Our vision statement closes with the words “We strive to transform our world.” Transforming the world is a bold aim and not one we take lightly. We believe that community is key to transformational work, and we yearn to build the Beloved Community that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke about. All our work is grounded in our values of social justice, and we engage deeply in the difficult work of changing systemic problems like racism and poverty.
As we do this transformative work, responding to the more immediate opportunities to serve is important, so our social action includes small but meaningful asks like providing diapers for undocumented children and food for the hungry, standing up for justice at demonstrations for voting rights or for Black Lives Matter, or standing with our Interfaith partners to help provide resources for immigrants and refugees.
For more on Living Our Values at UUFA, go here.
The UUFA groups below are specifically concerned with Acting-for-Justice work.
With the many critical issues affecting our members and community arising in national, state, and local legislative sessions, the Rapid Response Team members receive frequent alerts when immediate actions are needed, such as quickly contacting representatives or showing up for actions. The team will post updates and information on the issues here — Legislative Action Alerts, but sign up below to receive alerts directly to your in-box!
Since its inception in September 2005, the UUFA Cause of the Month (CotM) program has been primarily helping groups serving people in need in the Athens area. In addition, several UU-affiliated programs have been Causes of the Month.
Each year the Social Action Committee (SAC) invites members of the congregation to choose the organizations that receive Cause of the Month funding through a two-step process. First, any member can nominate a Cause of the Month (limit one per member). Second, UUFA members vote in March on the nominations with the twelve organizations receiving the most votes becoming the Causes of the Month for the next program year (July 1 – June 30).
The goal of this process is for members to choose organizations that care for diverse populations with a primary emphasis on organizations who empower people to better themselves and move out of difficult circumstances. Hopefully, organizations are chosen ensuring that UUFA’s contribution will have the greatest impact. Above all, the selection of groups should be guided by the seven Unitarian Universalist principles and the UUFA Mission and Vision statements.
Beginning in July 2013, the congregation initiated Share the Plate Program. Instead of each person making an individual contribution to the Cause of the Month only on the first Sunday as in previous years, the Fellowship as a whole contributes half of the undesignated plate offering every Sunday to the Cause of the Month (CotM). Of course, the monies involved in Share the Plate do not include pledges, which are essential to fund the Fellowship’s budget. CotM donations may also be made online.
Visit the websites of this year’s Justice Partners to learn more about how you can support them in their important work in the Athens community.
Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement and Economic Justice Coalition.
UUFA voted to become a Welcoming Congregation in 1996. This designation affirms we welcome and respect all people, no matter whom one loves or what one’s gender identity or expression is. Straight, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, Intersex, Asexual or Allies, and other Non-Heterosexual people are invited to participate in all aspects of congregational life. UUFA participates in Gay Pride weekends and parades and hosts occasional activities for the LGBTQIA+ community in Athens. Click here for details on the national UUA effort.
In 2020 and 2021 UUFA’s Welcoming Congregation Team has worked to help UUFA complete the renewal of our Welcoming Congregation status through UUA.
UUFA’s Alphabet Family invites people who identify anywhere on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum to gather for fun and fellowship, usually on the fourth Sunday afternoon of every month. Contact Ynza Morgan Star for information about the team and the family.
The Fellowship’s Racial Justice Team meets monthly to further the congregation’s goal of engaging in dismantling white supremacy, with guidance from UUA through opportunities like the New Day Rising Conference and by reading and discussing books such as White Fragility. In 2017, the congregation adopted A Resolution: Racial Justice and Equity. Members have supported Black and Latinx Athenians through financial gifts to such organizations as the Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement (AADM) and Dignidad Inmigrante en Athens and have participated in actions led by AADM and the Economic Justice Coalition.
For over a decade the Fellowship has been recognized as a Green Sanctuary Congregation by UUA. Through the years the Team met the requirements to create a wildlife habitat on our grounds, worked to decrease invasive plants, developed composting and recycling processes, and reduced energy use, most recently by working with donors to install solar panels on the roof. To learn more, contact Mark Williams.
The world is changing, and our diets are changing too. The Food Justice Team explores the food revolution as we seek a compassionate, healthful, and delicious diet. This team presents programs including leading worship services on food justice, emphasizes eating lower on the food chain, explores a plant-based diet, provides food for UUFA events, especially for Community and Conversation on firth Sunday, and interfacing with our Community Friends.
Our 2022-23 Community Friends are Sweet Olive Animal Rescue (Kat Howkins), Concrete Jungle (Lauren Towe), and Farm to Neighborhood (Rashe Malcolm)
Learn more by contacting Kate Blane.
The Sanctuary Movement Team is a member of the Athens-area Interfaith Sanctuary Coalition (ISC) which works to protect and stand with immigrants. ISC is dedicated to offering hospitality, safety, and opportunities for all immigrants to participate fully in our shared community, regardless of their immigration status. Look for the monthly meeting of the ISC on the UUFA calendar. Contact Nancy MacNair to learn more.
Any CANtributions and diapers received at the Fellowship will reach their final destinations–the Athens Area Emergency Food Bank and the immigrant community of Athens, respectively–thanks to the transporting efforts of Diane Bridges and Julie Sapp. Contact the office (706-546-7914, ext. 5) to make sure someone at the Fellowship can receive your donations. For more information, contact Karen Solheim.
Family Promise of Athens is a non-profit organization which provides immediate shelter and guidance to homeless families with children due to the impact of misfortunes they face. Once families are accepted into the program, Family Promise provides food, shelter, daycare, and transportation.
UUFA serves as a support congregation during weeks that the guest families stay overnight at Holy Cross Lutheran Church. We provide meals and serve as van drivers, dinner hosts, overnight hosts, and weekend Day Center hosts. Check UUFA News for updates and calls for volunteers from the UUFA Family Promise Coordinators Becky Parker, Fran Cawthon, and Johanna Hopkinson.
UUFA members and friends participate in the Georgia Department of Family & Children Services (DFCS) holiday gift program for the more than 300 children currently living in foster care in Clarke and Oconee counties. Each holiday season these children receive few, if any, gifts. UUFA individuals and groups have bought gifts for these children for over 20 years. Look for information on how to contribute each October in the UUFA News.
The UUFA Social Action Committee (SAC) regularly meets on the first Sunday of each month. You are invited to attend this meeting to learn about how they make a difference locally and globally. In addition to programs listed below, SAC works in the Athens area to support UUA’s Side with Love and Love Resists initiatives. For more information, contact Karen Solheim. Find the link to join the meeting here.