From the UU Prison Ministry of Illinois
In October 2013, members of Second Unitarian Church of Chicago (2U), Unitarian Church of Evanston (UCE) and Beverly Unitarian Church (BUC) came together to explore an initiative to build a UU presence inside Illinois prisons and jails; to educate congregations regarding our incarceral systems;to welcome formerly incarcerated persons into UU congregations; to engage prisoners and free-world members to work for systemic change and to support all those impacted by the prison industrial complex.
UU Prison Ministry of Illinois is the culmination of this grassroots impetus.
This Ministry has several components:
- Using a newly developed curriculum we share a Unitarian Universalist approach to life and faith in a covenant style group, creating a spiritual space within the prisons and jails where incarcerated people can come as they are and be affirmed in their inherent worth and dignity, no matter their identities or past actions.
- We are equipping congregations to walk in solidarity with those directly impacted by the prison industrial complex. Using a circle model 6 – 8 volunteers offer support for needs identified by the leader circle leader and returning citizen.
- We are connecting congregation to advocacy work. Networking with other local advocates to identify and work toward legislative change.
- We act as a conduit for people looking to deepen their commitment through building relationships with those inside. We are connecting people through writing and visits to UU’s in IL prisons through the ambassador program associated with the Church of the Larger Fellowship.
Our mission is to equip UU’s in Illinois to transform institutions and support people harmed by the prison industrial complex.
We look forward to talking with you about our programs and preachers as well – we are eager to be in relationship with you. Our Share the Plate will go toward maintaining and growing this vital young ministry and please visit uupmi.org.
There are many opportunities available to do good work through UCH. So much of this work is interrelated – animal ministry relates to environmental work, environmental work to racial justice, racial justice to economic justice – and we can be more impactful when we recognize these intersections.
The Social Justice Circle…
brings together ten teams to ensure that we are coordinated, and to find opportunities for deepening connections. The Social Justice Circle teams include Animal Ministry, Black Lives Matter, Green Sanctuary,PADS Homeless Shelter, Prison Ministry, Reproductive Choice, and Welcoming Congregation. These teams work together with the UUANI, DuPage United, and, very soon, YaYA Justice teams in connecting with other faith communities and partners to advance our values. For more detailed information, most teams are listed separately on this website
At the root of our UU faith is that we are all connected;we are more ourselves, the more we connect with others. So join the work of the Social Justice Circle and see what we can accomplish together! For info, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.