Open your eyes and look for some person, or some work for the sake of people, which needs a little time, a little friendship, a little sympathy, a little sociability, a little human toil. Search and see if there is not some place where you may invest your humanity.
– Albert Schweitzer
The heartbeat of many Unitarian Universalist congregations is our fervent hope for peace and justice in the world. As UUs, we “affirm and promote the worth and dignity of every individual,” (our First Principle) and “promote justice, equity, and compassion in human relations” (our Second Principle). Here at First Church, we offer opportunities to work together to bring justice, equity, and compassion to others. Children and their families are very much a part of the social justice projects of our congregation.
In October, the RE UNICEF campaign encouraged young people to think through their own privilege and reach out to other children in the world community. Our efforts became concrete as we raised funds to assist UNICEF to provide children with basic necessities such as clean water, immunizations, and education. Now comes November, which brings a “First Sunday” focused on understanding that each person has a story, including those who are homeless or nearly homeless. We’ll also be bringing back our annual Giving Tree, which will once again be dedicated to the young people served by Pathfinders.
Teaching children to be proactive promotes confidence, self-esteem, pride, compassion and generally builds character. I invite parents to make social justice and social action both a topic of conversation in your own homes, and a regular part of your family’s engagement with the wider community. Help your children understand that ours is a faith in action, and that “open minds” and “loving hearts” work best when combined with “helping hands” that make a difference! I encourage you to make the most of the opportunities we provide at Church to get involved in making the world a better place.
Beryl Aschenberg is First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee’s Director of Religious Education.
First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee is a home for spiritual community, social justice, and intellectual freedom, active in Milwaukee since 1842. Unitarian Universalism is an inclusive denomination; core principles include recognition of the worth and dignity of every person; respect for the interdependent web of existence; and the goal of world peace, liberty and justice.