Unitarian Universalist Congregation
of Northern Chautauqua

companionship on life's sacred journey

The Social Action Committee encourages individuals to participate in activities in our local and global communities which promote social justice and opportunity for all people. Monthly meetings are open to all who are interested. Weekly displays at the Sunday morning worship services give individuals an opportunity to learn more about a variety of issues, both local and global.

A Welcoming Congregation

UUCNC has been named a Welcoming Congregation, recognizing our efforts to become more inclusive toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people!

Alex Kapitan, LGBTQ and Multicultural Programs Administrator in the Office of Multicultural Ministries at the UUA (Unitarian Universalist Association) sent congratulations on our taking this powerful step in 2013, doing collective work to educate ourselves on LGBTQ issues, and committing ourselves to vital ongoing work in this area. Alex praised our dedication to increasing our welcome of people with marginalized sexual orientations and/or gender identities.

Social Action Ministries

Based on responses to interest surveys, the Social Action Committee set the course for action in the following areas:

  • The Environment
  • Economic Justice
  • Peace
    If you would like to work on one or more of these issues, speak with committee chair Janey Wagner.

Share the Plate

Share the Plate Sunday, held once each month, is a way to demonstrate our commitment to nonprofit organizations whose actions are consistent with our principles and living traditions. As of February 2016, congregants had donated over $10,000 to these causes!

The purpose is two-fold: to inform the congregation of the work of the organization-usually by inviting a representative of the organization to speak briefly, to display literature and to answer questions during social hour-and to make a financial contribution in the name of UUCNC. Since September 2013, 100% of the non-pledge money received on each Share the Plate Sunday is given to the chosen agency.

Please make your check payable to UUCNC and indicate “Share the Plate” on the memo line. Of course, your cash contribution is also welcome for Share the Plate!

Since 2009, we have “shared the plate” with numerous recipient organizations, including these:

In addition, special collections at the May 2011, Installation Service and the December 2014 25th anniversary celebration for the Reverend Theresa Kime supported these causes:

Fair Trade Products

For many years, fair-trade coffee, tea and chocolate from Equal Exchange were sold following Sunday services. This international program empowers farmers and consumers, supports small farmer co-ops, and uses sustainable farming methods. Proceeds from purchases by individuals provided the coffee served during social hours and at congregational events. We do not currently offer Equal Exchange products, but we encourage congregants to purchase fair trade items from other sources. The Fredonia Presbyterian Church sells Equal Exchange products at the Fredonia Farmers’ Market and at their church. Products are also available online from The Good Buy, the retail shop of the UU Service Committee.

UU Social Justice Statements and Study-Action Process

At each annual General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Assocation (UUA) of congregations, delegates from across the nation determine denominational statements on social justice. Learn about the study/action process that leads to these statements using the link on the heading of this paragraph.

Congregational Study/Action Issues (CSAIs):

  • 2014-2018: Escalating Inequality
  • 2012-2016: Reproductive Justice: Expanding Our Social Justice Calling

Recent (past) CSAIs:

  • Immigration as a Moral Issue (2013)
  • Ethical Eating (2011)
  • Creating Peace (2010)

UU Service Committee

The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) is a human rights organization powered by grassroots collaboration. In more than a dozen countries throughout the world, UUSC fosters social justice and works toward a world free from oppression. UUSC’s innovative approaches and measurable impact are grounded in the moral belief that all people have inherent power, dignity, and rights. Support for UUSC comes from individuals and congregations, not from the Unitarian Universalist Association.

UUSC has recognized our congregation for our support of the mission to advance human rights and social justice around the world:

  • The Creating Justice Banner Society Award celebrates that at least 25% of our congregation’s members are also members of UUSC.
  • The James Luther Adams Award celebrates UUCNC’s commitment to justice and human rights by our budgeted gift contributing $1 per congregation member.

Welcome a Guest At Your Table
Guest At Your Table is an annual fundraising and education program that supports the human rights work of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee in the U.S. and around the world. Members and friends of our congregation participate for several weeks at the end of each calendar year. Our Social Action Committee then collects financial contributions from each individual or family and forwards them to UUSC after the first of the next year.

A gift of any amount qualifies for membership; membership benefits begin at $40. Gifts of $125 or more are eligible to be matched dollar for dollar by the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock in Manhasset, NY.

2016-17 Social Action Efforts

The congregation supports these two local Social Action efforts during 2016-17:

Fragile Earth Film Series at Jamestown Community College

  • Task Group: Skeeter Tower, Nancy Mayer, Jeff Barr, Judy Singer, Diane Clark
  • Description: Show meaningful, provocative, educational films focused on themes of ethical eating, peace, water, and climate change.
  • Timeline: December-August, monthly
  • Goals: Increased awareness, advocacy, and social justice
  • How this reflects UU principles: Interconnected web of life
  • Collaborators sought: JCC, SUNY Fredonia, Fredonia Friends Meeting (Quakers), other churches
  • Support requested from congregation: SAC budgeted $, attendance at film showings, open minds, refreshments

Racial Justice in our Community

  • Task Group: Alex Holbrook, Jessica Lustig, Janey Wagner, Susan Besemer
  • Description: Phase I: Hold an event (possibly in January) for our congregation to listen to leaders of churches and organizations that serve non-white populations and hear what they would most like from us in terms of support.
  • Phase II: Provide support as requested, with the goal of being seen as allies rather than white rescuers. Ongoing support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Possibly use resources from the Southern Poverty Law Center.
  • Phase III: “Adopt” a refugee family, possibly in the spring, as they assimilate into American culture. Provide assistance with language, immigration issues, work, housing, education, clothing, etc
  • Goals: Increased awareness, advocacy, and social justice
  • How this reflects UU principles: Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations
  • Collaborators sought: SUNY Fredonia, Fredonia Friends Meeting (Quakers), other churches
  • Support requested from congregation: SAC budgeted $, attendance at informational event, willingness to be introspective on white privilege, plus knowledge, resources, and time shared in assisting refugee family.