Congregational Workings


Social Justice Charter

General Purpose: First Parish’s Social Justice Committee is the central resource and conduit for individual and collective endeavors as our congregation challenges the excesses and injustices of our time. The Social Justice Committee serves the congregation as a clearinghouse for individuals and groups working to live their faith through ameliorating, addressing, and/or eradicating forces that threaten human dignity.

Committee Membership: The committee consists of the chair(s) plus 3-5 adult members. In addition, one or two youth representatives participate. Membership on the Social Justice Committee happens through election by the congregation at the annual meeting or approved by the Parish Committee at the request of the Social Justice Committee chair(s). Youth Group representatives join the committee through a process involving the Youth Group Coordinator. Youth members are full contributors, although not added to the socialjustice @ mailing list.

Specific duties

  • Administer Giving First program.
  • Coordinate Living Our Faith and Shinn services.
  • Hold annual Social Justice Pot Luck.
  • Support working groups and individual projects both logistically and financially, as possible.
  • Promote opportunities for social justice/social action work in the community.
  • Raise operating funds annually through Pie Palace.
  • Provide financial support on behalf of the church for UU Urban Ministry, Interfaith Power, Arlington MLK Dinner, and HCA Annual Walk.
  • Provide one member delegate to UU Urban Ministry.
  • In accordance with the First Parish Policy on Public Witness and Social Action, provide consultation and coordination for Social actions proposed by members of the congregation.

Annual Objectives and Mission Linkage

  • Provide high caliber Shinn and Living our Faith Services.
  • Raise funds through the Pie Palace.
  • Continue to work on ways to better communicate within the congregation, including updating our brochure and establishing a calendar of events for all social justice work in the church.
  • Be present for fledgling work done by Arlington churches.
  • Use Giving First as a way to have our church community know about other work in the world.
  • Continue to connect to working groups; hoping to provide a Social Justice calendar of events.
  • Requests for First Parish endorsement of positions on causes or participation in activism will be processed in accordance with the First Parish Policy on Public Witness and Social Action.

Outcome Measurements:

We have no metrics. We measure our success by:

  • Having Pie Palace not only raise funds but create community.
  • Being known in the church and increasingly outside of the church as a group committed to participating in social action.
  • Getting positive feedback after Shinn and Living our Faith services.

Annual budget and spending authorities:

Currently there is about $4,100 for social justice spending in the Trust funds. We also fundraise through Pie Palace ($1250 for 2014-15). These funds support any funding requests from working groups or individuals. We have also used these funds to support the speaker for the Shinn service and for donations on behalf of the church for specific fundraisers. In 2013/2014 this included the Arlington Gun Buyback event, MLK dinner, Affordable Housing Walk of Arlington, and supporting the Thompson School April vacation lunch program. All this is separate from First Parish's operating budget. Authority to Office/Treasurer from SJC Chair(s).

Reporting requirements

  • Write for the annual report.
  • Provide weekly announcements for Giving First.
  • Use the physical bulletin board in the vestry as well as the Social Justice web presence to connect congregants to information, events, and each other.

Authorities Reserved to the Parish Committee

  • Second collection plate
  • Special requests (e.g., Renewal House @ Christmas)

Relationship to Professional Staff:

  • Coordinate with the minister on worship and interfaith work and general goals for social justice work in the congregation.
  • Work with the office and treasurer to make sure announcements are timely and checks are sent to appropriate organizations.
  • Coordinate activities with the director of religious education to make SJ work more intergenerational.

Chairperson(s)’ Role and Responsibility

  • Lead the committee in understanding and executing its charge in service to the mission of the congregation.
  • Be in touch with active working groups.
  • Ensure that First Parish has a delegate to the UU Urban Ministry


    630 MASSACHUSETTS AVENUE   ♦   ARLINGTON, MASSACHUSETTS 02476   ♦   781-648-3799

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