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Social Justice

First Universalist seeks to transform ourselves, our community, and our world through advocating for economic, environmental, LGBTQIA+, immigrant, and racial justice. You'll often find First Universalist members putting their faith into action at protest marches, prayer vigils, and homeless shelters; marching in the Pride parade, cleaning up Washington Square Park, and collecting school supplies for School No. 7.  We follow the Unitarian Universalist (UU) tradition of "deeds not creeds." If you share these values and are looking for a place to get involved, we welcome you to join us in our justice ministries. 

Current Programs:

Housing For All

Housing For All logo  w smaller case.jpg

We are proud to support the following organizations through monetary donations and hands-on involvement.


Clara's Cupboard/Community Garden

Initiatives to reach out to the local community include our community garden and little free library (known as "Clara's Cupboard") located on the southwest corner of the building. Both of these provide free food, supplies, and literature to workers, residents, and visitors to our downtown neighborhood.

Food Cupboard

On the second Sunday of each month, we take up a collection of toiletries, paper goods, and non-perishable food items during our service to benefit the Community Food Cupboard on Nester Street. Our congregants continue to give generously each month.  

New York UU Justice

We are organizing a New York UU State Advocacy Network and we are in the organizing phase. We had three meetings in the summer of 2020 to get input and are now working hard on vision, mission, values and governance. The best way to find out what is coming up is to sign up for our Mailchimp list we are using to keep in touch with all the folks who have participated or shown interest so far! Together, we herald our good news of hope, always standing on the side of love. We are the ones we've been waiting for.

Rochester LGBTQ+ Together & Pride Parade

We march in the annual Rochester Pride Parade every year to show our support to the LGBTQIA+ community of Rochester. Our local group is now Rochester LGBTQ+ Together.

Family Promise of Greater Rochester

(formerly RAIHN)

Family Promise of Greater Rochester (FPGROC, formerly RAIHN) is a not-for-profit, interfaith, culturally-competent organization that assists families to achieve sustainable independence by supporting them with tailored services including shelter, food, personalized case management, and a diverse network of caring volunteers.

Family Promise of Greater Rochester is an affiliate of Family Promise National. 

Social Justice Plate Collection

On the third Sunday of each month, our Sunday morning plate collection is donated to an organization involved in social justice work. Most recipient organizations are local and often underfunded.

2024-2025 recipients:​​​

  • 490 Farmers — July

  • Children Awaiting Parents — August

  • Climate Solutions Accelerator — September

  • Family Promise of Greater Rochester — October

  • Rural and Migrant Ministries — November

  • (Staff Bonuses—December)

  • BLUU —January

  • Person Centered Housing Options — February

  • Center for Youth — March

  • REACH Advocacy — April

  • Black Community Focus Fund — May

  • DRUUM— June

Planning a church event? Here's a handy checklist

​to help you plan!

Learn more at

Joy Leccese & Connie Valk
FIAC Co-chairs

To learn more about our Social Justice Circles and how to create your own Social Justice Circle, click here.

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