First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia ~ Welcome home!

Social Justice Ministries

For hundreds of years, the work of justice and world transformation has been foundational to our congregation. This year, we are building relationships with interfaith justice coalitions as well as building on our literacy programs and other continuing projects. Whether you want to accompany and offer support to undocumented immigrants at deportation hearings, tutor elementary students, or engage in protest and political action, please join us in helping to transform our community!

Come visit our Social Justice table after service and connect with the ongoing social justice involvements of our church community - anti-mass incarceration, voters’ rights, immigrant and environmental justice. Please stop by to learn more and get involved.

Scroll down to learn about all the ways in which First Unitarian Church fulfills our mission to spread the ideals of love and justice in our world. 

Accessibility Task Force
The Accessibility Task Force researches and fundraises for building improvements that increase our accessibility. We have successfully started the Van Pelt entrance project, which will put an ADA-approved ramp leading into our building in Fall, 2018. Currently, we need congregants to help research and fundraise for our next project, which will address our Sanctuary's lobby-side entrance.
Contact: Karin Tetlow,

Andrew Jackson School
Urged by a congregant with children in that neighborhood, we accepted the challenge nine years ago to enrich the educational environment at Andrew Jackson School in South Philadelphia. We currently participate in two programs:

Learning Buddies: A team of “Learning Buddies” supports struggling readers through one-on-one tutoring and assisting the teacher in the classroom during the Language Arts period (9:00 – 11:00 AM.) No teaching experience necessary, but you should be prepared to commit to the kids, and the program, until the end of the school year.
Library Volunteers: On a weekly or monthly basis, we are also looking for people to serve as "librarians" checking books in and out of the library, assisting the children in selecting books, and barcoding new books donated to the library. Library volunteers make a commitment for at least two hours at one time per month.
Contact: “Learning Buddies” Program- Diane Frey,;
Library Program - Luana Goodwin,

POWER (Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower & Rebuild)
POWERis a coalition of congregations from all across the city, intentionally bringing people together across the lines of race, faith, income level and neighborhood. POWER is comprised of people of faith committed to the work of bringing about justice here and now, by strengthening and mobilizing our networks of relationships, so that the needs and priorities of all Philadelphians are reflected in the systems and policies that shape our city. POWER’s current main campaigns are: Economic Dignity, Education Policy, and Live Free: Mass Incarceration & Police Shootings.
Contact: Rev. Abbey Tennis,

New Sanctuary Movement (NSM)
New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia is an interfaith immigration justice coalition that First Unitarian Church is a member of. NSM builds community across faith, ethnicity, and class in their work to end injustices against immigrants and ensure that values of dignity, justice, and hospitality are lived out in practice and upheld in policy. Currently, as a congregation we support NSM's efforts primarily by 1) accompanying people without legal immigrant status to court hearings, which requires a few hours of commitment on a weekday morning, and 2) supporting families taking sanctuary in local churches by offering friendship, food, clothing, etc. Please contact the coordinator to get involved!
Contact: Christy Santoro-Wiley,

Winter Shelter at Trinity Memorial Church
We will once again host Winter Shelter every third Friday beginning in November. Winter Shelter is a cooperative association with the Community Outreach Partnership (CORP) programs at Trinity Memorial Church (22nd & Spruce) to feed and serve the 15-20 men who spend the night there from November through April. We need volunteers to provide a complete home-cooked meal with vegetables and dessert as well as serve it from 6-8:00 PM. A sign-up sheet is now available at the Welcome Table at the back of Sanctuary.
Contact: Valerie Flower,

UUPLAN (Unitarian Universalist Pennsylvania Legislative Action Network)

UUPLAN is a network of over 6,000 Unitarian Universalists in Pennsylvania that work to shape public policy to achieve more justice and equity.   Sign up to receive action alerts and newsletter. Justice Teams are active in 7 areas: Good Government, Criminal Justice Reform, Economic Justice, Environmental Justice, Gun Violence Protection, Immigration Justice and Reproductive Justice.  Each Justice team convenes monthly  convenes monthly using a video conferencing service and welcomes new members. Our church is involved in anti-gerrymandering work with the Good Government team and Fair Districts PA (FDPA), contact Leroy Forney; and with Criminal Justice Reform, contact Martha Copithorne  Phyllis Belk is our UUPLAN liaison.


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