Our church's mission includes making Unitarian Universalism a vital presence in our community, promoting justice and compassion in human relations, promoting the peaceful resolution of conflicts in our individual and communal lives, and promoting efforts to bring human existence into greater harmony with our environment. BUUF members share their time, talent, and treasure with BUUF and our wider community.
Vision Statement for the Justice Outreach Ministry
We believe social justice work is a natural outgrowth of a healthy, nurturing church community as it seeks to act out the Seven UU Principles in the world. We believe that social justice work should be reciprocal, and grounded in relationships that honor the dignity of all, in order that the good work be enduring, sustainable, and transformative for all involved.
Our mission, in conjunction with our minister, board and lay leadership, is to nurture our identity as a social justice congregation. We will effect this:
- by engaging the congregation with opportunities to do meaningful justice work (systemic change) and mercy work (service/relief);
- by partnering with religious, social service, and advocacy groups to magnify our impact;
- by expanding, deliberately and strategically, the range of social justice ministries to which we commit; and
- by reflecting on and evaluating our efforts so that the Fellowship keeps faith with its stated mission to "practice justice...as a congregation."
Sunday Plate Recipients
Each month, 25% of Sunday service plate offerings are given to a specific cause or organization in our community. These offerings and donations are treated as an off-budget item, but contribution totals have been significant: $14,888 (FY 2013-14); $13,322 (FY2012-13); and $12,394 (FY 2011-12). Recipients have included Boise Valley Habitat for Humanity, Ūsful Glassworks, the Boise Urban Garden School, the Rainbow Spiritual Retreat, the Capital City Market, the Ada County Boys and Girls Club of Garden City, Valley Family Health Care, the Idaho Human Rights Education Center, the BSU Intertribal Native Council, the Boise Bicycle Project, and The Community Center. We have also participated in fundraising efforts for the Crop Hunger Walk and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee's Guest at Your Table programs.
Interfaith Sanctuary Homeless Shelter
Since 2006, a volunteer team of BUUF members staff one of Boise’s homeless shelters, the Interfaith Sanctuary every Sunday night. Volunteers help with intake, answering the phone, and processing new applicant's information. Volunteers work every Sunday, including all holidays, even sometimes missing important BUUF events. A group of 14 volunteered for a special cleanup day, shown here.
Every Saturday, April thru December, BUUF volunteers staff the Electronic Benefits Transfer (food stamps) booths at two busy outdoor markets, Capitol City Public Market and the Boise Farmers' Market. Volunteer presence at these markets allows beneficiaries of food stamps to use their benefits to purchase wholesome, local food directly from local farmers and ranchers.
Whittier School Projects
We partner with a local elementary school that serves low-income families to provide winter clothes and musical instruments for students in need. The instruments are provided through The Donna Pendley Memorial Fund, which was established in 1994 to honor the memory of a musical, joyful BUUF member, who died from cancer at the age of 33. Each year, the Boise Unitarian Universalist Fellowship's Christmas Eve offering is added to this fund, and from time to time, friends and members of the congregation make individual contributions to the fund in memory or honor of friends and family.
Other Ways We Give
BUUF members and friends have been regular volunteers for community-wide projects and events including Paint the Town, Rake Up Boise, Crop Walk, Idaho Pride Parade, Habitat for Humanity projects, Idaho Food Bank events, and more. Children have raised funds for UU causes and organizations such as Heifer, International.
In addition to volunteering to serve people and organizations in need, BUUF members are active and vocal advocates for positive social change in our local community and beyond. Many BUUF members advocated in the Idaho Legislature for the addition of employment and housing protections for LGBT Idahoans to the Idaho Human Rights Act this past spring. Members have been actively involved in social justice issues including hunger, environmental concerns, increasing equality and justice, and more. The way we think about and engage in social justice work is evolving to a small group ministry model under the effective leadership of Debra Smith. Please see “What We Envision” to learn more about our hopes for future Social Justice work.