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Social Justice

Social Justice

As a congregation and individually, we strive to promote justice in all of our interactions.  We recognize that there are many injustices in our world and we make efforts to bear witness, to take action and to advocate for systemic change.  We bear witness by expressing our opinions, participating in vigils and marches, by conducting activities to draw attention to unjust conditions.  We take action in many ways, in many areas. We feed and shelter those in need, we promote fair trade in our dealings with others, and we work to promote peace.  We seek to make our presence in our world greener.  We work to identify opportunities to make our views known to governmental entities in efforts to change regulations or laws that treat people in an unjust way. 
 

G.R.A.C.E. Growing Racial and Cultural Equity

Black Lives Matter - Standing up for Racial Justice

Beginning September 20th, 2015 and continuing weekly between services, All Souls congregants and community members will stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter.  Holding our Black Lives Matter banner we will sing, we will stand, we will witness for racial justice.  Please join us - between 10:40 and 11:15 on Sundays, unless otherwise noted. 

 (Photo credit Sean Elliot)

GRACE Calendar

Black Lives Matter Vigil
Sundays 10:45 am to 11:15 am, front door of All Souls, 19 Jay St., New London
We will stand for an half an hour between services with a Black Lives Matter banner.  This will be a weekly event until further notice.  Come and join us!
 

GRACE October 19th Film Event
Please join the G.R.A.C.E. committee of the All Souls Unitarian Universalist Congregation for an exciting Fit the Description event with the filmmakers on Thursday, October 19th. Doors will open at 6:30pm and the event will begin at 7:00pm. Refreshments will be provided.

We will be showing videos from the film series, as well as participating in activities and group discussions exploring identity. Fit the Description events are designed to focus on the multiple identities we all embody and how that affects our perceptions of ourselves, how we view others and how that impacts the social systems we partake in.

The event is free, but please RSVP here to save your spot: https://ftd-grace.eventbrite.com/?aff=fb

About... Fit the Description:
We believe in the power of conversation, storytelling and the exploration of identity as a pathway to creating change. Fit the Description is a series which aims to explore the nuances and complexity of human identity through a video interview format, as well as live interactive storytelling events and activities.

Our pilot video series delves into the perspectives of Black male officers and Black male civilians sharing personal stories around how they define themselves and others through their experiences with, and within, law enforcement.

You can watch one of the Fit The Description videos here: http://www.fitthedescription.com/interviews/

Fit the Description website: http://www.fitthedescription.com/ See More

 

GRACE Panel Discussion - November 9th , 7 pm (note - new date!)
The G.R.A.C.E. Committee will be hosting a panel discussion at All Souls on Thursday November 9 at 7PM.
Tamara Lanier, NLNAACP Vice-President, will lead a panel discussion of racial justice issues facing African Americans locally. There will be a question and answer period.
Tamara chaired the NLNAACP Annual Freedom Fund Dinner on June 29 where Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner was the speaker and Carolyn Patierno was a Community Partner Honoree. Tamara will just have returned from an NAACP Convention in Washington, D.C. Racial profiling is one of her major concerns.
Do join us.
Refreshments will be available.


GRACE Task Force
4th Thursday of the month,  6:30 pm to 8:00 pm, Nash Room, All Souls UU Congregation, 19 Jay St., New London. This is the monthly planning meeting for GRACE activities.  If you want to be a part of the movement for racial justice, come work with us.  This task force typically meets the 4th Thursday of the month.  Call the office for more information.


 


Good Works

New London Meal Center

On the second Wednesday of every month volunteers from All Souls help to prepare, serve, and clean up after the evening meal at the New London Meal Center, located on Montauk Avenue.  Volunteers are always welcome.  

On the third Saturday of every month volunteers from All Souls partner with volunteers from Second Congregational Church to prepare, serve, and clean up after the noon time meal at the New London Meal Center.  Join us!


Pies for Peace - Sunday, September 10th, 2017 - to Southern Poverty Law Center

 On September 11, 2011, All Souls launched what is now a tradition in “Pies for Peace.”  To mark this most difficult anniversary, congregants brought homemade pies to the service.  During coffee hour these pies were savored and enjoyed while a “free will” offering was taken up.  Proceeds – totaling over $1300 – went to the Voluntown Peace Trust – a local organization that teaches the ways of non-violence.  With the maiden year’s success, Pies for Peace happens the second Sunday of September and will raise money to help in the realization of peace. Our 2012 Pies for Peace proceeds were donated to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. In 2013 our proceeds went to support the Wounded Warrior Project and the War Resistors League, and in 2014 our donation went to benefit "Seeds of Peace". In 2015 our donation went to the "Rebuild the Churches Fund", helping to rebuild black churches that have been destroyed by fire. In 2016 our donation went to the Sandy Hook Promise.

 


Fifth Saturday Meal

Whenever there is a month with 5 Saturdays, volunteers from All Souls prepare and serve the noontime meal for the working poor and homeless in our community. We now cook and serve this meal at the New London Meal Center on Montauk Avenue.  Volunteers are always welcome.


Good Neighbor Offerings

The offering that is taken up on the third Sunday of every month is given away to a non-profit organization chosen by the Social Justice Coordinating Committee.  Local, national, and international organizations have been recipients of these monthly Good Neighbor Offerings.  In recent months we have made donations to Start Fresh - New London Refugee Resettlement Effort, Planned Parenthood, Africare, Students Helping Honduras, the New London Public Library, The Ali Forney Center, the Martin Luther King and Hispanic Alliance Scholarship Funds, the city of New London, the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, The Voluntown Peace Trust, Centro De La Comunidad, Alliance for Living, the New London Community Meal Center, Safe Futures, Women for Women International, Somalia and East Africa Relief Fund, the New London Area Food Coalition, and St. Francis House.  Nearly $15,000 is given away each year through these Good Neighbor Offerings.

 


Adopt a Family

Every year during the holidays we work with the New London Neighborhood Alliance and “adopt” a local family who is struggling financially. We purchase and wrap gifts that have been requested for the children and adult family members.

 


Green Sanctuary - All Souls received Green Sanctuary certification in May 2013

The Green Sanctuary program aims to bring positive change in three areas of Unitarian Universalist life: personal lifestyle choices, congregational programs and practices, and outreach and activism within the broader community.

The program is broad in scope, with four focus areas:

Worship and Celebration, in which we create or expand ways to integrate earth-oriented spirituality into congregational worship and communal gatherings.
Religious Education, where we focus on the environmental components of our lifespan religious education programs.
Environmental Justice, where we work for a just society in which benefits for some do not come at the expense of others. Environmental justice extends beyond human societies to include all of the beings that inhabit the Earth.
Sustainable Living, where we focus on the activities in our day-to-day lives that have an impact on the environment. Here we examine congregational practices such as energy use, landscaping, building management, office supplies, cleaning products, waste management, transportation, food preparation and consumption, and water use.

All Souls participated in the Cool Congregations Challenge, sponsored by the Interreligious Eco-Justice Network.  We are one of ten Connecticut faith communities who participated in the pilot program! The goal of the Cool Congregations Challenge is to reduce our carbon footprint, which is the amount of greenhouse gasses we produce in our daily activities, measured in pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2).  For more information on the Interreligious Eco-Justice Network, check out their website at irejn.org.  

Green Sanctuary Projects:

  • Using environmental themes in lay-led summer services: “Fire, Water, and Air” in 2010 and “Rising Green” in 2011
  • Dedicating three Sunday services in April 2012 to the celebration of Earth Day
  • “Blue Boat Home” Summer Camp held in August 2011
  • “Climate Change: the Reality, the Danger, and the Opportunity” presented by Dr. Larry Davis, Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at University of New Haven, in Unity Hall, November 2011
  • Partnering with F.R.E.S.H. New London in a community supported agriculture (CSA) program, started in 2011 and continuing in 2012
  • Joining Interreligious Eco-Justice Network (IREJN) as a member congregation
  • Attending "This Old House of Worship" building energy class in 2010
  • Participating in the Cool Congregations Challenge sponsored by IREJN
  • Participating in the 10/10/10 Global Work Party sponsored by 350.org
  • Participating in the 40/40 for Earth Challenge "2011 Earth Day: Sacred Waters" sponsored by UUMFE
  • Participating in the annual International Coastal Cleanup sponsored by Save the Sound, by cleaning the beach at Harkness State Park 
  • Establishing a Green Practices Audit Plan
  • Applying to the State of Connecticut DEEP Oil Heating Assistance Program for financial assistance in replacing the boiler in the Huntington Street building

 

Green Sanctuary clean up team at Harkness State Park