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 Social Justice 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 Social Justice 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 Social Justice Committee can proceed with its proposal.
In recent years, funding has been provided directly to such organizations as the All God’s Children Community Choir, Benton Harbor Soup Kitchen, Community AIDS Resource and Education Services (CARES), the OutCenter, Saint Augustine’s Episcopal Church’s Neighborhood Food Pantry, Emergency Shelter Services, Calling All Colors, and Fresh Start Children’s Garden.
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:
Every first Saturday 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.
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.
Historical examples of community outreach and social action initiated by BUUF’s Social Justice Committee are:
- SAVE YOUR VOTE forum on October 20, 2018 to inform the electorate on the November 2018 election ballot proposals. Co-sponsored with the League of Women Voters (of Cass and Berrien Counties), Voters Not Politicians, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, and the OutCenter.
- 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.”
- “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.
- Gift of Sexuality: Homophobia Is a Curable Disease, an October 17, 2002, community forum.