UU Church of Tarpon Springs Social Justice Committee Report 2014-2015 http://www.uutarpon.org/
In 2015, the Social Justice Committee continued to work hard to meet the church’s motto, “Deeds, not Creeds.”
The “Give the Plate” program allowed giving to the following organizations/projects: Current of Tampa Bay, Inc. – The Laundry Project (3X), The Esther Project, Peace4Tarpon, Bali Rice Bale House Project, Citizen’s Alliance for Progress – School Supplies Project, UU Ministry for Earth, UUSC-UUA Refugee Crisis Fund, The Shepherd Center – Project THANKS, Habitat for Humanity.
Tarpon Springs hosted Social Justice Forums on the following topics: Citizen’s Alliance for Progress, Bali Rice Bale House Project, Homelessness, Climate Conference, International Human Rights and Habitat for Humanity, and showed two movies – Inequality for All and Home.
Continuing to work with the Church on the Bayou, the congregation continued to host a monthly meal service at Metropolitan Ministries in Holiday. The Laundry Project made possible the washing of 209 loads of clothing and linens for 26 families which will continue in the upcoming year.
We provided volunteers for The Shepherd Center’s Second Saturday program and initiated a First Thursday program when a change in the program was needed.
The church’s newly created Emergency Relief fund helped flood victims in Pinellas County.
The UU Church of Tarpon Springs was a sponsor of The Pride Parade and the church had a float and giveways in the parade. Members also volunteered their time.
The church became Life Members of the Citizen’s Alliance for Progress and supported Planned Parenthood‘s critical services including birth control, general health care, men’s sexual health care, emergency contraception and abortion.
On of the SJ members served on the Board of Directors for Peace4Tarpon and attended all of their Steering Committee meetings, attended related seminars and workshops, made presentations locally, state-wide and nationally and supported The Reader’s Choice Program.
Another SJ member continued to take an active role in UU Justice Florida, participated in monthly conference calls, served as secretary, organized the West Central Cluster SJ Workshop, traveled to and acting as liaison with two Panhandle UU churches as well as other Pinellas UU congregations, attended all UUJF statewide events and lobbyied our representatives at Tally Day in March.
Lastly, a spring Social Justice Survey validated the church’s focus on Climate Change and Poverty.
UU Tarpon Springs and Social Justice 2013-2014
Historically, the UU Tarpon Springs congregation has exhibited a Social Justice conscience. The current Mission Statement, adopted just two years ago reads, “We are a liberal community for all ages, promoting spiritual growth, social justice, and the arts”.
In the past, the congregation has engaged in: collection and distribution of socks and under-garment clothing to migrant children; attended community fund-raising events serving the homeless and less fortunate; and in an on-going manner conducted monthly after Sunday service forums informing the congregation about organizations that assist those in need followed by a
“Give the Plate” collection. Whenever the congregation is made aware of a short-term need, the members try to step up and help.
In 2009, a group of UU Tarpon Springs women took on the challenge of making quilts for orphaned children in Ethiopia. The short-term project was so well received it has evolved into an on-going production line. Every Tuesday, the women set up stations for the sewing machines, design the patterns, cut, pin, sew the section together, bind, and Voila!!! a quilt is born (3-5 per day). Since the start, 3,000+ quilts have been given to homeless children and veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq in Northern Pinellas and Pasco counties. In 2010, the Quilters were recognized with the Florida District Jim Barrett Social Justice Award.
In 2006 when the UU Florida Legislative Ministry (Now, UU Justice Florida) was revitalized, UU Tarpon Springs sent a representative to the organizational meeting and has remained as part of the leadership.
Two new endeavors are being undertaken:
- A program to assist those in need by paying for laundering needs;
- under the direction of the Metropolitan Ministries and in coordination with a Presbyterian Church on the Bayou, feeding the homeless and needy once per month.
Books were collected for Peace for Tarpon to distribute to disadvantaged children. The teacher of a local Disadvantaged class has been assisted with both money and books.
Move to Amend Resolution supported by congregation.
Whether it is giving of time and money, lobbying the big issues of Climate Change, Immigration, or Revitalizing Democracy, or actively participating in action calls, the UU Tarpon Springs congregation continues to work to bend the Arc of the Universe toward Justice.