Social Justice is a cornerstone of the Unitarian Universalist faith. We invite you to join us in this important work.


The Unitarian Universalist faith demands justice, equity and compassion in human relations. At First Unitarian we are committed to work in partnership to end racial, social, environmental and economic injustice within our own community, and beyond. Our Social Justice Support Team provides accountability and support to the ministries and all other Social Justice activities of the church. The team is made up of one of the ministers and three lay leaders. Current members are Rev. AJ, Tom Perry, Meghan Garvey, and Alex Hale. Reach out to Rev. AJ to get in touch with the team.

Environmental Justice

This Ministry endeavors to educate the congregation on environmentally responsible activities, such as switching to renewable power, driving hybrid or electric vehicles, eating less beef/pork, and basically reducing consumption, reusing and recycling. We also advocate for legislation to reduce global warming. Be sure to check out our Facebook page and our Website!

Contact John Keevert or Paul Bornemann for more information.

UU/School Partnership

For over 30 years, the UU/School Partnership has worked to positively affect student outcomes, both academic and social, at Lincoln School #22 and Children’s School of Rochester #15. Our volunteers work to help build students’ reading and math skills in small groups or individually. We partner with teachers for extended learning in a variety of clubs, enriching activities and events. We invite you to join us in this important and rewarding work! Read more in the most recent newsletter.

Contact Joe Simson or Andrea Porter for more information.

Honduras Ministry

The Honduras Ministry supports a relationship among our congregation, the Global Health Program of Family Medicine at University of Rochester Medical Center, and the people of San Jose, San Marcos de la Sierra, Intibucá, Honduras. We work together to improve the quality of life for this 2,000-member community.

This relationship has educated the youth and members of the congregation about injustices in the lives of our southern neighbors. As such, projects have involved including middle and high school scholarships for over 100 Honduran students, curriculum development and delivery to the 35 elementary school teachers in the region, development and delivery of improved cook stoves, latrines, and improved water availability and filters.

Contact Barbara Gawinski for more information.


Upcoming Events

Black Lives Matter Silent Vigils

Each Saturday at Noon, members of our community join with Black Lives Matter Elders and Allies to take part in a peaceful, silent witness. Join us – we’re there in rain, shine, and even snow.

May 2023 schedule


Police Accountability Board Meetings

Thursdays at 6:30 PM – open to the public; Livestreamed on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter

Survey for Police Accountability: Rochester, NY

Impact Earth Composting at First Unitarian

Reduce your environmental impact by composting your food scraps and other compostable materials. When swapping your bucket at First Unitarian, $2 of your $6 service fee goes to the Youth Group to support their Honduran Student Scholarship. Learn about this program and visit to sign up.

Side with Love

Side with Love is a public advocacy campaign that seeks to harness love’s power to stop oppression. It is sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Association and all are welcome to join. Subscribe to get updates. What is love calling you to do?


First Unitarian Church is a member organization of PABA. The purpose of the Alliance is to nominate Rochester community members to represent the interests of civilian residents of the City of Rochester on the Rochester Police Accountability Board. This group meets the first and third Wednesdays via Zoom – contact one of our representatives to join or for more information: Mary Hammele and Penny Townsend-Quill

Connect & Breathe is now a separate 501©(3) not for profit organization which 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. If you feel called to volunteer with this organization, please reach out to our church’s coordinators: Laura Humphrey or Julia Smith

First Unitarian is honored to be one of many local member congregations of Roc/ACTS, which endeavors to transform our community together toward equity and justice through community organizing. Interested in learning more? Reach out to our Roc/ACTS church coordinators: Ellie Stauffer or Jon Horne

NY UU Justice is designed to educate, build community, connect faith to action and inspire us to live our Principles in the world. They work for accessibility, reproductive, economic and racial justice, among others. Contact Rev. AJ van Tine for more information.

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee 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 environment.