Wednesday, January 21, 2009

2008 Year in Review: Celebrating Social Justice & Community Outreach

Here are some of the ways that the Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church made a difference and lived our values in the past year:

We selected an organization to receive our offering on one Sunday each month:

January 2008
Southwest Blvd Family Health Center

February 2008
Healthy Living Project (AIDS Awareness)

March 2008
Maison de Naissance (Birth Center in Haiti)

April 2008
Heart of America Indian Center

May 2008
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
Collection for the victims of Cyclone Nargis

June 2008
Interfaith Hospitality Network
(Homelessness in Johnson County)

July 2008
Court Appointed Special Advocates
(Children’s Advocacy)

August 2008
Interfaith Power & Light (Environment)

September 2008
Julia’s Voice

October 2008
Literacy KC

November 2008
Immigrant Justice Advocacy Movement

Other Organizations: $814.77

Community Giving Total: $11,598.95

Service Is Our Prayer
The Service is our Prayer subcommittee of the Religious Education Council plans regular service projects for the children in our church. These service projects often include bringing in a presenter to help our children understand the needs of others and how they can help.

March 2008
Heifer International
The children learned about the importance of agriculture around the world and created items to be sold at a “UU MALL” during coffee hour to support Heifer International.

April 2008
Our children participated in a walk to support Bridging the Gap, an organization that works on a host of environmental issues.

May 2008
South Lake Park Clean Up
Following a lesson about our Unitarian Universalist 7th Principle, the children helped to clean up the park across the street from our church.

September 2008
South Lake Park Clean Up

November 2008
Pack-a-Sack Sunday
The children created 110 sack lunches for the Argentine Kitchen and learned about homelessness.

December 2008
Soles for Souls
The children learned about the hardship caused by natural disasters and collected over 300 pairs of shoes to be shipped to disaster victims around the world.

Julia’s Voice
Beginning in the fall of 2007, a 7 member steering committee formed to launch “Julia’s Voice: Mothers and Others Against War.” Taking their inspiration from Unitarian activist Julia Ward Howe, the group sought to reclaim the original meaning of Mother’s Day. (Howe began Mother’s Day as a mother’s peace day.)

The group organized their main event: a “Stand for Peace” event on Mother’s Day, 2008. After a worship service that morning on the legacy of Julia Ward Howe, around 500 people lined the sidewalks on 95th Street, in front of the Oak Park Mall and stood for peace. The all-ages crowd included a peace choir and historical re-enactors who played Julia Ward Howe. The event was the largest peace demonstration in Kansas City in at least a decade.

The May event was supported with $6,000 in grant funding from the UU Funding Panel.

This fall, Julia’s Voice received almost $7,000 in grant funding to create a DVD “Julia’s Voice: Loud and Clear” and to promote Julia’s Voice as a nationwide movement.

Rose Brooks Quilters
Led by Mary-Lou P., Patsy P., and Lanny S., SMUUCh’s quilting group makes quilts and blankets for the residents at Rose Brooks, a domestic violence shelter in Kansas City.

In October they hosted a church-wide block quilt workshop. Other fabric artists in the church also contributed beautiful quilts. In December they presented Rose Brooks with two large bags of hand-crafted quilts and blankets!

HOA Indian Center Food Drive
Patsy P. coordinated our November food drive for the Heart of America Indian Center. The drive collected boxes and boxes of donated food for HOA.

Interfaith Hospitality Network
Niki H. is our contact person with the Johnson County IHN, a network of over 30 faith communities that provide services for homeless families in Johnson County.

As a support congregation our members deliver hot meals and offer child care and tutoring to homeless families that are staying in a church. (Our facilities do not meet the specifications for us to serve as a host congregation.) Since joining IHN in 2004, dozens and dozens of our members have been trained to volunteer. We’ve also hosted volunteer trainings here at the church.

In addition, in December we adopted a family and provided an IHN family with Christmas presents.

THANK YOU for helping our congregation to live out our values in the world.

We hope that you will get involved in one of these great groups in 2009. As a permission-giving church, we want to support you in starting your own ministry to help our church live out its values. Please talk with a member of our staff if you have an idea for a social action ministry at the Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church.