Social Responsibility Council

Welcome to Social Action

The Council recognizes four basic facets of social  action:

  • Education/Awareness
  • Service
  • Action
  • Dialogue/Reflection

First Parish has always held social action to be one of its most important values. In a recent survey of activity, parishioners reported involvement in nearly sixty organizations, local, regional, and global.Social action programming is coordinated by the Social Responsibility Council which was funded by a vote of the semiannual Parish Meeting held in October, 2001; monies flow to the Council through First Parish’s endowment. The goal of the Council is to act on behalf of the parish to coordinate and fund projects that express Unitarian Universalist values within our community. A by-law establishing the Council was voted at the 2002 Annual Meeting of the parish, and seven members were elected to serve terms ranging from one to three years.

An important initiative of First Parish’s Social Responsibility Council is a program of grant-making and donations to agencies and organizations that represent our core values.

Grants Awarded For 2017-2018 Program Year

FP Prophetic Climate Justice Work ($2,241)– to help provide a stipend for climate justice
organizer, Evan Seitz, to work with the First Parish Climate Justice Group and the entire First
Parish community, and for costs associated with the group’s work. Several other churches also
provide funds towards Evan Seitz’s stipend. Goals include: Increased focus on environmental
justice with a campaign that includes a racial justice and economic justice component,
involvement in Moral Mondays, continuation of support for other congregations in starting
climate justice groups, continuation of support of the Mass Power Forward legislative agenda,
continuation of support for frontline communities resisting the construction of new fossil fuel
infrastructure, continue providing educational and engagement opportunities for the entire First
Parish Community.
Black Lives Matter Cambridge ($250)– to provide financial assistance to Black Lives Matter
Cambridge in holding a June 24, 2017 symposium “Envisioning and Working Towards an
Equitable Future”.
Earth Circles Curriculum ($1,400)– The Earth Circles curriculum (EC) is been being developed
by parishioner Maureen Oates with the goal of helping youth to develop both understanding of
and caring for the natural world we share with all living things. The grant funds are to help
complete the final unit of the curriculum and to discover how the curriculum can be marketed
outside of First Parish.
UU Urban Ministry Community Engagement ($2,500)– The UU Urban Ministry serves as a
bridge between diverse communities, bringing together people from different social and
economic backgrounds for mutually transformative experiences. The grant funds the UUUM’s
community engagement lecture series, named for the late Rev. Jack Mendelsohn, which
furthers the work of bridge-building and support the UU principles that guide their mission.
Bedford Community Table Dinners ($700)– to provide meals for the Thursday Dinners (80-
100 people each time).
True Story Theater: Talking about Death ($300)– to support an event held the evening of
October 25th, 2017 hosted by First Parish and open to the public to support important
conversations about end of life issues that affect us all.
One Book, One Bedford ($600)– to support speaker fees as part “One Book, One Bedford”
community-reading program of John Lewis’s graphic novel trilogy March, co-written by Andrew
Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell.
Milk for Lowell Transitional Living center ($140)– to purchase four gallons of milk to bring to
LTLC on the second Friday of each month – the day First Parish serves dinner.
Display of Two AIDS Memorial Quilt Panels ($225)– to borrow and return the Quilt panels
back to the NAMES Project Foundation in Atlanta, Georgia.
Tenacity Challenge at BHS ($1,000)– to fund a first-place scholarship award for the 7th annual
“LA 2 Tenacity Challenge” sponsored by Bedford High School, The Greater Boston Students of
Color Achievement, Inc. and METCO Directors Association. The Tenacity Challenge is an
academic scholarship competition for Latino and African-American students. The challenge was
held at both Bedford High School and the John Glenn Middle School. First Parish was publicly
recognized within the high school and middle school for its continued support of this event.
UU-United Nations Office ($500)– to support the mission and general operations of the UU-
UNO. The UU-UNO is Unitarian Universalism’s voice at the highest gathering of the world’s
nations and provides a concrete mechanism for UU’s to work toward their 6th principle: the goal
of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all.
Registration fee for UU-UNO seminar ($140)– to partially offset the costs for a parishioner to
attend the UU-UNO Spring Intergenerational Seminar.
Gun Buy-Back Program ($200)– to support the successful gun buy-back program started by
First Parish several years ago and run in coordination with the Bedford Police Department, and
also to support a similar program initiated by High School students in Lowell. The intent is to
provide an incentive for people to turn in unwanted guns, and therefore make the community safer.
Scholarships for Youth Trips to Transylvania ($1,600)– to partially offset the cost of two First
Parish youth to attend the Church’s biennial trip to the location of our Partner Church.
Boston Immigrant Justice Accompaniment Network ($521)– to help seed a bond fund which
is planned to help bond those detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The planned
fund will also make some donations for other legal or family support.