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Social Action

Social Action and Outreach

Members of Second Parish are reluctant to engage in direct political advocacy, so we have focused our “service to our neighbors” largely on local charities.  However, we have also contributed generously to many other causes, including our UUA for Association Sunday; the UU Service Committee for emergency relief and through the Guest at Your Table program; flood, hurricane and tsunami relief; and many others by means of our monthly Second Sunday offering.  Here are some of the specific service opportunities I helped to initiate: 

- We planted an organic community garden in the back yard of the parsonage to serve as a demonstration of using sustainable local food, to engage our RE program in growing food, and to provide fresh produce for the Food Pantry.

- We increased the congregation’s identification with the food pantry hosted at Second Parish by encouraging members and children to bring donations of food to church, and by arranging for our members to pack produce into bags for distribution to clients.  We took time after our service the Sunday before the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter food distributions.  This turned into a wonderful inter-generational opportunity for everyone in the congregation, engaging young and old, weak and strong, tall and short in service to our neighbors.

- We begun a tradition of gathering the Sunday morning a week before Memorial Day to replace the flags for veterans in the nearby High Street Cemetery, with which Second Parish has been long associated.  After a brief service, one of our veterans provided directions and supervised handing out the flags for placement near the tombstones of all the veterans buried there.  This is another exciting inter-generational opportunity for service that also helps to honor our soldiers and our country.

- We started an annual practice of inviting guests at the homeless shelters managed by South Shore Friends of the Homeless to join us for a luncheon on the Sunday before New Years in lieu of holding a regular service.

Property and Ecology

Second Parish did not formally undertake the process of becoming a green sanctuary, but I made a point of preaching frequently on our seventh principle, “Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part;” and, I like to add, “only a small part.”  As we we were faced with needs to maintain and upgrade our property, we chose to be conscious of the environment as well.  Here are two examples in which I participated:

-   I myself replaced all of the bulbs in the fixtures in our parish hall with low-wattage fluorescent bulbs to reduce our consumption of electricity.  We have also replaced many of our outdoor floodlights with low-wattage bulbs.

-  When we replaced our boiler two years ago, we opted for the slightly more expensive super-high efficiency model.