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Social Action and UU Affairs
Linda Petersen, Board Chair participates in peace walk after the Orlando club shooting.
***South Suburban PADS is preparing for the Emergency Shelter Season (Oct 12 – Apr 13). PADS is in urgent need of volunteers to staff the shelters. If would like to volunteer contact Dawn Thrasher at 708-754-4357 or at .
As Unitarian Universalists, we are called to:
Live our faith in action,
Earn a visible presence in the community,
Offer a place of spiritual renewal.
It is the mission of the Social Action Committee to provide the congregation with the opportunities to “live our faith in action,” so that as individuals and as a congregation we can live our values in the world. We are inspired by a vision of working for peace and justice rooted in love, and by the UU principle of justice, equity, and compassion in human affairs..
To this end, we
• provide volunteer opportunities working with disenfranchised and marginalized people,
• devote the Sunday service offering to a community or international organization working for justice on the second Sunday of each month,
• undertake annual food and glove drives to benefit people in and close to our own neighborhood,
• offer forums and public advocacy opportunities on relevant issues,
• lead Sunday worship services devoted to social justice,
• and offer each year a project that can involve the whole faith community, including our children.
We invite you to join us and have a say in directing the congregation’s work for social justice.
Second Sunday Collections
On the second Sunday of each month, the monies collected in the offering plate are donated to an organization that lives our values in the world. All checks and cash (except for checks marked “pledge” in the memo line), are donated.
The organizations we support are:
If you have a non-profit organization that is close to your heart, particularly one with which you volunteer, please let the Social Action Committee know about it, so that we may consider it for the May or June Second Sunday Collection.
In these hectic times, the time we give is all the more precious. Life is enriched by living our values in the world, and we provide opportunities to give of your time to those most marginalized and at risk in our faltering economy.
Some of the volunteer opportunities include:
• Whenever there is a fifth Thursday in a month, we provide the volunteers for the South Suburban PADS homeless shelter, held in Pilgrim Faith UCC Church in Oak Lawn. Volunteers set up the mattresses and handle registration.
• As a congregation, we voted to join with the Community Renewal Society.
Following is the Dec. 2016 report on our involvement and upcoming events:
Social Action Group
PADS helpers!! Dec 29th is the fifth Thursday of the month. You know what that means. I'll be call-ing you. If you haven't before, think about joining us at Pilgrim Faith United Church of Christ in Oak Lawn to help out with the homeless shelter. Call Mike Wolf 773-387-3869. $531 was collected in September and October for PADS.
The Second Sunday Collection for December will go to The UU Prison Ministry. Marcia Curtis, Fran Sowa, Linda Clark and Karen Mooney have been approved to work as covenant volunteers at the Cook County Jail. This is an important step forward for the ministry.
The Social Action Committee continues with the distribution of the excellent "How to Practice Deseg-regation and Promote Diversity." We plan to distribute to churches in the 19th Ward and all Illinois UU churches. Contact Mike Wolf (773-387-3869) if you would like copies to pass out.
In response to the recent events in Mt. Greenwood, we are reaching out to other congregations and neighborhood groups to promote unity, reconciliation and understanding. As UU's we cannot ignore the fear, distrust and racism that has been on display. Working with others in our community, WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. If you have ideas or comments bring them forward to members of the Social Action Committee.
We are planning events to support Ambroise Niyongabo a UU and Human rights lawyer who is seek-ing refugee status in the US. He is being supported by the First UU Church and many individual UU's. Below are excerpts from a letter of support from First UU Help Support a Unitarian from Burundi who is seeking Asylum in the U.S.
In July, 2016 the UUA and UUSC put out the call for a UU congregation to become the informal spon-sor and new home congregation for a Unitarian from Burundi who had fled his home country out of fear for his life. Ambroise Niyongabo, shares his story in the piece below this introduction. Allan Lindrup and Anne Holcomb, of the First Unitarian Church of Chicago, agreed to provide free housing and cover his food needs until he could get his asylum hearing, while other groups at the First Unitarian Church of Chicago have agreed to hold fundraisers to help raise the $300 to $500 per month of additional expenses that are expected. Ambroise has accepted the offer of support from First Unitarian Church of Chicago, which is becoming his new home congregation.
As the First Unitarian Church of Chicago is only a small to medium sized congregation, it needs the support of other U.U.s in the Chicago area to help with the fund to cover Ambroise’s expenses beyond housing and food. The UU Multiracial Unity Action Caucus, a task force within UUs for Social Jus-tice, a Sec. 501(c )(3) organization, has set up a segregated fund to receive contributions to help cover Ambroise’s expenses beyond housing and food. Allan Lindrup and Anita Orlikoff, the Chair of the Social Justice Council at First Unitarian Church of Chicago, have offered to match contributions by UUs (or others) who are not associated with the First Unitarian Church of Chicago, up to $2,800. Contributions by check should be made payable to “UUs for Social Justice” or simply “UUSJ”, with “African Refugee Fund” or simply “ARF” put in the Note section. Send checks to UUSJ, 1448 E. 52nd St., Box 144, Chicago, IL 60615. Contributions by check, or identifiable cash contributions, will be acknowledged, for tax purposes.
Here are some excerpts from Ambroise's letter
My name is Niyongabo Ambroise. I was born in Burundi in 1975 in Roman Catholic family.
I became a Unitarian after reading carefully a document about one hundred questions of Unitarianism Universalism. Being Unitarian for me means growing as human being and playing a role in the com-munity and in the whole world with regard to values and principles of UUs.
I was honored to be the president of the church in December 2012 till June 2015. I experienced how interesting to share with others I never know before and how helpful was to make networking and friendship. In that period, I attended activities in Rwanda, France, and International Council of Unitari-ans and Universalists conference in New York.
Outside the church, I was an attorney at law. In 2015, I was happy to get a diploma of specialization in Economic, Social and Cultural Rights from the College Universitaire Henry Dunant at Geneva in just two months.
I worked in three law firms in Burundi since 2005.....I practiced Human Rights Law in the areas of ju-venile justice with the NGO Terre des Hommes from SWITZERLAND, illegal detention, sexual violence, eradicating torture with the NGO LAWYERS WITHOUT BORDERS, American Bar Asso-ciation in defending cases related to formers child soldiers of Burundians rebels movement, etc. I was proud to defend human rights beyond others areas of Law.
In April 2016, I left my country (Burundi) searching safety because my life was in danger.......Let me inform you that according to the recent report from the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights, 600 Burundians were tortured, 1,000 have been killed (700 killed and 300 missed), 260,000 moved in other countries.
In this context to defend the victims of Human Rights violations made me an enemy of the govern-ment. During May 2015, I moved my family from the place we lived to another one supposed to be safe. In October 2015, I defended our Minister Rev. Fulgence Ndagijimana as one of team of three lawyers.
In December 2015, I was arrested near home with brutality by the police and one of them said to me before they released me: “You Tutsi, we knew you are against the third term of our president Nkurun-ziza . You have to go back in Ethiopia, in Somalia or in Rwanda.” In February 2016, my cook, who is a Hutu, informed me that an unknown Hutu young man asked him my name, the address of my office, where I go to pray on Sunday, and if he knew about my political party.
I concluded I was unsafe and I wrote many requests to my friend from US and finally I get here.
My wife Ndayikunda Consolee and our 4 kids stayed in an unsafe country and my wife doesn’t have a job now. I am very concerned about their safety and how they get food go to school, etc.
To conclude, I hope that all these victims of atrocities see the flame of peace and justice, unity and reconciliation. Why, we Burundians, do we forget that Hutu and Tutsi are humans?
In the Community:
The Southwest Chicago Diversity Collaborative will hold its monthly meeting at the BAPA office, 111th and Longwood Wednesday, December 7th at 7:00 PM
Southsiders for Peace holds its annual funfun-filled Holiday Party on Saturday, December 17th, 7:00 PM upstairs in the Castle
The Community Renewal Society holds its annual Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration on Monday, January 16thfrom 9:00 AM until 12:30 PM. Join with other BUC'ers in this inspiring event. For more information, contact Pam Carlson at .
Childcare for our youngest is available during services.
All children are welcome!
Reverend Marcia Curtis invites you to participate in a Buddhism-based meditation in a group setting. Join us Sundays at 7:30pm in the church sanctuary. Newcomers welcome.