UU News

Book group brings Muslim and UU women together

UU World - Mon, 2014-07-14 01:00
NEWS: Women from Unitarian Universalist and Muslim congregations in Silver Spring, Md., meet each month.
Categories: UU News

Remembering Pete

UU World - Mon, 2014-07-14 01:00
SPIRIT: To be honest, I still want to grow up to be like Pete Seeger.
Categories: UU News

Religious opposition to religious exemptions, and other UUs in the media

UU in the news - Fri, 2014-07-11 14:21

Hobby Lobby opinion is not the opinion of all religious people

The Rev. Emmy Lou Belcher, retired minister of DuPage Unitarian Universalist Church in Naperville, Ill., joined clergy and others for a protest outside a local Hobby Lobby store. The effort, which included handing out condoms, was intended to show that not all religious people support the U.S. Supreme Court’s position in the recent Hobby Lobby case. (Daily Herald - 7.3.14)

Other Hobby Lobby protest stories include:

“Activists Hand Out Condoms at Hobby Lobby to Protest Supreme Court Decision—Their Profession Though Might Surprise You” (The Blaze - 7.4.14)

“Even Clergy Are Against the Hobby Lobby Decision—And They’re Protesting in an Unexpected Way” (News.Mic.com - 7.4.14)

“Culture War Notes From All Over” (The American Conservative - 7.4.14)

“Small protest held outside Naperville Hobby Lobby over Supreme Court decision” (Naperville Sun - 7.2.14)

The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) joined over 100 other faith leaders and groups in signing a letter urging President Obama to oppose religious exemptions as he considers anti-discrimination policies in federal contracts. (Religion News Service - 7.8.14)

News from UU congregations

Unity Temple in Oak Park, Ill., named a UUA Breakthrough Congregation in 2008, shares how giving away the money they collect each Sunday has increased their pledge drive by 14 percent. One member said the practice has shifted the congregation’s way of thinking from one of poverty to abundance. (OakPark.com - 7.8.14)

When the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Somerset Hills in Somerville, N.J., moved into their new building, they purposely delayed dedicating it until renovations were completed that made it welcoming and accessible to all people. Each Sunday, they light a candle and acknowledge the progress they have made toward this goal. (centraljersey.com - 7.7.14)

After deciding as a congregation to take steps to be more environmentally sustainable, members of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Bloomington, Ill., learned that they could do even more if they became certified as a Green Sanctuary congregation by the UUA. They are actively completing a number of projects to achieve that goal. (pantagraph.com - 7.9.14)

The Shelter Neck Unitarian Universalist Camp in Burgaw, N.C., is a summer camp and retreat center with a rich historical connection to early Universalism in North Carolina and the Unitarian Universalist faith movement today. (StarNewsOnline.com - 7.4.14)

Categories: UU News

Evangelism, sweetness and love, religious bullying, and more

News from Far Off UU Congregations - Fri, 2014-07-11 13:38
Evangelism, elevator speeches, and innovation

Justin Almeida’s first attempts to explain UUism to his new classmates were “a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff,” so he worked out a more formal elevator speech.

Unitarian Universalism is rooted in liberal Christianity and developed out of the reformation. It is now a pluralistic, non-creedal religion that believes truth resides in the individual as informed by experience, tradition, family, culture and history. We have seven principles which guide our congregations, all of which boil down to ‘there is one love and nobody is left behind. (What’s My Age Again?, July 9)

For Gracia Walker, simple loving presence is a form of evangelism.

I think to show love doesn’t mean you tell people where to go to church or if they should go to church. It just means you spend the time you have with them in a loving way. (Loved for Who You Are, July 9)

The Rev. Dr. David Breedon reminds us that a culture of loneliness is the context for our evangelism.

As the Beatles knew, denizens of post-industrial countries may exist in utter isolation. We often shop in anonymous supermarkets rather than bustling markets. We buy clothing off a hanger, not from the source of the craft. As Robert D. Putnam pointed out, many of us bowl alone. (Quest for Meaning, July 10)

Katy Schmidt Carpman notices that many programs that support innovation are cropping up within UUism.

It’s a ripe time for innovation.
What’s your big idea?
How will you change the world? (Remembering Attention, July 3)

Enough already

While shopping in Target, Colleen Thoelle has a flash of insight about accepting the person she is right now, letting go of regrets and fantasies about the past.

Should the goal be to not go back and dig up but to walk forward and look straight ahead? Should I leave “her” behind me and just be who I am right now? What in the hell is wrong with who you are right now?

Bam! Lightbulb. (Adventures of the Family Pants, July 10)

During a stressful summer of “mothering from afar,” Jordinn Nelson Long also struggles with the question of doing and being “enough.”

My faith tells me there is no hell, but amazingly, that doesn’t touch the fear of damnation here, on this earth.

Not by others. . . .

What I’m afraid of is bigger and deeper, a theological matter for our time. The final judge will be the limits of each 24 hour day and the reality of opportunity cost and the truth that to love is on some level to leave your heart lying helpless. (Raising Faith, July 4)

Religious freedom, religious bullying

The Rev. Marti Keller, responding to the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, writes that “We need to find ways to talk about the ripples of oppression and harm that may inevitably stem from this ill-considered verdict while not losing focus on the women in this country who were originally targeted.” (Leaping from Our Spheres, July 10)

After a thorough examination of the court’s decision, Doug Muder concludes that Pandora’s box is open.

[Any] clever person can find a link of some sort between whatever they don’t want to do and the commission of some act they consider immoral by someone else. Alito is encouraging Christians to develop hyper-sensitive consciences that will then allow them to control or mistreat others in the name of religious liberty. . . .

I focus on Christians here for a very good reason: Given that this principle will produce complete anarchy if generally applied, it won’t be generally applied. (The Weekly Sift, July 7)

The Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern wants Unitarian Universalists to work for a more substantive conversation about abortion.

We wish to talk with others who struggle with these issues, not in order to concede to intolerable positions nor make peace with every opponent, but because they matter to us, and it is the duty both of a government and a civilization to grapple honestly with such questions. (Sermons in Stones, July 3)

John Beckett believes Americans too often confuse religious freedom and religious bullying.

Religious freedom means you are free to believe, worship, and practice as you see fit. It means you are free to advocate for your religion in the public square. It means you are free to live your life by your values and to encourage others to do the same.

It does not mean you are free to coerce others to believe, practice, or behave as you would prefer, nor does it mean you are free to ignore your obligations to our wider society.

That’s not freedom. That’s bullying. (Under the Ancient Oaks, July 3)

Sweetness and love

The Rev. Dr. Carl Gregg reflects on this year’s General Assembly theme.

Perhaps the biggest take away for me from General Assembly was the emphasis that “Love Reaches Out” means partnering to create social change with those whom you may in many ways differ from politically or theologically. (Pluralism, Pragmatism, Progressivism, July 8)

The Rev. Scott Wells objects to overly sentimental views of Universalism.

In the last generation, I’ve seen a revolting amount of ecclesiastic “mansplaining”: condescending depictions of Universalism, out of a Unitarian lens, to re-cast my tradition as something sweet, loving, emotive, poor, rural and homey. The whole thing reeks of Victorian sexual politics. (Boy in the Bands, July 6)

Categories: UU News

T-shirt Evangelism

UUA Top Stories - Wed, 2014-07-09 01:00
Meg Riley, senior minister of the Church of the Larger Fellowship, shares how a t-shirt can be a tool for evangelism. She wrote, 'I put it on when I have something to say or do, to bring more love where love has been violated.
Wearing it grounds me when I’m afraid, helps me remember that I’m not
alone, and tells the world, including me, what I stand for.'
Categories: UU News

Area Churches Pursue a Social Media Ministry

UUA Top Stories - Wed, 2014-07-09 01:00
Offering curious 'nones' the chance to look inside a UU service, congregations are now turning to digital media to attract new visitors. In this story, the Rev. Ann Marie Alderman of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greensboro talks about how her congregation puts their mobile devices in worship mode.
Categories: UU News

Unbottled

UU World - Mon, 2014-07-07 01:00
IDEAS: We've bottled everything from water to religion.
Categories: UU News

Helping to tip the scales

UU World - Mon, 2014-07-07 01:00
NEWS: UU Fellowship of Topeka’s decades of involvement on LGBT issues
Categories: UU News

UUs vote for divestment, and other UUs in the media

UU in the news - Fri, 2014-07-04 02:32

Shareholder activism continues as part of resolution

In an overwhelming vote, UUs at the 2014 General Assembly in Providence, R.I., passed a resolution to divest the UUA’s Common Endowment Fund of shares in fossil fuel companies, while still maintaining ownership of enough shares to continue their work of shareholder advocacy. (Providence Journal – 6.29.14)

A delegate who participated in the vote for divestment during General Assembly noted that this move was one tactic in a larger strategy to work against our overdependence on fossil fuels. Well-known climate activist Bill McKibben also applauded the vote. (MintPressNews.com – 6.30.14)

Other articles on UUA divestment include:

“Unitarians Go Fossil Fuel Free With Divestment Resolution” (EcoWatch -  6.30.14)

“Unitarian Universalists Divest from Fossil Fuels!” (Eden Keeper – 7.2.14)

“Unitarian Universalists divest from fossil fuels” (Fairfield Citizen – 6.30.14)

Hobby Lobby case is politically motivated

In response to the recent Supreme Court ruling in favor of the religious freedom of corporations, the Rev. Marlin Lavanhar of All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, Okla., observes that this ruling now makes it possible for corporations to use religion as a pretext for other political aims. (Tulsa World – 7.1.14)

Even Millennials will eventually need a religious community

Beacon Press author Chris Stedman interviews the Rev. Galen Guengerich, senior minister of All Souls Unitarian Church in New York City, on the necessary balance of science and reason and the importance of belonging to a specifically religious community. (Religion News Service – 7.2.14)

UUs support their local LGBT communities

The Rev. Jeff Liebmann, minister of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Midland, Mich., received the Champion of Pride award from Perceptions Saginaw Valley, a local LGBT rights organization. Liebmann was honored for his active and public support of the LGBT community as a faith leader. (mlive.com – 6.26.14)

Two Unitarian Universalist ministers in Pennsylvania applaud recent legal changes making same-sex marriage legal in the Commonwealth. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – 6.30.14)

Members of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fort Myers, Fla., held a public witness event to show their support for same-sex marriage lawsuits in the state. (Fox 4 – 6.29.14)

Categories: UU News

Solidarity, brave souls, thoughtless choices, and more

News from Far Off UU Congregations - Thu, 2014-07-03 12:57
Prayerful solidarity

Inviting us to draw our own conclusions, the Rev. Meg Riley prays for Dr. Ersula Ore, assaulted by the police for the minor offense of jaywalking.

Dr. Ore, you are in my prayers today. You and the thousands of other people of color who are forced to prove that you have a right to walk home, and upon whom the burden of proof always rests. Please know that you are not alone—that tens of thousands of white people, as well as the people of color who share your experience of being told you don’t matter—are with you and will be with you as you ask for what everyone wants: Respect for your worth and dignity. (Quest for Meaning, June 30)

Supreme Court decisions

Patrick Murfin agrees with the Supreme Court’s recent decision about buffer zones around abortion clinics.

To protect our own rights of dissent, we must unfortunately defend someone else’s right to be an asshole.

That does not mean we have to step back and let wolves lose upon the sheep. It means we have to take action to confront the wolves ourselves, to offer our bodies, if necessary, in their protection. It demands a lot from us. Giving up comfort, giving up safety. It means, as the theme of this year’s GA says, Reaching Out in Love. (Heretic, Rebel, a Thing to Flout, June 27)

The Rev. Elz Curtiss suggests that William Ellery Channing’s book, Slavery, is useful for countering the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision.

Much of today’s political breakdown rests on the inability of secular and free-range left wing leaders to articulate a comprehensive philosophical counter to conservative religious arguments. Happily, William Ellery Channing has provided here, in one document, everything we need to lift our stature in current debates. (Politywonk, July 1)

Loved for who you are

“Loved for Who You Are” is a UU outreach project you can participate in by sharing its message, or sharing your story. For inspiration, here are a few posts from “Loved for Who You Are” this week.

The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Landrum believes that whether or not God exists, we are loved.

If God exists, quite frankly, I am loved. And you are, too.

But if God doesn’t exist, is the world cold and cruel? Is human life meaningless? Is love absent? Is there no reason to do good?

Of course not.

We are still precious and loved. (Loved for Who You Are, June 27)

Suzyn Smitth Webb argues for a mix-and-match approach to finding our life’s purpose.

We are so quick to define ourselves by our jobs alone in this world, when our respective purposes aren’t at all limited by what we do 9 to 5. . . . [What] the world needs . . . is garbage collectors who are great Moms who also lead scout troops and sing in choirs.

That is a life with purpose. (Loved for Who You Are, July 2)

Brave souls, thoughtless choices

The Rev. Tom Schade looked for stories of courage at General Assembly—ones that didn’t involve heights, fast-moving rivers, or fire.

I heard of a minister who changed the Christmas Eve order of service.

Another recently settled minister told the largest donor that no, they did not get to veto decisions of the Board.

Someone told a UU Republican that just because no one agreed with them, it didn’t mean they were oppressed. (The Lively Tradition, June 30)

For Adam Dyer, too many UUs at the General Assembly WaterFire event failed to live up to their promise to live “on the side of love.”

I watched yellow shirts push past, walk around and yes, even climb over residents who had been waiting for up to 2 hours to see this event. From my vantage point among the local crowd, what was intended to be a “witness” turned into more of a “display” and somewhat of a distraction. (Spirituwellness, June 29)

Religion, spirituality, and philosophy

Andrew Mackay responds to a recent article in Atlantic magazine, which criticizes the casual syncretism of contemporary spirituality.

Mobility in the spiritual realm should not be viewed as intrinsically bad. . . . The dynamic behavior of the newest generation may be a move past the sense of obligation and communal pressure to conform and stay in one religious institution.

To end, it is important to not oversell traditional religious practice, and to dismiss 21st century spirituality. The two have much to teach each other, if they will listen. (Unspoken Politics, June 29)

Alix answers her friends’ skeptical questions about Unitarian Universalism and ministry.

For me, Unitarian Universalism is a philosophy, a way of thinking about and organizing reality, the nature of knowledge, and existence. . . . AND yes, Unitarian Universalism is a religion because it’s not just a way of thinking about the world, but also a way of acting in it. (Doubled Up in Love, July 2)

Declaring independence

We’re publishing early this week because of Independence Day. Here’s some advice from Jacqueline Wolven to help you enjoy your weekend.

Get offline and start doing something. Anything. Take walks. Get a hobby that you love. Learn something new. Cook real meals. Dance badly in your living room. Really, anything would work to allow you to experience life in the way that you want to and not transfer all of the millions of emotions that you are experiencing from others online. (Jacqueline Wolven, June 28)

Categories: UU News

Unitarian Universalist Association approves fossil fuel divestment

UU World - Mon, 2014-06-30 01:00
NEWS: General Assembly vote endorses divestment, but allows for shareholder activism.
Categories: UU News

UUA President Deeply Concerned Over SCOTUS Decision

UUA Top Stories - Mon, 2014-06-30 01:00
UUA President Peter Morales issued a statement following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the contraceptive mandate. He said, “This is yet another blow against reproductive rights. Removing the no-cost contraceptive coverage requirement in the Affordable Care Act dangerously diminishes the religious, moral, and legal rights of every American, but especially women.'
Categories: UU News

Thousands of UUs gather in Rhode Island, and other UUs in the Media

UU in the news - Sat, 2014-06-28 13:39

During its annual General Assembly (GA), held this year in Providence, R.I., the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) joined the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee at a rally outside the Renaissance Hotel to show low-wage workers some love. The crowd swelled to 250 people at one point, the majority of whom were GA attendees. (Providence Journal – 6.26.14)

Local Unitarian Universalist ministers, the Rev. Ellen Quadgraas and the Rev. James Ford, spoke at the rally outside the Renaissance Hotel on Thursday. Ford’s leadership on this issue helped guide the UUA to cancel its contract with the Renaissance prior to GA because of the hotel’s refusal to engage with workers over pay and union issues. (rifuture.org – 6.26.14)

The Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau was happy to report that attendance by 4,600 Unitarian Universalists at their General Assembly in downtown Providence would likely bring more than $4 million dollars in revenue to their city. (Providence Journal – 6.26.14)

The UUA will be the first ever faith sponsor of Providence’s downtown community and arts festival, WaterFire. The event will serve as the public witness component that is included each year at GA. Alex Kapitan, the UUA staff member organizing the event, joined WaterFire spokesperson Brownwyn Dannenfelser to discuss the Love Reaches Out theme. (wpri.com – 6.27.14)

 

Categories: UU News

General Assembly, open windows, porch cats, and more

News from Far Off UU Congregations - Fri, 2014-06-27 16:26
Attending General Assembly

Lena Gardner, a first-time General Assembly attendee, can hardly stop weeping during a worship service.

I wept for my ancestors who didn’t make it, and for the ones who persevered, who escaped, who endured, for the ones whose land was stolen away and who watched—and fought—as genocide and torture was called nation building and progress. . . .

Meg Riley and the rest of the worship committee put together an incredible service that intricately, delicately, and powerfully weaved together the complexity of African American identity, the historical legacy of this place we have gathered with its historical legacy of slave trade and racial justice and UU theology. Somehow grounded in the love of UU theology they delivered a message of hope, endurance, perseverance, and wisdom without sugar coating the past. (Spirit, Self, and Journeying, June 26)

Katy Schmidt Karpman speaks for those of us at home, who would like cheese with our whine! (Remembering Attention, June 23)

Open windows

At its best, blogging opens windows into human experience. In this unflinching post, the Rev. Alane Cameron Miles shows us her life with a neurological disorder that is stealing her ability to remember.

I have become Lucy from “50 First Dates” or the scary tattoo-covered dude from “Memento”, two of the most famous memory loss movie characters. I prefer to think I am Lucy. She at least can remember for a whole day. I can’t, but it is something to strive for. I’m realizing that Lucy isn’t played with nearly enough rage. The lack of memory isn’t as upsetting as the times when I have an inkling of everything I am forgetting. (Auspicious Jots, June 22)

Known issues

Suzynn Smith Webb compares personal flaws to “known issues”—things known to be broken in a complicated web application, which the developers can’t yet fix.

Treating my flaws as known issues makes the process of self improvement a lot easier. If you know you make everything about you, it makes it a lot easier to catch yourself doing that. You’re looking for the pattern. . . .

[We’re] flawed but functional, and improvement takes ingenuity and work, but is always within reach. . . . We’re all OK, and we’re all loved. Now where will you go from there? (Loved for Who You Are, June 20)

Andrew Hidas asks how we, as privileged Americans, should respond to global inequality.

Should it shame us that so many of our brothers and sisters have it bad? Spur us to give away all that we have, as the Book of Mark urges us, to help the poor? Or live somewhere in between those poles of shame and ultimate charity, in an uneasy truce between the debilitation of shame, the glow of charity, and the satisfaction of creature comforts that are now deeply ingrained in our culture and personal history?

Can we settle into that truce with a sense of integrity, knowing the world is tilted on a strange axis indeed, accepting it as we can, making an honest (if less than total) effort at redress, while knowing that no matter what we do, life, as our parents reminded us so directly, just isn’t fair and never will be? (Traversing, June 26)

Claire points to systemic problems behind an internet hoax.

At the end of the day, there is still a little child with a disfiguring injury that would benefit from continuing care, and she lives—as do we all—in a system whose structure makes that care seem more attainable through deceit and manipulation than through honest vulnerability.

What does that say about the system? What does that say about us? (Sand Hill Diary, June 24)

The Rev. James Ford hopes humanism will focus its energy on engaging the world’s problems.

I hope as we go forward into the Twenty-first century a new humanism will emerge, one that isn’t particularly concerned with disproving a deity, but that is wildly, gloriously, engaged, bringing those most wonderful tools of reason and the scientific method into the great project of life. (Monkey Mind, June 21)

The Rev. Meredith Garmon reminds us that “We must be in touch with the world’s pain, hold it ever in awareness, never grow callous or oblivious.” (The Liberal Pulpit, June 21)

How to be alive

Like many parents before her, Christine Leigh Slocum discovers that parenting is teaching her important life lessons.

I am approaching the tasks of parenthood with the orientation that my job is to show her how to be alive. . . .

In order to show my daughter how to love life, I need to be loving life. If I want to teach her to appreciate the nature, or know how to be loving to others, I need to appreciate nature, and be loving to others. (Many Words, June 26)

The Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein remembers a childhood vacation with her workaholic father, and passes along advice to parents.

On behalf of the child I was who remembers how good and right and whole the world felt when I received my parents’ full, sober attention, please consider not answering that phone. Please consider a vacation with your children with no distractions, when you can have lazy days for conversations that unfold in no hurry, when a daughter can pretend to read a book while sitting by the pool, when she is actually not reading at all but only savoring the sound of her father turning pages in the deck chair next to her.

These are the only days we get. Don’t miss one. (PeaceBang, June 26)

Bringing in porch cats

After a winter of encouraging a “porch cat” to consider indoor life, the Rev. Elizabeth Curtiss sees connections between him and the religiously unaffiliated.

If a majority of potentially religious folk now consider themselves “free range,” then bringing them into covenant with us—making available to them the refuge of our faith messages in hard times—is going to be slow and tedious. It will require sustained membership mentors who themselves require ministerial and personal support. Encouragement. Tactical advice. Money for supplies. And lots of food. (Politywonk, June 20)

The Rev. Heather Rion Starr wishes we were asking bigger questions than, “How do we bring young adults back?”

We all seem to get so focused on our particular setting or context or denomination and how to keep it alive, make it thrive. Too easily it seems we lose sight of the larger purpose that got us wanting to be a part of a community in the first place–to be there for one another, to be challenged and held and transformed ourselves and to be a part of that transformative experience for others. (Quest for Meaning, June 22)

The Rev. Joanna Fontaine Crawford challenges us to identify our congregation’s implicit mission—and if it’s not what we mean to be doing, kill it. (Boots and Blessings, June 21)

Categories: UU News

UUA President Troubled Over SCOTUS Decision

UUA Top Stories - Thu, 2014-06-26 01:00
UUA President Peter Morales issued a statement following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on buffer zones. It begins, “Today, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the use of protest buffer zones around Massachusetts abortion clinics in McCullen v. Coakley. This is a major defeat in the fight for reproductive rights and may put clinic workers and individuals seeking pregnancy-related care at great risk.'
Categories: UU News

$1.3 million deficit surprises UUA administration, board

UU World - Wed, 2014-06-25 01:00
NEWS: Shortfall in major gifts brought to leaders' attention as fiscal year ends.
Categories: UU News

Follow UUA General Assembly with 'UU World'

UU World - Mon, 2014-06-23 01:00
NEWS: Keep up with the latest news from the UUA’s annual meeting, in Providence.
Categories: UU News

Opportunities are always there

UU World - Mon, 2014-06-23 01:00
LIFE: Thriving congregations have leaders who seize the opportunities before them rather than cling to plans that are no longer viable.
Categories: UU News

Love is the boss, witchcraft and wizardry, public theology, and more

News from Far Off UU Congregations - Fri, 2014-06-20 16:09
Love is the boss

A flip comment—”My calendar is the boss of me”—makes the Rev. Deanna Vandiver re-evaluate her core commitments.

I serve in the name of love. Love for the world that is and the world that can be. Love for the wonder of creation and respect of destruction. Love for a faith community that meets us where we are and doesn’t leave us there. Love for you. Love for me.

It is easy in the days of overloaded calendars and underloaded bank accounts to forget. And it absolutely matters that we remember. (Quest for Meaning, June 17)

Amid all the anxiety and posturing that goes on in a hospital, Jordinn Nelson Long looks for the places where love lives.

What if we made it our number one job each day to remember that we aren’t a role or a title or a degree, not really? And that the one across from us, with the hair the color of your sister’s, or freckles, or dimples, or a gold tooth, and a look of fear or dread or hope or resignation—that person isn’t a patient or a stroke victim or a financial concern, not really?

What if we truly remembered this, with each phone call or e-mail or data input task:

I am a human being, here to serve other human beings–in love–and this entire institution exists, whether it knows it or not, to fulfill that mission.

Here. Now. In this very moment. (Raising Faith, June 14)

The nightmare of children crowded into a warehouse in Nogales breaks the Rev. Diane Dowgiert’s heart.

Frightened children.

Lonely children.

Crying children.

This is not a dream.

A living nightmare.

When will we awaken?

Decide to create a new reality?

Realize that we are all interconnected?

Know that what we do unto the least of these we do unto ourselves? (Transforming Times, June 18)

The Rev. Erik Martinez Resley shares “Love Reaches Out,” from the Sanctuaries in DC.

Public theology

The Rev. Tom Schade explains what he means by “public theology.”

Public theology is the explanation of human society, social institutions and governments. If you a theist, it explains the existence of governments, nations and social institutions in God’s plan. Even if you are not a theist, it explains the fundamental moral foundations of social life. (The Lively Tradition, June 17)

Schade also shares four core statements of liberal public theology.

The world is unfair, but it gets better.

The opposite of love is not hate but indifference.

You can’t hate somebody after you hear their story.

Everything causes everything. (The Lively Tradition, June 19)

Truth and meaning

Liz James wonders how to learn to do ministry beyond “the shadow of the cross.”

I am not in a Christian seminary, but we learn in the shadow of the cross. Our understanding of what a Minister is comes from Priests and Pastors, not from Gurus, Shamans, or Traditional Faith Healers. We may be like Priests, or we may be different from them, but the exploration is shaped by that story. (Free Range Seminarian, May 28)

The Rev. Dr. David Breeden warns us about the fantasy of finding “Truth.” (Theopoetics, June 19)

Maps, graphs, and other toys

The Rev. Dan Harper looks at geographic data about Unitarian Universalism, and shares his conclusions—that in most places in the US, UUism barely makes a dent, and that in a few places, UUs are common enough to feel like a mainstream religion. (Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, June 14)

The Rev. Scott Wells creates a bar graph to show density of UUs by region—and is surprised by the results.

I knew that New England was the “homeland” and you are more likely to find a small-town churches there; I was still shocked to see the disparity between New England states and everywhere else. I had thought earlier Universalist missions, the Fellowship movement and subsequent population drifts had smoothed out the distribution. (Boy in the Bands, June 17)

Wells is also surprised by an article that defined “micro-church” as a “gathering of 30 or so folks.”

Gott im Himmel. If an attendance of thirty makes a micro-church, what does that make Unitarian Universalists? A fellowship with a large proportion of small congregations, that’s what. (Boy in the Bands, June 16)

Witchcraft and wizardry

Patrick Murfin provides an overview of Starhawk’s life and work, including her contributions to Unitarian Universalism.

Starhawk was an early and influentially active member of the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS).  Her combinations contributed heavily to the adoption of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Seventh Principle, “Respect for the Interdependent Web of All Existence of Which We Are a Part” in 1983, a move led by the faith’s growing eco-feminist movement. That inclusion has in many ways profoundly changed traditional Unitarian Universalism broadening its roots form radical Christianity and modern Humanism, influencing the way the faith act in the world, and being a major catalyst for a revival of spirituality in the liberal faith. (Heretic, Rebel, a Thing to Flout, June 17)

The Rev. Dan Harper asks three interesting questions about the Harry Potter novels. Be sure to read the comments, and share your own answers if you’d like.

Which characters did you picture as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or questioning, and why?

If Harry had to marry one of the minor characters, which one would he marry, and why?

If you could be any character or creature in the Harry Potter universe, which one would you be? (Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, June 13)

Categories: UU News

Service Committee leader urges transparency for Haiti aid, and other UUs in the media

UU in the news - Fri, 2014-06-20 14:27

UUSC’s Schulz says Haitians continue to face challenges

President and CEO of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, the Rev. Dr. William F. Schulz, has joined with 22 other organizations to strongly urge passage of the Assessing Progress in Haiti Act, requiring the State Department to show how U.S. aid to Haiti is being spent. (Huffington Post – 6.13.14)

UU ministers speak out on global justice issues

Given the urgency of global climate change and the need for religious people to care for this world and its people, the Rev. Ann Schranz of Monte Vista Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Montclair, Calif., hopes that our shared religious values will help us collaborate on these sorts of important issues. (Daily Bulletin – 6.13.14)

The Rev. Mark Kiyimba of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Kampala, Uganda, is traveling around the United States to share the story of crisis in his country around the oppression of gay people. Because American evangelicals are partly responsible for creating this crisis, Kiyimba hopes to convince Americans that they have a role to play in finding a solution. (Bennington Banner – 6.14.14)

News from the congregations

Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church in Bethesda, Md., will hold an interfaith event to honor the memory of three murdered civil rights workers fifty years ago in Mississippi. They hope to use this occasion as a call to action for attendees to urge Congress to move forward on the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014. (Gazette.net – 6.20.14)

The Rev. Arthur Vaeni, known for his role in helping his congregation, Olympia UU Congregation in Washington, create the innovative Quixote Village homeless community, led one of his final services on Sunday. (The Bellingham Herald – 6.15.14)

Members of Unitarian Universalist Meeting of South Berkshire in Housatonic, Mass., celebrated worship service in their new home in the former Housatonic Congregational Church. A capital campaign raised enough funds to help purchase the building and have additional funds set aside for repairs and upgrades as needed. (The Berkshire Eagle – 6.17.14)

Looking back at the 60-year history of the Unitarian Church of Edmonton in Alberta, Canada, the congregation celebrates the creation of a religious community in a region that previously lacked a strong liberal religious identity, and the early support they received from their headquarters in Boston. (Edmonton Journal – 6.13.14)

UUs continue push for marriage equality

Members of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville, N.C., Carol Taylor and Betty Mack are lead plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. They argue that the state’s current laws violate their religious freedom because it denies them the right to a religious marriage ceremony. (Asheville Citizen-Times - 6.13.14)

The Rev. Kelly Crocker of First Unitarian Society of Madison, Wisc., performed one of the first legal same-sex marriages in the state when she married Christine Pasinski and Nancy Smiegowski, who have been a couple for 29 years. Crocker hopes weddings for many other same-sex couples will follow. (nbc15.com – 6.10.14)

Categories: UU News
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