The seven principles of the Unitarian Universalist Association are the basis of BUUF’s community outreach and social action.
Many of BUUF’s community outreach and social actions have been initiated by recommendations from the Community Outreach and Social Action (CO/SA) Committee, which has an integral relationship with the BUUF Restricted Endowment Fund. Each year forty percent of the previous year’s dividends and interest from the Restricted Endowment Fund becomes available to support BUUF community outreach and social action, typically between $1,400 and $1,900. The CO/SA Committee presents a proposal for the use of the funds to the BUUF Board of Trustees. Once approved by a majority vote of members at the annual meeting in June, the CO/SA Committee can proceed with its proposal.
Three notable examples of community outreach and social action initiated by the CO/SA Committee are:
- Gift of Sexuality: Homophobia Is a Curable Disease, an October 17, 2002, community forum.
- “Weighing the Scales of Justice in Berrien County,” a January 20, 2004, community forum in response to civil unrest in Benton Harbor. This social action received the 2004 Bennett Award for Congregational Action on Human Justice and Social Action from the Unitarian Universalist Association.
- Voters Involved in America (VIA), a 2004 voter education and registration project created “to give every voting age person in Benton Harbor and Benton Township the power to change his or her community through informed voting.”
BUUF’s community outreach and social action activities are not limited to those funded by the Restricted Endowment Fund and currently include active participation in the following organizations:
BUUF joins with other congregations to examine current social justice issues. The Social Justice Coalition is a community of individuals and institutions dedicated to expanding knowledge about social justice issues as they exist in our community and our country.
On the first Saturday of even numbered months BUUF prepares and serves homemade pizza to those in need of a meal. We are the only group that serves pizza, so we are quite popular with our Soup Kitchen friends.
BUUF is deeply involved with the BCAC, which has ministries throughout Berrien County. We especially support the Benton Harbor Street Ministry, where our brothers and sisters in need can go for adult education, food pantry, after school programs for kids of all ages, warm clothing, educational field trips, and backpacks filled with supplies when school begins.
Berrien Unitarian Universalist Fellowship is a member of the Michigan Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Network. MUUSJN is a state wide network of Unitarian Universalists and our allies who work together for progressive change.