Sojourners Social Justice Blog on Hiatus

April 18th, 2013 by admin

Our SJ Blog is currently not being updated. For information about what’s happening at Sojourners UCC, please visit our website: or our Facebook page:


April 9th, 2012 by admin

Our next Social Justice Sunday May 6 is a chance for all of our Social Justice groups to meet after worship. If you’d like to learn more about what these groups are working on currently, please put this date on your calendar and join us.


March 8th, 2012 by admin

 All Sojourners Social Justice groups are encouraged to meet after the service, March 11. If you’re new to the church, or simply haven’t attended any of these meetings yet, please feel free to drop in on one (or more!) that day.


March 8th, 2012 by admin

We are going to partner again this year with First United Methodist Church to serve dinner to the PACEM men’s shelter March 12, 13, 19, 22 & 23. Volunteers to help prepare and serve dinner to the PACEM guests are needed. Sign up sheets are posted at the church. Sojourner Karen Beiber, Volunteer Coordinator for PACEM, will elaborate on what’s currently happening with PACEM for our Social Justice moment during worship March11.



February 20th, 2012 by admin

Recently we attended a funeral at our former church of a beloved member of the Prison Ministry.  Cherry also was there and it was wonderful to see him and catch up with him.

His wife Thelma had died two years ago.  He still can barely talk about her passing without crying.  She was his anchor in the world that he had left for 25 years and was now getting to know again.  He has been in grief counseling which helps a little…

He has maintained the same job of being an HIV counselor and finds it still a rewarding experience.  The good news is that he was released from parole because of his work ethic and adaptation to life on the outside.  Now he can travel outside of New York State and does not have to worry about being late for a meeting with his parole officer.  There are hundreds of random bits of behavior which can get a person sent back to prison.

Cherry has relatives in Virginia Beach and we hope at some point he can visit us and come to Sojourners.

Barbara & Warren Brecht

Equal Exchange

February 13th, 2012 by admin

At Sojourners we obtain our coffee for our fellowship time through Equal Exchange which works with small farmer cooperatives. There is an initiative in the works to allow plantation commodities into the Fair Trade System. This proposal is opposed by Equal Exchange. If you’re interested in learning more and signing the public statement, you may do so here:

Social Justice Sunday

December 29th, 2011 by admin

The next one will be January 8.  All of Sojourners Social Justice groups are encouraged to meet after the service. If you’re new to the church, or simply haven’t attended any of these meetings yet, please feel free to drop in on one (or more!) that day.

Meaningful Experiences with People in Prison

December 20th, 2011 by admin

What follows is the last of the reflections shared by Sojourners at our Prison Ministry Social Justice worship service in the fall.

#1- When it was found out that I was pregnant they transferred me to the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women. I was no longer allowed to work (due to DOC’s fear of the pending lawsuit and anything else happening to me) which meant that I was unable to buy food. Being pregnant and not having food is a scary and painful situation to find oneself in. It had been about six years since I resided at this facility. I didn’t know any of the other women. And was apprehensive due to everything that was going on and all of the horrible things that were being said. So, I just tried to ignore our hunger. Well, eventually, I met a group of women that were beyond wonderful. They were kind and supportive and genuinely interested in mine and Desiree’s well being. So, one canteen day, they went (without my knowledge) cell door to cell door asking people for food. They then brought me a canteen bag full of food and a large trash bag full of food. Free of charge and no strings attached. They just wanted me to be able to eat. And I ate off of that gift for about two months.

#2- I knew of Lynn Litchfield (Chaplain Litchfield) back in 1999 when FCCW first opened. I didn’t see her again until the end of 2005. I was terrified of the position that I was in. And finally needed someone to talk to. I asked to see her. When I walked into her office and sat down I asked her if she remembered me or knew who I was. She said “no.” She told me that she didn’t watch tv or read the newspaper. Needless to say, I was so grateful for that. I spent five months speaking with her and going to church. She was the one that introduced me to Karen and Jeanine, the village, and Sojourners. Through one of most uncertain, scary, and painful times in my life she became my best friend. She was in the operating room with me when Desiree was born.(Desiree calls her “Aunt Lynn.”) And that is something that neither one of us will ever forget. She was always so genuinely caring, sincere, honest, and just amazing.

#3- This last story doesn’t really involve any one particular person or event. It is just an overall memory… When I first went to prison I was scared that it would be like the prisons that you see on tv. It’s not really that way at all. Sure there are mean people. But, for the most part its just people like you and me. One thing that I learned while in there was how to relate and really feel what the next person is going through. To empathize and humanize. These women are someones’ daughter, sister, cousin, aunt, best friend, and mother. There were numerous nights when the roommate that I had at the time and I would stay up all night just talking and healing. Just trying to figure things out, move on, and make a plan to keep ourselves from ever coming back.There were many times when the spades game gave way to someone’s loneliness and heartbreak. We would just stop what we were doing and be there for that friend. For as long as they needed. That was one nice thing about being in there…there was no telephone ringing, no errands to run, no urgency in anything.We had the time to just listen.I can honestly say that I have met and lived with some of the absolute best women in the world behind bars. And there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t miss and think about those friends that I left almost five years ago.

Thank you for letting me share some of these with you.

Sheron Sinclair



Passionate Ministries

December 8th, 2011 by admin

The following is from a volunteer at Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women shared with the congregation during our Prison Ministry Social Justice service in late October.

How do you live to be 100 years old? Dr. Phil had a one-word answer in the discussion that followed, “Passion.” Work with the incarcerated can quickly become a passion.

My passions involve challenges. I had known nothing of prison work. Even when my daughter went into prison work, I went, “What? What is all this!”

The challenge of it motivates me to prayer, serious prayer. It has lead me to use many of the ideas I find in the worship here, to use them in the Sunday night prison worship service, ideas from the morning worship bulletin as well as ideas from the sermons. It leads me to a closer fellowship with other Sojourners, even sojourners with a small “s.”

I prayed to broaden and deepen my scope of preparation for my prison work, prepare in every way possible. I pray on the way to the prison. When I arrive, pray some more to know what part of the preparation to employ, and even to give up all the preparation for the needs of the moment.

The passion also involves rewards. The rewards are many as one gets glimpses of God’s work in the lives of others and as one finds a challenge of spiritual growth in one’s own life.

I live with the challenge from an incarcerated woman whom I visited in the infirmary just after she had come back from the hospital having had major surgery. The doctors had ordered her to walk the hall twice daily. The officer on duty was required to permit her out of her cell for this purpose each day. Day after day the officer for the infirmary refused to allow her to follow those doctor’s orders. It could have eased her recovery. Day after day she sat in her cell and prayed about her predicament.

Then she remembered that she had been in the military herself. Through prayer she took a new attitude toward that unreasonable and unfair officer. She concluded, “I could have been that officer!” She gave me a fresh understanding for, “There but for the grace of God go I.”

I thoroughly appreciate being here among all the lay ministers. You have so many ministries, so many passions here. This church embodies and emboldens passionate ministries. Thank you for your passionate ministries.

Sarah Litchfield


Eco-Justice News

November 30th, 2011 by admin

December 11 — Brief Eco-Justice Meeting & Litter Pick-up

During our November gathering, the Eco-Justice Outreach group discussed two exciting possibilities:

 becoming a “Green Justice Congregation” as recognized by the national UCC

 working with UVa Student Engineers Without Borders to create a proposal for the generation of solar energy at Sojourners.

We will meet immediately after the service on Dec. 11 to get the latest news on these projects. Anyone interested is most welcome to attend.

Our quarterly pick-up of litter on Monticello Ave. will also take place on Dec. 11.

Please join us at the church entrance 15 minutes after the end of the service. Folks of all ages are always welcome!

Sharing Blossoms, Spreading Love

Spring flower bulbs ordered from the Eco-Justice group arrived in mid-November.

A heart-felt THANK YOU to everyone for encouragement, prayers, and/or purchases [not to mention patience with the many announcements!] during this year’s Eco-Justice fundraiser. Our “2nd Chance Sale” of organic flower bulbs raised an additional $47.99 for a grand total of $377.99 donated to the QCC Farms! 4-H club in Charlottesville. The funds helped send inner city children to 4-H camp last summer and will help sponsor trips and other learning opportunities this fall. The company with whom we worked – EcoTulips of Brightwood, VA – donated an additional 150 tulip bulbs to us for use in community projects, and these have been passed along to the 4-H group for planting. Thank you again for all you have done to brighten the community with blossoms and to brighten the lives of local children, deepening their connections with the natural world.

Margery Knott