Your Participation: Anyone may attend our meetings. All COC and working group meeting times and dates are posted on the online calendar, in our monthly newsletter (The Beacon), and in the weekly Order of Service announcements. By being involved with COC, you can expect to be working directly toward world peace, social justice, environmental protection, and improving conditions for the underprivileged, while promoting volunteerism and building understanding. We are focused on making an impact and strengthening relationships within our local community, while keeping in perspective the national and global issues in the world at large.

Core UUCJ Participants: Lynne Paradise (Chair), Sherie Morhous, Rick Kirkwood, Nancy Murrey, Mavis Greene, Kathleen Moran, David Johnson, Brian Lapinski, Betsy Deuerling, Afesa Adams, Marsha Collins, Mary Claire Vanderhorst
Community Outreach Committee (COC)

The Community Outreach Committee is the umbrella organization for 
UUCJ’s social action/community outreach efforts in the following areas:

Community Outreach Events

ICARE and ICJ Forums - UUCJ Community Outreach Events.pdf.

Peace and Social Justice
  • Wage Peace: a Jacksonville based volunteer organization dedicated to building a community of peace and non-violence, at wagepeace.net.
  • Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC): a nonsectarian organization advancing human rights and social justice in the United States and around the world, at uusc.org.
  • Interfaith Council: 45 years of providing shelter, food, direct services, advocacy and information to people in need, at ifcweb.org.
  • ICARE: a person-to-person donation system allowing individuals to send relief directly to the survivors of natural disasters, at icare.ieor.berkeley.edu.
  • Aids Task Force:

Protecting the Environment
  • Rogero Road Cleanup: UUCJ involvement in the "adopt a road" program.

Community Health, Nutrition, Housing and Safety
  • Sulzbacher Meals: Every day, Sulzbacher Center is home to more than 330 homeless members of our community, many of whom are children, at sulzbachercenter.org.
  • Arlington Food Bank/Arlington Community Services: addressing hunger and homelessness in the Arlington area

Financial support for worthy non-profits
  • We conduct monthly “Special Collections” for groups performing similar community services.

Goals: COC’s Charter states that its committee should focus on three particular issues: peace and social justice, protecting the environment, and improving health, nutrition, housing, and safety. There are currently 10 working groups supporting these focuses under COC. Each group meets and works independently, but the chairs and interested members of the groups meet quarterly to share ideas and network at the COC meetings. COC provides support, guidance, and financial assistance to the working groups when needed, and represents them at UUCJ Board meetings.

History: Unitarian Universalists have always been at the cutting edge of social justice issues, and the Jacksonville Unitarian Universalist church is part of that tradition. We have been active in the movements for civil rights, women's rights, gay rights, farm worker rights — all of the human rights issues of our time.

In the 1980s, a Social Action Committee was established to bring more specific attention to issues of peace and justice and to continue the church's history of social justice activities. The committee invited a variety of speakers on topics of interest and concern — violence in Central America, nuclear proliferation, Israeli-Palestinian disputes, environmental hazards — as part of our mission to educate our congregation on important issues.

Major Accomplishments:
  • We joined the Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice, participating in several Walks for Peace by feeding over 200 walkers and walking with them.
  • A Walk for the Earth for environmental justice, numerous demonstrations at Cape Canaveral against weapons testing and at the Trident Naval Base against nuclear submarine expansion.
  • We marched with the Martin Luther King parade and the Gay Pride parade.
  • One of our proudest accomplishments, certification as an official "Welcoming Congregation," involving months of study and self evaluation associated with how to reach out to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans-sexual adults, and to make them feel welcome in our church
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Wage Peace: Many members of the church have been very supportive of efforts by Wage Peace which was formed in the spring of 2003 to oppose US military involvement in the Middle East. This collaboration has significantly increased awareness of UUCJ in the greater Jacksonville community.
Sulzbacher Center: Shortly after the I.M. Sulzbacher Homeless shelter opened, we were there cooking meals -- and then preparing sandwich meals as the program changed. We have been a continuing supporter of the Arlington Food Bank, and established an AIDS Task Force to collect toiletries for indigent AIDS patients. As more of our efforts became focused on local community involvement, the committee was re-named the Community Outreach Committee, with more emphasis on support of local organizations.
Featured Organizations: In August, 2006 The Community Outreach Committee started a program which has continued on the first Sunday of every month to feature one local, national or global organization and its mission and efforts to create a safer, healthier and more hospitable world community. Members of the congregation have been asked to make special contributions to benefit the selected organization as well as to participate as volunteers. The very first collection was dedicated to support Carbon fund initiatives. One positive result was that sufficient interest was generated to form what has now become the Green Sanctuary Team.

Human Rights Study Circle: The church has provided space for Jacksonville Human Rights Commission Study Circle training sessions and programs designed to improve race relations in Jacksonville. Member involvement as participants and facilitators in Study Circle programs has been strongly encouraged.