Emerson offers many opportunities for you to get involved. Participation is open to everyone. New ideas are always welcome. Join the monthly meeting of the Social Action Council on the third Wednesday of the month; check the Emerson calendar for details. For more information about us and what we do, contact socialaction@emersonhouston.org.

People encircling the worldEnglish Class Program (ESL/ELL)

Reaching out to adults with limited English skills is one way we can fulfill our mission to “build a better world.” This work also honors the Unitarian Universalist’s first, second and sixth principles which guide us to protect the inherent worth and dignity of every person, work for justice, equity, compassion, and liberty for all. Come join us in sowing seeds of compassion in the world.

We have served students from dozens of countries over the years. They are an enthusiastic group, and we look forward to continued growth of the program. There are many opportunities to become involved with this vibrant and rewarding outreach.

Our Afghan Families Are Doing Well, Thank You!!

In November 2021, Emerson, First UU, and Northwoods UU organized the Houston UU Afghan Team to assist 2 Houston Afghan refugee families. We raised $15,000 dollars and helped both families buy used cars. We have also helped with medical and rental expenses, bought clothes, shoes, diapers, etc., and donated TVs, phones, and laptops. We’ve organized outings for the families and provided support as they learn a new culture. Both dads have jobs, we are tutoring the moms in English at home, and the children are doing well in school.

In January 2023, Emerson raised an additional $2500 to help a third Afghan refugee family buy a used car.  In 2018, the young husband was badly beaten by the Taliban and his father was killed by them.  Emersonians are gladly contributing their time and funds to help in his recovery and adjustment to a new country.

Children in a classroom in NepalANSWER Nepal

Emerson has a long-standing relationship with ANSWER Nepal, https://answernepal.org , a non-profit dedicated to the education of high-achieving students from very poor families.  ANSWER Nepal has a stellar track record and its graduates include lawyers, doctors, nurses, and teachers.  Many Emersonians sponsor students by paying their annual school fees ($500), each year we “Share the Plate” with ANSWER for 1 month, and we assist Earle Canfield, ANSWER’s Director, in reaching out to additional UU congregations in Texas.

UU the VoteUU the Vote square logo

In 2020 and 2022, Emerson collaborated with Houston area UU churches, Texas UU Justice Ministry, and the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) in the UU the Vote Campaign. Our Houston area 2022 coordinator, Jordan Ostrum (pictured in the yellow shirt), joined us on October 9 2022 to reach out toPeople around a table writing postcards for UU The Vote inactive Texas voters in marginalized communities.

We contacted potential voters via postcards, texts, and phone calls in 2020 and 2022.  We’re looking forward to doing so again in 2024!

Collaborating for Justice Work

Through the UUA’s Side with Love campaign we amplify our work and our voices by collaborating with multiple organizations locally and nationwide, seeking justice for the oppressed, equal rights for all, and a liveable planet.  Emerson works closely with Side With Love on its 4 intersectional priorities: Climate Justice, Racial Justice, Electoral Justice, and LGBTQIA + Gender Justice.UUs at state capital lobby day

Speak up for UU values with Texas UU Justice Ministry (TXUUJM)

TXUUJM is an association of UU congregations in Texas that enables UUs to advocate for statewide public policies that uphold Unitarian Universalist values. TXUUJM focuses on Racial justice, Gender justice, Environmental justice, Economic justice, and Voting rights.

Emerson joins with TXUUJM to contact and lobby local and state legislators in multiple ways: phone calls, emails, and participating in TXUUJM’s Lobby Day in Austin when the Texas Legislature is in session.  Emersonians also attend TXUUJM’s Thursday night Action Hour to take action on hot-button issues requiring immediate attention.

Reproductive JusticeWomen from Emerson at Houston Women's March in 2021

Emersonians proudly marched for women’s rights in the Houston Women’s March on October 2 in downtown Houston. Many Emersonians were there to make sure Austin politicians hear our demand that they repeal laws passed in 2021 to curtail our freedom and rights. Thank you to those who represented us – Lydia Chasen, Dori Wolfe, Ellen Norton, Em O’Dell (in photo) and also Edna and Larry Kelly, Beryl Kaminsky, Jane Zachritz, and Mark Holt. Learn more about UU advocacy for reproductive justice.

Emerson is one of four churches in Houston, TX that has made a pledge to Reproductive Justice Congregations.

Reproductive Justice Congregations publicly affirm three principles:

  • We trust and respect women.
  • We promise that people who attend our congregation will be free from stigma, shame, or judgment for their reproductive decisions, including abortion.
  • We believe access to comprehensive and affordable reproductive health services is a moral and social good.

Learn more about Just Texas at https://justtx.org.

Houston Pride Festival and Parade

Pride Fest has long been supported by the UU Network of Houston, UU congregations in the greater Houston area. Members of all UU congregations walk together to support the LGBTQ community. UU float in Houston pride parade,2019


Justice Forward

Help support Justice Forward (formerly Harris County Drug Court Foundation) and the Success Through Addiction Recovery (STAR) Program. STAR is an alternative to incarceration for long term drug addicts who have been arrested for a drug or drug related offense. Emerson was instrumental in the formation of the Drug Court in Harris County.

Environmental Justice

Join with Emerson’s “green” team, Ministry for Earth and local partners Citizens’ Climate Lobby and Interfaith Environmental Network of Houston to learn about and fight climate change. Climate-posters-in-front-of-church

Contribute to the Share The Plate collection

Our entire plate collection is donated to non-profit organizations outside the congregation. 

Non-profits are nominated by members of the congregation and selected by the Charitable Outreach Committee.  Each Sunday, 75% goes to the recipient listed in the weekly e-blast. See the Share The Plate page for the list of organizations that have been selected for this year.

Meals on Wheels (Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston). Each Sunday, 25% of the Share-the-Plate collection is donated to Meals on Wheels. This longstanding program delivers a meal to home-bound seniors over 60 and their spouses. The drivers deliver breakfast and weekend meals to the most frail and isolated seniors. This nutritional support helps seniors stay independent and in their own homes.

“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
~ Martin Luther King Jr.