Unitarian Universalists have a legacy of “deeds not creeds.” Our work for a better world calls us to unexpected places as we harness love’s power to stop oppression.
At Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church a focus on justice is a key element of many Sunday worship services as well as a large part of our lives throughout the rest of the week. Every month we collect funds for local social causes during one of our services. Groups at church work actively in support of environmental justice, anti-racism, community organizing, serving our region’s poor, and for many other causes.
Chalice Lighters raise funds locally to support growth in the UU Southeastern District. Chalice Lighter projects generally consist of helping congregations call a minister, construct a building or addition, establish a new congregation, or support campus ministry. You can read more about Chalice Lighters here.
Food Pantry (at TJMC)
Volunteers distribute food acquired from the Food Bank to families in need on the first Friday of each month in the Social Hall.
Contact: Elizabeth Breeden & Carol Saliba
Gay Straight Alliance
Our broad mission is to win full civil rights for bisexual, gay, lesbian, queer, and transgender persons and their families and to increase awareness of BGLQT issues within the church and in the wider community.
Contact: George Maris
Interfaith Humanitarian Sanctum Meal Packets
Our RE classes assemble Interfaith Humanitarian Sanctum (IHS) Meal Packets with food that the IHS supplies to social workers at the University of Virginia Medical Center. We provide food for people who are here as caregivers for a patient or who are themselves undergoing outpatient care for cancer or organ transplants and who lack funds to eat in the hospital cafeteria or buy food while here. The IHS began at TJMC and we are still among the major donors, but it has grown and now has many supporters across the community.
Contact: Margaret Gorman
Our team collaborates with 25 other local congregations to promote progressive social change within the Charlottesville/Albemarle community. Helps organize 1500 to 2000 members annually to address the need for institutional change to improve the lives of under-served and marginalized people in our community.
IMPACT = Interfaith Movement Promoting Action by Congregations Together
Contact: Sarah Peaslee
PACEM – A Pillow for Every Head
Church members join an interfaith effort to provide breakfast and dinner and a place to sleep for homeless persons for one week twice a year — men in late fall, women in spring.
PACEM = People And Congregations Engaged in Ministry
Contact: Elizabeth Breeden
Partner Church Committee supports ongoing, mutually beneficial relationships with our UU partner churches in Oltheviz, Romania and Nongkrem, India. We foster increased cultural understanding through shared service projects and via visits and exchanges with our partner churches.
Peace Action – United Nations (PAUN)
PAUN leads social justice discussions and actions that promote peace with justice and negotiations instead of war, opposes violence, serves as TJMC’s liaison to the UU-United Nations Office (UU-UNO), and partners with the local chapter of the UN Association of the USA. PAUN tables once a month on a timely peace and/or UU-UNO Issue for education and action.
Contact: Kate Fraleigh
Soup Kitchen (at The Haven)
Church members provide food, staff the kitchen, and serve meals to people in need in Charlottesville every Sunday. We prepare and serve lunch to 45-60 people per week through the participation of six rotating host teams.
Contact: Jen Larimer
Racial Justice Steering Committee
This group, begun in 2016, serves as a coordinating and support group for our racial justice efforts. Please join us in one of our many activities. Working for a public witness statement in support of, and solidarity with, the national Black Lives Matter movement. Hosting a table in the Social Hall each Sunday to keep us up to date with how the discussion of race and racism in our country continues to unfold. Developing partnerships with people and groups of color in the wider community. Learning more about systemic racism, white privilege, and things we can do to address conditions of oppression.Keep up with our activities on our News & Views page Learn more about our committee and our inspirations
Contact: Kate Fraleigh
Unitarian-Universalist Service Committee (UUSC )
The UUSC organizes national and world-wide social justice efforts on behalf of women, children and other oppressed groups. Special Social Action Collections are held when the UUSC announces a disaster relief effort, like the Somalia East Africa Drought Relief Fund.