UU News

Banning gay marriage infringes religious freedom, UUs argue

UU World - Mon, 2014-05-12 01:00
NEWS: Unitarian Universalists join historic United Church of Christ lawsuit against North Carolina's same-sex marriage ban.
Categories: UU News

Minister works as abortion clinic escort, and other UUs in the media

UU in the news - Fri, 2014-05-09 15:18

Minister discusses work as an abortion clinic escort 

The Rev. Kathleen Green of the Unitarian Society of Ridgewood, N.J., explains that she does the difficult work of supporting women trying to enter abortion clinics because, as a progressive person of faith, she knows that injustice is overcome only when we each speak out against it. (Center for American Progress - 5.1.14)

Clergy support expanded Medicaid, LGBTQ rights

Attending a rally at the Missouri State Legislature, where 23 clergy members were arrested, the Rev. Molly Housh Gordon of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia said that faith leaders were there to support the inherent worth and dignity of all people by urging the legislature to expand Medicaid coverage. (KBIA.com - 5.6.14)

The Rev. Art Lester, minister of the Croydon Unitarian Church in London, England, joined with other faith leaders in a One Love event to stand in opposition to homophobia and transphobia and mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. (PinkNews.co.uk - 5.8.14)

The efforts of Bruce Knotts, director of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s UU United Nations Office, to support religious freedom internationally are highlighted in the San Diego Gay & Lesbian News. (San Diego Gay & Lesbian News - 5.8.14)

Another way to include unaffiliated young people

Dan McKanan, Ralph Waldo Emerson Unitarian Universalist Association Senior Lecturer in Divinity at Harvard Divinity School observes that, in his experience, many religiously unaffiliated young people may join a task-oriented justice group sponsored by a religious movement even if they are not comfortable joining a religious organization. (Harvard Gazette - 5.2.14)

News from UU congregations

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Manchester, N.H., is organizing a Cans of Nothing drive to raise funds for the New Hampshire Food Bank. They will give out empty cans at the church to represent the realities of hunger that many of the state’s residents experience and ask people to return the cans filled with money. (New Hampshire Union Leader - 4.30.14)

The Unitarian Universalist Society of Greater Springfield, Mass., recently celebrated the 29 years that their uNi Coffeehouse Concert Series has served as a pillar of the local folk community. (The Republican - 5.7.14)

The UUA will be closed Friday, May 16 while we move into our new headquarters at 24 Farnsworth Street. UUs in the Media will return on Friday, May 23.

Categories: UU News

Mother’s Day, stories of faith, and more UU online content

News from Far Off UU Congregations - Fri, 2014-05-09 14:17
A different look at Mother’s Day

The Rev. Marti Keller suggests a practical Mother’s Day gift.

While glossy Mother’s Day ads urge us to honor and reward Mamas with flowers, candy and bracelet charms, for many mothers a reliable supply of diapers would have a lasting impact on their self-worth and dignity and the care of their babies. (Leaping Spheres, May 7)

The Rev. Debra Haffner will be remembering the kidnapped girls of Nigeria on Mother’s Day.

On Mother’s Day, I will light candles for them and for their mothers. I hope you will join me. (Sexuality and Religion, May 8)

Every day a holy day

The Rev. Ann Barker asks, “How can I serve the world when I can’t even find my keys?”

‘Serve the World’ doesn’t have to be overwhelming. ‘Serve the World’ can be as simple as offering your patience to the person fixing your coffee … as easy as donating your outgrown clothes … as gentle as taking that mindful pause you’ve been promising yourself. (The Grove, May 7)

After the Rev. Christiana McQuain’s son helps return a puppy to its home, he feels like a superhero; McQuain writes that we, too can be everyday heroes.

As we turned toward our own home with an empty leash, my son remarked, “I feel really good now. Like we did something special.”
His friend replied, “You were right!” (Apparently they’ve had this conversation before.) “We don’t need super powers to be heroes.”. (Words of Wisdom, May 7)

Christine Organ is tired of all the noise in her life.

Lately I find myself craving less noise, and more sounds. More laughter and listening to the voices that really count. More music. More meditation, prayer and reflection, more awareness and gratitude, more stillness and quiet. (Quest for Meaning, May 2)

Catherine Clarenbach honors the feast day of Julian of Norwich.

[Julian’s] idea of the round universe, the creation, all that has been made, in the palm of one’s hand… The idea of a universe maintained in Love… These are great images. Especially coming from plague-stricken, fourteenth-century England.

Her words also call to mind the round Earth of which we are a part and her “Love,” if you will. And moreover, how we seem to be chipping assiduously away at the hand that holds us and our habitat in being. It is not our habitat that will ultimately die. Earth will have the last word. Love for all beings will have the last word. But our turning away from love, from responsibility, may be the last word for us. (The Way of the River, May 6)

Kari Kopnick, after a rough year, celebrates finding her way.

I am the kind of person who usually has a self-righting mechanism. I get really depressed, but I usually turn back around like those self righting bath toys and go paddling along on my grateful days.

This time took a little longer. But I’m here. Upright. And on my way. (Chalice Spark, May 7)

Stories of faith

Many UUs participated in a Twitter conversation about faith, centered on the hashtag #MySixWordStoryofFaith; Lori Sirtosky created this image from one of the tweets.

The Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern answers the question, “Does God have a gender?” with an exploration of the role of metaphor.

Because I think metaphors are a necessary aspect of human thought (if I wasn’t convinced already, one of George Lakoff’s early books, Metaphors We Live By, with Mark Johnson,sealed it), I think the remedy to their limitations is not to shun them but to use a wide variety of them. This helps prevent us from taking any of them literally, or limiting our understanding to just a couple of characteristics of, in this case, God, or as I prefer to say, the holy. (Sermons in Stones, May 2)

The Rev. Tom Schade shares his recent sermon, celebrating Channing’s famous 1819 Baltimore sermon by “flipping the script.”

If the mark of a conservative theology and politics is demonization, the purpose of liberal theology and politics is humanization.

Unitarian Universalism’s mission is to re-humanize this culture, to break the grip of demonization and blame. (The Lively Tradition, May 5)

The Rev. Marti Keller crosses boundaries as a UU and as a board member for the Society for Humanistic Judaism.

I stumbled over words in a language I neither read nor speak in transliterated form with any grace at all. Singing unfamiliar songs, finding my way through only slightly remembered liturgy from previous experiences. Finding myself at times on the margins of this community as a Unitarian even as I have been on the margins of Unitarian Universalism being self-identified as a Jew, a Humanist Jew at that. (On Sundays We Walk Our Dogs, May 6)

More UU content

Responding to depressing news about climate change, the Rev. Dan Harper suggests that we “Abandon rational argument, and chant together” Gary Snyder’s Smokey the Bear Sutra. (Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, May 7)

During his first year of seminary, Walter Clark learned (from James Luther Adams’ negative example) to honor his commitments to his family.

So while I really enjoyed learning about the synoptic gospels, compassionate communication, the reformation and all that, the thing I walked away with this year is to remember that I am not the only one in seminary. My whole family is in with me. If I fail a class, I may have to take an extra semester in order to overcome it, but I cannot fail my family. (Lack of a Clever Title, May 3)

The Rev. Mary Wellemeyer asks, “Is a small congregation a black hole?”

The woman sat in my office and tried to explain. It was just too much, she said. One leadership commitment always led to two more. Or worse, when she signed up to do a piece of a project, she often turned out to be organizing the whole thing. “It’s a black hole,” she said. “It sucks you in and never lets you out.” She had done it long enough. She was going to find an alternative to church, something that did not require her to give up her life. I wished her well, and told her I hoped she would be back in time. (Open Road, May 5)

UUA headquarters moving

As of Monday, May 19, the UUA’s headquarters will be at 24 Farnsworth Street, Boston MA 02110. On Friday May 16 (and continuing through Monday the 19th) email and phone service, as well as staff availability, may be sporadic. The Interdependent Web will take a break and return on Friday, May 23.

Categories: UU News

Go on a Unitarian Universalist pilgrimage

UU World - Mon, 2014-05-05 01:00
IDEAS: We may not have saints and shrines, but Unitarian Universalists do visit the scenes of our tradition's great stories.
Categories: UU News

Make a bowl to fight hunger

UU World - Mon, 2014-05-05 01:00
NEWS: Empty Bowls project at UUA General Assembly will raise money for hunger relief.
Categories: UU News

Suing N.C. for religious freedom to marry, and other UUs in the media

UU in the news - Fri, 2014-05-02 14:58

UU ministers, couples join lawsuit brought by United Church of Christ

Two Charlotte-area Unitarian Universalist ministers joined the United Church of Christ’s recent lawsuit against the state of North Carolina challenging a law that criminalizes the religious solemnization of weddings without a state-issued marriage license. (New York Times 4.28.14)

The Rev. Robin Tanner of Piedmont UU Church in Charlotte, N.C., joined the United Church of Christ and ministers of other denominations to affirm her religious liberty to perform marriages for same-sex members of their congregation. The Rev. Mark Ward of the UU Congregation of Asheville has also joined the lawsuit. (Charlotte News & Observer 4.28.14)

In light of the North Carolina lawsuit, Slate writer Mark Joseph Stern considers the lack of response from American conservatives. Stern notes that the religious right was also not upset by efforts of Unitarian Universalist ministers to marry same-sex couples in New York in 2004, risking arrest a statute similar to that in North Carolina. (Slate 4.28.14)

In addition to clergy members who have joined together in the lawsuit against the state of North Carolina, a number of the plaintiffs are same-sex couples who live in the state. Included among them are Unitarian Universalists Carol Taylor and Betty Mack, a committed couple of 41 years. (The Citizen-Times 4.28.14)

See also:

  • “Defending True Religious Liberty: Church Files Lawsuit in Support of Marriage Equality,” Huffington Post 4.28.14
  • “Religious Freedom Wars: Why the UCC’s Lawsuit Against NC Gay Marriage Ban Matters for Every American,” Huffington Post 4.30.14

Dear Abby and the Unitarian Universalist option

In response to a column in Dear Abby in which an atheist described feeling coerced into attending the church services of their spouse, many readers suggested that a Unitarian Universalist congregation would be a welcoming place for the couple. (Dear Abby 5.1.14)

News from UU congregations

Thirteen paintings from the UU Church of Tarpon Springs, Fla., will debut as part of a special exhibition of the work of renowned landscape artist George Inness, Jr. The congregation have been careful stewards the works ever since Inness, Jr. painted them a triptych to replace windows destroyed in a 1918 hurricane.  (TBNweekly.com 4.29.14)

Youth from the Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship in Carbondale, Ill., will sleep outdoors in a “Cardboard City” as part of the congregation’s annual fundraiser serving local organizations that help the homeless.  The event also raises awareness among middle and high school students of the difficult realities of homelessness. (The Southern Illinoisan 4.27.14)

The Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of New Jersey is sending letters to the Obama Administration and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security urging them to use alternative forms of detention and provide better treatment of detainees in immigration detention centers. (The Paramus Post 5.2.14)

Categories: UU News

Trusting creative leaders, broken justice, racist jerks, and more

News from Far Off UU Congregations - Fri, 2014-05-02 11:52
Trusting creative leaders

This week, the Rev. Erika Hewitt issued a challenge to Unitarian Universalists.

[Far] too often, our people respond to leadership—which is to say, an invitation to see, do, or experience something new—with crossed arms, narrowed eyes, and out-loud wondering what gives that person the right to extend such an invitation.

Unitarian Universalists, is this the people we want to be? (The Lively Tradition, April 30)

The Rev. Cynthia Landrum suggests that Hewitt, and other leaders, should invite ongoing participation, rather than springing completed projects on startled audiences.

Rather than preparing for the fight, avoid the fight by bringing people along with you on your journey. You begin by showing us your map, and engaging us in the Very Big Questions that your Very Large Project is addressing. Share the vision. As you say, “Creativity and courage are contagious.” (Rev. Cyn, April 30)

MB Tankersley addresses UU conflict avoidance.

In my experience, Unitarian Universalists often confuse disagreement with disrespect and make confrontation into a negative. It doesn’t have to be! I have seen amazing work done by groups utilizing confrontation and dissent in a positive way to build toward consensus. If we used Erika’s process above, even a shorthand version, I believe we could facilitate reasonable discussion based in Unitarian Universalist values. (I Am UU, April 30)

As she watches her city government conduct public hearings, Katy Carpman notices a similar pattern of mistrusting leadership.

What would it take to really give our leaders permission to lead, to do the jobs we elected/ordained/hired them to do?

As a Unitarian Universalist, I am called to be in covenantal relationship. To respect the people around me, and to work with them. To begin with some assumption of good will. Egad, you mean I need to TRUST them? (Remembering Attention, April 30)

To learn more about Hewitt’s “Very Big Project,” as well as other new endeavors, watch this week’s episode of The VUU:

Racist jerks and systemic racism

Responding to this week’s story about LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling, Kim Hampton reminds us that there’s “nothing new to see here.”

America is America because of the labor of black bodies that have been used, abused, and despised all at the same time.

But here’s the dirty little secret nobody really wants to deal with . . . white liberals aided and abetted this. . . . America is constantly creative in its ways to make money off of the fear of, and the talent of, black bodies. (East of Midnight, April 28)

The Rev. Lynn Ungar points out that while Sterling may be a racist jerk, systemic racism is the real problem.

The real trouble with Donald Sterling only comes when those of us who are publicly appalled by his words think that sanctioning his offensive language has anything significant to do with combating racism. (Quest for Meaning, April 30)

A broken justice system

Responding to news of a botched execution in Oklahoma, the Rev. Bill Sinkford asks a series of questions.

When is state-imposed killing justified? When do we have the right to take a life?

As punishment for heinous crimes? . . .

Would our consciences be quieter if the execution had not been botched, if the sedatives had worked and the death appeared painless? (Rev. Sinkford’s Blog, May1)

Adam Dyer writes about the problem of prison sterilizations.

These sterilization practices reduce prisoners to the value or liability they represent to our economy. In a way, they are no different than slaves who were forced into sex to increase their owners worth with more children or to satisfy their selfish urges. Sterilization is an archaic instrument in the seemingly bottomless toolbox of oppression in the United States. (Spirituuwellness, April 29)

And more UU blogging

At the recent Pacific Central District Assembly, the Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern noticed her hotel’s misguided conservation efforts.

The hotel I stayed at last weekend has a sign assuring customers that they conserve water by drawing on their lake and their “private well” for their landscaping needs. (Sermons in Stones, April 30)

The Rev. Dan Harper posts the text of a recent talk about Unitarian Universalism’s mystical tradition.

The Transcendentalists and mystics in our tradition challenge us to think outside the Enlightenment box. They tell us: reasoning is not the only way of knowing the world; intuition is another way of knowing the world. And they tell us: if you wish to know, to really, really know the truth, be careful what you wish for . . . . (Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, April 29)

Peter Bowden directs us to a recent paper presented by Larry Ladd about the future of our theological schools. (UU Planet, April 28)

The Rev. Mary Wellemeyer reflects on her experiences in ministry with small, imperfect congregations.

Let us encourage these small congregations. It is not their fault that among us there are grudge-holders and people who believe the world revolves around themselves. The difficult people are ours, too, and the struggle to deal with them in wholesome, loving, ways is our struggle. (Open Road, April 27)

Categories: UU News

Skinner House Books Publishes The Garden of Time

UUA Top Stories - Tue, 2014-04-29 01:00
In this story based on ancient Jewish legend, Adam and Eve walk through the Garden of Eden, noticing what is happening around them and deciding what holidays they will celebrate based on what they see, smell, hear, and taste. Gorgeous text and art illuminate Judaism, the calendar, and the environment for both children and adults.
Categories: UU News

Now Available: UUA Board Report for April 2014

UUA Top Stories - Tue, 2014-04-29 01:00
During their April meeting in Boston, the trustees and senior Unitarian Universalist Association staff expressed their gratitude for the solid partnership that has allowed them to engage constructively with each other and with serious issues. Learn more about the important subjects the Board discussed and voted on in this April 2014 report. 
Categories: UU News

UUs active as environmental stewards, and other UUs in the media

UU in the news - Mon, 2014-04-28 10:15

Green Sanctuaries, other environmental justice activities make news

Continuing its longstanding work as a Green Sanctuary, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Chattanooga, Tenn., took the opportunity on Earth Day to install twelve solar panels on the roof of their church building. (The Chattanoogan - 4.22.14)

After three years of planning and implementing earth-friendly practices in their congregation, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Lancaster, Pa., was happy to celebrate Easter and Earth Day as a newly certified Green Sanctuary congregation. (LancasterOnline.com - 4.19.14)

Unitarian Universalist churches in Barnstable, Brewster, and Falmouth, Mass., have joined together to reduce the use of environmentally harmful plastic bags in their community. The group has held a film screening about the issue and is now partnering with a local grocery store chain to encourage the use of reusable bags. (Cape Cod Today - 4.18.14)

UUs support Va. marriage equality, and more stories of witnessing for justice

Continuing their work opposing oppression, the First Unitarian Church of Lynchburg, Va., partnered with the group People of Faith for Marriage Equality for a rally to show their support for the rights of same-sex couples to marry in their state. (The News & Advance - 4.16.14)

The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Door County in Ephraim, Wisc., showed Robert Reich’s award-winning film Inequality for All, and the former U.S. Secretary of Labor joined the congregation on a conference call panel discussion after the screening. (Green Bay Press Gazette - 4.22.14)

The Rev. Matthew Johnson of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Rockford, Ill., joined others in a recent community meeting to voice their support for a progressive system of taxation at the local level and a raise in the minimum wage. (WREX.com - 4.25.14)

As the National Rifle Association prepared to hold its annual convention in downtown Indianapolis, Ind., the Rev. Bruce Russell-Jayne of All Souls Unitarian Church in Indianapolis joined with the group Hoosiers Concerned About Gun Violence to protest the convention. (WIBC.com - 4.24.14)

More news from UU congregations

After an expansion and renovation project nearly doubled the congregation’s size, members of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst, Mass., were excited to move in this week. The new building expands the space for religious education and is fully accessible for people with disabilities. (Daily Hampshire Gazette - 4.24.14)

The historic Unitarian Church in Keokuk has made the Preservation Iowa 2014 list of the top six most endangered properties in the state. The church is the oldest standing church in Keokuk and was the religious home for many prominent early citizens of the city. (Daily Gate City - 4.23.14)

A dozen paintings by George Inness, Jr. were removed from the Unitarian Universalist Church in Tarpon Springs, Fla., after several sink holes were discovered on the church’s property which put the sanctuary at risk and the famous paintings which were housed inside for decades. (Tampa Bay Times - 4.21.14)

Read more about the paintings: “Home of the Inness Jr. paintings” (UU World – Summer 2013)

Categories: UU News

UUA's Boston guesthouse will close June 30

UU World - Mon, 2014-04-28 01:00
NEWS: After Eliot and Pickett guesthouse closes, Club Quarters Hotel will house UUA volunteers.
Categories: UU News

Growing up on Star Island

UU World - Mon, 2014-04-28 01:00
LIFE: Looking back on my summers spent at a beloved Unitarian Universalist retreat.
Categories: UU News

Board Wants New Process for Handling Complaints about Clergy Misconduct

UUA Top Stories - Mon, 2014-04-28 01:00
UU World reports that the UUA Board of Trustees discussed many important business items during its April meeting in Boston, including how to better handle clergy misconduct complaints, fossil fuel divestment, and supporting emerging Unitarian Universalist groups. 
Categories: UU News

Resurrection, letting our light shine, creative turmoil, and more

News from Far Off UU Congregations - Fri, 2014-04-25 13:26
Revisiting resurrection

The Rev. Dr. Carl Gregg reexamines what Easter can mean in a UU context.

It’s not about whether there was a resurrection 2,000 years ago, it’s whether the way of Jesus can leads us to a new nonviolent insurrection today as it did in India with Gandhi, in the Civil Rights Movement with Dr. King, and most recently with Occupy Wall Street. . . .

What part might you individually or we collectively play in rising up to ensure the continued blooming of abundant, diverse life on this one planet? (Pluralism, Pragmatism, Progressivism, April 22)

Justin Almeida experiences Passover as a gentile and Holy Week as a former Christian.

Because of my history, I have no choice but to . . . let myself steep in the spirit of Jesus, the Hebrew prophets, the saints and the apostles. By participating in these Jewish/Christian days, I commemorate where I came from. I mourn for what I have lost. I am reminded of why I changed. I embrace where I have set my spiritual future. (What’s My Age?, April 18)

Events during Holy Week press Claire to remember her fundamentalist upbringing.

I actually had a soft spot for the Jesus in the Gospels­–the one who went around healing the sick and blessing the poor and welcoming the outcasts and preaching unpleasant truth to those with power and influence. . . . I was never too sure about the miracles, though, or the resurrection part of the story. . . . But by the time I decided that, I knew better than to say anything. (Sand Hill Diary, April 23)

Body and mind

The Rev. Amy Beltaine has been riding the cancer roller coaster.

I’m learning about surrender. I’m learning that my mental acuity and productivity are NOT the most important parts of myself. I’m learning about the journey that we all take, that is if we are lucky, into periods of ill health and challenge and making it through, day by day. (Praise God and Pass the Potatoes, April 20)

A period of mental stability gives Andrew Mackay the space he needs to examine the interplay of anxiety and bipolar disorder.

Anxiety . . . is a symptom. A special sort of symptom, fed by hypomania followed by depression. It is the metaphorical headache that comes with reconciling two wildly different, but very real persons. . . . Each cycle one self creates commitments, strange friendships, debts monetary and not–then the other self must sift through them. A constant reminder of behavior that is both at times shameful and bizarre. Why did my depressive self let all this crap pile up? Why did my hypomanic self blow all that money? (Unspoken Politics, April 20)

Common questions

John Beckett wrestles with the frequently-asked question, “Where are you from?”

I haven’t lived in Tennessee in almost 20 years, although I visit there a couple times every year. It will always be where I’m from, and it will always have a special place in my heart. But it’s time to make Texas my home.

So, where are you from? Where do you belong? Are you home? If you aren’t, do you need to go home or do you need to make a home where you are? (Under the Ancient Oaks, April 20)

Diana McLean compares her childhood fears with the dangers her child faces, and asks, “How do we prepare our children without leaving them in a fearful state?”

My son’s school seems to have found a balance, at least in his case. He was matter-of-fact when explaining the differences between lockout and lockdown, not fearful. It’s just part of his school experience, the way practicing for tornado warnings was part of mine. (Poetic Justice, April 19)

Letting our light shine

The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Landrum shares her strategies for alerting UU and local media about her congregation’s activities.

The moral is, don’t be afraid to be a little shameless about telling your story and getting your word out there. It’s exciting for other Unitarian Universalists to hear what you’ve been doing, particularly when it comes to justice work. We learn from reading the stories of the work done in other congregations, and we feel more connected as a movement. And in your local papers, showing that your congregation is doing justice work is not only important for getting the justice cause heard, it’s important for telling your community what Unitarian Universalism is. It’s okay for justice work to have the side benefit of raising your congregational profile in your community — let your acts shine. (Rev. Cyn, April 17)

The Rev. Sarah Stewart, reminding us that supporting new congregations is one of the UUA’s tasks, outlines different ways congregations start.

Some will organize the way Starr King UU Fellowship did in 1980, when a retired UU minister and interested laypeople gathered in homes and started a new congregation. Some will be satellite locations of existing congregations, like the South Bay campus of the First UU Church of San Diego. Some will be independent projects hosted by existing congregations, like Sanctuary Boston, which is hosted by First Church Boston and First Parish in Cambridge. And some will be a new start-up led by the vision of a minister which then attracts a community, like Original Blessing. (Stereoscope, April 18)

Continuing his series about ministerial nervousness, the Rev. Tom Schade hopes UUs will learn to encourage prophetic preaching.

Our ministers could be a thousand or more clear voices ringing out for a new spirit in these nations of North America. They could be inspiring and empowering tens of thousands of more voices, and moving hundreds of thousands of hearts toward reverence, openness, solidarity, self-possession. We need to stop stifling ourselves, and that starts by encouraging our ministers to be brave and confident. (The Lively Tradition, April 22)

Creative turmoil

Jordinn Nelson Long answers questions about the grueling experience of Clinical Pastoral Education—including the question of why do it at all.

That answer is: CPE breaks you open. You hold and hurt for and walk with other people’s pain—and your own—until you break. And then, eventually, with help, you put yourself back together. As a person who can be at peace amid pain. (Raising Faith, April 21)

The Rev. Dan Harper, experiencing a period of spiritual turmoil, examines what it is, and what to do about it.

[Spiritual] turmoil is not an illness; it is not pathological. In my own experience, and in talking with others about their experiences, spiritual turmoil results when you can no longer adequately answer one of the big spiritual questions. (Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, April 19)

Categories: UU News

Board wants new process for handling complaints about clergy misconduct

UU World - Mon, 2014-04-21 01:00
NEWS: UUA Board of Trustees also votes to support business resolution on fossil fuel divestment.
Categories: UU News

How to know God

UU World - Mon, 2014-04-21 01:00
SPIRIT: An atheist mystic meets the goddess of love.
Categories: UU News

A roundup of reader suggestions

News from Far Off UU Congregations - Fri, 2014-04-18 17:34

The Rev. Heather Christensen, in addition to curating the Interdependent Web and blogging at Nagoonberry, is the administrator of a Facebook group for UU bloggers. This week, in Heather’s absence, we invited members of that group to name their favorite posts (by other bloggers). Here are their suggestions. (And there are a few extras at the bottom, as well as a description of the bloggers group.)

The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Landrum, “Nickel and Dimed in Bivocational Ministry” (Rev. Cyn, 4.12.14, suggested by Jordinn Nelson Long, Raising Faith)

“Seeker of the Flaming Chalice,” “You are the Trolls: Unitarian Universalists in the movie Frozen” (Seeker of the Flaming Chalice, 4.13.14, suggested by Jenn Gray)

The Rev. Mary Wellemeyer, “Easter, Our Problem Holiday” (Open Road, 4.16.14, suggested by the Rev. Theresa Novak, Sermons, Poetry, and Other Musing)

The Rev. Lynn Ungar, “The Joy of Taxes” (Quest for Meaning, 4.16.14, suggested by Karen Johnston, Irrevspeckay)

The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Landrum named three posts about the Rev. Georgette Wonders, the minister of Bradford Community Church UU in Kenosha, Wisc., who died last week after a car accident:

I was moved this week by the blogs about Georgette Wonders, particularly Theresa Novak’s, but also Sam Trumbore’s and PeaceBang’s.

Of note

The Rev. Naomi King has been a pioneer in UU use of online and social media. This week she shared personal news.

I have lived with a chronic and progressive illness for many years now. I have become progressively weaker.

I have now reached the point where it is a great struggle for me to consistently maintain my public ministry – both the quality and regularity of posts – and to engage in a timely manner with my social media community.

Over the course of the month of April, some of my regular postings will drop out, until posts from me become rare. (RevNaomi Tumblr, 4.12.14)

Peter Bowden and Naomi held a “tweetchat” to discuss the changes in Naomi’s digital ministry. (storify.com/uuplanet, 4.12.14)

Join the conversation

If you are a blogger and have a Facebook account, you’re invited (encouraged, even) to join the conversation in a Facebook group:

The UU Bloggers’ Workshop is a space for encouragement and collaboration, for dreaming and doing. We are beginners and veterans, clergy and laity, insiders and outsiders, a chorus of UU voices.

If you’re UU and you blog, you’re welcome here, whether or not UUism is your blog focus.

If you’d like to join the UU Bloggers’ Workshop, contact Heather at interdependentweb@uua.org.

Categories: UU News

Humanism and the future of Unitarian Universalism, and other UUs in the media

UU in the news - Fri, 2014-04-18 15:17

Humanism is losing ground to ‘anythingism’

In her interview with Religion News Service, Maria Greene of the Unitarian Universalist Humanist Association (UUHA) says that an important goal of the UUHA in its future work is to be a bridge between the broader secular movement and Unitarian Universalism. (Religion News Service - 4.10.14)

Remembering the Boston Marathon bombings

Across the city, Bostonians observed a moment of silence to mark the anniversary of last year’s Boston Marathon Bombings. In Dorchester, Mass., the Rev. Arthur Lavoie talked with fourth grade children about understanding and forgiveness as they remembered the tragic events of that day. (The Boston Globe - 4.15.14)

More news from UU congregations

The Rev. Georgette Wonders, who died last week from injuries sustained in a car accident, was honored by her congregation, Bradford Community Church UU in Kenosha, Wisc., as an advocate for the less fortunate and a leader in bringing diverse groups together in the community. (Kenosha News - 4.14.14)

Members of First Parish Church in Taunton, Mass., are filling and giving out “blessing bags” with basic sanitary items, snacks, and personal messages of faith and support as part of their ministry to support homeless members of their community. (Taunton Daily Gazette - 4.13.14)

The United Way awarded the Sanford UU Church in Sanford, Me., a one-year grant of $3,000 to further their work on the Corner Cupboard program, which provides basic necessities to members of the community who are financially struggling. (Sanford News - 4.10.14)

Shea Winterberger attended a recent UUA district youth convention and was moved by how they interpreted their theme of “BeYOUtiful” by practicing radical inclusivity and honoring the inherent worth and dignity of all participants throughout the event. (Juneau Empire - 4.13.14)

For Nebraska college student Schuyler Geery-Zink, her campus ministry group, Unitarian Universalists of UNL, provides a supportive space at her school to explore diverse topics and have open conversations with people of differing beliefs. (Daily Nebraskan - 4.14.14)

Despite a stay on the U.S. District Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in Michigan, many businesses and other groups in the state are preparing for nuptials to begin. Unitarian Universalist Karen Ryan plans to reopen her wedding chapel and hold services officiated by the Rev. Keven Tarsa. (The Detroit News - 4.12.14)

The Rev. Ann Schranz of the Monte Vista UU Congregation in Montclair, Calif., supports the work of Sister Simone Campbell and NETWORK to raise awareness of the importance of paying taxes as a way of showing how a society funds what matters. (Daily Bulletin - 4.11.14)

Accotink UU Church in Burke, Va., hosted a number of community leaders, from a member of the Sentencing Project to local law enforcement to the executive director of OAR, a group that assists former prisoners, to discuss the pressing issue of mass incarceration. (Connection Newspapers - 4.10.11)

Categories: UU News

A New, Justice-Focused Green Sanctuary Program

UUA Top Stories - Fri, 2014-04-18 01:00
Responding to the realities of the environmental crisis we are currently experiencing and the lived experiences and needs of Unitarian Universalists, the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Green Sanctuary Program has been revised and the new version is now available online. 
Categories: UU News

A New, Justice-Focused Green Sanctuary Program

UUA Top Stories - Fri, 2014-04-18 01:00
Responding to the realities of the environmental crisis we are currently experiencing and the lived experiences and needs of Unitarian Universalists, the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Green Sanctuary Program has been revised and the new version is now available online. 
Categories: UU News
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