The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Newark in Newark, Delaware, led by members Karen Barker and Catriona Binder-Macleod, recently applied for and received a $500 grant from the Fund for UU Social Responsibility to collaborate with the Delaware League of Women Voters in working with youth to Get Out the Vote in 2018. They will be educating and empowering not only their own yoUth groUp to help the public get information they need and register to vote, but also students from Newark High School, Newark Charter School and the University of Delaware.
The youth participating in the program will be trained to register voters and will be spreading the word about VOTE411, the League of Women Voters’ fantastic new website (http://www.vote411.org). In October the congregation will also be working with youth on getting out the vote.
Grants like this are available to any congregation. The Fund for UU Social Responsibility is awarding grants of up to $500 are available for congregational 2018 Get Out The Vote projects! Unitarian Universalist congregations frequently support the democratic process in a nonpartisan manner by participating in voter registration drives, providing nonpartisan educational materials or forums for voters, or by volunteering to help registered voters get to the polls on election day. The deadline is rolling and you can apply between March 15 and November 1, 2018. Grants will be available until the fund is depleted. Applications and more information are available online. You can also contact them at [email protected] or (617) 971-9600.
Congratulations to Karen and Catriona and the UU Fellowship of Newark for successfully completing their grant request and for this great project.
During the Martin Luther King Day Weekend, the Unitarian Universalist Society of Mill Creek, in Newark Delaware, invited racial justice organizer and activist Chris Crass to present a Courage for Racial Justice / Courage for Liberation Conference and Training that brought together area congregations from multiple faith traditions and the local activist community working on issues of Racial Justice. “We had 113 people attend the Saturday workshop, and 111 attend the worship service the following day. Two-Thirds of the attendees were Unitarian Universalists, but the rest were members of our local community” says Rev. Gregory Pelley, minister for the UU Society of Mill Creek. “It became an interfaith community event”.
After hearing Chris Crass speak at the UUA General Assembly this past summer in Columbus Ohio, one member of the congregation, Linda Lucero, decided to work to bring Chris Crass to speak at Mill Creek. The congregation partnered with the two other congregations in the Wilmington Delaware area, including receiving financial support for the First Unitarian Church of Wilmington. They also conducted a successful Faithify crowdfunding campaign, and received registration and advertising support from the UUA’s Central East Region. “With recent developments in our country, we wanted to have someone who could talk about organizing for Racial Justice in a way our members could get engaged with” Rev. Pelley explained.
The congregation has experienced renewed energy for the work of Racial Justice, and a deeper sense of connection to area congregations and the racial justice activist community. “The surprise was that we pulled it off, and that we raised all the money we needed to raise to make it happen.” The event was a risk for a congregation of 141 members to attempt. When asked what the congregation learned that could be useful for other congregations, Rev. Pelley said “Go for it… take the risk and put your energy into it. We were successful because we kept broadening the vision and the scope to include as many people as we could.”
A dream that began in 2012 became true on Sunday, October 18, 2015 for the Unitarian Universalists of Southern Delaware, as they dedicated their new Church Home in Lewes, Delaware. The congregation moved this fall from their small rental space to this spacious converted home, which they had remodeled and added a beautiful new sanctuary and gathering spaces. This new home was made possible with the support of a group of members, known as the “Pioneers”, who purchased the property while the congregation decided whether or not to make the commitment of a new church home, and conducted a capital campaign to raise the necessary funds. The building of the sanctuary and remodel of the property was also supported by the JPD Chalice Lighter Program, as well as by offering collections and other support from the other Unitarian Universalist congregations of the Delmarva Peninsula, including the longstanding support for the congregation by the First Unitarian Church of Wilmington, Delaware.
The dedication service included Rev. David Pyle, District Executive for the Joseph Priestley District, as well as a video message from the Rev. Peter Morales, President of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations. Rev. Morales pointed out that the congregation is one of the engaging congregations in the country, with many programs and with exceptional growth during its sixteen years. The new location and size of the congregational home is sure to help the congregation to continue to grow Unitarian Universalism in Southern Delaware.
The congregation completed this building project while also beginning an Interim Ministry with the Rev. Paula Maiorano, as well as continuing many interfaith and justice ministries programs. The congregation is now planning for this new space to allow them to revitalize their lifespan religious education programs, as well as a hope that the beautiful new space can become a center for Unitarian Universalists from across the region to come on retreat or for other events. The church property is right next to a protected wetlands, and the congregation has a desire to share their new home with others of our faith tradition who wish to meet in their community at the Delaware Beaches.
While it is a wonderful story when a Unitarian Universalist congregation finds and builds a new church home, it is a special story when so many other congregations have played a role in making this dream become a reality. We offer congratulations to the Unitarian Universalists of Southern Delaware, and a hearty thank you for all of the congregations of the Delmarva Peninsula for your commitment to growing Unitarian Universalism!
Check out all the photos taken of the new building by Rev. David Pyle on his facebook page.