MUUSJA Builds Capacity for Justice Work

We equip Unitarian Universalists to do powerful, sustainable, accountable, spiritually-rooted work — both locally and in the broader public sphere.

WHAT WE DO

Is your congregation struggling to integrate social justice work into the broader life of the congregation? Are your social justice leaders burned out? Does your social justice team want to build more effective organizing skills, or connect more deeply with other faith communities and justice organizations in your area? MUUSJA can help!

Too often, our congregations feel disconnected and ineffective in their social justice work. MUUSJA offers consulting services to Minnesota UU congregations looking to:

  • integrate justice work into their mission and practices
  • train leaders in best practices for congregational social justice organizing
  • articulate a deeper sense of how our UU principles and values call us to justice work
  • build dynamic, sustainable partnerships with community and interfaith organizations

MUUSJA staff is available for phone and in-person consultation, offered on a sliding scale fee basis depending on congregational needs and size. We will work with your congregation to plan a customized leadership retreat, help you work through a one-time issue, or engage in an ongoing consulting relationship.

Fees are based on congregational budget and membership size. Contact MUUSJA’s Executive Director for more details.

UU social justice leaders are invited to gather virtually to build relationships across congregations and interest areas, to connect into pressing social justice issues, and to help each other with leadership questions. Regular calls are convened by Pastor Danny Givens and often include guest movement leaders speaking about their work, faith, and struggle. Visit our calendar for upcoming events. Find details and recordings from previous calls here.

MUUSJA offers small group coaching and support for justice leaders in area UU congregations. Leaders, both lay and clergy, convene for monthly calls to workshop what’s happening in our congregations, ask for advice from one another, and provide spiritual support and sustenance for those of us leading justice work in our local communities.  Contact Pastor Danny Givens, MUUSJA’s Statewide Organizer, if you are interested in joining these monthly calls.

In the small group ministry style, these online groups are a space for justice leaders to build relationships, find practices of renewal, connect to the sources of our UU faith, and process the justice work you are doing. A group meets once a month for four sessions by video conference using Zoom. Because we encourage deep sharing and listening, participants in a group commit to attending the full series.

 

Soul Matters

In this style of covenant group, each monthly session explores a different spirituality-related theme through the lens of social justice. Themes are drawn from the Soul Matters program and adapted with permission for our use.  Between meetings, you will receive readings, reflections, and questions to ponder related to the month’s theme. Then at the meeting we will discuss, reflect, and learn together.

Groups form based on interest. Please complete this covenant group form and we will contact you when a new group will be formed.

MUUSJA invites each area UU congregation to identify a MUUSJA Liaison. This strengthens congregational connections to MUUSJA and helps congregations better connect with one another.

MUUSJA Liaisons have regular direct contact with our Executive Director and staff. Liaisons will be asked to share information about MUUSJA and our work with the congregation through a variety of communication channels. The Liaison will also share information about their congregation’s social justice work with MUUSJA. We are particularly interested in hearing your success stories and events that are open to UUs across the state.

Contact MUUSJA’s Executive Director if you are interested in serving as a Liaison.

MUUSJA supports area congregations interested in making connections, building skills, and acting together for justice. Contact Pastor Danny Givens, MUUSJA’s Statewide Organizer if you are interested in organizing a cluster gathering at your congregation.

Our next Cluster Gathering will be for congregations in Southern Minnesota!  We’re in the process of working with the Nora UU, Rochester, Mankato, Winona, and Northfield congregations to plan a gathering for Fall 2019.  Please contact Pastor Danny Givens for more information. 

MUUSJA offers a variety of thematic, one-time workshops for congregations, social justice teams, or regional clusters of congregations.  Workshops are generally led by MUUSJA’s Executive Director or our Statewide Organizer, and take place in your congregation based on your schedule.  Workshops can be booked as one-off experiences, or we can offer a package of several sequenced workshops over a period of time.  In general, MUUSJA covers the cost of transportation and lodging; the congregation is responsible for the workshop fee.  Most workshops can be booked in conjunction with a Sunday service, led by our Executive Director or our Statewide Organizer, for an additional fee. 

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Have a skill to share? Want to connect with other Unitarian Universalists while also working for justice? MUUSJA needs YOU! Below are ways you can support MUUSJA’s mission to “unleash courageous leadership and collective power to build a just and loving world.”

Please contact us if you are interested in any of the following positions. Include your name and the job position you are applying for as well as why you’d like to volunteer for that particular position and any relevant experience you have.

PrideFest Coordination Team

Do you love a parade? Do you love to proclaim the affirmation and inclusion of Unitarian Universalism? Are you a proud member or supporter of the LGBTQIA community? Then we need YOU!

MUUSJA serves as the convener for the UU parade contingent and UU booth each year at the Twin Cities Pride Festival and the Ashley Rukes Pride Parade. We are currently seeking volunteers to help us coordinate with congregations, marshal our marchers, and design and staff our presence in the UU booth. Whether you’re a masterful logistics coordinator, or you have bold ideas for fun costumes, great message signs, or anything else, we welcome your participation! Please email Rev. Ashley Horan.

Grant Writers and Researchers

Do you yearn to help us fund bold new programs, and resource our vision? Can you present a compelling case for funding faith-based social justice work? Are you connected to funding sources and foundations in Minnesota and beyond? Are you a master of fundraising? We need your skills!

More than a quarter of MUUSJA’s annual budget comes from grant revenue. Volunteer grant writers will be in contact with the MUUSJA Executive Director and the Board’s Fundraising Task Force to research funders, identify potential grant opportunities, and draft proposals. Prior non-profit grant writing experience is preferred.

One-Time Opportunities

Are your talents organizing events, hosting a social gathering, or extending hospitality? MUUSJA events, such as fundraisers, workshops, etc. often need volunteers serving in various upfront and behind the scenes capacities. This could include a wide variety of roles from greeting to food service to decorations to preparation and cleanup to home hospitality.

Oral History Interviewers

The goal of the MUUSJA oral history interview is to document an individual’s own life’s social justice experiences, memories of an event, personal reflections or even of another person as seen through the lens of Unitarian Universalism. This includes stories from UU congregants around the state who have paved the way in social activism as well as others whose more recent experiences have transformed their lives. This is an opportunity to not only learn from our predecessors and contemporaries, but to honor and celebrate their activism.

It begins with an audio or video recording of a first person account made by an interviewer with an interviewee both of whom have the conscious intention of creating a permanent record to contribute to an understanding of their social justice past. A verbal document, the oral history, results from this process and will be preserved and made available in different forms to be shared with other UUs around the state.

If you are unfamiliar with an oral history process, you will receive training on best practices for oral history. Interviewers must be attentive, excellent listeners, have a critical ear, are respectful and polite but searching! The beauty of oral history is that it can capture the unexpected as long as you have the patience and willingness to see where the digressions go!

An invitation will be sent to each UU congregation requesting that names of those who are willing to be interviewed be provided to our Oral Historians. The name of the interviewee, the number of years as a member of Unitarian Universalism, and a general statement of their account will be requested. Such information will be helpful in creating a variety of histories.

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