Rus Funk, director of the Justice Center at All Peoples: a Unitarian Universalist Congregation, has been busy thus far in 2024. Trips to Frankfort, Ky., during the legislative session and long hours at the capitol are all part of the regular work of this organization. Funk is quick to note that advocacy and activism are a direct expression of his Unitarian Universalist (UU) faith. “My faith demands that I not remain neutral,” he states. 

All Peoples undertook a year-long process in 2020 to change their name. Formerly known as Thomas Jefferson Unitarian Church, the congregation felt this name was at odds with their values. In a press release, the congregation explained: 

“Through conversations with allies and accountability partners, the congregation began to understand that by operating under this name, they were perpetrating harm against African American people. ‘All Peoples’ denotes every racial, ethnic, religious, gender, age or other category of humankind imaginable. When Thomas Jefferson referred to the ‘people’ in the line from his Declaration, he meant only one kind of person: white, male, Christian, property owners of American allegiance and West European ancestry. By adopting ‘All Peoples,’ we can transcend Jefferson’s world view and signify our commitment to universal fellowship and genuine inclusion. Changing our name does better communicate that intention, but perhaps even more important are the lessons we’ve learned along the way about letting go of the old, fostering empathy, trusting each other, and embracing a better version of ourselves.” 

The Justice Center, founded in 2019, works to engage All Peoples’ congregation and the surrounding communities of eastern Jefferson County in meaningful justice advocacy and activism. The Justice Center achieves these goals by engaging in various efforts, including education, training, networking and community organizing. Funk says, “We strive to engage in an organizing/mobilizing mode of focusing on ‘our’ congregations and communities while centering the people and communities who are most impacted.”  

Rus Funk is no stranger to launching interfaith initiatives. He is a veteran justice activist and organizer, primarily focusing on racial and gender justice, and is a long-time Unitarian Universalist. He became director of the Justice Center in August 2021. This spring, with the conclusion of Kentucky’s legislative session, the center has pivoted to planning and supporting other social justice work, from Pride events to Earth Day rallies to get-out-the-vote efforts. The Justice Center is also spearheading the Interfaith Environmental Action Network (IEAN). Working in partnership with Kentucky Interfaith Power and Light (KIPL) and other organizations, this initiative hopes to maximize collective impact by developing a shared advocacy agenda and strategy.

All are welcome and invited to the Interfaith Environmental Action Network’s initial meeting on May 10, 2024, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at 4934 Brownsboro Road (behind All Peoples Congregation). 

Learn more about All Peoples here. 

Learn more about the Justice Center at All Peoples here. 

For more information about the Justice Center and our efforts, contact Rus Funk, Director at