Mission, Values & Vision
Here are written expressions of the values that guide Paint Branch members, friends, and visitors on our religious journey together.
Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church will
- Live our Unitarian Universalist Principles,
- Unlock the creativity and strength of every spirit,
- Create a diverse and inclusive network of respectful relationships,
- Unite to promote racial and social justice and care for the Earth,
- Honor the contributions of everyone's time, talent and treasure toward the common good, and
- Encourage the greater community to do the same.
Grounded by our deep Unitarian Universalist roots, Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church is a vibrant, liberal, religious community. We come together to create meaningful worship, life-long religious exploration and joyful artistic expressions of our principles. Our values call us to live in harmony with the Earth and respond to the social justice needs of the wider community.
In 1993 and 1994, PBUUC went through the steps to gain recognition as a Welcoming Congregation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals and families. The UUA's Welcoming Congregation Program bestows this designation on Unitarian Universalist congregations that are intentionally open to persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities.
Support for LGBT people has been one of Paint Branch's major social action themes over the decades, starting with advocacy for anti-discrimination laws and continuing through today's push for marriage equality in the state of Maryland. Many LGBT people and their allies participate in other key roles in congregational life: committee work, Religious Exploration, arts, music, and lay ministry to each other. We as a congregation are dedicated to welcoming everyone inclusively.
Our concern for nature and the environment goes back to the earliest days of our congregation, when we purchased a beautiful plot of woodland, bordered by community park land, for our spiritual home. Inspired by these common values and vision, Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church has earned the UUA's designation as a Green Sanctuary.
Led by a committee known as the "Green Sanctuary Team," PBUUC has taken many steps to save energy, reduce waste and "live lightly on the Earth." Here are some of the Earth-friendly things we have done in recent years:
- Replaced the Religious Exploration Building's gas-fired furnaces with a geothermal heating/cooling system in 2004.
- Along with a neighborhood group, made efforts to remove invasive weeds on our wooded property.
- Improved our recycling and composting procedures.
- Agreed to use non-disposable plates, cups, and utensils whenever possible (washing them in our commercial dishwasher).
- Served a "locavore" Ethnic and Regional Dinner focusing on foods grown in Maryland, and held several church services on water, trees, and ethical eating.
- Started a vegetable garden tended by Religious Exploration students.
The concern and the work don't stop at the PBUUC property line! At its monthly meetings, the Green Sanctuary Team discusses such topics as the health of the Anacostia River watershed, the movement against hydraulic fractionation ("fracking") and regional wind-energy projects. The team is also working with other Paint Branch leaders to improve drainage issues in our parking lot–important to us because the water in our namesake stream eventually flows into the Anacostia River.
The Green Sanctuary Team has more than enough work for everybody. Whether your interests lie in hands-on tasks or cerebral discussions, please feel free to roll up your sleeves (literally or metaphorically) and jump in!
Intentional Multicultural Congregation
PBUUC is located in one of the most diverse counties in the Mid-Atlantic region, if not the entire United States. As a congregation, we would like to better reflect this diversity.
On June 12, 2011, PBUUC members attending the Annual Congregational Meeting unanimously adopted this resolution:
To more fully realize our Unitarian Universalist Principles, we, the Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church community, declare ourselves an Intentional Multicultural Congregation. Therefore, we commit ourselves, the Board of Trustees, staff, committees, affinity groups and lay leadership to inclusive actions that transform all aspects of congregational life in ways that affirm our multicultural identity as the foundation of the church's strength.
Five years prior, PBUUC's Diversity/Anti-Racism Transformation Team (DARTT) was chartered and began the journey that led to this resolution. DARTT coordinates numerous activities, both within our congregation and in the nearby community, to raise awareness about racism and to promote personal and spiritual growth toward a more just society.
In addition to regular monthly meetings, DARTT has sponsored Diversity Dialogues centered around current events, the Journey Toward Wholeness film series, and several Sunday services throughout the church year, including Kwanzaa. DARTT works with other PBUUC groups, including the Social Action Committee, on various activities. In 2010, the Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice of the National Capital Region honored DARTT with its Journey Toward Wholeness Award "in recognition of your work to transform yourselves, your congregation, your neighborhood, your district and the world and honoring our principles, particularly the inherent worth and dignity of all persons."
DARTT is interested in the questions that Paint Branch members and friends may have about multiculturalism. This movement has been growing at the denominational level as well as the congregational level. We invite you to join us as we affirm our multicultural identity as the foundation of our church's strength.