Social justice is an important concern at Sojourners United Church of Christ. Each member of the congregation is encouraged to participate in one of the church’s established groups. Currently they are:

Clark School
This group explores different ways in which Sojourners can be in partnership with Clark School. Some initial conversations have already taken place. This might include personal activities involving direct student contact such as tutoring, fostering good communication between Clark and Sojourners, participation in the PTA, being aware of needs that Sojourners could help provide (funds, space, school supplies, etc.).

Eco-Justice Outreach
Our vision is to live not as dominators or exploiters of Earth but rather in mutually enhancing relationships with all of God’s Creation.

Our mission is to focus on the stewardship of Earth as a vital part of our worship at Sojourners United Church of Christ. We will emphasize the sustainability and the preservation of Earth’s gifts not only within our congregation but throughout the broader community. We will lead by example in implementing measures to conserve vital resources and reduce pollution in our church environment, and we will network with other organizations to spread the ethic and practices of ecological justice and to advocate for those who bear the brunt of pollution and environmental degradation throughout the world.

Ojola Children’s Project
The Ojola Children’s Project assists poor children in the village of Ojola in Western Kenya. Sojourners’ involvement with Ojola dates back to 2002, when a schoolteacher and old friend of Group Leader Cindy, took in ten children whose parents had recently died of AIDS. Over the years, members of Sojourners have sponsored more than 20 children by providing money for school fees, food, shelter, medical care and other basic necessities. In 2006, OCP was approved by the Church Council as a sponsored project, and in 2008 a social justice group was formed to sustain and manage the project. Read more about Sojourners UCC's work with the Ojola Children's Project.

Open and Affirming
This group considers how Sojourners should continue to express its commitment to justice, fairness, and inclusiveness for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgendered persons. The focus is partly on our own internal practices as a congregation and partly on being active on issues related to sexual orientation in the wider society.

Racial Justice
This group continues our commitment to racial justice and is taking the lead in defining what being an “anti-racist” congregation means for Sojourners. They monitor our own practices as a congregation and are looking to branch out into some new areas, such as issues affecting Latinos in the Charlottesville region, or concerns related to Virginia Indians. In general this group is responsible for seeing to it that racial justice remains a leading concern of the congregation.

Peace
This group coordinates anti-war activities from within Sojourners and in conjunction with other groups in the community. It offers support to joint ventures such as Interfaith Pray for Peace. It seeks to make sure that concerns regarding war and peace are prominent in all aspects of the church from our prayer life, to the Sunday school, to adult study and worship. It seeks to maintain contact and offer support to the military men and women connected to our own church family, especially those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Poverty / Homelessness
The Poverty Social Justice Group assesses community needs regarding economic injustice, poverty and homelessness. This group makes contact with organizations in the community to see how we might relate to their work (Quality Community Council, Virginia Organizing Project, IMPACT). The group selects activities that work with our church community. Our winter project will be partnering with another church as they host PACEM guests. Our spring activity may be the collection of needed items for guests leaving PACEM when the shelter closes in the spring.

Prison Ministry
This group coordinates work with the local jail, Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women and organizations working on support and transition issues. It seeks to help organize collection drives, arrange to lead (or solicit leaders for) classes at the regional jail, and to pair “mentors” with inmates at Fluvanna. It also seeks to offer encouragement to families/loved ones of inmates through support groups, assistance with transportation needs, etc. It raises awareness within Sojourners of the conditions of those incarcerated and the challenges facing them post-incarceration.

Welcome Table / Developmental Disabilities
This group, as the name suggests, strives to make the monthly Wednesday Welcome Table events more a part of church life, perhaps increasing participation or frequency. It nurtures our longstanding relationship to Innisfree, strengthens our connections with the staff, volunteers, and co-workers, supports the Innisfree store, etc.  It also takes an interest in the post-high school and it explores issues relating to the developmentally disabled community in Charlottesville.

Contact the Social Justice Commitees for more information about any of these groups.