Nancy Fritz poses for portrait Friday in Augusta. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan Buy this Photo

Guided by her faith, Nancy Fritz’s work is immersed in social justice issues.

Throughout her career in the nonprofit sector, she has been advocate for homeless people, victims of domestic violence, and children with special needs and their families.

“I saw all of those as significant social justice issues of people who for a whole variety of reasons in their lives were the underdogs,” said Fritz.

A member of the Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Augusta since 1988, Fritz said she felt a strong affinity to principles of UU.

“Where I have lived out my passion for social justice,” she said, “the worth and dignity of every person keeps me connected to this church.”

Fritz, 74, of Augusta, said her faith has been a lifelong process.

She grew up in Nebraska in a family that worshipped, she said, at Christmas and Easter. During that time, she attended Sunday school. 

“The beginnings of my faith started there,” Fritz said. 

As a young adult, Fritz drifted away from the church, becoming a journalist and photographer for a daily newspaper, and later worked in advertising for a broadcasting company. 

When she became a mother, though, she was called back to the church. 

“I wanted my children to have the opportunity to develop faith traditions,” she said. “And equally, I felt my own internal drive to a faith community and spiritual life, and church helped me nourish that.” 

She is the mother of two sons and a daughter, a grandmother of four, and her first great-grandchild is expected in the spring.

In 1978, she came to Maine to attend the Bangor Theological Seminary, where she was ordained as a minister. She worked in the United Church of Christ for about six years before acknowledging her call to social justice. 

“Most of the work of my adult life has been social justice issues,” said Fritz, “which for me are very much living out my faith, my belief in social justice.” 

For 20 years, she worked in the nonprofit sector, first as the director for an organization that dealt with issues of domestic violence. That was followed by a stint as head of an agency that served children with special needs and their families, and, finally, for a decade as a director of a community action agency. 

Fritz said that she came from a family where her mother was a victim of domestic violence, and working in the field, she saw the struggles in a new light. 

“It was that really personal connection that also moved into my spiritual and faith beliefs about a much deeper understanding,” Fritz said, “of not only what happened with my mom and why she made some of (the) decisions she made to leave or stay.

“It helped me understand all of the women over years, what were the complicated factors in their life,” she added.

Before retiring, Fritz worked for former Gov. John Baldacci and the Maine Housing Authority focused on homeless policy and service coordination. 

“Those are the kind of issues that I’ve cared about most in my life,” she said.

Fritz’s spiritual faith was inspired by a senior minister of All Souls Church when she was in Bangor. 

“I saw (Bill England) as a person who was absolutely committed to seeing all people as equal,” she said.

The Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Augusta does not have a particular creed, Fritz said, noting that people come from a variety of faith and spiritual beliefs, including Christian, Judaism, Atheism and Pagan. 

“I really value that,” she said. 

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