The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Cleveland works with many organizations in the Cleveland area to promote intersectional justice in the areas of education, the environment, and hunger.

In addition, UUCC donates money through our Sunday Collection Plate to groups in our community that are doing work that furthers our Seven Principles. Most weeks the entire Sunday collection Plate is given to outside groups. Occasionally the Sunday Plate money goes to groups within the congregation.

Greater Cleveland Congregations (GCC) Update

Many attended the required training for signature gatherers with Molly Martin from Greater Cleveland Congregations (GCC) on Sunday, March 24. This was a kick-off to another Good Trouble campaign. UUCC’s goal is to collect at least four hundred signatures toward GCC’s goal of 20,000 in 60 days. So, let’s keep gathering those signatures to end gerrymandering in Ohio! Join us for 60 Days of Action to collect signatures and connect with other leaders to make change.
Missed the required petition gathering training on March 24?   Here are your options:

Or, listen to this  recording, look at these slides, and then take this online quiz.

Sign up to volunteer at various locations and see available events and slots organized by GCC from now through May 12:

If you are participating—or plan to participate—please inform Laurie Albright ( or a GCC Core Team member when you see them at church.

Next Action
GCC’s Pre-Trial Justice Team is planning an action for May 7th at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church. The 7pm action will be in person and on Zoom. Stay tuned for more information!

Why are People in Jail Before Trial?
Not for punishment because they have not been convicted. Most people are in jail before trial because:
-They are too poor to pay bail.
-They have mental health and/or addiction issues.
-They were arrested for non-violent crimes.

What’s wrong with jail before trial?
-It violates the rule of law – the presumption of innocence and the constitution’s prohibition against excessive bail.
-It harms individuals and their communities, is costly, and does not protect public safety.

What are alternatives?
-Providing pretrial services that:
* Investigate and recommend alternatives to jail, such as diversion and supervised release.
* Ensure that people come to court for scheduled dates.
* Help people to keep and/or get jobs, housing, families, transportation, and other resources.
* Protect public safety because people are less likely to re-offend.

Why Should You Attend this Public Hearing?
-You will hear how the pretrial process currently works in our County and learn research-based, data-driven best practices for pretrial services and join other GCC and community members in publicly calling for a more just and effective pretrial system – to reduce jail before trial. You will learn how we can do better!

Thank you!
UUCC GCC Core Team

Greater Cleveland Congregations Update

Battle for Democracy: It all Starts Now! Our City. Our County. Our State. The Fight for OUR Democracy.

Report on January 30th Meeting/Action with Mayor Justine Bibb
Greater Cleveland Congregation (GCC) leaders and members met with Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb regarding their Cleveland Neighborhoods Now and Battle for Democracy campaigns. During the action, speakers from the five targeted areas of the Cleveland Neighborhoods Now campaign (Fairfax, Central, Lee Harvard, Slavic Village and Mt. Pleasant) addressed the challenges in their neighborhoods and the work left to be done. The action also kicked off GCC’s Battle for Democracy campaign focusing on gerrymandering and voter turnout for the primary and general elections; GCC committed to getting 20,000 signatures in Cuyahoga County for the anti-gerrymandering campaign.
UUCC had 23 participants in the action!
To watch a YouTube video of the action, please click here:
For additional news coverage of the event, please click here:

Next Action is On February 20th at 7pm
Hundreds of GCC leaders will host a forum for the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor candidates and the Juvenile Court Judge candidates. Part of the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Race, this GCC Candidates Forum will be a huge opportunity for GCC to highlight the injustice of youth bindover to the adult justice system and how denying Cleveland’s youth the best representation available impacts their lives and the lives of their families. The action will require the candidates to react to our anger about this and other issues important to GCC. We are looking to pack the venue with our members to demonstrate our organizing power.

We need your help on February 20th Please sign up!
The action will be hybrid with virtual options; in-person is highly preferred.
The assembly will be held in person at:
Antioch Baptist Church,
8869 Cedar Avenue
Please sign-up here for the February 20th live in-person action:
Please register here if you plan on attending virtually:

If attending, please inform your GCC core team when you register, either in person in Fellowship Hall at coffee hour, or by emailing Laurie Albright at

Thank you!

Christmas Eve at Urban Hope a Success!

Many UUCC elves made Christmas Eve merry for some 40 guests at Urban Hope, the Ohio City soup kitchen we support. Because of the generous donations to the congregation’s collection plate for Urban Hope last year, we were able to give gift /shopping bags filled with RTA pass, toiletries, warm knitted hats, candy and other treats, plus provide a lovely meal. Some of the gifts were donated.
Many thanks to:
• Helen Gutin, who donated 30 gift/shopping bags
• Friends of UUCC, who knitted hats
• Sue Math, who bought packets of tissues
• Barbara Bradley, who contributed lip balm
• Teri Egan, who donated Hershey kisses
• Wednesday night diners who put together the bags: Jackie Stimpert, Lisa Hathaway, David Hathaway, Eric Hathaway, Daniel O’Keeffe, Cliff Wire, Laurie Holmes and others
• Many cookie bakers: Kris Bassett, Filomena Bassett, Grania Bassett, Jean Ellsworth-Wolk, the Forum gang, John Martin, Chris Martin
• John Martin, Jean Martin and Chris Martin, who cooked and served the meal
• Felisa Anthony and Dana DeSantis, who also served

Apologies to anyone whom we’ve missed!

Want to be part of the Urban Hope supporters? Find out how by contacting us.

Laurie H, Jean M. and Jean E-W

Impact  Youth Enrichment Program needs a volunteer!

Hi, We are looking for someone who would like to volunteer with Impact youth for 45 minutes to an hour every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 2:30 to 3:15 when school lets out. This could also be done by more than 1 person if you are not available all 3 days. You will be working with Impact staff at UUCC when the children arrive after school. This position will be needed until Impact finds a new staff member. Please email Kim Littell at Kim or Nancy Allman at

What is impact?

The IMPACT Youth Enrichment Program is an afterschool prevention program for Shaker Heights Middle School 7th and 8th graders in collaboration with UUCC and the Shaker Heights Youth Center. The program promotes leadership, service, wellness and academics, and runs in Fellowship Hall on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 3:30-5:30.  The program is always looking for church volunteers to share a talent or lend a hand to the 20 or so youth who participate. Please visit us on Facebook: more information, contact Program Director Sandy Troupe,

GCC Is Calling for a NO Vote on Issue 1!

Issue 1 would require a 60% majority from voters to approve an amendment to the Ohio Constitution instead of a simple majority of 50.1%, the same simple majority it takes for an official to be voted into office. The politicians are changing the rules to keep control over the people of Ohio.

We say NO to that! We say Power to the people, not only the politicians!

GCC’s commitment to democracy is long-term, and Issue 1 is a direct threat to our democracy. We say NO! We will not give up our power and we will turn out to vote NO!

Special elections have one of the lowest turnout rates of any election. Using our successful Neighborhood Captain model, GCC will push turnout in targeted low-propensity neighborhoods and, of course, push our leaders and supporters to vote as well!

We recommend vote-by-mail to ensure you get your vote in during your busy summer. We also recommend vote-by-mail because of recent changes to Voter ID requirements that many Ohioans are not aware of and may not be able to secure an ID prior to the August 8th special election. 

A Union of Concerned Scientist Report Shows GCC’s Neighborhood Captain Program Is Improving Voter Turnout: The report shows that GCC’s relational organizing, combined with data-driven outreach, can substantially increase voter turnout in marginalized or underserved communities. The report, Building Relationships, Building Power, includes these notable findings:

Organizing yielded positive results. On average, contact success — defined as getting the persons contacted to commit to voting — for each active neighborhood captain across elections was approximately 50 voter households.

Turnout inequalities were reduced. In the November 2022 election, overall turnout in Cleveland’s 5th Ward was just 15 percent — half that of the city as a whole. But among those who committed to voting through the neighborhood captains’ efforts, turnout was 42 percent.

Youth turnout increased. The youngest voting cohort in the Cuyahoga County voter file — born after 1992 — voted at an overall rate of about 17 percent, but younger voters who committed to voting through relational organizing were nearly twice as likely to vote, close to the average turnout rate for Cleveland in 2022.

Here is a longer analysis of the impact of how GCC’s Neighborhood Captain Model of improving voter turnout and building power in marginalized communities:

Thank You for Supporting FDR Partners!

As we have shared, UUCC has a supportive partnership with FDR Academy, a Cleveland Municipal School District (CMSD) PreK-8 school in Glenville.  This spring, there have been two important opportunities to support FDR:  The production of Disney’s musical, the Aristocats;  and the Attendance Incentive Program.

We are happy to announce the successful completion of both projects last week!

The Aristocats

Performances were on May 18 for students and May 20 for parents and the public.  The students did a great job, as those of us attending from UUCC can attest!  We appreciate UUCC’s contribution to this memorable experience for the FDR students – including funding for scenery and rehearsal-time snacks, John Bacon’s wonderful contribution as Videographer, and Laurie Albright’s offering of a delicious cake for the cast party.  Very special recognition goes to Beck Burns, who served as Music Director, tirelessly offering her amazing musical and teaching skills over many months!

Attendance Incentive Program

The goal of FDR’s two-month attendance program was to encourage the return of school attendance to pre-pandemic level, through weekly rewards to the grade with the highest attendance.  UUCC’s role was to provide the reward, goodie bags for the winning students.  The eight-week program is now completed, with the winning grades were at/near the target goal and excited to be recognized.  Again, we appreciate UUCC’s contribution to this important project – through funding for the prizes, much help decorating and filling the bags at coffee hour, and bringing them to FDR.

Thank you, UUCC, for supporting our FDR Partnership and for helping to make a difference for these students! 

Urban Hope Kids Garden Needs Volunteers

Urban Hope, the soup kitchen UUCC supports, offers a gardening program to neighborhood children at Kentucky Community Garden located at 38th and Franklin on Cleveland’s Near West Side.  In spring and fall, we work with children from the nearby Near West Intergenerational School. In the summer, the children are from the neighborhood.

Urban children who may not have much experience with nature have fun learning how their food is grown. We plant, water, weed, and harvest. Each session includes cooking with vegetables and a craft.

If you love gardening and children, the Urban Hope Children’s Garden is a wonderful volunteer opportunity. UUCC’s Jean Ellsworth-Wolk is a volunteer. The after school spring program runs from 3:15 to 4:30 pm starting in April on a day to be determined. The summer program runs from 4:00 to 6:00 pm on a weekday, also tbd. For more information or to sign up, please contact Cathy Ross at or 216-970-2854.

UU The Vote

UU the vote offers workshops and actions to encourage voting and voting awareness through out the country.  UU the Vote in Ohio is partially supported by the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). Here in Ohio, through Unitarian Universalist Justice organization (UUJO), we are partnered with a collaborative called Every Vote Matters in Ohio.  The focus is on Voter Advocacy (education, registration, and support).  Knowing your efforts are part of a coordinated plan helps keep the momentum going. Whether you like to call, text, write, go door to door, sponsor house parties, or other options, there is something everyone can do.

Laurie Albright is the contact person who can help you get involved, or you can go directly to the UU The Vote Website
Greater Cleveland Congregations

Greater Cleveland Congregations (GCC) is a non-partisan coalition of faith communities and partner organizations in Cuyahoga County working together for social justice. As a catalyst for systemic change, GCC challenges Greater Clevelanders to imagine the change we can accomplish, connect individuals and organizations to multiply our power, and mobilize our members by the thousands to make our voices heard. GCC unites people across lines of race, class, religion, and geography to promote public, private and civic sector actions which strengthen and improve the quality of life of our neighborhoods.

GCC is a Congregational membership-based organization, so individual people cannot belong (although they can certainly contribute individually!).  So, by default, anyone who is a member/friend of our congregation can participate in GCC activities. 

 Laurie Albright is the official delegate from our congregation and Pam Gibbon is our alternate delegate.  UUCC’s Core team members presently are Vern Sackman, Bev Austin, Pat Dillard, Pam Gibbon, Laurie Albright, Greg Nosan, Brandon Ruud, and Mark Weber.

For more information visit or contact Laurie Albright.

Urban Hope

Urban Hope is an Ohio City storefront soup kitchen that area Unitarian churches support. It provides a place for needy neighbors to gather inside for a few hours to eat a meal, talk, play cards and take a shower. Volunteer opportunities include buying ingredients, communally cooking in our church kitchen, serving the meal, and donating other items. Our congregation’s turn is the 4th Sunday of each month.

See it for yourself in this video filmed by West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church in Rocky River, one of our Urban Hope partners. 

Volunteers are welcome. Please contact us to get involved

The Urban Hope Team:
Jean Martin,  Laurie Holmes,  Jean Ellsworth-Wolk 
email us at:

The location is just a few blocks west of the West Side Market. Look for The Storefront sign over the front door.

4241 Lorain Ave
Cleveland, OH