We are an eager, resourceful, and determined congregation that longs to put our faith into action though focused, relational work that addresses both and the symptoms and the root causes of the challenges facing our world. Acting for Social Justice has been a key commitment of our churchsince its founding in 1859. A few highlights include:
- Members organized one of the first settlement house in Minnesota in 1897 to help immigrants adapt to their new community.
- John Cummins, our Minister in 1968 led our efforts to actively promote civil rights and with the churches full support marched to Selma with Dr. Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.
- In the 1980s we provided sanctuary for Central American refugees and established the first church-based peace site in Minnesota.
- The Unity Leadership internship program was created in 1993 and for nearly twenty years provided a unique learning space for high school students from the church and the community.
In more recent years we responded to the call to be innovative and entrepreneurial…we invested in new organizations and new approaches to address the problems affecting lives in our community.
- First Universalist is proud of being one of the founding members of Congregations Caring for Community known today as Interfaith Power and Light.
- Through the First Universalist Foundation we supported The Somali Action Alliance and the African Development Center, two organizations leading community led efforts addressing core issues in the Somali and African communities including education, racial profiling, housing and small business development.
- First Universalist Church was one of the initial supporters of the Report Card for Racial Justice developed by the Organizing Apprenticeship Project.
- In collaboration with Minnesotan’s United for All Families First Universalist members worked tirelessly to help defeat the marriage amendment in Minnesota.
Today we are guided in our work for justice by a vision that proclaims, “We believe that we are all Love’s people, held by a love that will not let us go. As Love’s people, we join together to do the holy work of:
- Welcoming, affirming, and protecting the light of each human heart.
- Acting boldly outside of our walls.
- Listening deeply with our whole beings to where love is calling us next.”
Our Faith in Action work is courageous yet grounded in the spiritual practice of listening deeply; we focus our efforts in key justice areas in order to have the greatest impact yet understand our faith often calls us to respond quickly as well. Focus Areas (Umbrella) Our two focus areas include Housing and Environmental Justice. Within each focus area are a number of projects or programs that span the different approaches to creating change….service, education, witnessing or advocacy, mobilizing and community organizing. Each Focus Area has a Leadership Team that operates as “subject matter experts”, who keep the congregation aware of the major or new issues in the area, provide guidance to groups who want to start new projects, develop new leaders and support the spiritual dimensions of the work. While the Focus Areas can be described as our steady work, Special Projects are areas where being able to act quickly and nimbly are needed.
We have made a commitment to become a racial justice church. This commitment extends to the whole of the church… and ultimately will transform who we are both as individuals and as a congregation. As we grow in our understanding of what it means to be fully committed to racial justice we are clear it will impact our social justice work. Our understanding of white privilege, of how to be an ally and authentic partner with communities of color will deepen as we learn and practice. Most importantly, we will learn the ways racial oppression undermines our faith, and in turn how racial justice work nourishes and strengthens it.
How you can get involved:
For more information on the Faith in Action department contact Rev. Jen Crow, Minister of Program Life, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-825-1701.