Social Justice and Social Action Efforts
of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Oak Cliff
"Love is the doctrine of this church and service is its prayer."
We do not currently have a separate social justice ministry as we are working to integrate the programs into the our larger church mission. Please contact
At the very core of its existence, Social Justice is about love. It is the call to recognize the intrisic value of every individual, regardless of race, creed, ability or sexual orientation. According to the UUA, there are five types of Social Justice.
Service: providing for the needs of those in distress.
Education: The purpose of social education is to educate people about the importance of a social issue. The goal is to inform people about the aspects of the issues and also interpret the issue within the context of liberal religious values. Education will include workshops, worship services, drama, and similar activities.
Witness: The purpose of social witness is to make public by word or deed the convictions of an individual or organization regarding a particular issue. Examples of witness may include public testimony on an issue, demonstrations or letter writing campaigns.
Advocacy: The purpose of advocacy is to work through the legislative process to impact public policy. Advocacy includes writing letters to district representatives or visiting them in their offices, as well as public testimony.
Community Organizing: The purpose of community organizing is to participate in the process by which decisions are made in places of power. The focus is on the power of institutional structures and how that power is used. This approach is based on the recognition that individuals have little power to change their situations without the support of groups who know how to organize and influence power.
You can see some of the projects we have worked on in the past:
Widening The Circle of Concern
As a congregation, we have voted to study the strategies put forth in the Widening the Circle of Concern: Report of the UUA Commission on Institutional Change and apply them, where ever possible to our church. A series of study groups have met, and are continuing to meet weekly on this project. Please note that it is NOT required that you be "caught up" to attend any of the study group meetings. If, however, you would like to read/listen to any material that you've missed it can be found here:
Please contact Sherri Randall at
Reports from the ongoing series of WCOC group meetings from February 2022 to the present can be read here: WCOC Meetings
The UUA Circle of Concern
(Additinal resources and links can be found below.)
People can buy the book and ebook here:
Additional Resources can be found from these links:
View & Download these documents about the project here at UUCOC:
Tami Hillberry presented an update for the Spring 2022 Parish Meeting and talked about the plans being made as we move forward.
You can watch Renée Brill's introduction of WCOC at the 2021 Spring Parish Meeting here:
First Tuesday Social Action Film Festival
Cosponsored by the Dallas Peace and Justice Center
The First Tuesday of each month at 7:00 pm, UUCOC hosts free screenings of socially-relevant films. The screenings are followed by a community discussion, which often includes actions we can take for each issue. Films are shown on the large screen in the sanctuary. The films are free, as well as the popcorn and soft drinks! Donations are accepted to cover the cost of our license agreement and the purchase of new films.
Please visit our Film Festival page for details on this month's featured film:
How the Social Justice Ministry's First Tuesday Film Festival Changed My Life
- By Dee Stofko
First of all let me say, my life needed changing. After several mind-numbing years of raising three kids - now all safely ensconced in college - it was time to start paying more attention, living more responsibly, being more compassionate. The UUCOC's First Tuesday Film Festival helped shape the new me.
Since watching, "The World According to Monsanto," "Sustainable Table," and "Peaceable Kingdom," I have become vegetarian. I have been made aware of factory farms. Cows, pigs and chickens living in close, dark, unsanitary quarters, shot full of antibiotics, being fed GMO-corn to fatten them up quickly which, in turn, has fattened us up. More importantly, I have learned how to eat healthier by eating organic; to be more environmentally conscious by buying locally; and to make my voice heard through emails, calls and letters when my government does something that I don't like.
"An Inconvenient Truth" and "11th Hour" awakened me to how my choices were destroying our planet. My family now recycles, composts, uses organic fertilizer, and organic household cleaners. We have changed our electric supplier to one which uses wind and solar sources. We have traded our gas guzzlers for a diminutive Yaris and a Hybrid Prius that averages 45 miles per gallon.
"At The Death House Door" nudged me to join the "Coalition for Texans Against the Death Penalty" which keeps its members apprised when letters to the Governor and Board of Pardons and Paroles for Clemency or requests for Stays of Execution might help. I believe we were instrumental in the Supreme Court's decision to review the death penalty case against Hank Skinner.
Other films included "China Blue" which taught me about the deplorable conditions of Chinese blue jean sweatshops. We now search for fair-trade, union-made, or cooperative-made clothing. "The Two Towns of Jasper," "Reel Bad Arabs," and "The Canary Effect" opened my eyes even wider to racial and social injustice. I made calls to my Senators, Congresswoman and other Democrats to help get the Healthcare legislation passed so all Americans have an equal opportunity to be healthy. "Rethink Afghanistan" helped me reshape my thoughts about U.S. involvement in that country and become a true advocate for peace.
There were other films I saw and there will be other films to come that will continue to change who I am. I like the person I am becoming more than the person I was. To change the world we must first change ourselves. I will gladly continue going to the First Tuesday Film Festival at the Oak Cliff Unitarian Universalist Church of Oak Cliff and I urge you to do the same. You might just like the new you.
Activities as a Non-Profit Organization
As a religious community, we abide by all IRS Guidelines for non-profits, which are,:IRS Guidelines and Congregations: The Three Rules
1. No Limits on Advocacy and Education (activities that raise awareness on a given issue but don't encourage the public to support/oppose specific legislation).
2. Narrow Limit on Lobbying (advocating for or against specific pieces of legislation).
3. Total Limit on Partisan Politics (anything that advocates for or against candidates or political parties
We are a Welcoming Congregation
As of 2005, we are officially recognized by the Unitarian Universalist Association as a Welcoming Congregation. This means our church underwent a voluntary effort to become more welcoming to members of the LGBTQ community. The process involved a series of educational events, organizational assessment, and community outreach.
For more on the welcoming congregation program, please visit the UUA website:
The Veggie Store and the Sankofa Community Garden Project
The Oak Cliff Veggie Store and For Oak Cliff are partnering in a major undertaking.
Four gardens were installed on the same day at the same time, including one on our campus.
We had an amazing community turn out of close to thirty people to install the garden!
Please contact us if you are interested in donating money or time to support this project:
Mike & Cat Luster organize the table for the Veggie Store
A bit of backstory:
The Veggie Store project originated with St. Luke Presbyterian Church in Singing Hills (Oak Cliff).
The store offers free fruits and veggies to people in a neighborhood that's part of the "food desert" in southern and southeast Dallas. This is also in a neighborhood where people are less likely to buy vegetables. Some startup seed money was received from the church and it continued to grow based on donations and occasional purchases.
The St. Luke Presbyterian Church project has grown so much that it participates in Feed Oak Cliff activities such as the annual VegFest. They even have an official Oak Cliff Veggie Project Facebook page now.