Thanks mainly to the dedication of Lisa Jochum, our social action at MLUC over the past couple of years has focused mainly on antiracism work in book discussions, screening films, hosting Jubilee workshops, and teaching Beloved Conversations classes. This year, however, we are expanding our scope of social action with the formation of “Justice Teams” based on those of UUPLAN (Unitarian Universalists of Pennsylvania Legislative Advocacy Network)— criminal justice reform, economic justice, environmental justice, good government, gun violence prevention, and reproductive justice— in addition to social action teams already active in our congregation, such as the Interfaith Hospitality Network and the Norristown Hospitality Center. Each Justice Team has at least one person to represent MLUC with UUPLAN, and Gail Burgess serves as our liaison with UUPLAN and the coordinator of our Justice Teams. The net result of having these teams is that more of our members are now involved in various social action initiatives and service projects. I want to note just some of their activities from this fall:
- Thanks to Ruth Bowen and Pam Kosty, the Environmental Justice Team showed the National Geographic documentary Paris to Pittsburgh.
- We hosted a “Social Action Fair” to introduce our members to our various Justice Teams and to social action groups in our community.
- Thanks to Ruth Bowen, we collected over 800 books to donate to Philadelphia schools, and our children made accompanying bookmarks.
- Amy Covill facilitated a discussion of the book So You Want to Talk about Race.
- Irene Mehnert and Dana Kelley organized a tour of the Eastern State Penitentiary and lecture to educate us about our penal system and the racial biases of incarceration.
- After a sermon by Rabbi Michael Pollack, we hosted a “Good Government Social Action Fair” to introduce our members to the League of Women Voters, Fair Districts, MarchOnHarrisburg, UUPLAN, and other groups promoting pro-democracy legislation.
- Our Legislative Advocacy Team prepared and we signed postcards to our representatives urging them to end gerrymandering and ban gifts to legislators.
- We partnered with other churches on the Main Line in the Feeding Thousands program, in which we met at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church to fill grocery bags for the homeless.
- Betsy McIllwain organized our annual Sock Drive for homeless families of the Norristown Hospitality Center. We decorated our Sanctuary Christmas tree with the sock we collected.
- Suzanne Solomons organized our annual Christmas cards to UU inmates who belong to the Church of the Larger Fellowship, and we sent them over 200 cards.
- When UUA President Susan Frederick-Gray was our guest minister in September, she introduced us to “UU the Vote,” our denomination’s initiative to register voters and get them to the polls for the next election. Just recently, our Legislative Advocacy Team hosted a viewing of a “UU the Vote” webinar to jump-start this effort in our church.
I could go on, but I think you get the picture. We are broadening our range of social justice activities at MLUC, thanks to your commitment to a more just and equitable world. And be on the lookout — there is much more to come!
With gratitude for you,