Social Justice

South Church has a long-standing commitment to community health and social justice. Our members and friends serve in a number of ways, both independently and through the church. We are invested in local concerns, such as homelessness and hunger on the Seacoast, and national issues like LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) rights, environmental concerns and gun violence prevention.

Our congregation sponsors programs and events, but also has long-standing relationships with organizations doing good work with the community. Past special events have included bus trips to New York City and Washington, D.C. to participate in Environmental Justice rallies, vigils to raise awareness about gun violence and racial justice issues, and forums on a variety of topics. These programs may be sponsored by our Social Justice Associates, our Green Sanctuary Team, our Religious Education Program for children and youth, our ministers, or other groups in the church. Commitment to social engagement and environmental health is a value that transcends all facets of congregational life.

Over the years, South Church has developed ongoing relationships with organizations doing good work in the community.

Seacoast Family Promise is part of a national organization that works with congregations to house temporarily homeless families.

Twice a year, for a total of three weeks, our church provides evening shelter to a small number of families with children. Volunteers provide meals, set-up and breakdown of living spaces, overnight hosting, and other support. During the remainder of the year, there are many ways to help out. Members can donate household items for families transitioning into permanent housing, help with SFP’s annual auction, volunteer in the SFP day center and more.

If you’d like more information about SFP and how to plug in, please contact our SFP Coordinating Team at sfpcoordinator@gmail.com.

The Seacoast Family Food Pantry provides food for our Seacoast neighbors of all ages. South Church has engaged in a number of initiatives over the years, including our annual Bring Your Weight in Food Drive which takes place in early fall. The event is timed to boost the Pantry’s stores at a time when they tend to run low. In summer of 2015, the church sponsored a Summer Meals for Kids program. Each week, members were encouraged to bring a different fresh fruit or vegetable, to be sent home with families whose access to free lunches stops over the summer.

Soup Kitchen, Our local branch of the Salvation Army serves free meals to folks in our community every day of the week. Each second Saturday of the month South Church works in partnership with the Salvation Army to host a meal for the hungry. South Church volunteers prepare and serve a meal to share. If you’d like to help out or be notified of upcoming Soup Kitchen events, please contact coordinator Peter Okhuysen at bikingpete@gmail.com.

Sustainable Harvest, International SHI is a non-profit organization founded in 19?? by former South Church member Florence Reed. SHI works with local farmers in various Latin American countries to help transition them from clear-cutting practices to more sustainable methods. Past involvement has included a youth service trip to a village in Belize, and the sale of Equal Exchange products during coffee hour, with proceeds benefiting SHI.

For more information about our involvement with SHI, please contact Director of Religious Education, Kirsten Hunter at kirsten@southchurch-uu.org.

H.O.M.E. is a comprehensive community service organization based in Orland, Maine. Past involvement has included day-long service trips, and wreath-making at the holidays. For more information about our involvement with H.O.M.E., please contact Director of Religious Education, Kirsten Hunter at kirsten@southchurch-uu.org.