Social Action Support and Resources
Support for Individual Congregants and Families
Social action is an expression of our Unitarian Universalist faith. We endeavor to live our commitment to our Seven Principles plus the 8th Principle. First Parish in Concord presently has a full-time Social Action Manager with decades’ experience as a peace and social justice and climate activist, as an organizer who has helped pull intersectional coalitions together, and as an educator and trainer. She is happy to speak with any member of the congregation about their connecting their and their families’ social action and charitable endeavors to their faith practice and to the wider UU social action world as well as the social action community within our own Church. Just reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. Are you already involved in social action and/or justice work in your job or private life? Do you want to connect that to your spiritual practice? Would you like to see how best you might fit in with the social action community at our Church? Do you bring new ideas? Do you want to engage in social action work with your kids and raise them as UUs with the inclusion of social action?
You are invited into a one-to-one conversation with the Social Action Manager.
Support for Church Groups
First Parish in Concord is one of the larger UU congregations with many social action GROUPS and a long and proud history of social action. These groups and their members have fame and serve in many leadership roles in the world outside the Church. We live in a fast-moving world and have to run to keep up with the changing political climate and new strategies for effective social action. Our Church GROUPS should not hesitate to reach out to the Social Action Manager (email@example.com) and each other to move towards their short-term goals and longer-term vision. This may include help with publicity and communications, group member activation and new recruitment, leadership-building skill development, effective meetings and events, and more. The Social Action Manager keeps track of what is happening with social action at our Church, collects gems of social action practice, and is ready to generously distribute those gems to any Church group that desires that help.
It has become a more and more common practice within the greater UU world and the justice world to preface a meeting or conference or even gathering with a “Land Acknowledgment.” https://nativegov.org/a-guide-to-indigenous-land-acknowledgment/ Here is just one example of what a land acknowledgment for First Parish in Concord might look like:
We of First Parish in Concord acknowledge the debt we owe to the Native peoples from whose unceded lands we have greatly but wrongly profited for almost 400 years. We apologize to the living decedents of the Nipmuc, Massachusetts and Pawtucket or Pennacook tribes and pledge to act to start to redress long-standing harms. Our UU legislative priorities, informed by the expressed wishes of Massachusetts First Nations people today, guide our actions.
It is important to understand that land acknowledgments need to be culturally sensitive. There is pushback against using them too casually or for the wrong reasons (such as appearing cool or assuaging and then dismissing guilt, or just joining in with the crowd). As exemplified in the text above, a land acknowledgment needs to be accurate and include information from sources vetted by Native Americans themselves. It needs to acknowledge that the land we now enjoy and profit from was unceded, that is, lost to the original inhabitants or even stolen through the process of European exploration and colonization (guns, germs, and steel), fraud, broken treaties, slavery, displacement, violence, genocide, and forced assimilation into the dominant culture. It needs to affirm that “Indians” are not legendary, extinct beings but part of our kindred living today. And, it needs a concrete commitment to action on behalf of, yet also informed by the express wishes of, Native American tribes today.
Adopting the 8th Principle
To be continued…