Service to Transform 4

There remains much to do. Most of the gains we've seen in recent decades (such as worldwide reductions in extreme poverty, hunger, child labor, child mortality -- and increases in life-expectancy, literacy, and democracy) will turn around if the climate change trend is allowed to continue and droughts, floods, and rising sea levels lead to hardships and political instability.

Women’s reproductive freedom is under assault. Forty-one years ago this month, Roe v. Wade was an epic win for abortion-rights activists. We’ve been losing ever since.

2014 was also the year a lot more people began to notice how problematic it is that many of our police departments have developed a self-supporting and insular culture that teaches that no one understands police work except fellow officers; doing the job means bending the rules; the real law is the law of the jungle; and there are only two kinds of people — cops and jerks. Some departments don’t have such a culture, and some fine officers resist that message even in departments that have such a culture. Yet too often that culture plays out in unnecessary police violence against pretty much anybody – with the possible exception of white, middle-aged white-collar professionals – and disproportionately against young African American men.

There remains much to do.

What are you up for?

God knows, and I know, we’re all way too busy. We're stressed from overwork and overscheduling. Still. I see numbers that the average adult American watches more than 20 hours of live TV every week. Maybe we do have a little bit of time for justice. I know I don’t watch anywhere near that much TV, and probably many of you don't either. Still. There may be some time in the day for things we really want to do – if it energizes us and fulfills us, if it’s enriching and meaningful. More stuff that’s a drag to do and wears us out – no, we surely, indeed, do not have time for that.

Community Unitarian Church has said that engaging in service to transform ourselves and our world is what we’re here for. It’s our mission. How shall we do that?

What projects of transformation of yourself and your world would be energizing and fulfilling for you? Community Unitarian Church could:
  • Host a dinner once a month free to all in the community
  • Focus on being more welcoming and supportive of people with mental disorders.
  • Expand and strengthen our “welcoming congregation” status for LGBT folk.
  • Prepare for mobilizing in greater numbers for marches that represent UU values
  • Advocate for more community-oriented policing and reduced racial profiling
  • Address climate change and environmental justice
  • Develop a prison ministry
  • Prepare ourselves to respond to disasters
  • Explore ways to deepen our reverence for life and expand compassion to nonhuman animals
  • Get training in restorative justice and make ourselves a community resource for restoration
  • Organize support for the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
  • Join Westchester United and team up with other faith organizations on issues of shared importance
  • Work closely with the local chapter of Planned Parenthood to advance access to birth control, sexuality education and information, and abortion services.
That’s just a starter list – there are many others that you might suggest.

We probably can’t do all of those things – but we could do some of them. Which ones would you be interested in being a part of?

Our theme of the month for January is Justice – and developing a plan for Social Justice is a goal this year that the CUC Board set last summer. Our Journey Groups this month on the topic of Justice will afford you more opportunity to think through what justice means to you and what direction living your Unitarian faith might take you.

In the next few months you’ll see and have chances to participate in the unfolding of a congregational plan to engage in service to transform ourselves and our world.

For we must stand on the side of love – and justice is what love looks like in public.

* * *
This is part 4 of 4 of "Service to Transform"
Previous: Part 3
Beginning: Part 1

No comments:

Post a Comment