Social Justice: A UU Spiritual Practice
In Unitarian Universalism, spirituality means "living the ordinary life extraordinarily well." It is awakening to the moment and being awake in the moment. It means being engaged in the world, not withdrawing from it. It means believing in life before death, not after.
Unitarian Universalists are deeply spiritual people, or at least they can be. We are spiritual because we ask ourselves what life wants from us, how we should treat each other and the world, what kind of contribution we can and should make, and what will be left after we're gone. We grow spiritually by facing those questions more honestly and deeply, and by discovering our individual answers and discerning our collective responses. From this perspective, social justice is spirituality in action.
Elements of Social Justice as a Spiritual Practice
- Justice-making isn't a means to some end; it is the end.
- We want to be realistic as well as idealistic in our efforts to be compassionate.
- Our spirituality of justice is a collaborative journey not a solo adventure.
- Unitarian Universalist faith calls us to affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person. We are doing spiritual work when we make a commitment to be a welcoming congregation for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people; when we commit ourselves to study and change individual and institutional attitudes around race, class, and ethnicity; when we raise the issue of accessibility and work towards making our congregations more welcoming to people with disabilities; and when we witness for the rights of the marginalized, the oppressed, and the poor be it immigrants, refugees, farm workers, racial and religious minorities, or women, seniors, and children.
Social justice as a spiritual practice tests our ethical professions, challenges our complacency, and summons our courage. But it is not a recipe for sainthood, merely a prescription for sane, peaceful, and decent living.
Social Justice Ministry Team Members
While we focus our social justice efforts in the five areas mentioned below, our current Social Justice Team who oversees all of our Social Justice work include: Moyo Myers & Sandy Shaw (co-chairs), Usha Charya, Bob Essink, Raju Singh, Lee McNair, Adrienne Nicosia, Marge Dimond, and Catherine Schuler.
If you have questions about social justice at Cedar Lane, please contact Rev. Katie Romano Griffin, Assistant Minister, at firstname.lastname@example.org. She welcomes your questions and wants to hear about what inspires you towards making positive change!
EXPLORE OUR Service & Justice MINISTRIES
We engage the congregation and the public on Environmental Justice. The Environmental Justice Ministry team shares a vision of being stewards of the Earth and affirms and supports each other as builders of a more just and nurturing world. Our primary work is to: 1) Advocate for the Environment, 2) Educate about the Environment, and 3) Sustain Eco-Spirituality & Community Service. In recent years, we have focused increasingly on ethical and moral responses to the threat of climate change.
Cedar Lane's Together Diversity Team works to create social and educational activities, both to faciliate connection between LGBTQIA+ community members at Cedar Lane, and increase awareness in the larger community around LGBTQIA+ issues. Check out our upcoming opportunities here: www.cedarlane.org/pride. Questions? Please contact the Together Diversity Team at TogetherLeads@google groups.com.
On April 2, 2017, the Board of Trustees unanimously voted for Cedar Lane to become a Physical Sanctuary Congregation and the Congregation concurred, voting overwhelmingly to do so at its Annual Congregational Meeting on May 21, 2017. Between those dates, Cedar Lane’s Immigrant Justice Ministry led a period of “discernment” – church-wide learning and discussion on what being a physical sanctuary means, whether we should become one, how it would happen, what form it would take, and how it would impact Cedar Lane and the community. Cedar Lane has completed an apartment area to serve as a Sanctuary space for a family, couple, or individual that may need space in the near future.
Cedar Lane supports racial justice through our Together Team, People of Color & Indigenous Group, and the Board's "Mosaic Makers" committee. Our vision is to live out an intentionally multicultural religious identity that informs all aspects of congregational life. Our goals include promoting personal and institutional transformation, creating a supportive space for marginalized identity groups, and developing right relationships with communities outside of Cedar Lane. We are guided by our denomination's vision of multiculturalism in which all people are welcomed as blessings and the human family lives whole and reconciled, and one cultural identity does not dominate all other identities.
Cedar Lane's Refugee Support Ministry supports refugees who are in this country legally with official refugee status, and have permission to work. To achieve refugee status, the individuals and families have been in imminent danger in their home countries. This Ministry Team is part of an interfaith consortium - Montgomery County Interfaith Refugee Resettlement Neighbors (MCIRRN) - of churches, mosques, and synagogues that helps newly-arrived families transition into this area. Efforts include teaching English, supplying basic items, transportation, and helping connect these new neighbors with housing, employment, and other useful services.