Social action is a natural expression of our liberal religious values. It is integrated into all our ministries, such as worship, religious education, and affinity groups like the young adults. Social action is the primary focus of two coordinating bodies in the church: our Social Justice Council and Green Sanctuary group.
The Social Justice Council coordinates the church’s advocacy and service work in a variety of areas. Here are some of the roles it plays:
- Supporting ongoing service projects and relationships of the congregation (detailed further below).
- Coordinating the plate offering program. Each month, the weekly Sunday collection in worship is dedicated to an organization whose mission aligns with the liberal religious values of our faith. 100% of loose offerings go toward this cause. The Council welcomes nominations for plate recipients. You can download the Suggested Designated Plate Offering Recipient Form in Word or pdf format.
- Coordinating our participation with Texas UU Justice Ministry. Westside is a member congregation of this network. Our members regularly participate in TXUUJM’s Legislative Action Days in Austin as well as taking actions closer to home that align with TXUUJM’s priorities.
- Spearheading the church’s advocacy and activism. In recent years, we have focused in areas such as immigration, racial justice, reproductive justice, and voter empowerment. This can take many forms, such as speaking at public meetings, hosting voter registrar training at Westside, attending marches – including the annual Gay Pride Parade and MLK Day Parade – or getting trained as an escort through the Texas Equal Access Fund, and supporting a clinic near you. The Council also builds relationships and offers support to communities and organizations leading justice work, like United Fort Worth and Communidad RAICES, both of which meet at Westside.
- Maintaining a Social Action Alert e-mail list. This list is used to share time-sensitive opportunities with interested Westsiders, from vigils and protests to advocacy calls and letters on upcoming legislation. To be added to the list, drop a message to firstname.lastname@example.org, indicating the email address you would like to have added to the Social Action Alert email list.
- Fielding any applications to establish a new task force focused on a particular area of interest. If three or more members of the church would like to work on an issue, the procedure is to create a statement of purpose and submit it to the Council for consideration. For more information, contact email@example.com.
- Support for South Central Alliance of Churches, which supports those facing economic hardship in several zip codes of Fort Worth, including the area in which Westside is located. Westside is a member of the Alliance and supports its work through financial contributions, donation of items that the Alliance distributes, and participating in the Thanksgiving baskets project each year.
- Samaritan House Supper Club. This organization offers “housing and resources for positive change in the lives of persons living with HIV/AIDS and other special needs” such as mental illness or homelessness. Volunteers in Westside’s supper club bring a side dish, salad, or dessert each third Thursday of the month. To get involved, drop a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- KIVA micro-credit program. The Gino Kennedy Fund at our church was established in memory of a long-time member after her death in 2007. Gino served as president of the Southwest UU Women and advocated for the establishment of a micro-credit lending institution in support of women around the world to start small businesses. The Gino Kennedy Fund selected KIVA as the organization to support distribution and re-payment of these micro-credit loans. To learn more, contact email@example.com.
Westside is a certified Green Sanctuary congregation and works to conserve energy in our facility, recycle, and engage in education and action for the environment both locally and globally. Our Green Sanctuary group offers opportunities for members and friends to participate in projects from time to time. Examples include:
- Helping to assemble drip bucket irrigation kits, in partnership with another church. The kits are used for low resource gardens in both the US and abroad. They help to reduce hunger.
- Taking part in a Westside team at the Trinity River Trash Bash. Groups clean up sites along our city’s major river.
- Supporting an indigenous water protector, Red Fawn Fallis, who for a time was incarcerated at a federal facility in Fort Worth. Monetary support, pen pals / moral support, hosting visitors.
To reach our Green Sanctuary chair, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Community Food Pantry is located in the parking lot on the east side of the church. It has non-perishable food for anyone who needs it. So the next time you have an opportunity, stop by and take a look. You might even want to contribute some type of non-perishable food for those in need.