Poughkeepsie fellowship helps ex-prisoners; Carbondale, Colorado, congregation votes to offer sanctuary; Pittsfield, Maine, marks church’s 150th anniversary.
The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Poughkeepsie, New York, hosted an open house on September 5 to launch its third Coming Home Program, which helps previously incarcerated people reintegrate into the community.
A September 5 article in the Poughkeepsie Journal explains that the program “helps ex-prisoners gain life skills to gain confidence and develop coping skills to better manage in society.”
Coming Home is hosted by the fellowship’s social justice committee in collaboration with the Fordham Graduate School of Social Justice, and other Poughkeepsie congregations.
Two Rivers Unitarian Universalist in Carbondale, Colorado, decided to make its decision to provide sanctuary public so that members of the community can seek the congregation out if they are under threat of deportation.
“It has been well-received,” the Rev. Shawna Foster, the congregation’s minister, told the Aspen Times in a September 4 story, “with people who are trying to gain their citizenship relieved to know that there is a place to go to if things get desperate and their appeals are not heard.”
Foster told UU World that nobody is currently in sanctuary at Two Rivers, but the congregation is financially supporting one family where the father is in detention.
Several other Unitarian Universalist congregations are prepared to, or are preparing to, offer sanctuary, and three are currently doing so: First UU Church of Austin, Texas; the UU Church of Akron, Ohio; and All Souls UU Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The year 2017 marked the 150th anniversary of First Universalist Church of Pittsfield, Maine. The congregation held an open house and concert in September as part of its commemorative activities.
First Universalist’s building was Pittsfield’s primary historic meeting house in the mid- to late-1800s, and, today, has a “slightly remodeled” exterior and an interior preserved from its original design, including stained glass art and a working organ.
Church leaders wrote of the anniversary and building, “We proudly honor those who came before, we hold this space sacred, and look forward to the next 150 years.”
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Kenny Wiley is a Denver-based UU World senior editor and program director for congregational engagement at the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado. His writing has also appeared in the Boston Globe, the Houston Chronicle, and Skyd Magazine.
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