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Social Justice at the UUFA

 

GOING GREEN

Everyone talks about climate change.  Our Fellowship has taken the opportunity to do something about it.  

Ames Climate Action Team

The Climate Action Team was started by 90 citizens who attended A Rise for Climate, an interfaith workshop in September 2018. From that gathering, many from different congregations have continued to meet regularly, working on local initiatives that combat climate change.  This ecumenical group was organized and is hosted here at the UUFA.

Building Solar Panels

Our building has been equipped with solar panels since mid-2010!

SunSmart Ames Solar Farm

Our congregation has also invested in the Ames Solar Farm, purchasing enough power packs to offset our electricity usage entirely!

The City of Ames has partnered with SunSmart to undertake construction of a ten-acre solar farm.  This facility is expected to generate two megawatts of electric power that will be an integral part of the city's electric utility system.  As best we know, we are the first faith-based community organization to make this level of commitment!

 

SHARING THE PLATE

Each month, our congregation makes it a tradition to share half of our Sunday offertory with various charities and non-profits whose values we support.  Our hope is that, by sharing our generosity, we can help to make our community and world a better place.

To see a list of past recipients, please click here.

 

LOCAL OUTREACH

A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy (AMOS)

AMOS is a local IAF (Industrial Areas Foundation) broad-based, non-partisan, community organization comprised of 30 community institutions.  We believe that ordinary people, working together, can accomplish great things in a democracy and have a say in the destiny of their own community. Visit the AMOS website for more information.

Our membership in AMOS, through an annual 1% budget line item, has empowered numerous UUFA members to work with members of other local congregations on issues of local, compelling need, such as affordable housing, maternal health care provision, and immigrant justice.

Good Neighbor Emergency Assistance

Good Neighbor Emergency Assistance is governed by a coalition of religious institutions in Ames that pooled resources 15 years ago in an effort to serve those seeking emergency assistance in a more coordinated way. GNEA is included as a line item in the UUFA budget, and we are represented on its board. See their website for more information.

The Bridge Home (formerly Emergency Residence Project)

In existence for more than 25 years, the Bridge Home (formerly Emergency Residence Project) provides shelter to homeless men and families, has 6 transitional housing units for families seeking a long-term solution to homelessness, and operates a "homelessness prevention" fund that saves dozens of families every year from the trauma of eviction and homelessness. The UUFA is a proud founding institution of ERP, and currently provides the project with financial support throughout the year.

 

SIDE WITH LOVE

Des Moines Pride Parade participants from UUFA

Side with Love is based on Unitarian Universalism’s First Principle, which affirms and promotes the “inherent worth and dignity of every person.” The campaign calls Unitarian Universalists to form local groups to address discrimination in their own communities. This might include lobbying for same-sex marriage, calling for immigration reform, or protesting hate crimes. The groups are encouraged to form coalitions with other religious or community groups.

The campaign was started in response to the shooting last year at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, Tenn. On July 27, 2008, Jim David Adkisson walked into the church’s sanctuary during the performance of a children’s musical and began firing a shotgun, killing two and injuring six. Among the fatalities and the injured were members of TVUUC and Westside Unitarian Universalist Church, also in Knoxville.

In a letter later found by police, Adkisson said that he targeted the church because of its liberal values—including its openness to gays and lesbians. “The UU church is the Fountainhead [sic], the veritable wellspring of anti-American organizations like Moveon.org, Code Pink, and other un-American groups,” he wrote.

After the shooting, both Knoxville congregations pledged to remain open and welcoming—and many religious communities from across the theological and political spectrum rushed to provide food, comfort, and assistance. The extensive media coverage of the event led to an influx of church visitors as people heard about Unitarian Universalism, some for the first time, and came to check it out. For TVUUC, around 40 of these visitors became members.

The courageous responses of both congregations as well as the broad-based Knoxville community support inspired SWL organizers.

More information on Side with Love can be found on their website.  The UUFA is proud to support this initiative!

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