We at ERUUF make the world a better place through our Social Justice involvement and ministries.
Justice Council Ministries
El Centro Hispano
El Centro Hispano is a grassroots community-based organization dedicated to strengthening the Hispanic/Latino community in the Durham and Chapel Hill area. Education is the cornerstone of El Centro Hispano's work: preparing kids for success, and their parents for today's marketplace. To that end, ERUUF volunteers help Hispanic students in Kindergarten-2nd grade with homework and reading and math skills for 2 hours each Monday evening of the school year.
The ERUUF/Urban Ministries Homeless Action Partnership is one way in which ERUUF serves our low income and homeless neighbors. The work that we do helps change lives through the dedicated service and financial contributions of our members. The programs at Urban Ministries of Durham (UMD) are only possible because of the work of volunteers. UMD relies on over 4000 volunteer hours each year to provide housing, clothing and food. Each year over 200 ERUUF members and friends volunteer at the homeless shelter to support the various programs of UMD.
Justice Work Takes 5 Forms Here
Learning - Increasing congregational awareness and knowledge about issues and opportunities for being involved and how to interpret an issue within the context of liberal religious values,
Serving - Implementing how an Action Group intends to carry out their program of justice ministry,
Transformation - Providing opportunities for participants to increase self-reflection, sensitivity, confidence, ability, and spiritual growth resulting in empowerment and organized ways to create change,
Witness - Sharing the convictions and contributions regarding a particular issue with the wider community, and
Advocacy - Contributing to public awareness or policy solutions by engaging with the legislative process and a wider public.
(compiled from the UUA ‘s Congregational Categories of Engagement and the Justice Transition Task Force summary report).
Justice Action Groups are defined as teams engaging with specific programs, initiatives, services, events, or relationships that are directly involved in justice work. Current examples are the Homeless Action Team, Earth Justice, San Ramon, and others.
Areas of Concern refer to larger categories within which reside specific Justice Action Groups that have common characteristics and intersecting interests. Current categories of Areas of Concern are: Alleviate Poverty, Advance Human Rights, Protect the Earth, Building Beloved Community, Partners for Justice.
A limited number of Areas of Concern have been proposed to sharpen the focus for congregation commitment and understanding and to develop communities of interest wherein partnerships among Justice Action Groups within ERUUF can increase program effectiveness of each group. Although monthly Area of Concern meetings are not envisioned, communication between Action Groups is encouraged.
An Area of Concern Liaison will be selected by members of the Action Groups within each area to serve as a member of the Justice Ministry Executive Committee.
The Justice Ministry Council (JMC) is a plenary group composed of all leaders and members of Justice Action Groups. The Justice Ministry Moderators (co-chairs) convene the Council that meets quarterly to shape Justice Ministry planning, review accomplishments, and discuss justice priorities and specific program matters.
The Justice Ministry Executive Committee (JMEC) is a subset of the Justice Council composed of 5-8 people convened by the Moderators monthly and is composed of coordinators with specific organizational assignments and Area of Concern Liaisons. The Executive Committee is a critical link between the congregation and Justice Ministry Leaders and is responsible for planning, budgeting, reviewing, and green-lighting justice proposals and opportunities.
Justice Ministry Associates are Fellowship members and families who have expressed an active interest in Justice Ministry activities. Justice Action Groups will alert this growing cadre of members to specific needs and opportunities. They may serve as consultants during planning periods and participate in justice program reviews. In addition, Associates may be invited to undertake limited assignments, give presentations, and offer testimony about justice activities.
Justice Ministry Council (JMC)
The ERUUF Justice MinistryCouncil coordinates action and activities for social, economic, and earth justice. The council is an umbrella committee, comprised of representatives from ERUUF Action Groups and other interested ERUUFians working to live the mission of the Fellowship. The Council meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 7 pm. The meetings are open to all interested ERUUFians.
Once a month, ERUUF designates the collection plate offering from a specified Sunday to support justice work at ERUUF and in the broader community. For six Sundays of the year, the plate is given to the ERUUF Justice Council to fund the various justice ministries that the Council has chosen for continued long-term focus at ERUUF.
Stories of Justice
Planning & Budget Coordinator for Justice Ministry
The Justice Ministry is looking for a new Planning and Budgeting Coordinator to start in December. This volunteer position helps Justice Action Groups set out their goals and identify needed resources for the year, submits a Justice Ministry budget request as part of the ERUUF budget process, authorizes reimbursement requests for justice-related activities, and coordinates financial matters with the ERUUF Director of Administration and Bookkeeper.
The bulk of the time commitment is in January and February, coordinating the Justice Action Group planning & budgeting process and submitting the overall budget request. Beyond that, other intermittent tasks include staying informed on the ERUUF budget process, approving reimbursement requests as they come in, and providing a budget update at the monthly Justice Ministry Executive Committee meeting, which is on the second Tuesday of the month at 7 pm.
I served in this role for the past year, and am very willing to work with the new coordinator for the first few months to help get them oriented. This is a rewarding position in the Justice Ministry; come help us do good work to advance justice issues and deepen spiritual connections within ERUUF!
Contact Aspen Romeyn or 919-259-3900 if you're interested or if you have any questions.
Durham CAN Promotes Affordable Housing Downtown
Durham Congregations, Associations and Neighborhoods (CAN) has been advocating for affordable housing on property next to the Durham Station Transportation Center downtown (on Jackson Street). Members of CAN attended a Durham City Council meeting September 8th at which the City Manager presented the process for selection of a developer for the parcel. Jennifer McDuffie was one of those who attended and provided information for this report.
Self-Help Credit Union has indicated an interest in helping create a mixed-income development, where at least 80% of the units on will be available for renters making at or below 60% of the area median income. The city has opted for this type of development. Self-Help and others clarified that, since Durham qualifies as a small city, the maximum for this parcel would be 120 affordable units, not 80 as some had thought.
The city will soon publish the RFQ (Request for Qualifications) from developers. This is a more flexible process than RFPs with the city and developer much more like partners through the process and not as much nailed down in the contract. According to the city’s Community Development Department, the timeline would include beginning construction in August 2019.
Durham CAN urges Durham residents to:
Thank the Durham City Manager for all work that has gone into developing a transparent RFQ,
Ensure proposed RFQ process calls for the promised percentage of affordable housing to Durham residents,
Ensure public funds are used to subsidize affordable housing, and not to pay for market rate units,
Remind City officials that affordable housing downtown depends on the vision and action of our elected bodies.
Jackson Street actually represents a very rare and important opportunity for the City to help ensure that downtown housing is not just for the well-to-do.
This year Pridefest is particularly important with a high level of anti-LGBTQ bigotry fed by certain politicians and discriminatory laws such as HB2. Triangle area UUs are joining together to create a float for the Pride Parade and having a booth at the festival to demonstrate that communities of faith can be affirming and welcoming.
Durham CAN Turns Up the Heat on Developer and City Officials
ERUUFians braved the heat Wednesday to support a call for community action concerning the abandoned Fayette Place property in Durham.
Durham Congregations, Associations and Neighborhoods (CAN) held a rally at the Fayette Place location (near the corner of East Umstead Street and Merrick Street) to demand city leaders turn 20 acres of urban wasteland into a community asset and to present a vision for building affordable housing on the land.
Multicultural Film Series
This summer the Multicultural Team provided a series of thought-provoking discussions about race and culture in America, the importance of diversity, and how we make progress toward beloved community. Here is the list of films that were screened: