Living Our Values
SEE JUSTICE: Social, Environmental, Economic Justice
- Black Lives Matter
- Northwoods as a Sanctuary Church
- Northwoods as a Welcoming Congregation
- Sharing our Plate
- Ongoing Collections
Northwoods Vision Statement:
We will be a place of transformation. We will transform our community through intentional inclusion, becoming stronger in our diversity. We will transform our world into a kind, humane and just place through our work outside these walls. We will ourselves be transformed by the work we do, the love we show to each other, and the spiritual challenges we set for ourselves.
SEE Justice Forums
Join us every fourth Sunday of the month for SEE Justice updates from program leaders. Time is 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm. These groups will meet in the “digital sanctuary,” using the same Zoom link we use for worship: https://zoom.us/my/northwoodsuu. (Meeting ID: 766 833 5778).
UPDATE: UU Afghan Support Effort
Our Afghan family of eight is beginning to settle in. I want to thank all of you who have offered financial support. If others would like to contribute you can make a check out to Northwoods with the memo: Afghan Support. If you give online please note that it is for the Afghan Support.
Our number one and most urgent task is teaching this family English. Emerson UU has put together eight volunteers with ESL experience. They are setting up classes two days a week.
In addition they are looking for some donated IPads to facilitate their English learning. There are several YouTube programs that teach English courses to Pashto speakers.
Again, thank you. If you would like to be a part of our UU Afghan Support Team please let Greg McDonell know and he will add you to the team mailing list.
Our Reproductive Justice team delivered the March 28, 2021 Sunday service. To meet the team and watch the portions of the service, visit click below to see Reflections by the Reproductive team:
The Reproductive team is also watching and advocates for and against particular abortion bills, offered the UUA Reproductive Justice curriculum, hosted book, movie and documentary discussions related to Reproductive Justice, and continue to advocate and learn. The Lilith Fund and the Houston Support Access network have been our Share the Plate recipients.
Songs for the service were written and performed by Northwoods Musicians.
Northwoods as a Sanctuary Church
Northwoods Unitarian Universalist Church of The Woodlands has become a Sanctuary Church, joining some eight hundred churches across the nation in affirming the inherent dignity and worth of all people. The Northwoods congregation approved the move at its May 19, 2019 Annual Meeting and held a press conference to make the announcement.
An estimated 500,000 plus undocumented persons live in the greater Houston area. Northwoods’ minister, Rev. Sarah Prickett, said, “Our church draws upon the words of holy writings that speak about how a faith community, welcomes the stranger in its midst.” The church emphasized it will act in plain sight in giving sanctuary to someone who, if deported, will likely face persecution or even death.
The Sanctuary Movement is a growing movement of faith and immigrant communities protecting and standing with immigrants facing deportation. Members pledge to protect immigrant families who face unjust deportation. Northwoods Unitarian Universalist Church joins the many religious leaders, congregations, and faith-based organizations of all denominations who are part of the Movement.
Since declaring Sanctuary we have received an inspiring amount of support from the community. If you have questions about what it means to be a Sanctuary Church, click here.
If you are interested in joining this effort please contact Greg McDonell (email@example.com).
Kiva Microlending Program. More than 1.7 billion people around the world are unbanked and can’t access the financial services they need. Kiva is an international nonprofit, founded in 2005 in San Francisco, with a mission to expand financial access to help underserved communities thrive. Kiva does this by crowdfunding loans and unlocking capital for the underserved, improving the quality and cost of financial services, and addressing the underlying barriers to financial access around the world. Northwoods has donated $6,350 since 2010.
How the Kiva Share the Plate was Spent
In April 2021 we shared our collection plate donations with the KIVA program. Thanks to the amazing generosity of our Northwoods community donations have come in to help support our Kiva lending activities. Because so many of you shared we were able to support a large number of borrowers. For 3rd Quarter 2021 your generosity has allowed us to fund $575 in loans. I used part of your generosity to be able to give just a little bit more to many borrowers to help them reach their lending goals faster. We were also able to donate $50 to Kiva to help with administrative costs and support the agency. New loans that we are funding:
- Analyn – Philippines – $25.00 – To buy additional raw materials for the improvement of her sanitary toilet
- Dorcas – Kenya – $25.00 – To pay school fees for her two children and maintain them in school
- Hằng – Vietnam – $50.00 – To buy materials and pay wages for labourers to build a hygienic toilet to replace the old one
- Jennifer – Philippines – $50.00 – To build a sanitary toilet for her family
- Keppler – Rwanda – $50.00 – To provide stipends to 515 Rwandan students impacted by COVID-19 and related restrictions on universities.
- Leonora – Philippines – $50.00 – To build a sanitary toilet for her family
- Lu’isa – Tonga – $50.00 – To buy pandanus and a big pot for boiling raw pandanus to support her weaving business which is her family’s main source of income
- Marites – Philippines – $50.00 – To build a sanitary toilet
- Mary – Kenya – $50.00 – To purchase a water tank to help her family as their area is experiencing water shortages
- Mimoza – Albania – $25.00 – To pay for her daughter’s medical expenses
- Saatgul – Kyrgyzstan – $25.00 – Rural borrower needs to do repairs on her home
- Vida – Albania – $50.00 – To rebuild the roof of her house after the damage caused by an earthquake
- Xuân – Vietnam – $50.00 – To build a toilet for her family
A deep and resounding thank you to those who have donated to Kiva. If you’d like to make a donation to help support our Kiva outreach you can do so via the Northwoods website in the members area.
Northwoods as a Welcoming Congregation
What Does it Mean to be Welcoming?
Within the UUA, the term “Welcoming Congregation” has referred specifically to congregations that are fully accepting of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender (LGBT). The term is known by other faiths as “Open and Affirming,” “Welcoming and Affirming,” “More Light,” and “Reconciling.” Our UU faith calls us to live in a spirit of “radical hospitality,” affirming our first principle – the inherent worth and dignity of every person.
Northwoods has been an official Welcoming Congregation since May, 2003.
The focus of Welcoming Congregation work has traditionally been with LGBTQ+ issues. But the UUA has also been open to broader interpretations of welcome, calling on us to become aware of other oppressions: Ageism, classism, ableism, and right now in particular racism. Improving our welcome in any of these areas helps us be more welcoming in all of them, precisely by focusing on unique oppressions in each area.
The Welcoming Committee sees our work in Welcome in three areas:
- Showing Up: If we are visibly present at events focused on justice for oppressed people, it can be easier for them to imagine being with us in our space to worship together. The Welcoming Congregation Committee is part of the Social, Environmental and Economic Justice ministry.
- Speaking Up: When we host our own events supporting justice, and preach the message in our programming, those yearning for justice are more likely to find our church to be a place where they can learn new ways of being together, and work with others to promote change. We work with the Spiritual Life ministry to promote programming that addresses justice for all through justice in particular.
- Living Up: When we do the work of exploring how we uphold current injustice, and how we can subvert that behavior, those who suffer oppression are less likely to experience it by our own hands, in our space. Oppressed people drawn to our mission feel more comfortable in our presence.
Imagining how this will work in the coming year, in our virtual space, is a particular challenge. If you are interested in working with us to take on that challenge, please contact Jerry Hensel (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Sharing Our Plate
The community that is Northwoods is committed to making a positive difference in the larger community and the world. Sharing our plate collections allows us to fund social action projects that promise to make a concrete, positive contribution to the welfare of those they serve. Funds raised through Share the Plate will be distributed monthly to qualifying organizations. One Sunday each month, a charity organization is chosen from member recommendations to receive the undirected cash donations in the collection plate for that Sunday, and all checks marked “Share the Plate” in the memo field.
Northwoods has shared over $24,000 to local charities through our Share the Plate program in the last five years.
Dream Scholarship Program: Northwoods Dream Scholarship. We’re making a difference in young lives.
We have been providing scholarships and following the progress of several hardworking college students. If you have questions or would like to contribute to the NUUC Dream Scholarship Program, contact Teresa Allen 281-350-3052.
Collections for Brownsville Asylum Seekers: Northwoods collects items that are desperately needed for asylum seekers who are being kept from entering the US. Team Brownsville has been doing heroic work. So please share from your bounty to those mothers and children who have nothing but people who care. The Mexican government will not allow any used items, and all items must be accompanied with a receipt. If you have any question please contact Greg McDonell (email@example.com). Items can be dropped off at the church or contact Greg to arrange for pick up.
Shoes! Shoes! Shoes! Used shoes are again being requested for children and adults in Roatan, Honduras. Donated shoes can be of any size or type, especially athletic shoes. Sports clothes and equipment will also be accepted. Donations will be taken to Honduras and sold by some of the island boys to learn accounting and book keeping and the funds will be used for a new animal shelter on the island. Other items that are collected: pet supplies, clothing and sports equipment, kitchen supplies, and office equipment. For more information visit www.roatansupporteffort.org.
Food on the First: Northwoods has collected thousands of pounds of food for local food banks. On the first of every month members, friends, and visitors are encouraged to bring nonperishable foods for collection: pasta, peanut butter, crackers, cereals, canned goods, tuna, and the like. Our Social, Environmental, and Economic Justice Committee offers reusable bags as a monthly reminder to collect and bring in foods. Bags are located in the hallway next to the office. While the building is closed, we take online and text collections during the Sunday Zoom service for the local food bank.
Millbend Coffeehouse Concerts
We are Thrilled to announce that Millbend Coffeehouse is finally re-opening after an 18 month Pandemic induced hiatus.
Millbend Coffeehouse is a non-profit venue hosted by Northwoods Unitarian Universalist Church. Open the 2nd Saturday of every month, with occasional extra concerts, we are dedicated to bringing the finest in national and local acoustic/folk songwriters and performers to our informal and intimate setting. We are a smoke free and family friendly environment. In our relaxed atmosphere you can meet the entertainers and obtain copies of the hard to find CDs of these fine performers.
Suggested donations vary. All profits from the gate go to local charities/causes — which are determined by audience vote at each concert, with the winners announced at the Intermission.
Visit the Millbend Coffeehouse website for information on performers and tickets.