UU Church of Jacksonville 2013-2014
Partnering with the Community
Green Sanctuary – Environmental Justice Project – Ethical Eating
We received a $19,000 grant from United Way in March of 2010 to create an organic vegetable garden to serve Arlington. Tree Hill Nature Center allowed us to use their property for the garden site and agreed to partner with us on the project. The garden was completed in August 2010 with 37 raised beds. Some beds were set aside for personal use (rental) and some were set aside to grow food for area food pantries. The garden was named Arlington Community Garden and is managed by the church. Since that time the garden has evolved into one that focuses mainly on growing food for the pantry at Arlington Community Services, which receives very little funding (but has lots of clients) and has no other source of fresh produce. To date we have donated over 3,000 pounds of organic produce to their pantry. Volunteers “adopt-a-plot” and everything is provided (including tips & advice from our Garden Manager), but all produce must be donated to the pantry. We currently have 29 beds adopted from church and Arlington area volunteers. Green Sanctuary also teams with the St. Andrews Society’s gleaning program and arranges for church volunteers to visit local farms to “glean” fruits and vegetables that are left over from harvesting and would otherwise go to waste. The gleaned produce is then delivered to local food banks in the Jacksonville area. This month, the Green Sanctuary Group will be starting a discussion group, using Menu for the Future, a resource book recommended by UU’s Ministry for Earth.
UUCJ is a proud member of the Interfaith Coalition for Action, Reconciliation and Empowerment (ICARE). ICARE is a direct action community based organization comprised of 38 congregations in Duval County. Its mission is to address citywide concerns related to issues of justice and fairness. ICARE presses city leaders on solving problems related to youth crime, reading education in schools, homelessness, availability of mental health services and job creation in Jacksonville’s poorer neighborhoods. ICARE joined with other similar groups to form the Florida State Collaborative on Criminal Justice. This group will identify issues at the state level to be addressed. For more information visit the ICARE webpage (icarejax.org)
Members of UUCJ were instrumental in enlisting the participation of the Buckman Bridge UU Church in ICARE in the fall of 2014.
Free HIV Testing
The HIV Testing Project is a volunteer service of the Duval County Health Department AIDS Program Office and certified yearly by the Florida Department of Health. We offer the following services on site: free HIV testing and counseling, free condoms, free referrals for other testing and services, free linkage to HIV care and services for clients who test positive, and free brochures and printed information in English and Spanish on HIV, STI’s, and related topics three days per week and on some Sundays.
LGBTQ and Racial Justice
For a number of years, UUCJ members have marched in the Jacksonville Pride parade and Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration parade to show its support for the LGBTQ community and for racial justice. This past year we joined with members of BBUUC in both parades.
Peace and Justice
In November 2013 UUCJ hosted a program sponsored by Wage Peace entitled “The Environmental Impact of a Militarized Southeast” and, last October, Wage Peace hosted a program on Moral Injury (of war on US soldiers).