Unitarian Universalist Congregation
of Northern Chautauqua

companionship on life's sacred journey
Families Belong Together Rally
posted: June 27, 2018

Satuday, June 30, 11 AM
Washington Park, Dunkirk NY

Please join the Chautauqua County Women’s Action Group (CCWAG), the Chautauqua County League of Women Voters, and the Social Action Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Northern Chautauqua at a rally advocating for the human rights of migrant families. This “Families Belong Together” Rally will be held at Washington Park in Dunkirk on Saturday, June 30, at 11 AM, in solidarity with hundreds of similar events nationwide. Speakers and live music will be featured. A collection will be taken to be donated to an organization providing legal assistance to migrant families in need of help.

Information on the national initiative is linked on the title above.

Here is a statement prepared by CCWAG:

“The Chautauqua County Women’s Action Group was created to continue the momentum of local activists who attended the Women’s March on Washington of January 2017. We are dedicated to taking political action toward social justice.

“Separating and detaining migrants and their children as a response to their flight from persecution and violence in Central America violates human dignity and human rights. These practices severely harm children, according to all medical authorities.The current federal policy, instituted in April, made all adults and children trying to cross the border liable to criminal prosecution as a punitive deterrent. Migrants have a right to claim refugee status without incarceration and to have their claims fully considered by a competent authority. The U.S. government’s policy and stated goal of using detention as a means of deterrence is contrary to international law.

“The detention of migrants and their children in an arbitrary fashion, without individualized assessments of their threat to the community or flight risk, reflects a clear violation of their human rights. For example, the parents and children detained in the current immigrant detention facilities have no ability to leave the facility and have restrictions placed on their movement within the facility based on space and child care constraints. Also, the decisions over placement of families in detention facilities versus enrollment in other forms of supervision is made on an arbitrary basis, taking logistics and bed space into account rather than examining each individual migrant arrival on a case-by-case basis. Representatives of UNICEF suggest, ‘An alternative would be to take a non-custodial community approach.’”

UN human rights experts have declared:

“We call on the Government of the US to release these children from immigrant detention and to reunite them with their families based on the best interests of the child, and the rights of the child to liberty and family unity.

“The separations have been conducted without notice, information, or the opportunity to challenge them. The parents and children have been unable to communicate with each other. The parents have had no information about the whereabouts of their children, which is a cause of great distress.

“Moreover, we are deeply concerned at the long-term impact and trauma, including irreparable harm that these forcible separations will have on children.”

In light of the injustice being perpetrated by our government against these families: mothers, fathers, and children, many of whom have risked everything to seek asylum from horrific violence in their own countries with little hope of ever being able to return to their homelands, CCWAG issues this statement condemning any policy which separates and detains families. We do not support legislation or policies which do not meet United Nations standards for protecting human rights.

Humanitarian Aid to Nicaragua
posted: June 14, 2018

Now through June 30

The Social Action Committee suggests participation in this community-wide effort sponsored by the Dunkirk-Fredonia Center for Peace & Justice:

Donations of clothing, food and a variety of household and other items are welcome, as are financial gifts. Funds will be used to sponsor children’s education, for special or building projects, to support the cow and dairy project or the sheep project, to assist with well digging or shipping costs.

Details, including a list of needed items, are linked on the heading above.

UU Fellowship of Chautauqua
posted: June 13, 2018

Sundays, June 24 – August 26, 9:30 AM
Hall of Philosophy, Chautauqua NY

The UU Fellowship of Chautauqua hosts worship at the Hall of Philosophy each Sunday, June 24 through August 26, 9:30 AM, with music led by Kay Barlow! On July 29, Bill Moran and Cheryl Ritch will join her there to provide music for the 9:30 AM worship service.

Admission to the grounds is FREE all day Sunday. Pay $9 for parking if you leave after 2 PM.

Summer program details are linked on the heading above.

Donations for Moms & Babies
posted: April 27, 2018

The Racial Justice task group of UUCNC thanks those who donated items for moms and babies this spring. They were delivered to Journey’s End Refugee Services in Buffalo, where they will help several expectant and new mothers.

Also, volunteer and donation opportunities exist for
Green Shoots for New Americans

Supporting the UU Service Committee
posted: December 26, 2017

Throughout the holiday season, congregants participated in the Guest at Your Table program to raise support for and awareness about the work of the UU Service Committee (UUSC) to advance human rights at home and around the world. Guest at Your Table contributions were collected at the January 7 & 14 worship services.

Gifts of $125 or more are eligible to be matched dollar for dollar by the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock in Manhasset, NY.

For information about UUSC and the Guest at Your Table campaign, visit the link on the heading above.

Collection Completed for Displaced Puerto Ricans
posted: December 13, 2017

Thanks to all who donated items for displaced Puerto Ricans in Dunkirk in December. UUCNC’s Racial Justice task group collected coats, boots, gloves, socks, other winter apparel, curtains, bedding, and more. Clothing items for boys age 11-15 were especially needed. Items could be gently used, but in good condition – no stains or obvious signs of wear.

Social Action Projects
posted: August 27, 2017

Members and friends of UUCNC have endorsed two one-year-long, congregation-wide social action projects:

Fragile Earth Film and Speaker Series
Task Group: Diane Clark, Leanna White-McMahon, Janey Wagner
Description: Show meaningful, provocative, educational films focused on environmental themes
Timeline: November-June series
Goals: Increased awareness, advocacy, and environmental justice
Support requested from congregation: Attendance at film showings, open minds, refreshments

Racial Justice in our Community
Task Group: Alex Holbrook, Jessica Lustig, Mitch Cummings

  • Support book study on Waking Up White and finding myself in the story of race, by Debby Irving
  • Encourage participation in February racial justice conference in Buffalo, sponsored by Central East Region, UU Association
  • Provide support as requested by local people of color, with the goal of being seen as allies rather than white rescuers. Ongoing support of the Black Lives Matter movement and the Black Student Union at SUNY Fredonia.
  • Possibly use resources from the Southern Poverty Law Center
  • Participate in Green Shoots for New Americans seed exchange, part of an urban gardening program for refugees (Journey’s End Refugee Services, Inc.) that gives them the tools and training to grow their own food and produce to sell at the farmers market for independence and income.
  • Quilting and bed linens project facilitated by Jessica Lustig, starting midwinter
  • Stockpile winter coats in late winter/early spring when they are priced for clearance, so that we have nice new coats to donate in next year’s coat drive
  • Support Dunkirk Puerto Rican Association in assisting the displaced Puerto Ricans who will be coming to Dunkirk as a result of recent hurricanes
  • Assist refugees as they assimilate into American culture in WNY with language, work, housing, education, clothing, and food
    Goals: Increased awareness, advocacy, and social justice
    Support requested from congregation: Attendance at informational events, willingness to be introspective on white privilege, knowledge, resources, and time shared in assisting refugees

The two projects will be monitored by the Social Action Committee (SAC), given logistical support, provided funding from the SAC budget, given access to the newsletter, website, Sunday service, and other communication platforms, and become ministerial priorities. The task groups for the projects will report regularly to the Board and congregation, and can ask for additional support. Some flexibility in action details will be allowed as projects progress and grow.

Everyone is encouraged to engage in social action as their skills, time, and energy allow! Our faith is a light that shines in this world.

Book Study Group
posted: August 26, 2017

The Book Study Group on Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race, by Debby Irving was led by Rev. George Buchanan and Janey Wagner of the UUCNC Social Action Committee

Debbie Irving’s book presents a revealing story of one woman’s search for a place to stand in the story of race – firm ground for herself as a white person in the work of building a racially just society. As a citizen, neighbor, teacher, and nonprofit manager, she found herself struggling to understand her place in the story of race. This book presents some of the important things she learned along the way.

In this group, those of us who identify as white used Ms. Irving’s work to reflect on and learn more about our own roles as white members of a multi-racial society as we strive for racial justice. While the process we followed focused on the learning needs of those who identify as white, this group was open to all members and friends of UU Congregation of Northern Chautauqua.

Questions? Contact Reverend George Buchanan, using the information on the Contact Us tab above.

Recycling Ink Cartridges
posted: September 15, 2011

Ink cartridges are collected and recycled by the Social Action Committee to benefit the Westfield Stray Cat Rescue (59 E Main St, Westfield NY).

Deliver spent ink cartridges at worship services on Sunday mornings, September through June.

Please donate your deposit cans and bottles!
posted: September 2, 2011

The Youth Group reminds the congregation that the donation of your deposit cans and bottles is greatly appreciated! Colleen, the owner of Cash for Cans (on Route 60 in just north of Route 83; driving from Rte. 20 it is housed in a large garage with a bright green roof on the left) has generously offered to continue keeping a tab for us for this ongoing fundraiser. Call ahead to check when they’ll be open: 716 672-2274.

All you need to do is drop off your deposit cans and bottles when you are out running errands. If you ever have trouble getting there or need help with a large accumulation, members of the Youth Group will pick up your contribution.

Every little bit helps! In 2011 we raised just over $150 in four months for our trip to Boston, and each year since we have raised a similar amount. Thank you for your support!