Tend the Spark, Carry the Flame

 

Behind the scenes at UUCT and Beyond

By Jennifer Carver

Several areas that have a great impact on our UUCT community and beyond are our UUCT Membership activities, the UU the Vote effort, and our Share the Plate program. While our membership activities provide opportunities for UUCT guest, members, and friends to feel a sense of welcoming and belonging, UU the Vote and Share the Plate provide ways to UUCTers to get involved making a difference.

Over the past year, our Membership ministry has hosted various opportunities for welcoming and connecting and has also worked behind the scenes. Welcoming and connecting with guests, facilitating newcomer gatherings, compiling new member bios and photos, coordinating new member ceremonies, and publishing church directory updates with the help of our office administrator – these activities are visible examples of the membership work. A welcome team is being organized to connect in more depth with newcomers who attend our Zoom services and will continue when we gather in person again. While our Sunday greeters have had a break during this virtual time, they will be back in place to welcome you back. Much work goes on behind the scenes as well. During the Zoom services, a faithful volunteer has noted attendance each Sunday, so we can make sure we connect with those we are missing. The membership coordinator and office administrator keep up with the membership database and mailing lists to make sure we can reach everyone. All these membership activities serve us well when we need to know how everyone is doing and identify ways to connect. Throughout the pandemic a Membership Outreach Team has been coordinating our efforts to reach out to our most socially-isolated members and friends.

UU the Vote is a UUA-supported effort to live our Fifth principle calling for “the use of the democratic process…in the society at large,” focusing on voter registration, election reform, protecting voting rights and democracy, and Get-Out- the-Vote drives. Over the last year, the major effort was for democracy and support of electoral justice in the 2020 elections. UUCTers leaned into this effort and sent nearly 5,000 postcards to a variety of voters in several states including Florida, Georgia, Arizona, and Texas. Generally, these voters were groups that have been suppressed in the past. The postcards included voting facts and encouraged them to make a plan to vote. This effort provided simple ways UUCTers could get involved from home and make a difference — UU the Vote efforts helped increase voter turnout in key states.

UUCT’s Share the Plate program is an annual effort that supports various types of organizations and funds, including local agencies, statewide organizations, UU organizations, and UUCT funds and programs. At each service, attendees can contribute funds to that month’s Share the Plate recipient. During in-person services, one half of the cash received is given to the Share the Plate recipient (plus any designated gifts). Each year, the Social Justice Committee coordinates the nomination and selection of the Share the Plate recipients for the next fiscal year. Our Share the Plate recipients for 2020-2021 included the following: Kearney Center, The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center, Second Harvest of the Big Bend, Grace Mission, Manna on Meridian, Unitarian Universalist Association Office at the United Nations (UU-UNO), Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC), Kisii Kenya Nest Way School, Humanists of Tallahassee, Leon Fruit and Nut Exchange, Starr King School for the Ministry, UU Ministry for the Earth, ReThink Energy Florida, Florida People’s Advocacy Center, and Tallahassee Food Network, UUCT’s Mountain Scholarship Fund, UUCT’s Playground Improvement Fund, and Minister’s Discretionary Fund. We are proud to provide support for these important programs.

We hope we’ve highlighted some ways you can get involved with UUCT and help us connect with each other and live our UU principles. These are just more ways we Tend the Spark and Carry the Flame at UUCT.