Faith in action
“We strive to follow the path of Jesus by loving our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus’ life reflects the words of the prophet Micah – calling us to “love kindness, do justice and walk humbly with God.” Micah 6-8.
ORUCC is committed to progressive Christian witness and service for justice, love of neighbor, and care of God’s creation. We are learning and growing in this work for compassion and justice. We share resources and time with neighbors in need. We advocate for a just and sustainable society, in which all people and all creation can thrive. We ally with others in the community and wider church.
Here are some ways we are putting our faith into action:
The COVID pandemic and the consequent recession have caused great suffering while highlighting and aggravating underlying socio-economic and racial inequities in our society. ORUCC, with community partners, is providing emergency housing assistance, food and household essentials, and other help for struggling neighbors. Knowing that charity is necessary but not sufficient, we also advocate and support work for justice and system change.
Homes for All
Many people in our community are struggling to get and keep stable housing, given the gap between high rents and prevailing wage structures. Our faith calls us to be part of an effective solution to help these neighbors. We seek to be part of a broad community solution to make sure all people have homes.
Our church has a long history of welcoming children and supporting housing for people in need. In 2018, we initiated Heart Room as a new way to live these gospel values. Heart Room helps families with young children find and keep stable housing as a platform to thrive. Together with community partners, we empower families and provide support so they can give their children a better chance to grow up safe, healthy, happy and successful.
Democracy needs broad participation to ensure that elected leaders are held accountable for protecting the rights and wellbeing of everyone in all our communities. Yet 40% of eligible voters did not vote in the 2016 elections, because they faced obstacles to voting or believed that voting didn’t matter. Faith communities, including ORUCC, played a vital role in the recent Presidential election. Local voter turnouts in November 2020 were 80% across Dane County and 75% in the City of Madison.
Care of Creation
ORUCC has a long-time commitment to care for the environment as a priority. Our Care of Creation Study Action Group has organized worship, education, service and advocacy opportunities to engage the congregation in both learning and action. We ground this work in our love of God’s creation, and share opportunities to enjoy nature, and to learn and work together.
The ORUCC congregation adopted a resolution in 2017 that declared:
“As a community of faith…committed to justice, and in solidarity with our undocumented brothers and sisters whose lives and families are being torn apart by our country’s immigration policies and enforcement action, we…declare ourselves to be a Sanctuary Congregation. We commit to engage in support, advocacy and service as best we are able to our immigrant neighbors, in collaboration with the interfaith community and the broader Dane Sanctuary network. Included in this commitment is the willingness to provide physical sanctuary as the need arises.”
The racial justice mission team has the goal of helping our church become more intentionally anti-racist in its practices. Many church members of have worked for racial justice as individuals over the years in many ways, and many have confronted issues of racism while working to address economic inequality and injustice. In collaboration with other mission teams in the church, we combine critical self-reflection with education about current issues, diverse perspectives, and the work of others in our community as we seek to discern what else God is calling us to do to promote racial justice.
Veggie Village and Food Donations
Our church’s Veggie Village, the vegetable garden on the grounds of ORUCC, is tended by Sunday School children, adult church members, and neighbors. Volunteers plant, weed, and harvest produce. It provides a connection with nature and the life cycle, a connection with one another, and great outdoor exercise. Some of the veggies go to garden tenders. During the summer, Sunday School children harvest ripened produce and then buzz around the kitchen turning it into snacks for church members to enjoy during coffee hour. A good portion of the garden is set aside to feed our neighbors in need. Since 2009, ORUCC volunteers have planted, weeded, watered and harvested produce, then taken it weekly to a nearby church’s food pantry.