Lebanon United Methodist Church is a proud and active member with the United Valley Interfaith Project (UVIP)
UVIP Welcomes New Staff
- UVIP has 15 faith groups in its membership. Lebanon United Methodist Church has been a member since 2008 when UVIP was founded. Acting Executive Director Sarah Jane Knoy is helping the Executive Council to navigate the world of organizing. We belong to the nationakl group "Faith in Action" (FIA) which aims to see social issues through the lens of ecumenical faith groups.
- Organizer Chris Potter is guiding us in our new initiative of "Creation Justice" as we research what our role is to spur action toward saving our planet.
- Organizer Viola Katusiime is working with our Economic Justice team to influence the NH legislature and governor to enact a living wage, family leave, and extend health care to vulnerable populations.
- Organizer Ryan Paige is guiding the Immigration team toward supporting our local immigrant population of the Upper Valley.
Click here to Connect to UVIP website
The United Valley Interfaith Project is a community organizing group. Community organizing is a systematic approach to addressing the root causes of social problems and improving the lives of all in our communities.
The United Valley Interfaith Project emerged from several congregations seeking to understand the extent of poverty and injustice in our region, and their frustration in tackling poverty and justice issues by themselves. From a loosely-knit group of congregations in 2003 to a formal organization in 2008, the United Valley Interfaith Project has become a powerful force for collective action to enhance social justice in our region.
Since that time UVIP has worked to...
- Improve public transportation throughout our region, including better funding for local providers and expansion of bus service (UVIP Transportation Issue Team, 2009-2011)
- Gain access to mid-winter warming shelters for people who are homeless (UVIP Housing Action Team, 2009-2011)
- In the wake of Tropical Storm Irene, secure re-employment for furloughed JCPenney workers, and work to improve fairness in reimbursement for Irene-related expenses and debt (UVIP Irene Relief Team, 2011-2013)
- Prevent 4 onerous bills from becoming state law in New Hampshire, including bills that would have eroded tenants’ rights, reduced affordable housing, brought predatory high-interest lending back to NH, and expanded casino gambling (UVIP New Hampshire Legislative Action Team, 2011-present)
- Organize with seniors, especially those who are low or moderate income, and rural, to secure the services needed so they can remain in their homes longer as they age (UVIP Aging with Dignity Team, 2013-present)
What is Community Organizing?
United Valley Interfaith Project is a community organizing group. Community organizing is a systematic approach to addressing the root causes of social problems and improving the lives of all in our communities.
Through community organizing, people build relationships across lines that often separate us, and in doing so build groups made up of diverse members. This diversity is a key strength of community organizing. There are thousands of community organizing groups throughout the United States and around the world, working to make stronger communities and addressing the issues that impede justice.
Community organizing groups do not provide direct services. We address the issues by listening to those most affected by the problem, researching possible solutions, bringing together various stakeholders to solve the problem, and getting decision makers to implement the agreed upon solutions. Stakeholders include businesses, faith groups, social service agencies, advocacy groups, government officials, schools and other community organizations. By involving all stakeholders in this process, the solutions arrived at enjoy wider public support. This allows community organizing groups to continually develop leaders, deepen the web of relationships within the community, and strengthen the ability to create change for the common good.
Faith-based community organizing groups bring people together primarily through their religious congregations and faith communities, as well as business associations, labor unions, residential associations, schools, community groups, and other member based organizations. While faith is a strong motivating factor for many members, faith-based community organizing groups do not advocate any particular religious, doctrinal, or politically motivated solution to the problems we address. We seek to facilitate practical and sensible solutions that take into account the interests of all stakeholders and the common good.
The United Valley Interfaith Project is one of many community organizing groups worldwide that engage members in collaborative efforts to improve our communities. Community organizing groups have become vital institutions, gaining power and influence in working for justice. To empower communities and individuals, community organizing groups follow the core principle of not doing for others what they can do for themselves. We will continue to grow and be an enduring force in our community beyond our current issue work as we train new volunteer members to become leaders and develop new relationships, strengthen existing ones, and research new issues affecting our communities. Through our Executive Council, we choose the issues we work on in an open and democratic way and decisions are made by our local member groups.