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Striving for Justice

 

GOING GREEN

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

Ames Climate Action Team

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

Want more information or to sign up for their communications? Contact them at amesclimateactionteam@gmail.com or email the Fellowship office.

Building Solar Panels

Our building was one of the first buildings in Ames to be equipped with solar panels, since mid-2010! 

In 2007, the UUFA board allocated and a congregational vote approved the use of $15,000 of a bequest to fund this project. This led to almost three years of study, site analysis, and meetings with the City of Ames, culminating in the passage of an ordinance containing covenants governing solar panel installation on residential and commercial properties. This legislation supported the production of electricity by private citizens and businesses and was a groundbreaking contribution to our community. When our 3-kW system was installed in 2010, the UUFA was the first solar panel installation permitted by the City of Ames allowing for net metering, now a common practice allowing an electric meter that can run backwards on a photovoltaic system. If a facility produces more electricity than it uses, the excess is returned to the municipal utility to be utilized at a later time by the owners of that system. We are proud to be pioneers in this arena!

SunSmart Ames Solar Farm

In 2018, the City of Ames embarked on a new project – a community solar panel farm. Since opening in late 2020, the ten-acre solar farm is generating two megawatts of electric power that is an integral part of the city’s electric utility system.

Our congregation invested heavily in this project, purchasing enough “power packs” to offset our electricity usage entirely! We are the first faith-based community organization in Ames to make this level of commitment!
If you are interested in purchasing “power packs” for your home or to donate to the UUFA, more information is available at https://bit.ly/385dGmG.

 

SHARING THE PLATE

Each month, our congregation makes it a tradition to share 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 www.amosiowa.org for more information.

Our membership in AMOS, through annual support of 1% of our overall budget, 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 (GNEA) provides emergency food and gasoline vouchers, emergency rent, and emergency utility assistance to those in need. GNEA 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, and is now composed of 38 churches and organizations. GNEA is included in the UUFA’s annual budget, and we are represented on its board. Visit www.gnea.org for more information.

The Bridge Home

Founded in 1985, The Bridge Home is devoted to bridging the gap between homelessness and housing by providing shelter, support, and inspiring a pathway forward to individuals and families experiencing or on the verge of homelessness. Based in Ames, their outreach spans the Two Rivers Region of Story, Marshall, Boone, Greene, and Hardin counties. More information is available at www.thebridgehome.org.

The UUFA is a proud founding institution of The Bridge Home (formerly the Emergency Residence Project), 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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