Here at Old Ship we strive to bring the values of mind and heart into the work of our hands. Our shared social values are expressed in Old Ship's third purpose, which affirms our intention to "act for ecological and social justice," and by Unitarian Universalist Principles which call us to work for "justice, equity, and compassion in human relations," and toward "the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all."
Our efforts are supported by the Social Justice Council whose mission it is to explore opportunities for the Old Ship community that sustain social justice programs or initiatives on a local, nation, and global basis.
Social Outreach Committee Request for Grant Proposal
Fiscal Year 2016 - deadline March 18.
INFORMATION for APPLICANTS
Thank you for your interest in Old Ship Church’s Social Outreach program. As commissioned by the Parish, the Committee is pleased to administer funds appropriated for social outreach in support of projects that further Old Ship’s Third Purpose: to act for social and ecological justice. This year, preference will be given to projects with an emphasis on homelessness and/or nutritional security.
Although the amount available for FY 2016 grants cannot be predicted with certainty, in recent years a total of $3,000-$4,000 has been distributed. One or more proposals may be funded depending on the number received and the amount of each request. The final determination of awards will be made by vote of First Parish members at the Annual Meeting in May 2016.
For an application and more information click here.
Social Justice Council - Annual Report 2013-2014
The Social Justice Council has had an active and productive year providing support for a range of social justice activities at Old Ship and directing the third year of our focus on Access to Education.
As the year progressed, we became aware of reduced participation by the congregation in our Access to Education activities: smaller response to requests for Mather donations, no new volunteers for Mather, and declining attendance at book and film series. We concluded that we have maximized our ability to have an impact on Access to Education issues and recommend that as a congregation we re-direct our focus to social justice issues related to homelessness and hunger/food security. These related issues are currently “hot” in our state with the minimum wage legislation moving through state government and interest in affordable housing and ending homelessness. Our recommendation also reflects the congregation interest in this issue (2nd largest number of votes at the end our social justice planning process three years ago). It is our hope to engage a greater number of us in the range of approaches that this focus would encourage: learning about the issue, directly acting to help, serving as public witnesses to injustice and advocating for policy changes that would benefit those experiencing homelessness and food insecurity.
Homelessness in MA and in our nation is at a crisis level and continues to grow among children, youth, and adults. Factors that can contribute to a person/family becoming homeless include poor education, inadequate job skills, low wages, scarcity of affordable day care, scarcity of affordable housing, and issues with domestic violence, disability, mental illness, and addiction. This is a human rights crisis, and our study group on homelessness three years ago concluded that there are unjust laws and practices that punish people for being poor and homeless.
Hunger and Food Security: Along with homelessness, hunger is a chronic symptom of poverty. The causes for hunger are myriad and complex, and have changed over time. Political, economic and geographic factors layer in to create less equitable access to affordable food for some in our society.
Our UU Commitment to Social Justice: Recognizing the inherent worth and dignity of every human being, we as Old Ship Unitarian Universalists agree that access to affordable habitable housing and to affordable nutritious food are fundamental human rights in a just society.
To frame our focus moving forward, we should ask ourselves the following questions and work to gain an understanding of:
Who is homeless and who is hungry?
What are the factors that contribute to experiencing homelessness and hunger/food insecurity?
Who is directly helping individuals and families to meet their needs for safe housing and sufficient food?
Who is working at the systems/legislative level to change policies that contribute to homelessness and food insecurity?
And how can we at Old Ship join and contribute to their efforts?
To assess the opportunities for Old Ship’s actions, we will want to explore what types of organizations exist and what approach they use. For instance, there are organizations such as food pantries that provide direct and immediate relief to the hungry; and there are organizations that seek to dismantle systemic poverty, addressing many issues that plague the poor, including hunger as well as homelessness etc. We should then ask ourselves which approach we feel is the most effective.
We propose building on the work of the Homelessness study group who found that there are at least four local individual and family shelters with which Old Ship may want to affiliate. They include Anchor Inn and Father Bill’s and Mainspring in Quincy, the Faith Home Share-Friends of the Homeless of the South Shore in North Weymouth and the Veterans Home in Hingham. And there are several organizations that work to meet the food needs of local families including the Hingham, Weymouth, and Wellspring Food Pantries.
A partial list of potential ways we can start to act:
Contact: Brenda Black, email@example.com or
Ginny Perelson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Social Outreach Committee
This 5-member committee, appointed by the Board of Trustees, considers requests for grants to outside organizations from our Social Outreach Endowment Fund and makes grant recommendations to the Parish for vote at our annual meeting in May.
In the recent past grant awards have been made to Wellspring Multi-Service Center,
Holly Hill Farm, Father Bill's Place, St. Rock Haiti Foundation, and South Shore
Friends of the Homeless.
Click here for the Social Outreach Grant Application Form.
Opportunities: become a committee member, coordinate a grant request
Contact: Any of the current members - Joan Bledsoe, Maggie
Merrill, Mary Sofis, Susannah Thomas, Heather Thomson
Religious Education: Social responsibility for all ages
The religious education program is designed to encourage our young people to develop a sense of social responsibility and to take action to influence change.
Our young people help with projects sponsored by the larger Old Ship community; this year the church is aiming to improve “Access To Education” with programs helping The Mather School, UU Urban Ministry, Roxbury Presbyterian Church’s Social Impact Center, Brockton BCC Afterschool Program and Wellspring Multi-Service Center. Other volunteer opportunities include : Father Bill’s Meals Teams, Growing Vegetables for Father Bill’s (at Holly Hill Farm), Interfaith Food Pantry, and Wellspring Multi-Service Center.
The children and youth also initiate projects and activities that improve our world and the health and well-being of its inhabitants.
For almost four years The Old Ship Youth Group has been making/administering dozens of microloans through Kiva, an online lending platform that allows individuals in the developed world to loan to small business people in the developing world. Other recent projects include: an annual bike drive for Bikes Not Bombs, a Tie-Dye Fundraiser to raise funds for Camp Wowayanke in Rosebud, South Dakota, a rebuild trip to post-Katrina New Orleans and a mission/service/education trip to Washington DC.
Beverly Tricco, DRE
Trish McAleer, Chair of Children's RE