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Social Justice Actions, Public Statements, and Co-sponsorship of Events

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Implementation Plan: 

Policy on social justice actions, public statements, and co-sponsorships of by church groups or task forces done in the name of the church or task force:

All co-sponsorships of social justice related community events, social justice actions in the community, and public statements on social justice issues must adhere to the following criteria: 

  1. They must be consistent with the Unitarian Universalist 7 principles. 
  2. They must be consistent with the mission and vision of the UU Church of Kent. 
  3. They must be consistent with any relevant resolution passed by the congregation. 

Social justice actions or events organized and held in the name of the church may not include civil disobedience, meaning the breaking of laws. Church members and friends are free to take actions in their own name as they choose, but actions taken in the name of the church or sponsored by the church must follow the church policy. 

The minister has freedom of the pulpit and is free to engage in any social justice actions as the minister of the church that she or he chooses. Ministerial actions do not represent the whole church. 

Procedure to be followed by a church task force or group in organizing a social justice event or action in the name of the church or in the name of the church task force. 

The sponsoring group must inform the Social Justice Coordinator of the event prior to the event.

All press releases and other publicity for social justice events must be approved by the social justice coordinator before being sent out. 

Procedure to be followed by the Social Justice Coordinator who is informed of a planned social justice event: 

The SJC coordinator will ask a series of questions. The Social Justice Coordinator will consult with the minister if there is uncertainty in answering these questions. 

1. Does the action or event involve the church group taking a position or stand on a controversial issue? 

If no: The group may go ahead with the event. Such events may be done in the name of the church, the task force, or both. 

If yes: The SJC coordinator will then ask 

2. Does the event meet the 3 criteria for church social justice events? 

If yes: Go to question 3. 

If no: The event may not be organized as planned in the name of the church. 

3. Does the event as planned have the potential to divide the congregation or to do harm to the congregation? In answering this question, the Social Justice Coordinator may need to seek guidance from the minister, the MET, and/or from other church leaders. 

If no: The group may hold the event. 

If yes: The Social Justice Coordinator will ask the MET to make the decision about the event. The Social Justice Coordinator may recommend a particular decision to the MET. 

The MET may approve the event as planned, approve the event with recommended changes in the plan for the event, or disapprove the event. 

Church members and friends may organize or participate in events as individuals if their planned event is not approved as a church-sponsored or church-endorsed event. 

Policy on educational events sponsored by the church: 

Established UUCK taskforces or committees may organize educational events on any issue; however events must be consistent with UUA principles and UUCK’s mission. 

Presenters at educational events sponsored by the church represent themselves and do not represent the position of the church on an issue. 

Organizers of educational events should make this clear at the event. 

If the church has passed a resolution on the issue being discussed, organizers of the educational event may announce this. 

Educational events at the church on social justice issues should be open to all viewpoints, and people with different views than those of the presenters should be given the opportunity to express their views respectfully. 

Only the Social Justice Taskforce or established UUCK committees can organize social justice educational events. Procedure to be followed in organizing a social justice educational event in the name of the church: 

Groups that organize educational events will inform the Social Justice Coordinator of the planned event prior to the event and will agree to adhere to the church policy on educational events. 

Policy regarding signs carried by individuals at church-sponsored events: 

Individuals may be asked not to hold signs at social justice actions or events sponsored by the church or by a church task force on or off church property that express positions or sentiments that are inconsistent with Unitarian Universalist principles or that include profanity or make a personal attack or that endorse, oppose, or promote any candidate for political office. 

Individuals have the right to hold such signs on public property, but if they refuse to take down such signs when asked to do so, the church may deem them to be in violation of our church covenant. 

The Social Justice Coordinator will report such actions to the MET, which may consult with the Committee on Ministry regarding the actions of the church member or friend.

Revised and Approved 11/18/2015

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