The mission of the Social Action Committee mission is twofold: (1) to develop opportunities for the congregation to engage in discussion of issues related to social justice and (2) to identify social-action needs and coordinate and support the congregation in activities in pursuit of social justice locally, nationally, and internationally as a means of living out our Unitarian Universalist principles.
Lifebridge Sunday-night suppers
On the fourth Sunday of every month, we provide a team of six people to cook and serve a meal at Lifebridge (formerly the Salem Mission). Members of the congregation who are unable to participate in the shopping, cooking, and serving provide generous financial support for reimbursing the shoppers.
We have a talented group of team leaders, one of whom prepares the menu and supervises the cooking each month. In 2016, team leaders were Bob Cumming, Maureen Duram, Marty Langlois, and Marcia Lassar. Hats off to them!
If you are able to shop, cook, and serve a meal on the fourth Sunday of the month, please sign-up for one or more of the dates posted on the whiteboard in Fellowship Hall. The time commitment is 5:00 to 7:00 PM, and we really are out of there at 7:00. We don’t do the clean-up! It’s a great way to have fun with others from NSUU and at the same time provide a much-needed service.
Fostering Awareness of Social-Justice Topics
Each year, the Social Action Committee sponsors a series of discussions on a specific topic. Past topics have included ethical eating, racism, immigration, and economic inequality. In the winter of 2016, we focused on the topic of environmental justice.
Each year, we sponsor two “common reads,” encouraging everyone in the congregation to read the same book and then holding a discussion of the book. Our common reads for 2016 are This Changes Everything, by Naomi Klein, and The Green-Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems, by Van Jones.
Ending Racism Discussion Group
As a follow-up to one of our 2015 common reads, Waking Up White: And Finding Myself in the Story of Race, by Debbie Irving, we have instituted a monthly discussion group. Each month we discuss the questions at the end of one of the book’s chapters.
The Green Sanctuary subcommittee of the Social Action Committee is leading the congregation in the process of becoming a Green Sanctuary, that is, a congregation that is committed to examining the environmental impact of the congregation as a whole and individual members. The subcommittee, open to anyone in the congregation, is chaired by Iain Goddard.
Homeless Shelter Project
Coordinated by Jean Koulack-Young, several church members, working with members of other Danvers churches, facilitate two programs at the Homeless Shelter at the Extended Stay Motel on Route 1 in Danvers. One program provides tutoring in English to residents with limited English proficiency. The second program is a very popular drop-in Homework Club for all children at the motel, both English-speaking and non-English-speaking. In the summer, the Homework Club is replaced by Game Nights and other fun activities for children. Church members have also contributed by buying winter coats for children at the motel and donating new school supplies before the start of the school year.
Once a month, the offering is designated for a non-profit organization whose work is consistent with UU principles. Recipient organizations are proposed by members of the congregation and chosen by the Social Action Committee. In addition to donating money, the share-the-plate program aims to educate church members about the work being done by each organization so that members can choose to become involved if they wish.
The Social Action Committee welcomes proposals for share-the-plate recipients from members of the congregation. There is a simple form to fill out. Blank forms are posted on the Social Action Committee bulletin board near the front of Fellowship Hall. Completed forms can be left at the office or given to Lois Markham or any other member of the Social Action Committee.
Danvers People-to-People Food Pantry
Church members and visitors are encouraged to bring a donation to the Danvers People-to-People Food Pantry when they come to a service. There is a box for donations in the Fellowship Hall. In order to help us remember to bring our donations, the first Sunday of each month is designated Food Sunday. Of course, donations are welcome at any other time also. As well as food donations, gift cards and checks made out to the Danvers Food pantry are also accepted.
Fair Trade Boutique
In November and December, the Social Action Committee sponsors a Fair Trade Boutique after Sunday services. All sale items come from SERRV, a nonprofit organization with a mission to eradicate poverty wherever it resides by providing opportunity and support to artisans and farmers worldwide. Church attendees can shop in a stress-free environment, knowing that our purchases enable men and women to earn a fair income, send their children to school, develop projects like community wells and clinics, and create better futures with renewed dignity. In addition, the church receives 10 percent of all sales.
Family Promise North Shore Boston
NSUU is a supporting congregation for Family Promise North Shore Boston. Family Promise is a non-profit, interfaith hospitality network that provides temporary shelter, meals, hospitality, and case management for families experiencing homelessness on the North Shore. The goal is accomplished through the participation of hundreds of volunteers from North Shore congregations. Currently, a small group of volunteers from NSUU are participating in the program. A volunteer commits to two hours of service four times a year. The service may take the form of providing a meal, serving a meal and visiting with the families, driving, spending time at the day center with families, etc. New volunteers are always welcome.
Gay Pride Parade
Every year, in June, a group from NSUU marches in either Boston’s Gay Pride Parade or the North Shore Gay Pride Parade in Salem.
Operation Troop Support
NSUU is a collection point for Operation Troop Support. Established in March 2003 and headquartered in Danvers, Operation Troop Support serves deployed men and women in uniform from across the country. There is a list on the Social Action Committee bulletin board of needed items. Donations may be left in a basket in Fellowship Hall. The second Sunday of the month is designated Operation Troop Support Sunday.
The Social Action Committee has a small collection of DVDs, VHS tapes, and books on social justice topics. They are located on a table in Fellowship Hall. If you would like to borrow one, please sign it out and return it in a timely fashion so that others may borrow it.