Community Outreach Ministry
Living at the Intersection of Faith and Justice
About the Community Outreach Ministry Teams
The Community Outreach Ministry Teams (COMT) were created to further the ministry of Unity Church in service to the larger community. The projects listed here have been selected as opportunities through which the congregation can engage in service, education, and advocacy to the larger community through outreach ministry. Contact Rev. Lisa Friedman, Minister of Congregational and Community Engagement by email at email@example.com or by phone at 651-228-1456 x107 for more information about any of the teams and projects listed below.
Affordable Housing Ministry Team
This team is committed to public policy advocacy that will lead to systemic affordable housing change by partnering with other congregations through the Metropolitan Interfaith Coalition for Affordable Housing (MICAH). The team sponsors direct service opportunities through Habitat for Humanity and Project Home and offers congregational forums on issues of homelessness and affordable housing.
Project Home: “I was hungry and you fed me…” During the month of January, Unity Church becomes ‘home’ each night for homeless families in Ramsey County. Project Home is coordinated by the St. Paul Council of Churches to provide overflow shelter for homeless families when the beds at the Ramsey County Family Service Center in Maplewood are filled to capacity. Over 100 Unity volunteers are needed to participate in this ministry of hospitality, helping to provide a safe place and comfort to homeless families with children during their stay at Unity Church. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Evergreen Projects Ministry
The Evergreen Projects at Unity Church hold monthly food drives for Sharing Korner Foodshelf located in Frogtown, provide meal preparation at Family Place, a day center for homeless families and support the Jeremiah Program that has a St. Paul community residential campus for low-income single mothers and their children. The Evergreen Quilters Group provides “joyful fundraising” for the team projects through the making and selling of handmade quilts.
Mano a Mano Team (Spanish for “Hand to Hand”) Ministry Team
The Unity Church Ministry team supports the work of Mano a Mano International , a non-profit organization founded in 1994 by Segundo and Joan Velasquez, long-time members of Unity Church. It is dedicated to providing health care, building of clinics, public education, roads, and safe water supplies in impoverished communities in Bolivia. The program strategy is to obtain donations of surplus medical equipment and supplies, destined to be discarded here, and transport them to one hundred facilities in Bolivia where local communities manage the clinics and health care needs.
Partner Church Ministry Team
The intent of the Partner Church Team is to develop a mutually rewarding relationship between the Unity Church community and that of our sister church in Homorodszentpeter, Transylvania, in Romania. The area of Romania, which contains our sister church, is the birthplace of Unitarianism in Europe. This partnership was begun in 1990 after the fall of the Communist regime made such associations possible. Since then individuals and small groups from Unity Church have visited the village and have hosted visitors from the village. Pilgrimage trips from Unity Church have included visits to historical sites relevant to Unitarianism.
Racial Justice Ministry Team
This team began their efforts in the fall of 2007 by initially taking time to reflect on what white privilege means in their lives and then how Unity Church members might connect to people of color in the larger community and particularly to interracial community churches. Along with other interracial, interfaith activities, team members have worked with neighboring churches to plan and participate in the “Faith Float” at the Rondo Days Parade for the past three summers.
Rainbow Chalice Alliance Ministry Team
The purpose of the Rainbow Chalice Alliance Ministry Team is to actively support LGBTQ youth. Team members want to create a world in which every youth learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender/ identity expression. They do this by helping create or foster safe space and access to supportive adults, advocating for safe and respectful school environments and increasing awareness of the community at-large of the needs of LGBTQ youth as well as the awareness of youth of the support they have in the broader community. The team’s two community partners are the Minnesota School OUTreach Coalition (MNSOC), a coalition of many groups that work with LGBTQ youth in Minnesota and Out for Equity, which is part of the St. Paul Public Schools. Team activities have included serving as hosts at Q-Quest, a yearly gathering of LGBTQ MN youth, supporting youth in the MN Aids Walk, volunteering at the Queer Prom, and participating in the Twin Cities Pride Parade.
Restorative Justice Ministry Team
The Restorative Justice Team engages team members, the Unity Congregation and the broader community in healing conversations and activities. This team is currently partnered with Amicus, which is a Minnesota non-profit organization focused on improving public safety by helping inmates and ex-offenders through positive relationship building, restorative justice practices and individualized transition services. The team works with Second Chance, a coalition of over 50 local organizations that advocate for fair and reasonable laws, policies and practices that allow those who have committed crimes to redeem themselves and contribute to their communities to their full potential.
Other Outreach Social Justice Projects
Generosity Ministry Team
This team facilitates the giving of the weekly Sunday Offering to non-profit organizations working for the greater well being of our communities. Congregational input forms the core of this giving process, as church members are encouraged to recommend potential recipients and to provide information and experience with those recipients. This team meets monthly to review and recommend recipients to the Unity Church Executive Team for approval.
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC)
With more than 47,000 members and supporters, UUSC is an organization that advances human rights and social justice in the US and around the world. The four focus areas of UUSC are rights in humanitarian crisis, civil liberties, economic justice and environmental justice. To shop for products that do good for you and the planet visit http://shop.uusc.org.
This outreach ministry works with the St. Paul Council of Churches/Support Our Schools mentoring project at Michelle and Barack Obama Community Service Learning Elementary across the street from the church. This past year, 25 people from Unity Church served as mentors for 5th and 6th grade children at the school. Volunteers are asked to commit to working with a student in reading and/or math once a week for the 2014-15 school year. To sign up or for more information, please contact Lisa Friedman by email at email@example.com or by phone at 651-228-1456 x126.
Sustainable Living Team
Buy a water bottle from Unity's Sustainable Living Team and stay hydrated in style! Water bottles will be for sale on Sundays in the Parish Hall. Proceeds support the purchase of a water bottle filler attachment for our water fountain (as well as projects to protect the environment and promote water justice).
Children's Garden Work Day
Summer days are garden days, and we would like to get the Unity Children’s Garden off to a good start. Wear gloves and bring tools. All are welcome, no gardening experience necessary.
Sunday, April 30 • 12:30-2:30 p.m.
Finish cleanup, divide herbs, plant the first seeds for our summer harvests.
Second Annual Plant Exchange & Sale
Sunday, May 21 • Children’s Garden
Plant Drop Off: 7:00-9:30 a.m.
Exchange: 10:00-11:00 a.m
Sale: 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Mark your calendars! Unity's Sustainable Living Team is hosting the second annual plant exchange and sale! An exciting way to usher in spring and add new life to your yard and garden!
How It Works: People are encouraged to split plants from their yards and exchange them for new varieties to add to their landscape. Don’t have plants to split? Just starting to add plants to your yard? No problem! Once the “exchange” is over we welcome folks to purchase plants that catch their eye! Plants for sale are reasonably priced, and all proceeds go to supporting the work of the Sustainable Living Team!
We are looking for volunteers to help us make this a successful day. Please come to our table in the Parish Hall for more detailed information on the exchange and to volunteer! You can also email Jessica Zimmerley at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or to sign up to help!
Volunteer: 2017 St. Paul Freedom School
Summertime offers the opportunity to volunteer at the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School, a learning and cultural enrichment program for children in the Promise Neighborhood in St. Paul (held in partnership with the St. Paul Public Schools). Many Unity Church members and friends have helped in summers past by sorting books and teaching reading and math. The term is July 17 to August 25, at the Capitol Hill Magnet location in the Rondo Education Center. You can choose to help the whole term or part of it. Book sorting will happen during the week of July 10. For more information, contact Jane Thomson email@example.com or Judy Rieke at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Service & Learning
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