Central to our statement of faith and practice is a commitment to find ways to express our concern for social justice, and to strive individually and collectively for a community and world that is governed by non-violence, justice, equity and compassion. Issues that have engaged the Fellowship in a variety of forms of social action include: increasing disparities of wealth locally and globally; the degrading of Earth’s environment; the injustices in our country’s history of colonizing and settling on the lands of Canada’s First Peoples, and on-going relations with Canada’s First Nations; violence and war and the tools of war; refugees; hunger; homelessness. To read a brief summary, with photographs, of many of the specific actions undertaken in the years 1996 to 2012, Click here.
Social Action Cluster
The Social Action Cluster is a steering/coordinating group that brings specific social justice issues to the congregation and, with congregational support, initiates activities to follow-up with priorities.
Compassion for Refugees Fund
On Mother’s Day, 2016 the Fellowship launched our Compassion for Refugees Fund with the goal of sponsoring two refugees to come to Canada. Read more about the campaign, and the family in need in English here or in French here. As of September 2016, close to $40,000 has been raised to support two Burundian refugees and applications to sponsor them have been submitted to the Canadian Immigration service.
Follow-up to the Truth and Reconciliation Report
Since June 2015, the focus of our Social Action Cluster (SAC) has been education and action related to cultivating a deeper understanding of historical and current relationships with indigenous Canadians. The experiences many of us had during the events surrounding the submission of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report moved us deeply to initiate and sustain this focus. To begin this program, in September 2016 about 60 people participated in the “Blanket Exercise” at a Fellowship Sunday service. This first congregational discussion was continued during the year animated by videos, films, book reviews and two Sunday services. To stay connected with the Ottawa community, several SAC members participate in the Right Relations Network, a group of concerned citizens and churches that meets bi-monthly to share information related to indigenous issues. As part of that network UUFO contributed financially and with volunteers to support the re-opening of Centre 510, Shawenjeagamik, the Odawa Native Friendship Centre’s drop-in centre for homeless and near-homeless aboriginal people in Ottawa. This year SAC will continue with a program of education and community engagement as we continue to further our understanding of how we can contribute to reconciliation.
Other Social Justice Work:
Support of Local Charities and Programs
Each Sunday, we donate half the undesignated donations in our collection basket to the Emergency Food Program of the Rideau-Rockcliffe Community Resource Centre (RRCRC). Also, the congregation has a small budget to assist local charities. With this we provide some financial support to a youth leadership program at the RRCRC and to the local Boys and Girls Club.
As a co-owner of the building we have recently purchased with Heartwood House at 400-412 McArthur Avenue, we are making a contribution toward the continuing support of 18 local charities. We also collaborate with other congregations to provide lunch for High Horizons, a weekly program for disabled adults and their caregivers.
Each year we also have a service in support of USC Canada, in addition to fundraising for their work through participation in the annual Run for Biodiversity.
The Brief History of UUFO Social Justice – 1996 -2012 outlines many other social justice activities undertaken by the congregation and by individuals related to building a more peaceful and sustainable world … responding to the call of both our UU principles and UUFO mission statement.