Social Justice Initiatives at HVUUC

Please contact the social justice committee at SocialJustice@hvuuc.org if you are interested in volunteering, donating, developing a social justice initiative, or serving on the committee. We can get you connected!

Economic Justice

Interfaith Hospitality Network/Family Promise Network (IHN/FPN) in Kingsport and Johnson City—For more than 13 years HVUUC volunteers have shopped, cooked dinner, and acted as overnight chaperons two nights per quarter for IHN/FPN, which helps families regain their housing, their independence, and their dignity—while continuing to live as families.

HVUUC Food Pantry—HVUUC stocks a small food pantry in the closet in the foyer. Members and friends who need a hand are welcome to take food as needed. The minister also offers food to people who come to the church for help.

Food offerings benefit Hunger First in Kingsport and HVUUC’s food pantry. To participate, simply bring nonperishable food to the service and place it in the bin in front of the pulpit during the opening hymn.

Kitchen of Hope—Volunteers prepare and serve supper for up to 150 people at the Kitchen of Hope in Kingsport the first Monday of every month.

Gift Card Giving—Congregants can buy grocery cards to donate to our various partners in alleviating hunger. There is a box to collect such donations on the grocery card table.

Jonesborough Food Pantry—Volunteers stock shelves and help distribute food 6 times a month. Some volunteers make a monthly commitment while others fill in as needed or answer special calls for assistance.

Habitat for Humanity—Volunteers work on repairing and/or building houses for low-income clients in Kingsport.

Appalachia Service Project—The youth group spearheaded working with the Appalachia Service Project last year. This coming summer they plan to do similar work with a local nonprofit and encourage other congregants to join them.

Second Step—$600 can send a young woman in South Sudan to college or a trade school for one year. For the past two years our congregation has provided this opportunity to Jane Auda.

The Harvest of Hope Community Garden—Volunteers plant, water, weed, and harvest several raised-bed gardens from March through December. The copious produce is donated to Hunger First in Kingsport.

Kiva Microloans: The Gift That Keeps Giving—Since 2007 HVUUC has made loans to more than 55 small businesses around the world, primarily to women who farm or own tiny businesses.

Panera Bread’s Day-end Dough-Nation program—Congregants pick up day-old bread from Panera in Kingsport and deliver it to Hunger First or Kitchen of Hope.

One Acre Cafe VolunteersOne Acre Café in Johnson City operates on a “pay-what-you-can” system. Volunteers, including several of our congregants, cook, clean, and wait tables. 

Environmental Justice

Green Interfaith Network, Inc. (GINI)—GINI is a regional not-for-profit interfaith organization founded and developed by hopeful people focused on environmental stewardship and eco-justice.

Green Arts Festival—Offers local vendors an opportunity to sell independently produced gifts before the winter holidays and raises money to help support green initiatives on our campus.

Civil and Religious Justice

Welcoming Congregation—At the annual congregational meeting in 2010 Holston Valley Unitarian Universalist Church voted to become an intentionally Welcoming Congregation. We welcome all who come for fellowship in the spirit of love and mutual respect.

United Religions Initiative—Several members of our congregation have been involved with this local interfaith organization that builds bridges of understanding and compassion in our community.

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense—Several of our congregants are highly involved in the local chapter of Moms Demand Action, which demands action from state and federal legislators, companies, and educational institutions to establish common-sense gun reform.

We have been honored to host the local Transgender Day of Remembrance in our sanctuary for the past two years.

HVUUC has staffed a table at the Pride Community End of Summer Festival for the last two years.

For at least 8 years HVUUC has joyfully marched in the local Martin Luther King Day parades in Kingsport or Johnson City.

Reproductive Justice

Comprehensive sexuality education—HVUUC offers the Our Whole Lives (OWL) comprehensive sexuality education program for grades 7–12. OWL equips participants with accurate, age-appropriate information in six subject areas: human development, relationships, personal skills, sexual behavior, sexual health, and society and culture.

Sexual Health Week at ETSU—HVUUC will have an active presence at Sexual Health Week in February. OWL facilitators will offer a workshop, Rev. Briere will participate in a panel discussion on religion and sexuality, and volunteers will staff an informational table.

Programs and Calls to Action

The Social Justice Committee provides programming and calls to action in response to current events, legislation, and social justice issues in our world. For example, we have facilitated:

  • The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Speak Up! and Speak Up at School! workshops.
  • Films and programs regarding immigration and prison reform issues.
  • A gun violence workshop and cyber rally.
  • A phone bank to oppose Amendment 1 to the Tennessee constitution.
  • (Coming in February) Ten Ways to Fight Hate, a Southern Poverty Law Center workshop.
  • Letter-writing campaigns regarding proposed legislation that is counter to our principles.
  • Congregants joining Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ-supportive walks and rallies.
  • Annual worship services that highlight what we do and where we are going with social justice.

Social Justice Committee Mission

The Social Justice Committee mobilizes the energies and resources of the church and congregants towards social justice initiatives by encouraging and supporting the initiatives and their leaders, publicizing initiatives within and outside the church, providing educational opportunities for congregants and the community, connecting people with similar passions, and creating opportunities for interfaith involvement.