“Both Unitarian and Universalist histories are inseparable from social and political action over the years. Since the Unitarians and the Universalists consolidated in 1961, the resulting Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations has continued a proud legacy of activism.” (from UUA.org)
Likewise, UUCE has a long history of social activism. During the 1960s and 1970s, UUCE provided draft counseling, problem pregnancy counseling, refuge for the American Indian Movement, and marched for civil rights, women’s rights, an end to war and nuclear arms. In the 1980s we became a Welcoming Congregation, becoming allies for the LGBTQ community and advocates for equal rights. Since the 1990s we’ve studied intentional living, climate change, and become accomplished and recognized activists in the sustainability movement (see Green Sanctuary). Currently, we are focusing on anti-racism work, as we continue to speak out against all forms of social injustice. Our “Black Lives Matter” banner outside the church invites all to join the conversation within.
Village Banking at UUCE
UUCE participates in the micro-finance village banking campaign of FINCA International, which has created a proven solution to poverty with over 500,000 clients on four continents. Our congregation has donated over $25,000 to FINCA, thereby providing financial services to the world’s lowest-income entrepreneurs, so they can create jobs, build assets and improve their standard of living. The Village Banking program at UUCE began in 2007 with the sponsorship of a Village Bank in Malawi, southeast Africa. Since then, UUCE has funded additional banks in Haiti, Zambia, and Afghanistan. The Village Banking program is an ongoing endeavor of this community. Contact: Elizabeth Olson and Andrea Schmidlin.
A community-based fund raising event to raise money for local hunger-fighting agencies as well as the international relief and development efforts of Church World Service. CROP Walks help children and families worldwide to have food for today, while building for a better tomorrow. The Elgin CROP Walk happens each year in October, click here for info.
To see some video clips that further explain the CROP Walk, please click here. Contact: Kevin Webster.
PADS (Public Action to Deliver Shelter)
We support PADS. PADS meets the basic needs of homeless individuals first. They provide a safe place to sleep, meals, showers, laundry facilities and personal hygiene products. The next step is to provide comprehensive case management. Case managers meet with each guest and together, an action plan is created by identifying the barriers which led to the person becoming homeless. Action plans are tailored to each individual and may include money management, life skills, assistance with securing a GED, housing searches or referrals to outside services such as substance abuse or mental health counseling. Each year they meet the basic needs of homeless individuals first. They provide a safe place to sleep, meals, showers, laundry facilities and personal hygiene products. The next step is to provide comprehensive case management. Case managers meet with each guest and together, an action plan is created by identifying the barriers which led to the person becoming homeless. Action plans are tailored to each individual and may include money management, life skills, assistance with securing a GED, housing searches or referrals to outside services such as substance abuse or mental health counseling. Each year they have a greater than 70% exit shelter success rate which is three (3) times the national average.
Elgin Interfaith Food Pantry
Each month we collect donations of food and other necessities for the Elgin All People’s Interfaith Pantry. This is an emergency pantry for those in temporary need. Desired items include non-perishable foods, toiletries and baby needs. Contact: Henny Dubois.
Equal Exchange Coffee Program
UUSC Fair Trade Project
At UUCE, we sell Equal Exchange brand coffees, teas, cocoa, chocolate, and more through a partnership between the Unitarian Universalist ServiceCommittee and Equal Exchange, a worker-owned cooperative. The UUSC Fair
Trade Project links UU congregations with small farmers through fair trade.:
- 100% Fair Trade — Using internationally recognized fair trade standards, Equal Exchange seeks to balance the inequities found in the conventional coffee trade. Coffee is a leading source of income for the Developing World. Through fair trade, it can be a delicious and powerful tool to bring about positive change for small farmers and their families.
- Certified Organic — Organic farming recognizes the critical role of the farmer in managing soil, plants, animals and other elements in a sustainable agricultural system which avoids the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers.
- Shade Grown — A typical shade grown farm is made up of coffee trees grown alongside other food crops under a canopy of taller trees. These taller trees provide fruit, wood and other valuable products to the farmer while offering protection and nutrients to the coffee plants and preventing erosion of the soil.
For each pound of product that UU’s purchase, 20 cents goes to the Small Farmer Fund set up by UUSC to build sustainable livelihoods and advance human rights, particularly of women, youth and indigenous people.
Contact Mary Alice Masonick.
The Green Sanctuary Committee exists to raise awareness of and encourage action on environmental issues. As an accredited Green Sanctuary, we embrace Earth stewardship, promote environmental justice and strive to reduce our carbon footprint as we grow toward sustainability. All are welcome to participate to their ability in Green Sanctuary activities. New members are welcome on the committee which meets monthly. For more information, contact the Green Sanctuary Committee Chairperson.
Recycling Used Printer Cartridges
Bring your used ink jet cartridges to church and deposit them in the labeled drawer in the Recycling Center in Fellowship Hall. Each month, cartridges are taken to Staples and Office Max. The church receives $40 monthly in store credit for purchasing office supplies, including 100% pcc recycled printer paper. Contact Joe Masonick
Diapers for Dignity
A regular supply of clean diapers is essential to preserve the health of infants and toddlers and the dignity of a caring family. Purchasing an adequate supply of disposable diapers is a need for families living in chronic or temporary poverty. There is currently no subsidy for free or reduced cost disposable diapers. We encourage members and friends of UUCE to purchase boxes of large size disposable diapers which are collected at the church and donated to the Community Crisis Center once a month and distributed to their clients as needed. Contact Bob Jackson or Andrea Schmidlin.