC of Delaware County. Mark Bernstein will present, "Covenants: Why They Fail. Why They Shouldn't"

Get connected with your fellow UU’s!