First Unitarian hosts local homeless families who are our guests for one week at a time. Every 14 weeks, classrooms on the second floor are turned into bedrooms, and Gilbert Hall becomes a hospitality room where guests relax, socialize, do homework and enjoy leisure activities.

The RAIHN Network is composed of 36 local congregations, with a Day Center and Director who provides supportive services with the goal of getting families “back on their feet” and achieving a sustainable independence.  RAIHN serves single fathers with children, same sex couples, and does not segregate families by gender.

This volunteer program at First Unitarian is for all of us – singles, couples, families, elders, teens, classes and small groups. Please contact us if you are interested in helping with a future rotation or for more information about RAIHN.

Contact: Dave Teagarden


First Unitarian members have listened to the stories of people on the margins, signed postcards, attended meetings, marched, made phone calls and lobbied legislators. Our small work, when combined with the small work done by members of the other 23 Roc/ACTS groups, becomes the “Great Work that is Moving the Needle.”  Projects include:

Childcare Subsidy Funding – we won a small increase in 2017 and continue the fight for full funding in the 2018 county and state budgets.

Raise the Age – we were a major force in getting our state senators to support passage of Raise the Age legislation and we continue to monitor implementation in Monroe County.

Police Accountability Board – we turned out 230 people for a Candidate Forum and 500 people for a Public Meeting supporting City Council creation of an independent Police Accountability Board.

Raise the Wage – we have a new campaign to raise the wages of Home Health Care Workers.

Contact Tom Perry

Contact: Penny Quill


The UU/Schools Partnership recruits church members and people in the community to help students at Rochester’s Lincoln School #22 and Children’s School of Rochester #15 succeed in school. Launched in 1988, this project recruits, trains and supports volunteers who tutor and assist students and teachers.. The Partnership also raises money to pay for school supplies and student enrichment activities, including field trips. We also provide bags of food each Friday to students at School #22 who are at risk of going hungry over the weekend.

Contact: Joe Simson

Contact: Andrea Porter


Connect & Breathe creates safe space to talk about abortion experiences by offering a talkline staffed by people trained to listen and provide unbiased support and encouragement of self-care. Whether abortion has affected you or a loved one, yesterday or years ago, Connect & Breathe is here for you. Connect & Breathe is a separate 501©(3) not for profit organization. It originated as part of the social justice efforts of the First Unitarian Church and in 2013 the congregation decided to continue supporting it as an on-going project. Learn More: Connect & Breathe.



UUSC is a nonsectarian organization that advances human rights and social justice in the United States and around the world. We envision a world free from oppression and injustice, where all can realize their full human rights. Through a combination of advocacy, education, and partnerships with grassroots organizations, UUSC promotes economic rights, advances environmental justice, defends civil liberties, and preserves the rights of people in times of crisis.

Contact: Jack Maniloff


First Unitarian of Rochester is a member congregation of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), which is made up of over 1000 congregations and is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts.  Our church is also a member congregation of the St. Lawrence District (SLD) of the UUA, 34 congregations in upstate New York one in northern Pennsylvania, is headquartered in Buffalo.

Members attend the UUA General Assembly and the Annual General Meeting of the St. Lawrence District as delegates or observers. There are District workshops held around the state in areas of interest such as social justice, religious education, and worship and the arts. The District website and calendar lists these events, and they are also featured in our weekly connections newsletter.