INTERFAITH HOSPITALITY NETWORK
St. John's, along with several other congregations, provides meals, activities, and encouragement to the four families who sleep in First Unitarian's RE classrooms for two weeks through Cincinnati's Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN). In fall 2012 families included 4 adults plus 10 children (2 toddlers, 4 little girls ages 3-5, and 4 children ages 7-10). Wanda Crawford coordinated the St. Johners who volunteering their time and talents so that our guests feel welcomed: Ann Schuur, Melissa Rowland, Frances May Brooks, Wanda Crawford, Amy and Richard Monson, Nina Tolley, Barbara and Richard Hadden, Nancy Henry.
In fall 2013 St. Johners will support homeless families lodged at First UU the weeks of August 4, October 13 and December 15.
For this, the fourth annual St. John’s participation in the People Working Cooperatively (PWC) Fall ‘Prepare Affair’ on Saturday, November 10th, we worked at two homes, one in the Paddock Hills area and the second in ‘upper’ Over-the-Rhine. St. John’s crew members were: Jim Decker (crew leader), Frances May Brooks, Devin Baker, Victor Villacis, Tristan Linck and Jennifer Linck.
November 11 Lecture: Alice Skirtz on ECONOCIDE: ELIMINATION OF THE URBAN POOR
DISASTER RELIEF PLATE COLLECTION 11/25
The 11/25 Plate collection for Sandy Disaster Relief added up to $1401.55. The money was turned over to CERG (the UU Central East Regional Group) to be distributed where most needed.
Howard Tolley offered a class on the UU Common read Michelle Alexander's the New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. Members attended a candidate forum sponsored by the AMOS project. Ohio Justice and Policy Center Director David Singleton spoke about welcoming released offenders at the October 28 worship service.
The Metropolitan Area Religious Coalition of Cincinnati, (MARCC) held its Fall Planning Conference on Tuesday, November 13. The Unitarian Universalist Council had a delegation of 11 people from four of our congregations. We UUs, with particular help from Howard Tolley, contributed to the selection of a new priority Concern "Community Police Relations/Justice Reform."
St. John's hosted the Peace Church Netowrk brunch in November and facilitated preparations for a February 16-18 youth training on Alternatives to Violence offered by a Quaker facilitator in Avondale.
Jan. 6, 2013 Forum to respond to draft Statement of Conscience
I. SERVICE AND ACTION WITHIN OUR OWN CHURCH COMMUNITY.
St. John’s is committed to creating a safe and caring community, working for peace and social justice and celebrating beliefs that respect freedom of thought (St John’s Mission Statement). Members volunteer considerable time and the church provides financial support for social justice service and action supporting the Congregational Life or the community within. Those commitments include the Minister’s Discretionary Fund for low-income members, the practice of non-violent communication and Board covenant of right relations, as well as Community Council programs such as Caring Circle and Chalice Group service projects for the church.
II. SERVICE AND ACTION OUTREACH TO THE LARGER COMMUNITY BEYOND ST JOHN’S.
From our individual consciences, from commitment to our gathered community and from our tradition of democratic process, we make these promises:
to support advocacy and outreach into the community beyond St. John's
to work diligently for justice, peace, and equity through nonviolent means locally and throughout the world (Extract from the St John’s Covenant Statements)
Mission Council is responsible for St. John’s Global Ministry of social justice beyond the community within. The Service and Action Coordinating Committee (SACC) meets quarterly under the leadership of appointed Co-Chairs for Service and for Action. SACC promotes outreach support for local social justice organizations and for service by youth and adult members. The committee serves as an information clearinghouse for a range of activities.
Service Projects: Friends of Szentlaszlo (Tom Darner), Interfaith Hospitality Network (Wanda Crawford), People Working Cooperatively (Jim Decker), UUSC + Disaster Response (Claire Wagner).
Action Projects: Advocacy and networking on the Death Penalty (Howard Tolley), Peace (Nina Tolley), worker's rights (Howard Tolley), economic rights (Cassandra Barham), voting rights (Rick Prairie), LGBT, Green Sanctuary (Mira Rodwan), Public Education (Ruth Anne Wolfe). St. John’s became a partner in the city wide initiative for community oriented policing, CPOP, but has not been actively involved.
Education: including inspiring Music (Cathy Roma), sermons/worship, and Adult RE Classes on Social Justice and Ethics (Carol Fencl}, study action on foreign policy Great Decisions (Dick Fencl) and special Sunday forums prior to service (Carol Fencl, Ethel Ingalls). Friday night film series on ethical eating. (Bo Wachendorf and Greg Terhune).
SACC was allocated $500 for annual expenses from the regular church operating budget, as well as $240 to qualify for the UUSC James Luther Adams recognition. In 2010-2011 the Social Justice program had about $10,000 from fundraising events for different projects and special plate collections. The church raised over $3,000 for the Susan Montauk Memorial Garden in Over the Rhine as well as $1,000 in plate collections for Pakistan flood relief administered by UUSC.
Children’s service projects have been extraordinary. Youth rasied $1,800 in a World Service Bazaar and made three three grants to local, national and international recipients. In kind donations included 132 canned goods at Easter, mittens and scarves at Christmas in 2010, 1,530 books for a Montessori school, Crayons to Computer school supplies and pop tabs for the Ronald McDonald House. Between January and April 2012 food donations collected at Sunday service enabled St. John’s to contribute 315 pounds of canned goods to the Free Store Food Bank.
Ad hoc funding was arranged for the first Outreach support in five years. A newly appointed six member Outreach Committee decided to recognize with a $1,000 award a local organization engaged in advocacy on behalf of immigrants In order to highlight social justice activism . Based on years of personal involvement with the group, an immigrant member of St. John’s nominated the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center IJPC. Several years ago the organization added staff to work on legal reform for immigrant rights. IJPC coordinator Sister Alice Gerdeman contributed significantly to the UU District Council committee planning the March Forth for Justice conference and rally.
The Friends of Szentlaszlo, St. John's partnership with the Unitarian Church of Nyaradszentlaszlo, Romania, has held several soup & bread luncheons providing over $2,000 each year in support of our Bread for the Elderly Program. This is the sixth year of this program. Under this program, the elderly members of our partner congregation receive free bread each week all year round. In the past, St John's has provided financial support to the local village school and to the local medical clinic.
2011-12 SERVICE VOLUNTEERS AND ACTIVISTS:
In conjunction with the UU CSAI, Immigration was identified as our primary social justice focus. Adult RE sponsored educational programming and Sunday forums. We played a major role in the planning and conduct of a UU District Council March Forth for Justice weekend conference that culminated in a rally for the Dream Act.
Interfaith Hospitality Network
St. John’s is a support congregation for First Unitarian’s hosting of 4 homeless families with children 4 weeks each year. The spring dates were April 1-15.
Around 80 volunteers from 1st Church, St Johns, Northern Hills, Cincinnati Mennonite, Beth Adam, Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, Avondale Southern Baptist and the Muslim Community
1st Church provided safe and secure lodging every night – that works out to 224 individual nights of lodging (1 night's lodging for 1 person). Breakfast, lunch and dinner were provided every day to every guest and 100% paid for and prepared by the volunteers. 672 individual meals were served to our guests and 504 of those meals went to children under age 16.
Twenty adults and children of St. John’s helped in a variety of capacities, providing home-cooked meals, conversation, activities for the children, and kindness. The fall dates are Nov. 18-Dec. 2. For more information or to volunteer, please contact Wanda Crawford.
In 2006 St. John's adopted a Congregational Resolution calling for a Mortaorium on Capital Punishment and we currently support two bills pending in the Ohio General Assembly. Our church liaison has assured that Unitarians Universalists Agaoinst the Death Penalty (UUADP http://www.uuadp.org/) appears on the list of partner organziations for Ohioans to Stop Executions http://www.otse.org/. The Cincinnati OTSE committee meets the first Tuesday of each month at the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center.
Whenever an execution is scheduled members call Governor Kasich’s office 614-466-3555 urging him to commute the sentence of Mr. to life without parole. Upcoming Dates
June 6, 2012 Abdul Awkal who suffers from debilitating mental illness.
July 26 Johhn Eley
September 20 Donald Palmer
November 13 Brett Hartman
"Decalaration of LIfe" Wallet cards are available from Howard Tolley on request. The signed statement reads:
"I AM OPPOSED TO THE DEATH PENALTY. If my death is the result of a crime, I do not want any person accused of the crime to face the death penalty. Please advise the court and all attorneys of this. I wish this card to be considered during any hearing in which the victim of a crime is allowed to speak."
For additional resources see Nactional Coalition Against the Death Penalty. http://www.ncadp.org/
Eight youth and adult members winterized a home with People Working Cooperatively, and others took part in a second home project in spring. Over twenty St. John’s volunteers assisted at First Church for fall and winter Interfaith Hospitality Network service to the homeless. Several activists attended quarterly meetings of the Peace Church Network and participated with other members in the weekly Women in Black anti-war vigils. Two members collected signatures for the successful initiative for a November referendum on repeal of the anti- SB5. Other members worked on education reform in Cincinnati public schools and a range of social justice issues. Adult RE did educational programming on immigration and foreign policy great decisions, and there were forum programs on the death penalty and other social justice topics.
Outreach Grants: Over a sixteen year period the church allocated up to five per cent of prior year pledge income for grants of $500 to $2,000 to local organizations. Between 1991 and 2007 St. John’s gave over 50 local organizations more than $130,000 in Outreach grants. To see a listing of the organizations that have received Outreach Grants, click here.
Death Penalty Project Director or team member contact Howard Tolley
Instructors for Adult RE classes and/or forum leaders for Sunday programs on Social Justice (Carol Fencl)
Here is the list of some recent Social Justice project activity.
Click on the name of a program for more information.
Mission Council Denominational Affairs
St. John’s sends up to five voting delegates to the annual UUA General Assembly and our members have served as President of the Heartland District and currently as Vice President of the UU Council of Cincinnati.
The Friends of Szentlaszlo has involved nearly 100 members of the Congregation in fundraising activities including our annual partner church dinner which is now in its 18th consecutive year. This year over $1,900 was raised from the dinner. This will allow our partners to do major repairs to the flooring in the parish house, fund the attendance of several women at the International Convocation of UU Women, and provide a stipend for our partner church minister and his family, Other money will start a fund to support the travel of St. John's youth to Transylvania in the future. In the past, St. John's has sent our 40 member choir to sing in Transylvania, help fund the construction of a church meeting house, and do major repairs to the 13th century old church. The Choir, St. John's ministers and many church members have all made group visits to Szentlaszlo and a pilgrimage is planned for 2014, St. John’s 200th anniversary.