Martin Luther King Jr 50th Anniversary March on DC

Service and Justice

Why Social Justice Work is Religious

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.

Questions?

If you have questions about social justice at Cedar Lane, please contact Rev. Katie Romano Griffin, Assistant Minister, at kromanogriffin@cedarlane.org. She welcomes your questions and wants to hear about what inspires you towards making positive change!

EXPLORE OUR Service & Justice MINISTRIES

Immigrant Justice

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.

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Rev. Abhi Janamanchi
Environmental Justice

We aim to inspire and engage people and the public on Environmental Justice. We share a vision of being stewards of the Earth and affirm and support each other as builders of a more just and nurturing world. We made a commitment to our loving community to: advocate, educate and support each other. Our primary work is to 1) Advocate for the Environment, 2) Educate about the Environment, and 3) Sustain Eco-Spirituality & Community Service.  

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Jim Laurenson
Racial Justice

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.

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Marge Dimond
Refugee Justice

Cedar Lane's Refugee Support Ministry supports refugees who are in this country legally with official refugee status, primarily from the Middle East and also from Africa and Asia. The refugees have permission to work and some short-term governmental assistance. 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 in this geographic area. Efforts include teaching English, supplying basic items, transportation, and helping connect these

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Kay Gottesman
Gender Justice

Cedar Lane supported and heavily participated in the Women's March on Washington, DC both in January 2017 and 2018 as part of a larger Unitarian Universalist contigent. Recently we have held a #metoo Sunday worship service during which female Cedar Lane members shared some of their #metoo stories. 

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Rev. Katie Romano Griffin