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Social Justice and Outreach

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    One of the more visible functions of Outreach is organizing projects for service to the community, a function facilitated by the spirit of volunteerism that runs deep in our church. This spirit of volunteerism was demonstrated by the volunteers who signed on for our annual January service at the Holy Grill, the lunch-time program provided by the Interfaith Federation of Greater Baton Rouge in the Zion City community of North Baton Rouge.  Although our week of service was curtailed due to the deep-freeze that covered the city and much of the state, Dave Besse, Suzanne Besse, Delores Dyer, Calvin Fair, Sandy Hubbard, Gail Johnson, Ron Juneau,  David Lindenfeld, Joy McCord, Sam McCord, Joe Mondello, Henry Tillman, Janene Wacker, Jane Webb, Jean Witherow, and Donna Yelverton  stood ready to serve on behalf of our church. Thanks, faithful volunteers. Our next scheduled service at the Holy Grill will be the week following Memorial Day, when the weather is certain to be more favorable and our regular and new volunteers are certain to sign on to serve. 

    Our service project this month will be February 27, when our volunteers will be the "Manna Givers" for the lunch-time meal that is provided each day at the St. Vincent de Paul Day Shelter.  Women and children who sleep in SVDP's Sweet Dreams Shelter are joined at the Day Shelter by women who sleep at the shelter at St. Agnes Catholic Church. The women spend the daytime hours learning life skills like money management, how to prepare for a job interview, computer skills for seeking employment online, healthy living, and other skills in preparation for their return to a safe living environment.  "Manna Givers" help to extend the services provided by the Shelter, and are warmly welcomed as they serve and inter-act with the women and children.

~Becky Cureau, Director of Outreach 

    Our shared offering for February is Louisiana Bucket Brigade (LABB), an environmental health and justice organization working with communities that neighbor the state's oil refineries and chemical plants.  It uses grassroots action to create an informed, healthy society that holds the petrochemical industry and government accountable for pollution.

    The EBRLA Days for Girls Team will begin meeting in mid-to-late February to work on making sustainable feminine hygiene kits.  Marcia Shannon has purchased two new or barely used machines, but still needs two to three more machines and at least 2 sergers.  If anyone has these items and would like to donate them to the group for its work, please contact Marcia or Sylvia Martinez.  

    Together Baton Rouge has postponed the January IAF training until May 10-12 due to the unexpected snow and freezing conditions of January 18-21.  Attending from our congregation will be Mija Thompson, Janet Moulder and Betty Powers.  The next Tuesday Luncheon will be at St. Paul's Catholic Church on Gus Young February 6.  The main focus of the organization right now is encouraging the various member organizations to run house meetings in order to better touch base with our membership on interests, passions, needs, and ideas.  Each member organization of the TBR has been asked to run house meetings for its members.  We need to set a time in late February or in March to do this work.

    Despite freezing temperatures, the work of the Walls Project MLK Festival of Service went on and many UCBRs participated.  There was a great turnout on Monday, January 15, of over 2000 people working to bring a finish to this year's task in Scotlandville.  Go to the website for the wonderful pictures and consider donating toward next year's event.

    The "Next Step" Chronology committee has continued its work on pushing that project closer to a completed format.  They will meet in February to determine if the status of that document is ready for a final editing. 

    The Beloved Conversations Workshop 2018 is scheduled for the February 23-24 weekend.  This will be UCBR's third year and the focus of this study and the discussions will be upon the internal state of each participant with respect to race and oppression.  The continued work of the additional eight weeks will be a small group ministry format with directors for each of these groups. See page 7 for more details.

    The Foundation for Louisiana (FFL) aims to transform the way racial equity is perceived and addressed in Louisiana.  They are bringing the LEAD Training to Baton Rouge as an opportunity to prepare community leaders to take on Housing Equity and Police Reform.  It will be a full, four-day training with a willingness to set aside other obligations and focus on the work.  The training teaches how to build effective social movements.  This is the commitment they are looking for and it seems a worthy opportunity for members of UCBR willing to work on this. The dates are Feb. 19-22, 2018.  The YWCA is working with FFL on this local training and you may access the application to attend at www.ywca-br.org/lead.

    The next meeting for the Social Justice Team will be Sunday, February 4, 2018 from 12:45 - 1:45. 

~Jane Webb, Co-Chair with Bobby Thompson, Director of Social Justice