Social Justice at Sojourners

Social justice is an important concern at Sojourners United Church of Christ. Members and friends of the congregation are encouraged to participate in one of the church’s established social justice groups. Each group sets its own meeting times, goals and activities.

 

Eco-Justice Outreach

This group explores ways in which we—as human beings & specifically as members of Sojourners—can participate in the Earth community not as dominators or exploiters but as integral members committed to mutually enhancing relationships within the whole of creation.  Activities include development of priorities & strategies for our own congregational energy use, Sojourner special worship planning, service and education projects, networking with other religious groups, and advocacy for those who bear the brunt of pollution & environmental degradation.

 

Ojola Children’s Project (OCP)

OCP is an official project of Sojourners that assists poor children and youth in the village of Ojola in Western Kenya.  The Ojola Social Justice group fundraises to provide money for school fees, food, shelter, medical care and other basic necessities for 6-8 children who have lost one or both parents.  The group responds to requests from partners in Ojola, and shares information about the challenges facing this rural East African community. Read more about Sojourners UCC’s work with the Ojola Children’s Project.

 

Open and Affirming (ONA)

The ONA group considers how Sojourners lives out its commitment to justice, fairness, and inclusiveness for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgendered and questioning persons.  Again, the focus is partly on our own internal practices as a congregation and partly on issues related to sexual orientation in the wider society.  Current efforts include working through the Interfaith Gay-Straight Alliance with ROSMY, Integrity and PFLAG on bullying issues.

 

Peace

This group coordinates peace activities within Sojourners and in conjunction with other groups in the community.  It offers support to joint ventures such as Interfaith Pray for Peace and the Interfaith Cooperation Circle. Examples include hosting Interfaith Pray for Peace gatherings and co-sponsoring faith dialogues on peace with listening circles at Sojourners. It seeks to make sure that concerns regarding war and peace are prominent in all aspects of the church from our prayer life, to the Sunday school, to adult study and worship.

 

Poverty / Homelessness/Clark Elementary School

The Poverty Social Justice Group assesses community needs regarding economic injustice, poverty and homelessness.    It usually partners with another church to provide food and fellowship for overnight PACEM (homeless) guests. It also arranges for collections for the school supply drive at Clark Elementary before the school year begins.

 

Prison Ministry

This group raises awareness within the Sojourners community of the conditions of incarcerated people, and challenges they face as they reenter communities. Members advocate for people impacted by incarceration, and seek to create and maintain relationships with people who are, or have been, incarcerated and organizations that serve them within our community. Some annual activities include ongoing collection for Quest Institute’s Books Behind Bars program; a Christmas hygiene kit and card/stamp drive for Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women, and an art and/or poetry exhibit. Advocacy (e.g., letter writing campaigns) regarding incarceration and/or re-entry is an important activity. The group also plans and leads an annual worship service at Sojourners.

 

Racial Justice

This group takes the lead in defining what being an “anti-racist” congregation means for   Sojourners.  They monitor our own practices as a congregation.  Members of this group were and continue to be instrumental in Charlottesville Dialogue on Race activities. In general, this group is responsible for seeing to it that racial justice remains a leading concern of the congregation.

 

Welcome Table / Developmental Disabilities

Once a month, Sojourners and special young women from Charlottesville gather for Welcome Table. They enjoy exercise, conversation, dinner and an activity. The group also nurtures our longstanding relationship to Innisfree Village, strengthening Sojourners’ connections with the staff, volunteers and co-workers. It also takes an interest in the post-high school programs for developmental disabilities in area schools, and aims to explore and advocate for issues relating to the developmentally disabled community in Charlottesville.

Please contact the church office for more information about these groups.