Social Justice Overview
At First Unitarian of Des Moines, we are committed to the Unitarian Universalist theology of engagement to help heal the brokenness in our larger community and world. Our commitment to social justice is evident in the seven core principles UUs covenant to affirm and promote.
From its early beginnings in 1877 to today, First Unitarian Church’s members and friends have taken on many social justice causes — from women’s suffrage, to civil rights, to same-sex marriage. Click here to learn more about our Roots in Social Justice.
Community Outreach Partners
At each service, we pass an offertory basket in which all proceeds collected are split between the social justice outreach of the church and a specific organization. Congregant(s) may nominate an organization to receive half of the offering plate donations from First Unitarian for the 2 months the organization is designated. In addition, the nominator is asked to develop at least two volunteer opportunities for 10 or more people (or the equivalent, such as four opportunities for five people) with the organization. More details can be found on Faith in Action web page.
Applications submitted to become a Community Outreach Partner are evaluated after a May 15 deadline and selected for the forthcoming year (July-June).
When a group of people feel passionately about a specific social justice issue in our church, they may form an “Issue Team” to help organize goals, objectives and a strategy to address the issue.
First Unitarian Church currently has the following Issue Teams meeting regularly and working towards justice in the community: Energy and Justice for All; Death with Dignity Action Group; FEDS (Feed Every Deserving Soul), Anti-Racist Collaborative (ARC) of Des Moines, Days for Girls, and AMOS (see below). To learn more about current Issue Teams and how to form a new one, click here.
Social Justice Programs
Teams of volunteers help run our social justice programs that seek to engage the church across ministry areas. Current Social Justice Programs are: Faith in Action Team, Restorative Justice Group, and Family Promise. Click here to learn more or use the links in the left-hand navigation.
Black Lives Matter
First Unitarian recognizes that racial equality and civil rights remains just as vital an issue today as ever, and thus supports the Black Lives Matter movement by working to address Iowa’s disproportionate rate of incarceration of African-Americans, and taking steps to end the school-to-prison pipeline present in our society. Click here to learn more
First Unitarian earned the Green Sanctuary designation from the Unitarian Universalist Association in the Fall of 2014, after 3 years of projects were implemented by the Energy & Justice for All team, demonstrating our commitment to our environment. Click here to learn more
First Unitarian Church is a Welcoming Congregation. This means the congregation has taken deliberate steps, as outlined by the Unitarian Universalist Association, to become more inclusive of gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender (GLBT) people. The congregation works to address the needs of GLBT persons at every level of congregational life, welcoming not only their presence, but also the particular gifts they bring.
First Unitarian Church of Des Moines has joined with 27 other faith-based institutions and NAMI Greater Des Moines, to develop AMOS, a local IAF (Industrial Area Foundation) affiliate. Together, we have hired a social organizer who helps AMOS members develop more effective leadership for social change. First Unitarian’s AMOS members are active in the organization’s efforts, including Project Iowa – the Workforce Development Program, Healthcare Issue Team, the Mental Health Issues team, and the Juvenile Justice Issue Team.
More about AMOS at www.amosiowa.org
The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) is a nonsectarian organization that advances human rights and social justice in the United States and around the world. They offer campaigns in which our church may participate. Learn more at uusc.org
An eight-foot pole, bearing message of peace in eight languages, stands on First Unitarian grounds. Erected by several of our members, the Peace Pole stands for an international commitment to peace, and is on display in locations around the world.