Social Justice Council

Our first minister, Rev. Robert Collyer, was a blacksmith. His anvil, the symbol of our congregation, survived the Chicago fire and is located in our sanctuary. Our church newsletter is called The Anvil; by extension, the Social Justice Council has chosen to call its newsletter The Hammer. Click on the links below to see the web version of The Hammer. If you would like to be added to the Social Justice Council mailing list to receive The Hammer along with other Social Justice updates, please contact




Social Justice Council Structure and Membership

The purpose of the Social Justice Council (SJC) is to promote, support, and facilitate the social justice interests and ministries of the Church, consistent with the Social Principles of the UU Denomination. This work includes being familiar with and providing support and linkage for the Social Justice ministries in existence, identifying new ones, and providing educational and participatory opportunities for members of the congregational community.

Social Justice Council meetings are open to anyone in Second Unitarian Church with interest to attend, and to visitors.
Membership in SJC is open to anyone in the Second Unitarian Church who, in addition, makes a commitment to attend monthly meetings consistently (at least six per year). Only members vote when an official vote is needed, but anyone in attendance is encouraged to participate in discussions.

To facilitate the work of the Social Justice Council, a Leadership Team is elected each year from among the membership: (Current Leadership Team: Chair – Katherine Wolf; Vice Chair – Ashley Boyd; Past Chair – Eugene Horcher; Secretary – Linda Groetzinger, Treasurer – Trixie Kelleghan.)

The Social Justice Council seeks to be familiar with and linked with all the social justice ministries of the congregation, maintaining a supportive and facilitative role.

What are social justice ministries of our congregation? They are varied in focus, type of activity, and nature and level of congregational participation. They include the work “in the world” that puts our faith into action toward significant ameliorating of injustice through both individual relief (charitable work to reduce the suffering of those who experience injustice – like providing meals for the Night Ministry recipients, sending letters of support to incarcerated people), and social change work through political advocacy and community organizing (to change broad unjust systems that create individual suffering like racism, sexism, the prison system, economic injustice, environmental injustice). They can include participating with organizations outside the congregation (such as the Latino Union, the Community Renewal Society, Lake View Action Coalition, Jane Addams Senior Caucus), and activities sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) (such as Social Justice Sunday, and campaigns for ecological justice, water justice, Transylvania Support Ministry, the Katrina Support Ministry). Some social justice work is expressed in 2U’s role in a broader ministry, (e.g., the Night Ministry and Equality Illinois). Some social justice ministries can be one event a year, (such as the GLBTQ Pride Parade and the Disability Pride Parade); other times, social justice work is a response to an emergency (demonstrating against a war, or the deportation of immigrants or budget cuts that unjustly affect the poor and disadvantaged); other times, a ministry entails ongoing organizational participation.

One of the social justice ministries of the Church is the Plate Sharing Program, for which the recruitment and choice of the plate sharing recipients is handled by the Social Justice Council.

The Social Justice Council is open to proposals for new activities, programs, and roles in the world. Social Justice Ministries may be one-time or occasional events, long-term commitments to an organization or a cause, or study of an issue.

Each social justice ministry of the congregation is asked to select a liaison to the Social Council, who would keep other members of the SJC abreast of needs and activities so the SJC can offer assistance or support and help with keeping the congregation informed and as involved as possible.

Participation level of liaisons in SJC would depend upon their wishes and needs: timely attendance is crucial to engage the SJC in assisting with a specific goal or action and liaisons are also welcome to join as full voting members, while representing a specific social justice ministry.

While the SJC is aware that there are many social justice concerns and ministries of the congregation beyond this list, and is seeking information and linkages with all of them, the current Social Justice Focus Areas and their liaisons/ contact persons are:

  • The Night Ministry (Homelessness)
  • Jane Addams Senior Caucus (Community Organizing on Senior Issues)
  • ONE: Northside (North side of Chicago Community Organizing)
  • Environmental Justice
  • Community Renewal Society (Interfaith Organizing on Racial and Economic Justice Issues)
  • Latino Union (Domestic Workers’ and Day Laborers’ Rights/Immigration Justice)
  • Prison Solidarity Ministry
  • Disability Pride Parade
  • LGBT Issues/Marriage Equality
  • Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
  • Plate Sharing (Congregational Giving Program)

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