What You Can Do for Justice

Community BoardJoin us to create compassionate justice grounded in spiritual community! Here’s some of what you can do: Put together weekly meals for the street homeless. Make and serve a monthly dinner at a local men’s shelter. Advocate for things like public transportation and against things like gun violence. Bring a food donation on Sundays. Place some money in our Sunday collection plate which we’ll share with a worthy justice partner.

If you’re looking for ways to get involved, share your gifts, and serve the common good; you’ve come to the right place. Here are some specific opportunities to get involved. Our Justice League coordinates our justice work, contact them at <justice at alleghenyuu.org>.



White Supremacy & UU?

Posted by on Mar 15, 2018 in Feature Stories, From Rev. Dave, Justice Opportunities, News, Social Justice Activities | Comments Off on White Supremacy & UU?

Love church allegheny Unitarian Universalist spirituality community nourish spirit worship

All of us need all of all of us

On February 4, 2018, Allegheny’s Get Woke/Stay Woke and the Worship Ministry answered the call from the Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism Organizing Collective (BLUU) to create a worship experience centering the voices of Unitarian Universalists of color from across the denomination.

Grateful to be part of a church that has been doing a lot of good things for years that BLUU has challenged Unitarian Universalists to do, like lifting voices of people of color in worship and actively engaging with local organizations that are run by people of color; we still remain vigilant to recognize, address, and heal from remnants of the legacy of White Supremacy that continue to live within the culture and structures of even this Beloved Community of spirit and engaged compassion.

Conscious of the characteristics of White Supremacy culture, our engagement with BLUU challenges and inspires us to live even more deeply into the Beloved Community we seek. Not content to tolerate diversity, we celebrate it. Not seeking to resolve conflict, we welcome it as a healthy sign of life. Not enduring messiness, we embrace the bless of mess. Not giving in to the urgency of now, we live into the deep presence of now. Not reacting with defensiveness, we respond to agitation and criticism with faithful curiosity. Not attending to measurables only, we revel in the immeasurable values of emotional intelligence, conscientious process, and radical inclusion. Not adjusted to hierarchical power, we collaborate and encourage all stakeholders to share in responsibility for leadership. Not relying on the myth of objectivity, we recognize that all of us need all of all of us and lean into learning from those with world views radically different than our own. Not resting in a presumed right to comfort, we are creatively inspired by discomfort to grow our soul.

We’re not looking to ply a new dogma. Nor are we given to the self-righteousness of perfectionism of those who announce themselves as enlightened. We know we will fail. And we commit to “fail forward.”

And so we become the change we seek in the world.

[published March 15, 2018]

A group of Unitarian Universalist leaders have asked our congregations to foster a deeper understanding of how White Supremacy and institutional racism intersect even within our UU institutions–like our congregations and the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) itself. Clearly, the UUA is not White Supremacist in philosophy or theology. But just as clearly, our history is full of assumptions and policies that carried notions of the supremacy of Northern European values and the natural inferiority of other “races.”

Part of healing from this legacy is listening–listening especially to UU People of Color who are our leaders– and taking seriously their admonitions. Even when–maybe especially when it makes some of us uncomfortable. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we chose the term “White Supremacy.” We knew it would make some of us squirm.

It’s serendipitous (which is, as I sometimes say, another word for “God”) that the spiritual focus for worship this month is “Freedom with Responsibility.” We are free from dogma, free to create the church that our neighborhood and world needs now. So we have to take responsibility for the church we build, our beliefs, and behaviors.

love church spiritual racism racial justice african american allegheny unitarian universalist church pittsburgh Rev. Tines preaching it from the pulpit at Allegheny–or what he affectionately calls “my UU church.”
For our congregation, taking responsibility by joining in the “White Supremacy Teach-In” is part of an ongoing work. Here’s the worship synopsis I wrote for Sunday, May 7, 2017, following on Rev. Deryck Tine’s powerful personal reflections the previous Sunday:

Taking responsibility for creating intentional community is extremely counter-cultural in our place and time. In response to Leaders of Color in the UUA encouraging all UUs to reflect on the institutional structures and legacy of White Supremacy, Rev Dave celebrates our annual Founders Sunday by exploring from his perspective the ways that spiritual community intentionally offers both comfort and affliction… and might just save humanity.

Following our May 7 worship, we continued exploring the damaging effects of toxic Whiteness and how to work through it to a place of compassionate and well-informed action during a specially re-scheduled “Stay Woke” gathering.

Some people refer to the Unitarian Universalist faith as “A Movement.” But of course it’s more. Sometimes we have to take a stand. We take many stands. But we don’t stay in one place. To do so would be to have a dead faith. In the words of the Ghanaian song Woyaya we sometimes sing, “We are going. Heaven knows where we are going. But we know within.”

Here’s to going with you!

See you in worship.

Always Love, Rev Dave

PS: Here are resources that have been provided by Black Lives of UU if you’d like to go deeper yourself.

PSS: If you have sympathy for this way of putting Unitarian Universalism into action, but some of this happens to be too far outside your comfort zone, let me leave you with words from James Baldwin: “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

PSSS: Join “Get Woke Stay Woke” conversations and actions toward racial justice, regularly scheduled following Fellowship on the Second Sundays of the month.

[published May 6, 2017]

Support Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism

Posted by on Mar 3, 2018 in Feature Stories, Justice Opportunities, Upcoming Events | Comments Off on Support Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism


Our March-April Share the Plate Justice Partner is the Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism Organizing Collective (BLUU) through the UUA’s The Promise and The Practice of Our Faith campaign. Half of our Sunday cash offerings will be directed to BLUU. Our collection will be matched dollar for dollar up to $1 million to help fund the vital programs and resources provided by BLUU.



The Promise and the Practice for Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism is a turning moment; a choice to listen deeply to the stories in our religion that have not always been heard or taken to heart. It’s a lamenting of what our Unitarian Universalist tradition and congregations have lost by being unable – or unwilling – to center People of color (or even, at times, to merely include them). The Promise and the Practice is a celebration of our shared commitment to live into a new chapter in the story of our Unitarian Universalist faith.

Imagine what our faith would look like if we upheld and centered the history, the perspectives, the voices, and the leadership of Black Lives of Unitarian Universalists. The Promise and the Practice of Our Faith campaign is our opportunity to take the lead as a faith denomination in addressing our history of upholding white supremacy. Together, we can collectively work to dismantle it and amend a long broken promise to the Black Lives within our Association.

This is our time to be bold, radical, and transformational as we commit to nurture a radically inclusive, justice centered, multiracial and multigenerational religious faith!

Biketism on Earth Day Sunday April 22

Posted by on Mar 3, 2018 in Justice Opportunities, Upcoming Events | Comments Off on Biketism on Earth Day Sunday April 22

Come for our 7th annual Blessing of the Bikes following the Sunday April 22 2018 Earth Day worship service. With Rev. David McFarland. Free coffee and donuts. Afterwards take a ride through Allegheny Commons or on the riverfront trail. All ages welcome! Allegheny UU Church is at W North & Resaca on Pittsburgh’s North Side. Worship begins at 10:30am, the Biketism will be outside in front of the church at 11:45am.


Biketism 2016

Summit Against Racism on Jan 20

Posted by on Jan 18, 2018 in Justice Opportunities, Upcoming Events | Comments Off on Summit Against Racism on Jan 20

Summit Against Racism logoThe Summit Against Racism, a multicultural initiative of the Black & White Reunion, is an opportunity to learn more about racism, and a forum for healing trauma, building community, and inspiring action. The 2018 event will be the 20th gathering, held annually following Jonny Gammage’s 1995 death during a traffic stop. There will be many members and friends of the church going as presenters and as attendees. Here are a few of the workshops being offered:

Join the Coalition for Racial Justice in Media
Presenters: Khalid Raheem, Shanon Williams, Dr. Letrell Crittenden, Mila Sanina

Building Power: Addressing Racism and Trauma in Pittsburgh’s Immigrant Communities
Presenters: Kim Dinh, Antonia Domingo, Mana Aliabadi, Monica Ruiz, Vanessa Griffith, Alicia Quebral, Betty Cruz

Can You be White and Woke? The Problem with Well-Meaning White People
Presenters: Brianna Totty, LMFT; Heather Brown, LMFT; Ashley North Cook, LMFT Brianna Totty, Ashley North Cook

The Role of Music in the Fight for Social Justice
Presenters: Phat Man Dee, Liz Berlin, Pastor Deryck Tines, Miguel Sague Jr., Jennifer Saffron

Moving Beyond White Guilt to Insight, Empathy, and Action!
Presenters:  Members of Pittsburgh Friends (Quaker) Meeting and members of the Wrestling with Racism Group (Warren and First United Methodist Churches)

The 2018 Summit Against Racism will be held on January 20, 2018 at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in Highland Park. Learn more at summitagainstracism.org.



Serve a Shelter Meal!

Posted by on Jan 14, 2018 in Justice Opportunities, Upcoming Events | Comments Off on Serve a Shelter Meal!

As one of the founding congregations of Northside Common Ministries, we continue to support their important work of serving those most in need in our community. Volunteers from Allegheny provide a meal for the 30 men staying at the Pleasant Valley Men’s Shelter on the 3rd Thursday of every month.  Here are the dates for 2018:

Thursday, January 18
Thursday, February 15
Thursday, March 15
Thursday, April 19
Thursday, May 17
Thursday, June 21
Thursday, July 19
Thursday, August 16
Thursday, September 20
Thursday, October 18
Thursday, November 15
Thursday, December 20

Pleasant Valley ShelterThe Pleasant Valley Men’s Shelter offers nightly accommodations for 30 homeless men as well as a warm evening meal, showers, and other support services. Menu planning is done by email earlier in the week. The Thursday evening meal begins at 8pm at 1601 Brighton Road, please arrive at least 15 minutes early to deliver food, set up, and prepare for serving. If you can make food and/or serve with us please get in touch with Shelter Meal Coordinator Chris McKeever at <sheltermeal at alleghenyuu.org>.

Sept 23: We’re Glad You’re Our Neighbor Picnic

Posted by on Aug 13, 2017 in Feature Stories, Justice Opportunities, Upcoming Events | Comments Off on Sept 23: We’re Glad You’re Our Neighbor Picnic

We Are Glad You Are Our Neighbor Picnic

With the help of a One Northside/Sprout Fund Neighbor-to-Neighbor grant, Allegheny Unitarian Universalist Church and Northside Common Ministries are organizing a “We’re Glad You’re Our Neighbor” picnic on Saturday, September 23rd, from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm to bring together people from all different cultural and faith backgrounds that make up the rich tapestry of our community. Through food, conversation, and entertainment, we hope to foster deeper understanding and appreciation for our uniqueness and similarities and draw people into closer relationship.

Guests are invited to bring a blanket or chair and a favorite dish to share. Musicians and performers from a variety of styles and backgrounds will help us celebrate through song and dance. Opportunities will be provided to share our unique stories and build new connections with neighbors.

The event is free and open to all. No tickets necessary.

Participating organizations:

Allegheny Unitarian Universalist Church

Bidwell Street United Presbyterian Church

Greater Pittsburgh Muslim Association

Northside Common Ministries

United Somali Bantu Association

If interested in planning or supporting the efforts, please contact Jay at 412-323-1163 x7 or Kate at 412-378-2848.

One Northside Logo

This project made possible by a One Northside grant from The Sprout Fund, in partnership with the Buhl Foundation.