UU Urban Ministry 6/20/10

UU Urban Ministry

What is the UUUM?

The Rev. Joseph Tuckerman, a Unitarian minister, created a ministry at large to work in low-income neighborhoods of Boston in 1826. Eight years later, several Boston Unitarian congregations organized the Benevolent Fraternity of Unitarian Churches to financially support the ministry at large and to lend other support by their involvement. Today, the Benevolent Fraternity goes by the name Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry (UUUM).  Nearly 60 Unitarian Universalist congregations pay dues and make contributions as supporting members of the Urban Ministry. Belmont is proud to be one of these congregations.

Today, the Urban Ministry’s programs include:

Renewal House, a shelter for battered women and their children;

United Soles, support groups for men in transition;

Roxbury Youth Programs, for students from elementary school through high school. These programs include mentoring, tutoring, and enrichment.

The First Church in Belmont Support of the UUUM

The UUUM is one of the social service groups that is the recipient of the “loose change” offering on certain announced Sundays. The UUUM was also a recipient of the Christmas offering and a beneficiary of the Second Friday Coffeehouse.

A group meets most Tuesday nights in Belmont to make quilts to be given to the children as they arrive at Renewal House. New members of all levels of experience are always welcome at this group.

The families arriving at Renewal House come with few possessions and limited resources. With the assistance of The First Church congregation, the quilt group assembles Welcome Bags filled with basic items, such as shampoo and laundry detergent, to be given to the women as they arrive at the shelter. Each bag is decorated with a quilt square to personalize the gift.

This year we have been working more closely with Renewal House. We invited the children to attend Santa’s Workshop at our church. Five children enjoyed the afternoon of crafts. We are considering providing Santa’s Workshop in Roxbury next year, for the children who participate in the youth program “Stand High Stand United”.

With the help of the congregation we also provided a monetary gift, a baby quilt and some baby gifts to a Mom who delivered her son while living at the shelter. This month we are providing a quilt and bottles to another mom-to-be.

We have been responding to request for items the shelter needs. Furniture and kitchenware are among the requests we have filled. We are also helping deliver furniture to families who have moved on from the shelter into homes of their own. Thanks to Michael Flamang for using his truck for these deliveries.

The UUUM was involved in the Herman Taylor III Peace March as a result of our efforts to bring these two groups together. Several of us joined the march.

Patricia Garcia and Nancy Davis envisioned offering English as a Second Language courses at Renewal House.  This program has grown and now volunteers from other churches have joined them to teach at the UUUM.  Currently there are more than ten women enrolled coming from different shelters, we offer English as a Second Language, Computer Literacy, and typing.  This summer we will put together a group of volunteers to provide day care while moms are taking their lessons.  Classes are offered every Monday and Wednesday from 10 am to 12 pm.  Volunteers are always welcome.

Ongoing Opportunities

We are always looking for ways for The First Church in Belmont to support this outreach to the inner city. In June we will meet with the new volunteer coordinator and we expect to learn of many opportunities to assist the UUUM.

For further information on the Urban Ministry, contact Gladys Unger, Miriam Baker, or Patricia Garcia at pgarcia@uubelmont.org.