Youth Raise Awareness at AIDS Walk Philly

On Sunday, October 21, nineteen youth members of Main Line Unitarian Church participated in AIDS Walk Philly, continuing the youth groups’ commitment to raising awareness about HIV and AIDS. Members of the church’s Young Religious Unitarian Universalists and Junior Youth Group, ranging from grades 7–12, raised $2,608 while walking twelve kilometers through Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park system.

Rachael Milles, President of Young Religious Unitarian Universalists, when asked what participating in AIDS Walk Philly meant to her, answered simply, “I walked because part of being human is making the world a better place for others.”

The leading fundraisers for this year’s MLUC team were Kaitlin Hatch, Tyler McDowell, and Julia McDowell. Special thanks also go to the church members who made donations to support the team as a whole.

Sam Wilson, an adult leader of YRUU, brought a little levity to the walk by dressing up as a fierce lion, but was quite serious when he reflected on the depth of understanding shown by the youth who walked.

“It was clear that these youth were keenly aware of why they were participating in this walk.” Wilson said. “They had obviously spent time on their own reflecting on the significance of this walk for them. These young UUs are a constant inspiration and source of confirmation that we are doing something right!”

AIDS Walk Philly is presented each year by the AIDS Fund, which works with 30 partner organizations throughout the Greater Philadelphia Area to provide critical HIV prevention education and care services. Their philosophy is centered on the idea that working together is the best way to fight against this disease, and thousands of volunteers mobilize each year. To learn more, visit www.aidswalkphilly.org.

MLUC Wins UUSC Social Justice Award

MLUCSocialJusticeAwardMembers at Main Line Unitarian Church (MLUC) were thrilled to receive the news that the church had won the Congregational Social Justice Award from the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC). The award recognizes a church’s overall institutional efforts to advance human rights work, and was presented at the General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association in Phoenix, Arizona.

Rev. Dr. William Schulz, President of the UUSC, praised MLUC’s efforts to raise money and awareness for social justice issues at the local, national, and international level. He said,

“In addition to their phenomenal support of UUSC’s Guest at Your Table program, Main Line frequently conducts collections for emergency appeals such as the Somalia and East Africa Famine Relief Fund. Main Line was also one of the first congregations to form its own delegation for a JustWorks service learning trip, which involved a week building an eco-village in Haiti and hosting a Symposium for Haitian Service after their return. Main Line’s impressive efforts raised more than $50,000 for UUSC in fiscal year 2012. But more importantly, Main Line’s deeper connection with UUSC and their broad outreach merit the Social Justice Congregation Award.”

Rev. Morgan McLean, Associate Minister at MLUC and leader of this year’s General Assembly delegation, was proud and happy that the church’s efforts were recognized by the UUSC. More than 50 percent of MLUC members are active in UUSC.

“As Unitarian Universalists,” McLean stated, “we believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every person, and our social action programs allow us to put our faith into practice. I am so proud of our congregation for their commitment to justice at home and around the world.”

Main Line Unitarian Church is hosting a Social Action Fair on Friday, September 21 that leads into a CD Release Concert from activist songwriters emma’s revolution. The fair is free and open to the public, and will feature opportunities to learn about and get involved in the variety of social action programs at the church, addressing issues such as reproductive justice, immigration rights, LGBT rights, environmental justice, voting rights, and more. Tickets for the emma’s revolution concert can be purchased online at www.emmasrevolution.com/live.

The social action program at MLUC has recently been restructured to be more comprehensive, encompassing information on the many annual, semi-annual, or one-time service events and educational programs offered by the church. The Social Action Leadership Team includes representatives from each committee or group that has organized outreach events in the past, and makes it easier to point visitors and new members in the right direction to meet their desire to serve. To learn more about social action at MLUC, visit www.mluc.org/social-action.

Photo: Members of Main Line Unitarian Church are presented with the Congregational Social Justice Award at the Unitarian Universalist Association’s General Assembly in Phoenix, Arizona, in June 2012. From left: church members Hiro Nishikawa, Rob Williams, Grace Williams, Rev. Morgan R. McLean, UUSC President Rev. Dr. William F. Schulz, Catharine Williams, Rachael Milles, Susan Milles, and Sam Wilson.

Announcing New Director of Religious Education, Joy Berry

 Main Line Unitarian Church is pleased to announce the new Director of Religious Education, Joy Berry. The search committee unanimously and excitedly recommended Joy as our top candidate. We received 16 applicants, invited six for phone interviews, and three for in-person interviews. Pam Lehman, Kyle Cunningham, Mark DiMarino, Brock Myers, and Chris Stevens were a tremendous group! They dedicated a lot of time to reviewing the materials, interviewing the candidates, talking to references, and discussing as a group what each candidate would mean for this church.

joyberryJoy Berry is excited to join MLUC after three years with a Unitarian Universalist congregation in Arkansas. She is passionate about UU identity and community, and especially enjoys bringing moments of wonder, mystery, and awe into the lives of children, who she believes are naturally religious, asking big questions with an open mind about all possible answers.

A mother of three children, aged 18, 9, and 3, Joy has spent her life deeply engaged with questions about what children need to thrive, to grow, and to see themselves as powerful agents of good in a challenging world. She sees the future of Unitarian Universalism as one that models for children and youth how to use their hearts, minds, and hands to be the change we wish to see in the world.

Formerly a children's museum educator, she is particularly interested in hands-on learning that supports holistic learning experiences. Joy was a long-time volunteer leader with La Leche League, and has been involved with many projects focusing on community and parenting. She earned her Master's degree in Sociology with an emphasis on cross-cultural and American mothering and childrearing. For fun, Joy has been raising and breeding a line of olive-green egg-laying chickens as well as the critically endangered Black Javas. She hopes to continue beekeeping and chicken-raising, as well as organic gardening, here in her new home, along with her husband and children.

Thank you all for your continued interest in and support of our Religious Education program. We are very excited to have Joy on board!