GNOUU is a local cluster of three UU churches who are revitalizing their faith while rebuilding their city.
Rev. Albert D'Orlando
The Rev. Albert D'Orlando fought racism and segregation in the deep south and later vigouously opposed the Vietnam War. His house and church were firebombed in 1965. "He was a tremendous role model who believed that faith means nothing if you don't put your beliefs into action," said Martha Kegel, former executive director of the Louisiana chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. "He was a New Englander who came South and fought racism, and eventually, he became the conscience of the New Orleans community."
The Albert D'Orlando Lectureship on Social Justice
The Albert D'Orlando Lectureship on Social Justice was established by the First Unitarian Universalist Church of New Orleans in 1995 on the 50th anniversary of the Rev. Dr. D'Orlando's ordination and on the occasion of him being named the minister emeritus of this congregation after 31 years of him being minister to this congregation. During his long tenure as minister of this church, the Rev. Dr. D'Orlando tirelessly fought for social justice in this city. In the 1950's and 1960's. he actively supported desegregation in the schools and all other public places putting his family and church in danger occasionally. He was very active in supporting women's rights as well. He was a founding member of the Louisiana chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and received the ACLU's Ben Smith award for his contribution to civil liberties. The Rev. Dr. D'Orlando died in 1998.
The lecture is free and open to the public. A reception is held in the church following the lecture. Contributions to the lectureship are welcome.
1996 Clarence L. Barney
1997 Sr. Helen Prejean
1998 David Dellinger
1999 Tom Teepen
2000 Barbara Majors
2001 Rev. Dr. William Schulz
2002 Jim Hightower
2003 Edd Doerr
2004 Rev. Carlton W. Veazey
2008 Rabbi Michael Lerner
2009 Kim Gandy
2010 Joe Cook
2011 Mark Winne
2013 Dr. John Clark
For over 20 years, First Church has hosted a monthly morning meeting of social activists called the Gillespie Memorial Community Breakfast. The breakfast group meets from 9:30 a.m. until noon on the second Saturday of every month to network and share information about new and exciting social justice programs.
Typically there is a guest speaker/lecturer with a presentation and a question and answer period at each Gillespie Breakfast.
The Center for Ethical Living and Social Justice Renewal (CELSJR) exists to contribute to the holistic rebirth of Greater New Orleans and the Gulf Coast Region through programs and services that promote social, racial and economic justice. The Center strives to empower, inform and help build a sustainable, equitable, and inclusive community.
The New Orleans Rebirth Volunteer Program is the anchor program of the CELSJR, and provides more than work and housing to volunteers from across the country. Our week-long curriculum from Saturday to Saturday, examines the history of the city, the flood and levee system breaches, and rebuilding.
The Ethical Living in NOLA Lecture Series is hosted by the Community Church UU (CCUU) and the lectures address community issues.
Please see the website: www.celsjr.org for full details and information about how to send a group of volunteers to New Orleans.
Please consider making a financial contribution to the work of the CELSJR. You may designate your gift to the New Orleans Rebirth Volunteer Program, the N.O. Aids Kitchen, the Lecture Series, or make a general contribution to the Center. A Pay Pal option is available on the website.
First Unitarian Universalist Church New Orleans Celebrates Welcoming Congregation Designation.
The Unitarian Universalist Association has officially designated First Unitarian Universalist Church of New Orleans as a Welcoming Congregation(WC). This designation was awarded after completing a prescribed program of action, education, and change in the awareness, approach and acceptance of people with different sexual orientations and gender identity.
First Church has always aspired to be open and welcoming to all having made many changes as a result of growing knowledge and awareness of differences. After Hurricane Katrina, First Church leaders decided to formalize the open attitudes and welcoming behaviors by seeking the WC designation from the UUA.
In August, 2007, the congregation voted to initiate the formal process for attaining the WC designation. A WC team was formed and a plan of action was developed and implemented in accordance with UUA guidelines set forth by the WC program of the Office of Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Concerns. The guidelines specified twelve commitments a congregation must make and defined the actions necessary to actualize the commitments. The actions were divided into the categories of education, congregational life and community out reach. The congregation, guided by our leadership and the WC team with Rev. Melanie as our spiritual guide and mentor set about accomplishing the goals that were not already realized by the church’s previous actions. A series of workshops and educational and entertaining movies were presented. Services were planned to educate, support and acknowledge openness and acceptance of BLGTQI people. Language used in the bylaws and services was reviewed to make it inclusive. To First Church’s credit, just about all of it was. Community Outreach was initiated and an alliance was formed with NO/AIDS. Also, to First Church’s credit, many of the other actions were already in place such as ministerial services for LGBTQI members, recognition of same sex couples in First Church literature and directories.
At a congregational meeting on September 21, 2008, and after achievement of the goals set forth by the UUA, the congregation voted to seek formal recognition as a WC from the UUA. Documentation of actions taken and a request for formal recognition were prepared and sent to the UUA and in late October, 2008, the UUA granted official recognition of First Church as a Welcoming Congregation.
First UU Church Community Kitchen
We continue to work toward creating a vibrant food ministry.
This includes our plan to share the First Church Community Kitchen with our partner The New Orleans AIDS Task Force's Food For Friends Program. The NO/AIDS program provides healthy meals each week to homebound persons living with HIV/AIDS. First Church is proud of its efforts to rebuild the old church kitchen into a commercial kitchen in partnership with NO/AIDS.
The commitment to this project was made by congregational vote after Katrina. We have the plans and a gutted area prepared. Contractors are lined up and the bids have been reviewed (multiple times and with many changes and challenges)!
Renovation of the church building to support this work is ongoing. Contact the church office to learn how you can help in this effort. Final work to get the church facility up to code is progressing. May 2011 is the expected date of project completion.
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