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Social Justice Coordinating Council

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
— Margaret Mead

The Social Justice Coordinating Council (SJCC) empowers and strengthens the many First Parish Church of Groton social justice ministries. These ministries help involved parishioners commit to a life of meaning and purpose and fulfill the church’s mission of taking care of one another and being a blessing to the world.

SJCC members are , , , , , and , who serve as liaisons to specific ministries.

Goals

The SJCC seeks to:

Ministries

The SJCC provides support for the following social justice ministries:

Groton Community Dinners

groton community dinners

Groton Community Dinners is an initiative by a number of community groups in and around Groton. Goals are to provide nourishment and to strengthen the bonds of community. First Parish Church of Groton hosts a dinner on the last Friday of every month. The dinner is free to all in the community. FPCoG parishioners often help with the dinners but other groups in the area also help. FPCoG Contact is if you have any questions or would like to help. See the GCD Web site for additional information.

Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry

loaves & fishes

Loaves and Fishes exists as a mission of love and faith to serve people in Ayer, Devens, Groton, Harvard, Littleton and Shirley by providing food, emergency shelter, resource referral, and other temporary services, and by advocating for changes that will promote independence and self-reliance. Our church holds and coordinates an annual drive during the Lenten season for the food pantry called “200 Bags = 1 Day.” The children and youth of First Parish take a leading role in the church’s participation in Loaves and Fishes. See the Loaves and Fishes Web site or contact parishioner for additional information.

Mental Health Working Group

mental health working group

The goal of the MHWG is to help our congregation become more welcoming and supportive of people with mental disorders. The group offers educational resources to reduce prejudice and stigma and advocates for MH funding. This group also works closely with the National Alliance on Mental Illness and pariticpates in NAMI walks and activities. Contact to learn more about the activities of the MHWG.

Welcoming Congregation Ministry

welcoming

First Parish Church voted to become a Unitarian Universalist Welcoming Congregation on October 28, 2001. See the Welcoming Congregation Web page for more information about the program. Since then the Welcoming Congregation Team was involved in contacting legislators to bring same-gender marriage to MA. Each year the team marches in the Pride Parade in Boston in June. Contact if you would like to join in the march.

Prison Ministry Team

prison ministry

The Prison Ministry Team raises awareness and understanding about our incarcerated neighbors. The team works to change the way we respond to violence and to reduce prison recidivism by way of educational and experiential programs. Ongoing work in prisons includes Alternative to Violence Project (AVP) workshops (see the AVP Web site for more information), gardening projects, and writing workshops. Contact parishioner for additional information.

Recovery, Rebuild, and Build Volunteers

recovery, rebuild, build

The Recovery, Rebuild, and Build Volunteers provide rebuilding assistance for disasters, such as Katrina, and building assistance for Habitat for Humanity. They also involve youth in the rebuilding work when age is not an issue. Contact parishioner if you would like more information or would like to help with future rebuilding projects.

Shelter Outreach

shelter outreach

The Shelter Outreach ministry’s goals are to feed the shelters on the first Sunday after Christmas and to provide needed items for mothers in shelters on Mother’s Day. A Sandwich making service is held each year and a collection prior to Mother’s Day is organized to purchase items such as diapers and formula. If you would like to help with these efforts, please contact parishioner .

Communities for Restorative Justice

C4RJ

Restorative Justice is an alternative to the Criminal Justice system. It involves mediation between victim and offender, and on-going reflective work with the offender in order to bring about change in mind and heart. Cases are referred to C4RJ by local police once the police have been trained. Groton Police have been trained but have not referred significant cases to C4RJ as yet. Cases come from Concord, Carlisle, Littleton, an Acton. If you would like more information about the C4RJ work being done by people in our parish, please contact parishioner .

Habitat for Humanity of No. Central MA

habitat for humanity

Habitat for Humanity has a goal of seeing a world in which everyone has a decent place to live. Our parishioners work with Habitat for Humanity of North Central MA and help to build houses in Groton and other surrounding towns. We anticipate that another house will be built in Groton in the future. If you want more information about helping with builds or being involved in other ways, you can contact Habitat for Humanity directly or contact parishioner .

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

The UUSC is a nonsectarian organization that promotes human rights and social justice worldwide. See the UUSC Web site for more information about the work being done. Each year our church takes up the Guest at our Table collection and parishioners contribute to the UUSC Annual Fund. First Parish Church also has a UUSC summer camp scholarship fund for youth in memory of two former parishioners — Carlene Owen and Ed Speare, who were founding members of the former Social Action Team.

Holiday Giving Tree

giving tree

The Holiday Giving Tree is an annual tradition at First Parish Church. In December during the holiday season, gift wishes are collected from area shelters such as Our Father's House in Fitchburg or from children in need in the Groton area. Then a decoration is created for each wish and hung on the Holiday Giving Tree. Gifts have also been collected for the Village of Santa Rosa in past years. Parishioners select decorations, buy the wished-for gifts, and return them to the church vestry. Then the gifts are delivered to the shelters. Parishioners and organize the Giving Tree.

UU Mass Action Network

UU Mass Action Network

UU Mass Action is a statewide network of ministers and lay members representing Massachusetts Unitarian Universalist churches and fellowships. Our mission is to mobilize Unitarian Universalists individually and congregationally to take action in support of Unitarian Universalist principles for a more just, equitable and compassionate Commonwealth. Our congregation supports UU Mass Action with a donation and also encourages parishioners to participate in UU Mass Action Advocacy Day in the spring. See the UU Mass Action Network Web site or contact parishioner for more information.

Members of our congregation are also involved in many other social justice and social outreach efforts. See the Anyone Can Be Great page.

Support Legislation

The SJCC encourages parishioners to speak out about important social justice legislation. You can contact your state and federal elected representatives and ask them to support legislation that you care about. Simply click on a link next to the appropriate name on this page and share your concerns.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

The current Governor of Massachusetts is Charlie Baker. You can contact his office via this page. If you live in Groton, MA, your elected representatives at the Massachusetts State House are:

If you live in another town, you can call the state house and ask for your representative: 617-722-2000 or 1-800-291-9969.

United States of America

You can contact President Barack Obama at president@whitehouse.gov.

If you want to write to your congressman in the US House of Representatives, you can locate him or her by typing your zip code into the "Find Your Representative" search box (upper right). If you live in Groton, MA, your US Congressman is the Honorable Nicola Tsongas, Democrat; write to her here.

Your U.S Senators are Edward Markey and Elizabeth Warren. Here is information to help you connect with them:

grad-rainbow

1 Powder House Road … P.O. Box 457 … Groton, MA 01450-0457 … 978-448-6307 …   …  

Most recently updated 2015-02-23