WIDENING THE CIRCLE
Opportunities abound to serve within our congregation and in the wider community. We recite in our Affirmation each Sunday ‘…Service is our Law’ and strive to live the Affirmation in multiple ways. We call this ‘widening the circle.’ Below are several examples of congregational participation beyond our community. For more opportunities within the congregation, check out our GIVE resources.
The members of the congregation collectively and individually work with many organizations in the community. Of special focus by the congregation are children, domestic violence, and food insecurity.
UUCIP has supported the Dawn Center, the local shelter assisting in domestic abuse and sexual violence cases, for more than 20 years with our financial support and volunteer participation. Volunteers are needed for direct and indirect services to clients.
Hernando Youth Orchestra (HYO) provides a place for young people ages 5-21 to hone their musical skills, gain proficiency in their instrument of choice, and give back to the community through public concert performances. Our congregation helps HYO by providing a place to practice, teachers, instruments and music for the orchestra, as well as serving as hosts for multiple concerts each year.
People Helping People in Hernando County (PHP) is an interfaith community established to provide food, clothing, and other basic necessities to those individuals in Hernando County, Florida, who are hungry or struggling in today’s difficult economic environment. PHP relies entirely on donations and grants from individuals, businesses, religious groups, clubs, and civic organizations to sustain its mission of alleviating hunger in Hernando.
UUCiP has provided appropriate books and computers for the PHP Community Resource Center, which helps individuals who are homeless or struggling to build a brighter future. Members of UUCiP were founders of PHP and continue to volunteer to distribute food.
Nature Coast Community Services Foundation serves the homeless where they live with life supporting food, clothing, shoes, transportation, OTC medicines, water and counselling. NCCSF also spays, neuters and feeds their pets as well as provides homeless individuals with bicycles, prescription eyeglasses and IDs.
The goal of NCCSF is to assist the homeless as they lift themselves out of their poverty and back into being productive members of society. UUCiP members founded NCCSF and actively participate in distributing supplies and services to the homeless of our area.
Unitarian Universalist ( UU) Service Organizations
UU Justice Florida (UUJF) is our statewide justice ministry that brings Unitarian Universalists and UU congregations together to work collectively for social and environmental justice, guided by our faith tradition and working with public interest groups and interfaith partners.
The companion 501c4 organization, the UUJF Action Network, supports or opposes specific legislation and ballot initiatives in Florida as we strive to bring Unitarian Universalist values of compassion, equity, and justice more powerfully into the public square.
UUCiP is a member of UUJF and the UUJF Action Network and several members of the congregation were founding members of UUJF.
UU Ministry for Earth (UUMFE) was formed in 1989 to inspire, facilitate, and support personal, congregational, and denominational practices that honor and sustain the Earth and all beings. The organization has a vision of a world in which reverence, gratitude, and care for each other and for the living Earth are central to the lives of all people.
Resources for members include action alerts, congregational tools like annual programming for one month of programming for Climate Justice and small group workshops, and online tools for study and organizing for climate justice.
UUCiP has several members serving as Directors for UUMFE.
UU Service Committee (UUSC) and our partners advance human rights, dismantle systems of oppression, and uplift the inherent worth and dignity of all people throughout the world. Effective programs of ‘eye-to-eye’ partnerships with grassroots groups have been developed and funded by UUs since 1939. Several members of the UUCiP congregation have serve as volunteer ambassadors for UUSC.
In addition to serving Equal Exchange fair trade coffee at our past (and future) in-person events, UUCiP supports UUSC fundraising by offering the EE coffee for sale ; a portion of each sale goes to on-the-ground organizing by UUSC.
Additional Volunteer Opportunities
In addition to supporting our Partners and UU service organizations, many of our members and friends participate in social activism in a wide variety of areas that reflect our principals and belief in the interdependent web of all existence. For anyone who is interested in becoming involved in our community, we offer these additional suggestions. Several sources of information for volunteering, representing a wide variety of interests, are offered here for your consideration. For all groups, more information is given on their web pages.
Hernando County Animal Services – Brooksville, FL., Volunteers are needed to socialize pets, transport and assist adoption events, help with bathing/grooming, walk dogs an most of all love and play with the animals.
Nature Coast Botanical Gardens – Spring Hill, FL., Plant care and sales volunteers (Cindy Cooley is our UUCiP contact person)
Bayfront Health hospitals – volunteers in Brooksville and Spring Hill, FL
DayStar Life Center – Thrift Store and Food distribution volunteers in Spring Hill, FL
Hernando County Sheriff’s Office – Citizen Volunteer Corps
Clearing houses for multiple volunteer opportunities based on your choice of cities:
News and Announcements
50 Computers Donated to Schools
August 14, 2018
Adapted from an interview with BayNews9 television.
It started as a book drive a year and a half ago to support a local abused women’s shelter. The Unitarian Universalist Church of the Pines in Weeki Wachee had such a great response they wanted to do more. So they started collecting unwanted computers. They removed the donors’ files and software and loaded new software.
“We believe that we are empowered and we’re energized to be in the community and to work in the community,” Chaplain Robert Keim said. “Putting still usable computers in the hands of people who could not afford them was an extension of our service to our community.”
The church collected more than 100 computers—donations from the local community–and set aside 50 for at-risk children of rural Hernando County. Another 10 were set aside to support People Helping People of Hernando County which serves no/low income families when its offices open in the fall of 2018.
“We think that empowering the children with greater educational tools will be meaningful in this world in which we live,” Keim explained.
The church will give the computers to the school district. District officials will then determine which students they’ll go to, but will focus on homeless or low-income families that do not have access to a computer at home. Multi-child households will get priority.
“It is so important to give the children the right basis in life so they can succeed, not only financially but emotionally, socially and spiritually,” said Jules Blazys, a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church who coordinated the donation with the school board.
“These computers can give the children a better education, a better sense of where they are in the world, a better ability to step forward into the technological society in which we live. These computers represent a better chance at opportunity and future for these children,” Keim added.
The church hopes to continue to do drives like this in the future