Along with Unitarian Universalist churches all over the world, our church participates in raising awareness and funds for the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee. This organization was created in 1940 after a visit to Czechoslovakia by Waitstill Sharp, a young Unitarian minister from Boston, and his wife, Martha, who made the trip to undertake the mission of providing relief to refugees fleeing the Nazis. In the months that followed, the Sharps brought monetary aid for rescue and relief and set up a refugee office in Lisbon, Portugal, which became a bustling sanctuary for desperate refugees. The Sharps collaborated with many institutions and individuals to rescue children and adults in Europe and help refugees in any way they could.
The UUSC staff brought food, shelter, medical care, visas, identity papers and safe passage to hundreds of Jews and others fleeing Nazi persecution. By the end of World War II, the organization brought hope to more than 2,000 men, women and children whom it assisted to escape the Nazi terror.
Since those dramatic beginnings, Unitarian Universalist congregations have supported the UUSC’s work with the displaced, the underserved and the disenfranchised in the United States and many other countries. Today, the UUSC brings hope where hope is hard to find in marginalized communities in over 25 countries.
The UUSC mission statement says it “advances human rights and social justice by partnering with those who confront unjust power structures and mobilizing to challenge oppressive policies.” It is hard work, and in other countries, it is often dangerous work. Today, the UUSC is helping vulnerable groups in places such as Haiti, Kenya, Tanzania, Guatemala, Afghanistan, Darfur and the United States. Although many may think of the UUSC as an international aid agency, a closer look shows projects flourishing across the United States, from Massachusetts to Georgia to California.
Despite threats, intimidation, and sometimes violence, the work of the UUSC continues. Learn more about this much-admired organization (given the highest rating – four stars – by Charity Navigator) at its website, www.uusc.org.
Social Justice Council
Earth Justice Ministry
First Friday Films
McLaughlin Social Justice Initiatives
Share the Plate
Social Justice Council Action Groups
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee