The Social Justice Council proposes that the Westside UU Congregation join the Washington Faith Action Network (FAN) as a congregation on an ongoing basis. We are submitting this proposal to be considered as part of the June 2, 2019 annual meeting.
Who is the WA Faith Action Network (wafan.org)
From their website:
…a statewide interfaith advocacy 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization through which thousands of people and over 140 faith communities across Washington State partner for the common good.
Faith Action Network is an interfaith statewide partnership striving for a just, compassionate, and sustainable world through community building, education, and courageous public action.
We are a widely-diverse coalition of all people of faith which allies with like-minded communities and organizations across the state to take courageous action and create a more just and peaceful world.
We Are a Network of Faith Communities That:
Believes justice work is part of our religious calling
Communicates with elected officials about critical social issue
Advocates for a more just and sustainable world
Why should Westside join FAN?
Work more closely on social and environmental justice issues from a progressive viewpoint with other faith communities statewide. While primarily Christian, UU (ten UU member churches listed below), Jewish, Buddhist, and Muslim communities are also involved.
Join the FAN West Seattle Cluster, which currently has six congregational members, increasing our ability to work together with these West Seattle churches and synagogue
Have our Social Justice Council and congregation get more informed about advocacy issues and what faith communities are doing about them
Inform our Social Justice Council and congregation regarding possible actions, campaigns, or events we may want to participate in or organize
Several Westside members have participated in the annual FAN faith advocacy day the last few years, which includes a morning educational workshops and afternoon advocacy with legislators. By becoming a listed member further strengthens this advocacy day, FAN and its work on justice issues
Increase our influence on deciding which issues FAN addresses
Why a congregational vote?
The FAN network asks churches as a whole entity join the network. Having the Westside Social Justice Council join FAN is not acceptable. Westside UU Congregation needs to join.
What does this commit the Congregation to?
Being listed as a FAN member
Note: This would not affect the UUA’s or Westside’s IRS 501(c)(3) status as FAN only addresses issues not campaigns or candidates
The amount and frequency would be decided by Westside
FAN suggests that churches could make a line item in their budget or collect a special offering
From FAN’s website, “A part of being in FAN’s statewide Network of Advocating Faith Communities is a regular financial contribution, at levels that make sense for your organizational budget.”
The 10 other UU church FAN members
Eastshore Unitarian Church
Edmonds Unitarian Universalist
Evergreen Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (Marysville)
Community Unitarian Universalist Church (Pasco)
Olympic Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (Port Angeles)
University Unitarian Church
Shoreline Unitarian Universalist Church
Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane
Unitarian Universalist Church of Vancouver
Unitarian Universalist Church of Yakima
FAQ from the FAN website
What is the pledge that FAN’s statewide network of advocating faith communities commit to? “Advocating for social justice in the ‘halls of power’ is a part of our mission and we partner with Faith Action Network to help us do that.”
What is the advantage of joining the Faith Action Network? Advocating Faith Communities that participate in the network join their voices with people of faith from across the state. Together, our faith communities represent a powerful, moral voice for social change. Participation in the network also provides faith communities with access to FAN’s wide range of advocacy resources, from education curriculum and legislative updates to advocacy training and leadership development. Participation in the network also allows faith communities to better communicate and collaborate with other FAN communities.
How does FAN determine what issues to work on? We depend heavily on our faith communities to help determine our advocacy issues. We encourage faith communities to discern issues by communicating with their local communities and reflecting on their religious traditions. FAN hosts annual summits where faith communities from across the state share the issues that they have discerned. In cooperation with our governing board and program committee, FAN then develops a strategic agenda, usually focusing on one top-tier issue and 3-4 additional issues. FAN has previously worked on issues related to hunger, homelessness, economic justice, the environment, sustainable agriculture, education, health care, criminal justice reform, and human rights.
Does becoming part of the Faith Action Network require that we support every position FAN takes on individual issues? No. Becoming part of the network simply means that a faith community affirms our shared calling to advocate for a more just and sustainable world. How you and your faith community carry out a ministry of advocacy in your local context is up to you. When FAN takes a position on a particular issue, it is not something we insist you agree with but rather it is a recommendation that we hope individuals within your faith community will consider and engage with.
Does participating in the Network require a financial commitment? A part of being in FAN’s statewide Network of Advocating Faith Communities is a regular financial contribution, at levels that make sense for your organizational budget. Here are some ways you can help insure our great work together continues: Make FAN a line item in your faith community’s annual budget or special mission allocations; Collect a special offering for FAN, or host a fundraiser that benefits FAN’s advocacy; Let us know of endowments or other funding sources in your community to which we can apply for funds; Add to your organizational impact by attending our annual FAN dinner fundraiser in the fall, and introduce others to FAN by sponsoring a table for your faith community. Your contribution makes a difference!
Is FAN a lobbying organization? FAN does speak directly to government officials as one method of doing advocacy. This is only one of many ways that we carry out our work. The network is intended to empower and support faith communities and individuals to seek social change through a variety of means, including education, direct action, and religious witness.
Will joining the Faith Action Network affect our tax status? Becoming part of the network will not affect your tax status. 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from certain political activity like, for example, endorsing candidates for political office. FAN does not take positions on candidates, only on issues. On the other hand, 501(c)(3) organizations are permitted to engage in public education, hosting of candidates’ forums when all candidates are invited, encouragement of voter participation, and endorsement of initiatives, among other activities. For more information, please contact the FAN office.