Our congregation functions as a wonderful mosaic of our professional staff and member volunteers. Our member volunteers give back to the community in countless ways and in many roles. Below are several of the major programs to which our members dedicate their time.
Please sign up or contact Jane Dixon at firstname.lastname@example.org or (914) 949-5919 to see how you can get involved in any of these activities.
Download a list of ideas for how you can practice social action right now: What Can I Do to Help the Environment?
Social Justice Teams 2016 - How will you engage in service?
The third part of our mission statement is to “engage in service to transform ourselves and our world.” In order to help make this a reality, Social Justice Teams (SJTs) were started in spring 2015.
Which Social Justice Team would you like to be a part of? They all address important issues, so look for one that resonates most powerfully with you.
All teams welcome new attendees at their meetings. We invite you to attend a meeting and find a team that is right for you. A reminder: the teams are structured with at least five core members. When an action is called for, we are all expected to participate as we are able.
For general questions, contact the Social Justice Coordinating Committee: Jeff Tomlinson (email@example.com), Mary Cavallero (firstname.lastname@example.org), Pamela Cuchinell (email@example.com), and Meredith Garmon (firstname.lastname@example.org).
For dates of meetings, check the CUUC events calendar.
The Environmental Practices group has prepared a list of actions that each of us can undertake to help our environment. The team is mapping out steps to be taken on the path to CUUC receiving accreditation as a Green Sanctuary. The UUA's Green Sanctuary Program is a multi-year congregational undertaking that aims to align the congregational culture with long-term environmentally-aware faith practices. The program requires congregations to complete projects in the four areas: Worship & Celebration, Religious Education, Environmental Justice, and Sustainable Living. We would love to have your input in the planning process. Learn more about What You Can Do Right Now. Contact: Janet Bear (email@example.com) or Charlie McNally (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Hunger and Homelessness
The team recognizes that the issues of hunger and homelessness exist in our local communities despite the appearance of affluence in Westchester County. We partner with the best of the service providers already working in this field. H&H organized collections for the Coachman Family Center (gift cards for Christmas presents), the Ecumenical Emergency Food Pantry (cash, used toys, and books), the Bedford Correctional Facility (new toys), and mittens, hats, scarves, toiletries, and underwear for local shelters. H&H will support HOPE (Help Our People Eat) Services in New Rochelle with prepared meals for their soup kitchen. Our previous events have benefitted Open Arms men's shelter, Furniture Sharehouse, and the Urban League. Contact: Jane Dixon (email@example.com).
Our UU Seven Principles remind us that each being has worth and dignity, and that worth includes our gender and our sexuality. The LGBTQIA team discusses Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual justice issues. In 2005, CUUC was certified as a "Welcoming Congregation" after completing programs to increase understanding and inclusiveness of LGBTQIA issues. This social justice team is now planning our Welcoming Congregations renewal, starting with the educational forum "Transgender 101" in February 2017. Other educational programs are planned for the spring 2017. Contact: Tony Arrien (firstname.lastname@example.org
This social justice team promotes social action for just and compassionate laws for family planning, reproductive health, and gender equality, as well as pay equality and the prevention of gun violence. In January 2017 we will demonstrate in the Women's March on NYC to promote advancement of equality and human rights. We continue to partner with Planned Parenthood to participate in the annual Family Planning Advocates Day of Action in Albany. Contact: Julie Gans (email@example.com
Anyone who can devote time and resources to support a refugee family is welcome to serve on one of the following committees: Housing, Employment, Education, Health, Community Connections, Language Translation/Interpretation, Transportation, and Finances. Volunteers are needed on a regular, occasional, or one time basis. Contacts: Barbara Lowney (firstname.lastname@example.org
), Paula Meighan (email@example.com
Economic Social Justice
The plan of the Economic Social Justice Team is to investigate the local impact in Westchester of the "Fight for 15" movement to find where we can help workers outside of the Fast Food industry make similar gains. We will also run a forum for the congregation about how income inequality affects our society locally and globally, based on the book, The Spirit Level
by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett. We will inquire about running a similar forum for RE, to help our children examine how wealth disparity impacts the social fabric in their schools. Contact: Pat Lavin (firstname.lastname@example.org
) or Alan Trevithick (email@example.com
This team merged with "In the Spirit of Truth" which has been meeting for over 20 years at CUUC. The beginning of each meeting focuses on actions our team can take to combat racism and to support the Black Lives Matter movement. Various team members have participated in meetings and protests in the NY area and report back to the team. The remainder of the meeting is devoted to "In the Spirit of Truth," a process that allows participants to be introspective and to talk frankly and confidentially with each other about race, racism and other forms of bigotry, toward a better understanding of their own and others’ attitudes and reactions, and toward a more loving daily interaction with their fellow human beings. Contact: Jeff Tomlinson (firstname.lastname@example.org).
More Ways You Can Serve the CUUC Community
Take action! Sign up
to volunteer for any of these activities.
Worship and Celebration
- Worship Committee
- Music Committee
- Musician's Group
- Chalice Lighter
- Caring and Sharing
- Path to Membership (Welcoming)
- Auction Dinner
- Brunches / BBQ / Seder
- Coffee Hour
- Crafts Fair
- Social Action
- RE Council
- Special Sunday Projects
- Children's Worship
- Adult RE
- Building and Grounds Committee
- Finance Committee
- Technology/Social Media Committee
More Ways You Can Work Toward Social Justice
Our members are motivated by our faith to take individual action to improve the lives of their neighbors and of people the world over. Below are some of the initiatives that take place at CUUC. These activities involve the time and dedication of many volunteers.
In the past, those involved with issues of social concern have written letters to their representatives about pressing social issues, attended marriage equality rallies, had speakers visit on topics such as homelessness and poverty in Westchester, and worked with a family shelter in White Plains.
Other ongoing areas of focus for CUUC’s social action projects include:
Ecumenical Emergency Food Pantry
The Ecumenical Emergency Food Pantry in White Plains was founded in 1979 by members of CUUC and other religious groups. The pantry is open year round and it's all-volunteer staff serves over 1,000 people each month. Our congregation makes donations of non-perishable food as well as monetary contributions throughout the year, with specials requests at the holidays.
Share the Plate
Half of our non-pledge offertory donations are contributed to outside organizations in need. Recent financial contributions have been made to the Westchester Refugee Task Force; Operation L.I.P.S.T.I.C.K (Ladies Involved In Putting a Stop to Inner-City Killing); the Westchester Martin Luther King Institute; Rehabilitation Through the Arts; SHORE (Sheltering the Homeless is Our Responsibility); the Coachman Family Center; Of Home, Family, and Future; and PrideWorks. Suggestions for future recipients can be made to the minister.
Fair Trade Coffee
Coffee served at church functions is purchased thru Equal Exchange, an interfaith coffee program partnering with small-scale coffee growers to give them a fair price for their product and a chance to stay on their land.
Children's Social Action Projects
Our religious education program selects social action projects for each year. In the past, projects have been done in support of Riverkeeper, the Heifer Project, and the Wolf Conservation Center.
Participants (adults and teens) prepare food at the church and then drive to Manhattan as a group to distribute food and clothes to the homeless late at night. Midnight Runs make an immediate impact on those in need and are a great way to connect with other CUUC members.
Coachman Family Center
CUUC has worked on various projects with the Coachman Family Center, a temporary home for adults with children in White Plains. We run an annual program where members donate holiday gifts and summer toys, games, and sports equipment for the shelter children.
In the Spirit of Truth
In the Spirit of Truth (ITSOT) is a process, rooted in the Unitarian-Universalist first principal: the inherent worth and dignity of every person. A forum (a talking circle) is held each month following the worship service for the purposes of: providing an avenue for introspection and honest and confidential dialogue about race and other diversity issues, so that members may grow in understanding themselves and in their ability to relate to those who are different from themselves; discussing and reacting to events in the larger community having to do with racism, sexism, and other forms of bigotry; and allowing creation of an agenda for cooperative action against bigotry.
While the major purpose of In the Spirit of Truth is served by the monthly talking circle, through the years our church’s participation in a number of events and activities has been facilitated by this committee. Most recently, ITSOT developed a coalition with a number of local organizations to create a Kwanzaa celebration that became, and has remained, an annual community-centered event held in the Thomas H. Slater Center.