September, 2020

Message from Rev. Richard ‘Bud’ Murphy, UUJF President

08-20-20 Just Saying

More and more words! So many contending voices eager to influence my understanding of reality.  Someone suggested that we start with the presumption that other people have a positive intent.  I remember an instructor in a class on Thomas Aquinas and his Psychology.  The instructor made the case that humans always choose the good, at least they choose what they perceive to be the good.  The premise “good” is the proper object of the human will.  If we want to influence others to think or act, we must present an object in a “good” light so that the other person will be inclined to choose it.  Our challenge is to do so, while avoiding deletions, distortions and generalizations.  Our picture of the “good” if it is true and if we describe as truthfully as we can what are the likely consequences of our choices, we can help others make quality decisions, as individuals and groups. 

Environmental scientists have observed global climate patterns and many have concluded we are approaching a point, some say we have passed the point, where the changes we have set in motion will continue so that the steady state of global temperature and sea levels will give way to greater and greater extremes. Similar observations have been made about the disparity of wealth, the extreme difference between multi -billionaires and the masses fuels socio economic instability.  We are making very important choices for the future of humankind and our planet Earth.  Choosing an alternative because it is the right thing to do seems noble.  But consider, that perhaps as important as “it’s the right thing to do” is “does this decision contribute to the common good”.  Is my choice part of the solution or part of the problem.  What gets challenging as we look for solutions is that sometimes the problem is, the solution is, the problem.  A climate solution that ignores greenhouse gases should prompt a deeper look for alternative solutions.  A financial solution to hunger, shelter and safety that just moves more wealth to the very rich is probably part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

The Board of UUJF is committed to presenting a view of reality that is as accurate as we can and making decisions in a collaborative spirit that acknowledges we are all smarter than any of us.  Somewhere in the scriptures I remember the words “By their fruits you shall know them.”  I’ve seen a turn of this phrase, it says, “By their groups you shall know them.”  We invite you to join UUJF as we do our best to build a desirable and sustainable future.


Florida Legislature 101

Florida Representative Anna Eskamani and her team hosted a virtual event for Floridians who want to know more about the inner workings of the Florida House of Representatives.

These questions were addressed on the legislative process:

  • How does an idea become a bill?
  • How does a bill become a law?
  • Who participates in the lawmaking process?
  • How can I become a strong advocate?

This workshop will undoubtedly be of value for those who plan to participate in virtual UUJF team meetings with State Legislators in advance of the 2021 Legislative session.

Click here to view the approximately one hour recording on the Eskamani Facebook page.

Questions or concerns? Please reach out to District Secretary Lauren Cooper.



Climate Resiliency Ministry

Jan Booher, Director

The COVID pandemic has deepened the digital divide. We are working with low income communities in Orange County on the crisis that virtual education is causing. We are working to fund and address some solutions community members are trying to implement:

Helping parents:

  • understand how to use their child's school issued Chromebook to check on their child's progress with classwork.
  • understand how to access school communications
  • connect to other parents and with the teachers online
  • begin to help their children with their homework or to refer them to online assistance
  • understand all of the changing school policies
  • to get headphones for students with multiple children and pets in small homes, where there are many distractions
  • to get desks for children who don't have a study area at home, since many families can't afford them
  • to figuring out ways that physical activity can come through activities on Chromebook between and after classes

The UUJF Climate Resilience Ministry is working in several parts of Florida to address preparation for more intense hurricanes in low income communities of color. Not only do we have a forecast this year for an active hurricane season, but we are also experiencing more intensity of the hurricanes as climate change continues to raise ocean temperatures.

The COVID pandemic has created fear around shelters and new challenges for churches and small community groups that normally take in donations and distribute them before and after hurricanes. We are working with the Florida Disaster Resilience Initiative and Resilient American Communities to get masks and sanitizers into communities where these items are in short supply and too expensive for many residents.

UUJF Climate Resilience Ministry Director Jan Booher is providing trainings for the Central Florida Disaster Resilience Initiative for residents of low income communities of color in the bilingual (Spanish and English) effort to prepare for hurricanes in Orange County, Seminole County and Osceola County.

The Resilient American Communities Bay County team has been chosen as a pilot project to determine the best use of data to help the community come together around the common goal of keeping COVID out of homes and neighborhoods. Introducing the Safe2 exposure notification system that doesn't collect any personal identification information and has high privacy safety ratings is part of that effort. The project involves establishing trust networks of neighbors that support each other in controlling COVID in the community.

Our Hispanic partners at Iglesia Episcopal Jesus de Nazaret are being crushed by COVID. As congregants recover or pass away from COVID others immediately replace them. In spite of this challenge, the Puerto Rican diaspora caused by Hurricane Maria is being documented in the personal stories of Climate Displaced families that found their way to Central Florida. Seven of the stories have been professionally videoed.


##UU the Vote

##UU the Vote continues its partnership with New Florida Majority in efforts to turn out millions of voters in Florida. Callers made 2000 calls on August 13.                   

New Florida Majority staff will provide orientation, training and scripts using the Open Virtual Phone. Cell phone and laptop needed. Sign up on the UUtheVote/NFM website

The next phone bank in the series is on Tuesday, August 25th to Florida voters from 6-8 pm EST.  Click here for the full schedule and sign up links thru Nov. 2.



UUtheVote Concert Vote Love Defeat Hate

Save the Date!
On Sunday, September 13 at 6pm ET, join UU Congregation of Miami for a #VoteLove concert featuring musical performers Emma’s Revolution, Lea Morris, and Three Sheets to The Wind. Join the live concert and fundraiser benefiting New Florida Majority on YouTube



Getting Ready for After the Election:

UU Justice Florida is offering two Zoom Programs

Oct. 1, 7:00 pm

Takeaway from General Assembly 2020 & UU Justice Guide 101

Presenter: Susan Leslie, Congregational Advocacy and Witness Director (60 minutes)

Oct. 15, 7:00 pm

Being a Social Class Ally Social Justice Workshop

Presenters: UU Class Conversations team (90 minutes)

Explore how class and classism shape our lives and organizations -- as well as our work to challenge injustice, white supremacy and inequality. Examining our own class backgrounds, we will look at ways to become better class allies – and a more inclusive faith community.

Watch for ZOOM Links in the October newsletter to register.  Free. 


Action Alert

Taking A Collective Breath: Deepening our alignment to the movement for Black Lives

UU the Vote, Side With Love, and UUSC are excited to invite you to Taking A Collective Breath: Deepening our alignment with the Movement for Black Lives, a five-session series built around the elements of the BREATHE Act and created in a collaboration between Side With Love and UUSC.

The webinars will explore the components of the BREATHE Act and utilize its structure as a way to focus our energies to effectively support ongoing racial justice work. Come learn and build with local and national partners who are shaping conditions to make liberation possible.

The Series-Taking a Collective Breath

August 11, 4pm PT/ 6pm CT/ 7pm ET
 Webinar 1: Divesting Federal Resources from Incarceration and Policing & Ending Criminal-Legal System Harms Click here to watch the recording.
 Panelists: Author and Organizer Andrea Ritchie and Quiana Perkins, Black Lives UU Babies and BailOut

August 25  7pm ET
 Webinar 2: Investing in New Approaches to Community Safety Utilizing Funding Incentives
 Panelists: Economist and Professor Francisco Perez, Center for Popular Economics and Marilynn Winn Founder/Director, Women on the Rise

September 8  7pm ET
 Webinar 3: Education: Allocating New Money to Build Healthy, Sustainable & Equitable Communities for All People
 Panelists:  National Director and Writer Jonathan Stith, Alliance for Educational Justice and Youth Organizers 

September 22  7pm ET
 Webinar 4: Environmental Justice and Public Health
 Panelists: Environmental Justice Advocates and Directors Roundtable

October 13  7pm ET
 Webinar 5: Holding Officials Accountable & Enhancing Self-Determination of Black Communities
 Panelists:  Minister Sheena Rolle, Deputy Director Faith In Florida; Nicole Pressley, National Organizer UU The Vote and Let My People Vote Campaign.

Register Now



Congregational Outreach

UU Congregation of Lake County

Working with partners in their county, members walked neighborhoods working with
"All About the Ballots" which is a non-partisan effort to encourage ethnic and racial minority voters to vote and to vote by mail.   In June and July, UUCLC partnered with African American churches to deliver 2,000 postcards and 5,000 door voters in Lake County.  These items pictured Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the words, "Your Vote. Your Voice. Your Power."

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Lake County continues their lecture series. Past lectures are on the congregation’s website. The August 30 program was titled,” Why Isn’t the Faith Community Fighting for Social Justice?” Programs are scheduled every two weeks on Sunday evening. Go to website to register.  Click here for programs being offered September 13 and September 27.


UUs in St. Augustine and Jacksonville Support the US Postal Service

Members of the UU Fellowship of St. Augustine and UU Church of Jacksonville demonstrated their support for the USPS on Saturday, 22 on Anastasia Island and in Jacksonville.


All Florida UUs and friends are encouraged to contact Senators Rubio and Scott urge them to seek Sen. McConnell’s efforts to secure passage of H.R.7015 - Postal Preservation Act in the SenateText ‘Senate’ to 50409 and follow the prompts to send your message.

What actions have your congregation been involved in? Email details and pictures to for publication in subsequent newsletters.



Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival

Unleashing the Power of Poor and Low-Income Americans

Changing the Political Landscape

Before the pandemic, there were already 140 million people who were poor or low-income in this country. As the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed, our society’s failure to meet the needs of these millions of people — around health care, jobs, wages, housing, food, water and more — presents a critical weakness to the nation’s public health and economic well-being. In other words, the concerns of the poor have an impact on everyone.

A research brief, “Unleashing the Power of Poor and Low-Income Americans”, was released recently.  This research brief provides a closer look at the voting behaviors of these millions of people, relative to the size of the total electorate as well as recent voting margins by state. The campaign believes that its findings support the Poor People’s Campaign analysis that organizing among the poor, around an agenda that represents the concerns of the poor, can fundamentally change the political map of this country and lead to policies that are just and representative for all Americans.

The Unitarian Universalist Association is an official endorser and faith partner of the Poor People’s Campaign because we align with the goals, strategies, and tactics that strengthen multi-faith and partner relationships and coalitions, deepen our own faith, and help build a transformative movement for justice.




Please submit news and upcoming events in your congregation for the October newsletter to by September 13 for publication September 20.

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Unitarian Universalist Justice Florida
P.O. Box 1310  | Orange Park, Florida 32067
904-514-4304 |

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