Charlie Tontar on Michael Sandel Nov. 20th D&D 7PM LMH

On Wednesday, November 20 at 7:00pm in the lower meetinghouse of The First Religious Society, there will be a presentation of two short videos of TED talks (Technology, Entertainment, Design.)  The first will be with Michael Sandel, Professor of Political Philosophy at Harvard, and the second, with Professor Sandel in debate with Professor Michael Porter of the Harvard Business School (“Michael vs. Michael”). Total time, approximately thirty minutes.  Professor of Economics, Charlie Tontar will lead our discussion.

In the past three decades the US has drifted from a market economy to a market society; it’s fair to say that an American’s experience of shared civic life depends on how much money they have. (Three key examples: access to education, access to justice, political influence.) In a talk and audience discussion, Sandel asks us to think honestly on this question: In our current democracy, is too much for sale?

Michael Sandel teaches political philosophy at Harvard, exploring some of the most hotly contested moral and political issues of our time. Michael Porter is an eminent professor in the Harvard Business School. His writings stress strategies of competition.

Within our overall program of Documentaries and Discussions this event represents the second in a sub-series which attempt to clarify the loggerheads seeming to have paralyzed the American political culture. There seems to be a heavy socio-economic emphasis in what we are doing. Our group began in October with Robert Reich in conversation with Bill Moyers, “Inequality for All.” In the November 20 presentation, where we move to the second stage, our theme is “Market Economy/Market Society.”

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Gun Violence UUA Study Question Proposal

Congregation Study Action Issues Proposal: Title:  Gun Violence: A Public Health Issue

Gun violence has become a national public health issue. We are in the midst of an epidemic of violence fueled by t he gun industry. Since 1963, 166,500 children and teenagers have lost their lives to guns. That is an average of 3, 470 deaths every year for 50 years.  The number of children and teens killed by guns  s ince 1963 is 3 times as great as the number of US personnel killed in action in the Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq wars combined. If this number of children were dying due to an unknown virus we would demand an explanation, a solution, and a cure.  We need that passion now to eliminate this plague of gun violence from our society.

Grounding: As one of the UUA’s historical principle’s states, our faith ought not to involve only ritual but also reflection and action for goodness. As UUs we are called to action on behalf of the innocent victims of gun violence.


  1. What are the cultural factors that contribute to gun violence

  2. How is the second amendment used to justify the current gun laws

  3. What are the laws and policies of other nations to address gun use.

  4. How does the culture of gun violence affect the lives of children

  5. What is the relationship between gun violence and unaddressed mental health issues


  1. Work  with communities and state legislators to pass common sense gun laws

  2. Establish local vigils to build community awareness of gun violence

  3. Schedule a series of forums to educate the public about this issue

  4. Promote programs and training in conflict resolution

  5. Organize participation and support for regional initiatives against gun violence

  6. Initiate programs that support families affected by gun violence

  7. Incorporate a time in your church services to remember victims of gun violence

  8. Create study groups or books clubs to educate and reflect on gun violence

9.Work to create a federal agency responsible for collecting and integrating all gun crime data and making this information available to the public.

Prior Witness Statements

    Peter Morales: “Better gun control would help…Our task as religious people committed to peace is to show a better way.” (  May 25, 2013)

    Susan B. Smith: “My bottom line is, if you live in a civil society, this has to stop… There are so many innocent people being killed. “  UU World Summer 2013


Diaz, Tom; “The Last Gun”, The New Press, New York, 2013

Edelman, Marion Wright, Network Connection, ‘Time to Say “No More”’.;Second Quarter 2013.

Palfrey, Judith S. MD and Sean MD; “Preventing Gun Death in Children”

New England Journal of Medicine; 388 401-4032013

Hemnway, David Phd, and Miller Matthew MD, “Public Health Approach to the Prevention of Gun Violence”; New England Journal of Medicine;2013

Other Groups:

Mayors Against Illegal Guns:

Moms Demand Action:

UU Mass Action:

Violence Policy Center:

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Social Action at First Religious Unitarian Newburyport

Social Justice at the First Religious Society Newburyport Massachusetts

FRSUU Social Action Committee is the Space Where We Reflect, Discuss and Plan Action on Social Justice Issues

“Every member has the right and obligation to participate in decisions about the social justice issues in which we engage.”

  • FRS Social Action seeks to represent the voice and values of this congregation in our activities and the broader social justice community
  • We work with other committees in dialogue to engage all aspects of our congregation life.
  • We bring issues to the congregation from the UUA, UU Mass Action and our local community.

 2013-2014 Co-Chairs Sandra Thaxter and Annie Maurer        (, )

Open Social Action Meetings 3rd Sundays 9:30 AM LMH All are welcome.  At these meetings we discuss the current issues of concern and how and when to introduce to our congregation:  through discussion, petition, or action.

3rd Wednesdays 7 PM  LMH Evening Documentary and Discussion. LMH 7 PM Walter Mott   ( )

These evening discussions are focused issues that come out of our monthly Sunday meetings.  The format is a 15-20 minute documentary to introduce the issue, followed by discussion.  Issues planned for this year:  Inequality for All Robert Reich’s new film. The Climate Action Project will present a program in November. And Women’s Reproductive Justice is on the schedule for 2014.

1st Wednesdays 7 PM LMH Immigration Matters  Michael Sandberg.  Michael brings to our congregation people involved in the immigration experience to share their insights and journeys. They come from many religious, national and ethnic backgrounds. Some are refugees, some belong to advocacy organizations for immigration, some are government officials. The sharing of their lives is an enriching experience for all of us.

Sundays 11:45 Climate Action Project:  John Harwood  This group introduces climate related issues and actions to the congregation. They meet after church on announced Sundays at 11:45.  Many of their activities are linked with initiatives, such as the current divestment action that they have introduced to our church leadership.

Every Sunday 12 Noon Peace Protest: Nikki Rosen  Every Sunday at noon in Market square Nikki Rosen and friends bring banners and signs reminding us that peace is not yet here, and we need to continue to lift our voices. You are welcome to join her.

Gun Control Action:  Susan Manning  susanashtonmanning@gmail.comSusan holds a Tuesday noon vigil at the corner of Main and Sparhawk streets in Amesbury to protest gun violence, and is working to join with other local churches to form a larger coalition to address the issue of gun violence.

Coffee Hour Table and Petitions:  The Social Action Coffee Hour table offer the congregation information on activities in the broader social justice communities; opportunities to join a protest or attend a lecture, film or meeting on current social and political issues.  We also bring petitions to this table that we consider important for your consideration.

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D&D Oct 16. 7 PM LMH : Inequality for All

Income inequality  is the topic of our next Documentary and Discussion. Bill Moyers interviewed with Robert Reich about Reich’s the newly released film Inequality for All.   Inequality has become one of the major challenges facing our country today and poses a threat to our ability to prosper as a nation.

bildeRobert Reich, political economist, author, and former Secretary of Labor under Clinton, is a curious blend of impish geniality and pugnacious intellect, spending most of his long career waging a very public — and often lonely — war on behalf of the working class and the working poor.  Inequality For All chronicles that struggle and celebrates its tireless warrior in a zippy style that is simultaneously informative, inspiring and shamelessly self-aggrandizing. “

Join us for this next Documentaries and Discussions get together and see the  which addresses this issue and join us in a discussion afterwards. We will meet in the Lower Meeting Hall on October 16th at 7:00. Light refreshments will be served.

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SIgn Trust Act : Protect Basic Rights for Immigrants

Trust Act Interfaith Sign-On Letter

Dear Massachusetts State Legislature,

As people of faith we see the impact every day of the federal government’s flawed “Secure Communities” (S-Comm) deportation program. In our social service ministries, our pews across the communities we serve we see people unjustly detained, families torn apart and whole communities afraid to contact the police.

That is why we see it as a religious imperative to stand with a broad spectrum of labor, immigration advocacy, and civil rights groups working with immigrant communities and survivors of domestic violence call for the introduction and passage of the TRUST Act, a bill that would help improve public safety by limiting Massachusetts’s participation in Immigration Custom and Enforcement’s (ICE) S-Comm deportation program. We strongly urge you to support this bill.

S-Comm is a federal deportation program that turns state and local law enforcement into immigration agents and derails public safety efforts. ICE created the S-Comm program in 2008 and expanded it by misleading local and state law enforcement about the design of the program and what it would achieve. As a result of the misinformation and poor performance of S-Comm, in June 2010, Governor Deval Patrick officially requested that the federal government not activate the program in Massachusetts, citing concerns about racial profiling and the strain between community and police relationships.

In spite of the Governor and Boston Mayor Menino’s vocal opposition to the S-Comm program, the federal government activated S-Comm across all of Massachusetts May, 2012.

Since then we’ve seen how S-Comm continues to operate as a dragnet that uproots immigrants in Massachusetts from their lives and tears Massachusetts families apart. Thousands of children are in foster care because their parents were forcibly taken from them by the federal government.1 Residents of immigrant communities are afraid to contact the police or other government agencies, for fear of deportation proceedings against them or another family member. And contrary to ICE’s rhetoric about deporting “dangerous criminals,” an alarming 50% of Massachusetts residents deported by S-Comm have no criminal history.2 In Massachusetts and throughout the country, S-Comm has hampered successful community policing strategies and punished victims for reporting crimes. Domestic violence survivors, U.S. citizens, and immigrants have all been wrongfully detained under S-Comm and, in some cases, deported.3

The Massachusetts TRUST Act would solve these problems by declining ICE’s administrative hold requests and allowing families to stay together. The bill will preserve state and local resources for Massachusetts’ public safety needs and promote fairness in the criminal justice system.

Cities and Counties around the United States have already enacted similar legislation, including Santa Clara County, California, Cook County, Illinois, Washington, DC, and New York City. The Connecticut Department of Corrections has also established a statewide protocol to protect state resources and limit responses to these immigration hold requests. Moreover, class action lawsuits in Illinois, Connecticut, and California challenge the entire constitutionality of states’ compliance ICE hold requests.

As people of faith we know that trust is an essential component of stable, safe and life affirming communities. Unfortunately ICE’s S-Comm program has destroyed that trust across Massachusetts. Join us in restoring that trust by supporting the introduction and passage of the Massachusetts TRUST Act. People of faith and communities across the state look to your leadership.

If you have any questions or require further information, please contact Gabriel Camacho at


Click Here to sign-on as a church, religious organization, religious professional or individual.

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Women’s Reproductive Justice

Women’s Reproductive Justice is a Study Issue for all UU churches.  The curriculum has been published.

This issue is not just about women and their rights, it is about standing up to a political agenda that is deeply suspicious of the diversity of opinion, race and religion that is a basis of UU faith.  This pro-life anti-women agenda is driven by fear, and narrows access to information and health care for the most vulnerable of our populations, poor women and children.

Here are some excerpts from this curriculum:

From UUA Main Page:

Thus, this curriculum prioritizes the development of our theological   understanding and conversational capacity, rather than the provision of   facts. The 2012 election and concurrent “war on women” is not as   much a political argument over information and misinformation as it   is a conflict of values about life, sexuality, and religious freedom, which   is why we must answer as progressive people of faith.

With   a deep reverence for life in its complexity and diversity, Unitarian   Universalists do not agree on the precise moment in which life begins, or   continues. They are, however, united in their affirmation for the well-being   of women and others, and their interest in requiring public policy to be   concerned with the same.

Reproductive Justice: Health

Focusing on the provision of   services to individuals, “reproductive health” is a resource-intensive   approach to ending the lack of accessibility to health care research,   services, and facilities. Particular attention is paid to expanding access to   preventative care and culturally-competent services.

Reproductive Rights/Choice

The goal of the “reproductive   rights/choice” framework is the protection of a woman’s legal right to   reproductive health care services, particularly abortion. Within the United   States, the reproductive rights advocacy community organizes women and others   to participate in legislative and electoral processes on the state and   federal level, and targets policy makers, legal experts, and elected   officials.

The legal basis for   reproductive rights emerges from a protection of the privacy of women (Roe v.   Wade, U.S. Supreme Court, 1973), which does not attest to the role of the   government in eliminating social inequalities which impact health disparities   and the “choices” women make. Marginalized communities in the United States –   such as immigrants, people of color, poor people, young people, and disabled   people – often lack the faith, knowledge, or resources to request the   political system to meet their needs.

Reproductive Justice

Attendant to the social   inequalities that shape the lives of marginalized women, the “reproductive   justice” framework was first created by women of color to work against   “reproductive oppression”—the exploitation of women, girls, and others   through their reproduction, labor, and sexuality.

Reproductive justice has four   goals: (a) the raising of children in safe and healthy environments, (b)   planned and healthy pregnancies, (c) ending or avoidance of unwanted   pregnancies, and (d) expression of sexuality. It works to address the myriad   issues facing women in the context of their reproductive lives.

The achievement of reproductive justice   requires a paradigm shift in consciousness for many people and radical   transformation of society. As a long-term change strategy, reproductive   justice requires resources and sustained organizing and momentum.

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Food, Music Get Together Young Adults and Teens

Gathering for Congregation Teens and Young Adults, All Members of FRS are Welcome

African Food Music and Dancing with our African Friends Laurence, and Josephine.

Friday May 24th 5 – 7 PM LMH

Especially invited are teens and college students .  This is an event for you!   Bring salads, drinks and P1020393P1020404(1)desserts.

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