Unitarian Universalists express their faith in many ways, and working for social and environmental justice is one of our major commitments. UUs undertake such work because we believe in the inherent dignity and worth of every person with whom we share our world.
Members of the Unitarian Universalists of Southern Delaware (UUSD) congregation are actively involved in a wide range of activities on issues that impact our church, the local community, and the world at large. The focus of activities for this year is included in the Resolution of Conscience and Statement of Positions. We are active in social and environmental justice Advocacy and Action projects, Legislative Advocacy, the Green Sanctuary program, and the Welcoming Congregation program.
Recent and Upcoming Actions
January and February News
The New Jim Crow Study & Discussion Groups — Beginning February 23, UUSD and the Southern Delaware Alliance for Racial Justice are partnering in a 4-part series to study and discuss the powerful book by Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. This is one of the best researched, best presented books on mass incarceration, criminal justice, and race ever written. We highly recommend that you read the book before the class starts and then review it throughout the four group discussions. If you would like to participate in the study group or have any questions, please contact Don Peterson at SocialJustice@uussd.org.
Forum: Escalating Inequality. On Sunday, January 8, the Social and Environmental Justice Committee will host a forum to discuss the draft UUA Statement of Conscience on Escalating Inequality. At that time, we will solicit comments from the UUSD congregation to submit on behalf of the congregation to the UUA to inform deliberations for a revision of the statement before it is presented for a final vote at the New Orleans UU General Assembly in June of 2017. To read the draft statement in advance of the forum, go to http://www.uua.org/economic/escalatinginequality/escalating-inequality.
UUSD Covenant Groups Step Up to Feed the Homeless! So far, three Covenant Groups have agreed to cook meals for the guests of the Immanuel Shelter Code Purple Facility. The Covenant Groups are Coastal, Lewes, and Millsboro. In addition, the Men's Group has volunteered to provide additional support where needed. The Covenant groups will cook a full meal of 50 portions.
UUSD and the S&EJ Committee Sponsored Film at Rehoboth Beach Film Festival: For the second year in a row, the S&EJ Committee hosted a social justice-themed film at the festival. The film selected was "Fatima" about the immigrant experience of an Algerian mother and her two daughters. Thanks go to Sharon and Arlen Herb, who passed out our UUSD informational brochure to all who attended and to all the UUSDers who attended. The movie, which was shown on November 4, was sold out!
UUSD Board of Trustees Approves "Share the Plate" Sundays: UUSD has held a "Share the Plate" offering twice in the past — once to benefit the Immanuel Shelter and once to benefit People's Place, which shelters women and children escaping domestic violence. At the November meeting of the Board of Trustees, a new “Share the Plate” program was approved. The S&EJ Committee is excited to support such a worthwhile program on behalf of UUSD. Here are a few of the details:
• The second Sunday of each month will be designated "Share the Love" Sunday.
• The program will begin on a monthly basis starting in July 2017.
• Fifty-percent of the offering (not including pledges) will be donated to a specific nonprofit organization that supports UUSD's Mission and Vision and UUA's Principles.
• A representative from the recipient organization (or member of UUSD) will give a brief description of the program and the need just prior to the offering.
There will be a special "Share the Love" offering collection on February 12, 2017 at UUSD's annual "Share the Love" Sunday.
UUSD Steps Up! UUSD members and friends donated an enormous pile of clothing, bedding, hats, coats, boots, shoes, and much more to help the Syrian refugees get through the upcoming winter in the refugee camps. Also donating to the cause were members of Epworth United Methodist Church and St. Peter's Episcopal Church and the New Life Thrift Shop, which brought huge bags of donations to UUSD. It was a pleasure to work with other local churches on this effort! This statewide collection effort was coordinated by Pacem in Terris, a Wilmington-based peace coalition. The Giving Corner in the rear of the sanctuary was filled as never before with generous gifts. A big THANK YOU goes to all who contributed!
UUSD Begins Fifth Year of English Language Learning (ELL): Location, location, location was everything this year for our ELL program! Putting the sign out at our new location brought more people registering for classes than ever before. We had to turn people away because of space issues. We currently have about 44 adult students in four levels and an average of 15 children attending Tuesday and Thursday sessions from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Students come from the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Turkey, and Uruguay.
Get Out the Vote! UUSD is participating with the League of Women Voters of Sussex County this year to help register citizens to vote and to get voters to polls for this important election year. The League is targeting those communities that have been most disenfranchised in the past — African Americans and Hispanics. Spanish speakers are needed. All help is appreciated. If you would like to participate, please contact Betty Kirk.
It Is Not Us and Them; It’s All of Us! An Interfaith Conversation About Islam, Judaism, and Christianity: On Sunday, November 6, 2016, from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Seaside Jewish Community and Epworth United Methodist Church (UMC) are presenting a special interfaith event. Members of our congregation have been invited to participate. Sobia Choudri and Usman Sandhu of the Muslim community (with additional remarks from Rev. Vicky Starnes of Epworth UMC and Eric Doroshow from Seaside) will discuss our common Jewish, Christian, and Muslim values; the Muslim community in Delaware; and cultural differences among Muslim nations that are spotlighted in the news. The event is at Epworth, 19285 Holland Glade Road in Rehoboth Beach. If you intend to attend, contact Emory Buck or sign up in the Gathering Area.
National Day of Moral Monday Action: On September 12, good people of faith and moral courage, including 30 members and friends of UUSD, members of other Unitarian congregations and other denominations, gathered at the state capitol in Dover to deliver the "Higher Ground Moral Declaration" that calls on governor, senators, state legislators and candidates for office to move away from extremist politics and policies that benefit the few and move toward policies and laws that are just and fair and guarantee a better life for the majority of the people. We joined groups across the country in more than 30 states to help "heal the heart of our nation." The demonstration included a march, chanting and singing around the Capitol building, and the reading of the Moral Declaration by a variety of clergy and lay leaders. It was then delivered to the Governor's office. To read the powerful words of the Declaration and learn about its background, please go to http://www.moralrevival.org/moraldeclaration/.
Peace Pole Donated: On September 18 and 25, in recognition of International Peace Week, our chancel was graced with a Peace Pole donated to UUSD by members Mac and Susan Goekler. Sometime in the near future, the Peace Pole will be permanently installed on our grounds. The peace pole has become an internationally recognized symbol of peace, displaying its message of “May Peace Prevail on Earth,” the message of the hopes and dreams of the entire human family. The Peace Pole Project was started in 1955 in Japan by Masahisa Goi, who was greatly affected by the destruction caused by World War II and the atomic bombs that fell on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Having a peace pole makes us part of a global community of all faiths and nationalities working to make a better, more positive world. There are more than 200,000 Peace Poles that have been dedicated in nearly every country on Earth. With our own peace pole, UUSD will truly be part of a global community of peace. Thank you Mac and Susan Goekler!
International Peace Day: On September 21, 30 members and friends of UUSD participated in a Peace March and Celebration in Rehoboth Beach. The event was organized by the Lewes-Rehoboth Coalition for Peace Week Delaware and was planned, supported, and staffed in large part by members of the Social & Environmental Justice Committee. This event was one of over 30 events that were being held statewide in all three counties — a first for Delaware! A rainbow of nearly 100 people from a variety of faiths, backgrounds, and organizations sang and chanted in the march along the boardwalk and up Baltimore Avenue to the CAMP Rehoboth courtyard. The Celebration combined inspirational talks and meditations from Muslim, Christian, Unitarian, and non-faith leaders, including UUSD's Rev. Paula Maiorano and UUSD member Sue Greer, representing the Lewes Insight Meditation Community. Don Peterson emceed the event and dedicated a Peace Pole. The Epworth UMC Praise Team, led by Doug Yetter, greeted the marchers with song as they arrived and sang two additional numbers. Steve Elkins, Executive Director of CAMP Rehoboth, gratefully received the Peace Pole, which will be permanently installed on the grounds of CAMP Rehoboth. 11