UU in the news

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A weekly guide to stories about Unitarian Universalists from news sources around the web
Updated: 1 hour 37 min ago

UU clergy prominent in Michigan marriage equality, and other UUs in the media

Fri, 2014-03-28 13:04

UU ministers across Michigan married dozens of same-sex couples

The Rev. Dr. Claudine Oliva of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Flint, Mich., was eager to perform wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples and was also hopeful about having her own union be recognized by the state. (minbcnews.com - 3.24.14)

Once Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage was struck down, the Rev. Yvonne Schumacher Strejcek of the Community Unitarian Universalists in Brighton, Mich., planned to conduct same-sex weddings in her church and affirmed that the court’s ruling should be the final word on the issue. (Daily Press & Argus - 3.23.14)

The Rev. Bill Freeman of Harbor Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Muskegon, Mich., was ready to marry as many same-sex couples as possible once the state’s ban was overturned. He performed many individual and group wedding ceremonies last Saturday. (WZZM 13 - 3.22.14)

The Rev. Kathryn A. Bert of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lansing, Mich., was thrilled to perform wedding ceremonies at the local courthouse, especially a ceremony for two longtime members of her church. (Lansing State Journal - 3.23.14)

The Rev. Kimi Riegel of Northwest Unitarian Church in Southfield, Mich., helped marry hundreds of couples at a courthouse in Oakland County, Mich., and said that she had been waiting her whole ministry for this opportunity. (pridesource.com - 3.22.14)

The Rev. Cynthia Landrum of the Unitarian Universalist Church of East Liberty in Clarklake, Mich., married couples at the Washtenaw County Building in Ann Arbor on Saturday. (The Detroit News - 3.21.14)

The Rev. Jeff Liebmann of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Midland, Mich., was prepared to marry same-sex couples but was unable to do so due to the Attorney General’s stay of the U.S. District Court’s ruling. (mlive.com - 3.22.14)

After Michigan Attorney General Bill Shuette issued a stay on the overturned ban on same-sex marriage, the Rev. Colleen Squires and the Rev. Fred Wooden and their congregations joined a rally in Grand Rapids, Mich., to voice their hope to marry same-sex couples legally very soon. (mlive.com - 3.23.14)

Other Michigan marriage equality stories include:

“Mich. won’t recognize first wave of gay marriages” (The Boston Globe - 3.24.14)

“Watch same-sex couples marry in Muskegon County” (mlive.com - 3.22.14)

“Pastor Bill Freeman’s performance of same-sex marriages culmination of years of ministry, advocacy” (mlive.com - 3.22.14)

Environmental and reproductive justice work highlighted

A Unitarian minister in the Khasi Hills of India perseveres in the lonely work of opposing limestone mining in that region because of his people’s deep reverence for nature. He says he understands that their tribal culture makes it difficult for others to oppose fellow clan members and join him in this important work. (The New York Times - 3.19.14)

As the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the contraception coverage case, Sebelius v Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., the Rev. Angela Herrera of First Unitarian Church of Albuquerque, N.Mex., shared with her congregation and the public her personal experience of once being in urgent need of contraception, in order to highlight the importance of having widespread access to these resources. (National Journal - 3.25.14)

Categories: UU News

UUA building sale part of larger trend, and other UUs in the media

Fri, 2014-03-21 14:46

UUA building sale fits larger trend among religious organizations

New York Times reporter Michael Paulson sees the Unitarian Universalist Association’s sale of its headquarters buildings in Boston and planned move to a smaller headquarters as fitting a larger trend among religious groups across the United States. Paulson connects this trend to the increasing secularization of American society. (The New York Times - 3.15.14)

Anniversaries mark historic Unitarian Universalist ties

Grosse Pointe Unitarian Church in Grosse Pointe, Mich., will commemorate its 75th anniversary with a special worship service, dinner, and life-size timeline of their membership. Members say they are proud that their congregation has stood for love and justice throughout its history.(Grosse Point News - 3.20.14)

The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Athens, Ga., will celebrate its 60th anniversary all year long with festivities that include a special Diamond JUUbilee service. They hope the year-long celebration will help them fully capture their congregation’s long history of faith and justice work. (Athens Banner-Herald - 3.13.14)

Staff at the Murray Grove Retreat and Renewal Center in Lanoka Harbor, N.J., are already considering plans for a 250th anniversary celebration of Universalism in America in 2020. The center, a destination for a broad range of religious and secular groups, is located at the birthplace of American Universalism. (Asbury Park Press - 3.15.14)

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis, Md., will celebrate the first anniversary of its AWAKE ministry with a gospel festival featuring the church choir and a number of prominent local gospel singers. Associate Minister the Rev. John Crestwell said his ministry uses music to continue the church’s history of building a beloved community. (CapitalGazette.com - 3.15.14)

More news from UU congregations

The North Parish of North Andover, Mass., has been growing beyond the limits of its existing building for several years. They have begun construction to expand their building to keep all church activities under one roof and hope to have it completed by September. (Eagle-Tribune - 3.18.14)

After agreeing that the announcements in their church’s newsletter are often seen elsewhere, the Unitarian Universalist Church at Washington Crossing in Titusville, N.J., ended the newsletter and created a quarterly feature magazine instead. The magazine profiles the inspiring work of members and groups in the congregation. (examiner.com - 3.16.14)

As part of the Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath weekend, the Unitarian Universalist Society in Stamford, Conn., held an interfaith vigil to honor the memories of those who have died due to gun violence, and to voice support for reviving gun-control legislation in the state. (Stamford Advocate - 3.16.14)

Carrying a large, gold Standing on the Side of Love banner, members of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Marblehead, Mass., joined the Peace Parade in South Boston, which follows the same route as the St. Patrick’s Day parade. They attended to highlight the importance of achieving full inclusion of LGBTQ people in the St. Patrick’s Day parade. (The Marblehead Reporter - 3.17.14)

When reporter Doug Erickson interviewed Steve McConkey, head of a Christian athletic organization, on his opposition to gay and lesbian athletes competing in the Olympics, the Rev. Michael Schuler of the First Unitarian Society in Madison, Wisc., responded with polite criticism to the story. Erickson took Schuler’s words seriously and filed a second, clarifying story. (Wisconsin State Journal - 3.17.14)

Categories: UU News

Remembering civil rights heroes, and other UUs in the media

Fri, 2014-03-14 14:00

Minister who survived attack honors James Reeb

The Rev. Clark Olsen joined members of All Souls Unitarian Church in Washington, D.C., to honor the memory of the Rev. James Reeb who died in Selma, Ala., 49 years ago while participating in the historic civil rights march held there. Olsen survived the attack that killed the Rev. James Reeb. (wjla.com - 3.9.14)

Viola Liuzzo will be among the women honored at the Michigan Women’s Historical Center and Hall of Fame for the significant roles they played in the struggle for civil rights. Randy Block, of the Michigan Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Network, also hopes that less visible women like Nellie Cuellar will become more well-known through such exhibits. (Detroit Free Press - 3.9.14)

Rethinking worship for non-UUs, helping the homeless, and more

Members of the lay-led Bismarck-Mandan Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Bismarck, N.D., have started a new service series to respond to our denomination’s call to become more inclusive to the wider community. The new services will be held on Wednesdays and focus on learning and discussion of different religious and philosophical traditions. (Bismarck Tribune - 3.8.14)

Faced with the difficult situation of offering adequate help to the homeless population coming through her church’s doors, the Rev. Christana Wille McKnight of First Parish Church in Taunton, Mass., partnered with another local minister to support his existing outreach ministry and help those in serious need in their community. (Taunton Daily Gazette - 3.7.14)

Woodinville Unitarian Universalist Church in Woodinville, Wash., is hosting a homeless camp called Camp Unity for the fifth time. The camp provides housing for people not served by existing state programs, and the congregation has been grateful for their help in maintaining and repairing the church. (The Woodinville Weekly - 3.11.14)

Despite the generally conservative culture in Mississippi, some towns in the state have passed resolutions supporting full equality for all in their community, including Oxford, Miss. A divinity school student and member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Oxford, Gail Stratton, feels welcome and supported there. (hottytoddy.com - 3.11.14)

After a so-called Arizona-style anti-gay bill was introduced in Mississippi, leaders in the state are divided over whether to support it. The Rev. Todd Allen of Our Home Universalist Unitarian Church in Ellisville, Miss., sees the law as a clear way for businesses to use their religious beliefs to refuse service to gays and lesbians. (Edge Boston - 3.8.14)

Christine Bailey, a member of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Sacramento, Calif., organized a multi-faith exploration of a spiritual and moral response to climate change because she sees our actions or inaction on this planet as the greatest moral issue of our time. (The Sacramento Bee - 3.14.14)

When Megan and Daniel James were invited to talk with the youth at the Champlain Valley Unitarian Universalist Society’s Our Whole Lives class in Middlebury, Vt., they were impressed by the maturity of the group of 12- to 15-year-olds and their comfort with asking questions in a probing, but respectful way. (kidsvt.com - 3.4.14)

First Unitarian Church of Seattle’s early building is profiled for its unique construction and the special role the space played with the congregation and other entities for dramatic plays and concerts, which is a tradition that continues in the church’s current building as well.  (The Seattle Times - 3.7.14)

Categories: UU News

Dropping love bombs, and other UUs in the media

Fri, 2014-03-07 15:09

UU youth get their congregation involved in random acts of kindness

Youth from the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of La Crosse, Wisc., are leaving handmade gifts around their community as a way to spread kindness, peace, and joy to others. With the help of their congregation, they have “love bombed” their local city hall, nursing homes, and hospitals. (News8000.com - 3.3.14)

Supporting expanded health insurance coverage, and more

As part of ongoing “Truthful Tuesday” protests of South Carolina’s refusal to expand Medicaid, 11 people were arrested for blocking the entrance to a Statehouse parking garage. The Rev. Pat Jobe of the Greenville Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Greenville, S.C., was among those arrested. (943wsc.com - 3.5.14)

In letters sent to members of the Florida Legislature, the Rev. Wayne Robinson, recently retired from All Faiths Unitarian Congregation in Fort Myers, Fla., urged them to show mercy and provide health coverage to Floridians too poor to qualify for subsidized plans under the Affordable Care Act. (Health News Florida - 3.3.14)

Lyn Betz, an intern minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Concord, Ma., shared her experience obtaining affordable health insurance under the new Affordable Care Act after spending years struggling to get coverage on the open market because of a pre-existing condition. (Concord Monitor - 3.2.14)

The Rev. Kit Ketcham of the Pacific Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Astoria, Ore., shares her personal journey in understanding and embracing LGBTQ friends and loved ones and how it inspired her passionate advocacy for helping them attain equal rights. (The Daily Astorian - 2.28.14)

The Rev. Terence Ellen of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Greater Cumberland, in Cumberland, Md., was arrested along with three others during a peaceful protest of a planned liquefied natural gas facility at Cove Point in Southern Maryland. (thebaynet.com - 2.27.14)

Living out their commitment to use their new church building to be of service to the community, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Somerset Hills, in Somerville, N.J., has partnered with United Way of Northern New Jersey to provide free  onsite tax-preparation services. (The Messenger-Gazette - 2.28.14)

UUA President the Rev. Peter Morales helped Fox Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Appleton, Wisc., dedicate their new sanctuary, intentionally expanded to seat 350 so that the congregation could welcome more newcomers. (postcrescent.com - 2.28.14)

Gladys Sanchez will be the new director of religious education at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of DeKalb, Ill. Born in the Philippines, Sanchez will bring a global perspective and an emphasis on youth engagement in social justice to the congregation’s religious education program. (Daily Chronicle - 2.28.14)

For this year’s birthday celebration of early Unitarian pioneer the Rev. Dr. Joseph Priestley, Unitarian Universalists of the Susquehanna Valley in Northumberland, Pa., have invited members from Mount Vernon Unitarian Church in Alexandria, Va., to present a special program on Priestley. (The Daily Item 3.4.14)

Categories: UU News

Congregational film series profiled, and other UUs in the media

Fri, 2014-02-28 17:38

People travel from across Illinois for congregation’s film series

The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Decatur, Ill., has been showing films on environmental-justice themes for seven years, and their audience continues to grow. Members select films with compelling stories that are timely and highlight aspects of many types of environmentalism. (Herald-Review - 2.22.14)

More news from UU congregations

After reading this year’s UUA Common Read, Behind the Kitchen Door by Saru Jayaraman, members of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Mankato, Minn., decided to take what they learned into their community. Visiting a different restaurant each week, members talk with managers about the importance of giving staff the option to take sick leave. (The Free Press - 2.21.14)

In researching a historic candlestick owned by the congregation, a member of the Unitarian Universalist Society in Stamford, Conn., discovered a connection to the Civil Rights Movement. The member found a copy of an open letter sent from the 1963 sixth grade religious education class to the children of Birmingham, Ala., with condolences on violence their city had been experiencing. (Stamford Advocate - 2.26.14)

After members spent a month reflecting on the transformative power of love at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Marblehead, Mass., they felt ready to take their love into the world in each and every one of their words and deeds. (The Marblehead Reporter - 2.24.14)

Religious education students at First Unitarian Universalist Church of Indiana, Pa., helped support a county-run hunger program for children as their social justice project. They created money-collection jars for taking special collections during February and shared their ideas about why this program is so important. (The Indiana Gazette - 2.22.14)

North Shore Unitarian Universalists of Lacombe, La., were profiled in their local news for the labyrinth on their church grounds. A spokesperson from the congregation explained that the labyrinth is a meditational tool they use to help members begin their spiritual journeys. (wgno.com - 2.25.14)

When some members of First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus, Ohio, explained that as humanists, they did not believe in a higher power but in reason and humanity, the interfaith community group of which they are members, called Building Responsibility, Equality and Dignity or BREAD, agreed to change the wording of their materials to acknowledge this perspective. (The Columbus Dispatch - 2.21.14)

First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus, Ohio, is profiled for embracing diverse religious beliefs and practices. As non-theistic members of the church have increasingly found a home there, they are eager to reach the broader community of people they know hunger for a similar connection. (The Columbus Dispatch - 2.21.14)

The Rev. Tricia Hart recently took a position as interim minister at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Charleston, W.Va. In an interview with the city’s newspaper, she discussed her religious background and what she hopes to help the congregation achieve during her time there. (Charleston Daily Mail - 2.25.14)

After initially wanting to decline a request to help shelter some of the local homeless population near the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Salem, Ma., the Rev. Richard Davis changed his mind, remembering the importance of how empty space helps us remain open to possibilities. (Statesman Journal - 2.21.14)

Categories: UU News

NY congregation’s civil rights legacy, and other UUs in the media

Tue, 2014-02-25 11:51

Congregation’s civil rights legacy intersects with minister’s personal journey

During her tenure of more than ten years as minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Central Nassau in Garden City, N.Y.*, the Rev. Hope Johnson has built a solid relationship with the congregation and continues its legacy of civil rights justice work. (Long Island Newsday – 2.13.14)

Other articles in the profile include:

“The Rev. Hope Johnson: Living a legacy” (Long Island Newsday – 2.13.14)

“Tackling civil rights from the pulpit” (Long Island Newsday – 2.14.14)

Celebrating Valentine’s Day by rallying for marriage equality

Williamsburg Unitarian Universalist Church members gathered at the county courthouse in Williamsburg, Va., to celebrate a recent federal court ruling that lifted Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage and vowed to continue to visit each Valentine’s Day until marriage equality comes to their state. (Virginia Gazette – 2.14.14)

Members of the Unitarian Church of Lincoln, Neb., gathered at their state capitol on Valentine’s Day with their Standing on the Side of Love banner to celebrate the holiday by showing their support for marriage equality. (1011now.com – 2.17.14)

Other coverage of the Nebraska event includes:

“Marriage equality rally” (klkntv.com – 2.14.14)

“Unitarian Church of Lincoln shows support for marriage equality through rally” (Daily Nebraskan - 2.17.14)

Congregations get involved with community

Olympia Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Olympia, Wa., partnered with other congregations and community members to help shift the homeless population in their community from a temporary, rotating series of camps to permanent homes called Quixote Village. (The New York Times – 2.19.14)

Related: “Washington congregation creates permanent village for homeless” (uuworld.org – 11.11.13)

The Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock in Manhasset, N.Y., celebrated a decade of providing financial support to students who wish to pursue music education. Their Edward Miller Memorial Scholarship is named for the congregation’s former music director and is funded by their annual “Cabaret at Shelter Rock” event. (Long Island Newsday – 2.19.14)

Newly installed minister, the Rev. Maddie Sifantus, discussed her plans to help First Unitarian Church in Milford, Mass., return to its former vibrancy by bringing together elders, arts, school, and faith communities. (The Milford Daily News – 2.8.14)

Correction 02.25.14: In the original headline and post, the UU Congregation of Central Nassau was identified as being located in Garden City, N.J. It is located in New York. Click here to return to the corrected paragraph.

Categories: UU News

Rabbi to lead Michigan UU congregation, and other UUs in the media

Fri, 2014-02-14 17:37

Congregation has had a 20-year relationship with their new rabbi

Although the decision of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Grand Traverse in Traverse City, Mich., to call the Rabbi Chava Bahle to serve as their new leader raised some concerns in the Jewish and UU communities, both Bahle and the congregation find it to be a natural extension of their long-existing relationship. (Huffington Post – 2.11.14)

Tulsa UUs ready for legalized same-sex marriage

All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, Okla., recently held a Standing on the Side of Love engagement party for same-sex couples to show Oklahoma and its residents that there is a religious community in the state that is ready to embrace same-sex marriage. (Tulsa World – 2.13.14)

Other All Souls engagement party stories include:

“Tulsa Church Throws Engagement Party For Same-Sex Couples” (NewsOn62.12.14)

“Tulsa Unitarian church hosts engagement party for same-sex couples” (Tulsa World – 2.12.14)

UUs join Moral March

Unitarian Universalists joined thousands from North Carolina and across the country to take part in the Moral March in downtown Raleigh, N.C., last weekend. The Rev. Jay Leach of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte walked with members of his congregation to encourage state leadership to do what’s best for all of North Carolina’s children, teachers, and voters. (Charlotte Observer – 2.8.14)

Other Moral March stories include:

“Religion at the Moral March” (Religion Dispatches – 2.10.14)

“‘Forward Together, Not One Step Back’: Moral March Brings Out Tens of Thousands of Progressives” (RH Reality Check – 2.9.14)

“March in Raleigh draws tens of thousands” (Daily Kos – 2.9.14)

More UUs in the media

Prominent local officials and citizens of all ages turned out at the First Unitarian Church in New Bedford, Mass., to take part in the 14th annual Frederick Douglass read-a-thon. Douglass had a historical connection to the congregation; his first job as a free man was shoveling coal for the church’s minister. (South Coast Today – 2.10.14)

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Birmingham, Ala., celebrated its 60-year history last weekend, including its connection to the Selma, Ala., civil rights marches, and looked to the future to discern the role they hope to play in the larger community. (al.com – 2.07.14)

In commemoration of Darwin Day, the Rev. Jacqueline Luck of the Holston Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Gray, Tenn., joined a panel discussion on religion and science at East Tennessee State University. She emphasized the importance of embracing mainstream science with her congregation. (Johnson City Press – 2.9.14)

Categories: UU News

Exploring racial justice in America, and other UUs in the Media

Fri, 2014-02-07 16:48

Looking back on the history of American race relations

The Rev. Barbara Fast of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Danbury, Conn., shares the powerful experience she had earlier this year when she joined the Living Legacy Pilgrimage through the Deep South visiting historic sites and meeting with veterans of the Civil Rights Movement. (newstimes.com – 1.31.14)

To honor the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Community Unitarian Universalists in Brighton, Mich., will hold a Freedom Riders exhibit of films and speakers detailing the struggles of civil rights workers who traveled south to fight racial segregation. (Daily Press & Argus - 1.30.14)

The Unitarian Church of Staten Island, N.Y., will hold a Sunday service in connection with African American History Month that highlights the important role that abolitionists played in founding their church and as an antislavery voice in the region during the 19th century. (Staten Island Advance2.1.14)

Connecting with the community through jazz, and more

First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake City celebrates 25 years of their Jazz Vespers music series, which has transformed the congregation’s role in the city into a local institution offering a diverse range of musical styles from the works of Stevie Wonder to Led Zeppelin. (The Salt Lake Tribune - 2.1.14)

The Rev. Andrew Clive Millard of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Peninsula in Newport News, Va., writes that he will join with other progressive people of faith calling for marriage equality in Virginia because all people, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, have equal claim to the same benefits, rights, and privileges. (Daily Press - 2.2.14)

The Rev. Lisa Bovee-Kemper of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Asheville, N.C., reports that over 200 people from Western North Carolina will join the Forward Together Moral Movement protest at the state capitol on February 8th. (Black Mountain News2.3.14)

Bennett Rushkoff explained in an interview with local press that a major reason why he is running for state office in Maryland stems from his experience as lay minister for social justice at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Rockville, Md., where he and his congregation lobbied for marriage equality, offshore wind power, and repeal of the death penalty. (The Sentinel2.6.14)

As Purdue University considers building gender-neutral restrooms on their campus, the nearby Unitarian Universalist Church in West Lafayette, Ind., offers an example of using gender neutral facilities to welcome all people, regardless of gender identity. (The Exponent – 2.5.14)

The Rev. Galen Guengerich of All Souls Unitarian Church in New York City writes on how the growing “selfie” culture keeps individuals from appreciating those who have had a long presence around us and the things we deeply value for their long use. (The Washington Post1.31.14)

Among many who weighed in on the death penalty decision in the case of the Boston Marathon bomber, the Rev. Megan Foley of Sugarloaf Congregation of Unitarian Universalists in Germantown, Md., wrote that putting her father’s killer to death brought their family no sense of justice or closure. (The Boston Globe - 2.1.14)

Categories: UU News

Remembering Pete Seeger, and other UUs in the media

Fri, 2014-01-31 16:30

Pete Seeger memorials connect his UU faith to his music and activism

A researcher exploring Pete Seeger’s Springfield, Mass., roots highlights his family’s deep connections to Unitarianism and progressive activism. Seeger’s great-grandfather, Dr. Edwin Seeger, was an abolitionist and Unitarian in the 1800s. (The Republican - 1.28.14)

Columnist Andy Ray writes that he saw many similarities between himself, a United Methodist, and Seeger, a Unitarian Universalist. With Seeger’s passing, Ray felt that we lost a true American hero. (Current in Carmel – 1.29.14)

In a 2005 interview reprinted in the Dallas Morning News, Seeger was asked if he considered himself a Unitarian. He responded that although he rarely went to church, he considered himself a Unitarian in the deepest sense of the word. (Dallas Morning News – 1.28.14)

The Rev. Richard R. Davis of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Salem, Ore., remembered Seeger as a man who stood for his principles. Davis planned to share his music in a Sunday service honoring the singer. (Statesman Journal – 1.30.14)

Other stories remembering Pete Seeger include:

“The spiritual side of legendary folk singer Pete Seeger” (Deseret News1.29.14)

“Pete Seeger’s time comes” (Religion News Service1.28.14)

UU churches prepare for marriage equality in Va. and Okla., and more

As the debate over marriage equality heats up across their state, Unitarian Universalists in Harrisonburg, Va., voice their hope to ring their church’s bells at weddings for same-sex couples very soon. (WHSV News 3 – 1.24.14)

All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, Okla., will hold an engagement party at their church for same-sex couples who are awaiting a final ruling on the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. (NewsOn6.com – 1.23.14)

After being legally married to her partner of 39 years in California, the Rev. Theresa Novak of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ogden, Utah, has decided to leave the congregation and the state in order to live in California, where her marriage will be legally recognized. (Standard-Examiner – 1.25.14)

Speaking in support of asylum-seekers and immigrants at the Portland City Hall in Portland, Me., the Rev. Mykel Johnson of Allen Avenue Unitarian Universalist Church in Portland connected their plight with Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech on the story of the Good Samaritan. (Portland Press Herald – 1.30.14)

A local art student, assigned the task of completing an interior drawing for a class midterm, chose to recreate the beautiful glass mosaic in First Unitarian Church in New Bedford, Mass., called “The Wanderer.” He hopes to raise awareness of the work as a part of New Beford’s history. (South Coast Today – 1.26.14)

Categories: UU News

Introducing our new media blogger

Fri, 2014-01-31 11:13

It’s my pleasure to announce that beginning today, UUs in the Media will be written by Rachel Walden.

Rachel has worked for the Unitarian Universalist Association since 2009. During her time here, she has given tours for groups of all ages, helped UUs and newcomers learn about the UUA and its programs, and created social media content for the UUA. Her current work in the UUA’s Office of Information and Public Witness includes monitoring the media for references to Unitarian Universalists. Prior to working for the UUA, she served as church administrator for the UU Church of the Brazos Valley in College Station, Tex.

Categories: UU News

Calling for justice on MLK Day, and other UUs in the media

Fri, 2014-01-24 17:42

UU ministers see need to continue King’s equality work

The Rev. William Sinkford of First Unitarian Church of Portland, Ore., reminded attendees at an interfaith service honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. not to forget their state’s early history of racial exclusion as they work to realize King’s dream of equality. (The Oregonian – 1.19.14)

The Rev. Dr. Dan Sears of Auburn Unitarian Universalist Society in Auburn, Ala., encourages people to use their time off on the King holiday to reflect on racism in our society, as well as within our individual lives. (The Citizen – 1.20.14)

The Rev. Ellen Cooper-Davis urged readers to not just venerate King as a prophet, but to heed his actual prophecy and continue the work that must be done to finally realize his dream. (The Houston Chronicle – 1.20.14)

The Rev. Jeff Liebmann of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Midland, Mich., writes that if King was alive today, he would remind us that peacemaking does not begin with nations or national legislation but in each of our hearts. (Midland Daily News – 1.20.14)

Other MLK Day articles include:

Local church revisits history of civil rights movement (Aiken Standard - 1.20.14)
Reflecting on Martin Luther King Jr.’s unfulfilled dream (Gazettenet.com – 1.20.14)
Remembering King’s dream (Wyoming Tribune Eagle – 1.20.14)

The importance of sex ed, Moral Mondays activism, and more

Describing her positive experiences in two Our Whole Lives sexuality education classes at Unitarian Universalist congregations, a 16-year-old writes that all young people should receive accurate and complete information about sexuality and relationships. (The Atlantic – 1.21.14)

Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Durham, N.C., joined with Durham Friends Meeting to host a performance of “Go, Granny D” about an activist for campaign finance reform, Doris ‘Granny D’ Haddock. The performance is part of Eno River’s participation in the 30 Days of Love campaign and proceeds will go to support Moral Mondays activism in the state. (The Herald-Sun – 1.22.14)

Columnist Albert B. Southwick considers Unitarian Universalist beliefs as expressed by Kimberly French in a recent UU World article in his column about the difficulties of eating ethically today. (Telegram.com – 1.16.14)

Categories: UU News

The economic impact of marriage equality, and more UUs in the media

Fri, 2014-01-17 17:02
UU church part of California’s booming same-sex marriage business

Neighborhood Unitarian Universalist Church of Pasadena, Calif., was featured in a piece about the economic impact legalizing same-sex marriage in that state is likely to have. One economist said that over the next three years more than 50,000 same-sex couples will get married, injecting about $64 million in revenue into the state’s economy. (Daily Breeze – 1.12.14)

The Muncie, Ind., city council unanimously passed a resolution opposing a ban on same-sex marriages in that state. Members of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Muncie, including president Bill Frederick, had spoken out in support of the resolution. (Star Press – 1.14.14) Members of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fort Wayne, Ind., and Plymouth Congregational Church of Fort Wayne, and at least eight other area congregations, held a joint worship service to pray that state legislators would not pass a ban on same-sex marriage. (Journal Gazette – 1.13.14)

Raising the minimum wage, sex-ed controversy, and more

In a story about different ideas around raising the minimum wage, the Rev. Molly Housh Gordon of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia, Mo., is quoted about her church’s support for such a raise. (Columbia Daily Tribune – 1.11.14)

A Phoenix-area school district is considering a proposal by Planned Parenthood to offer sex-education curricula, based in part on the Unitarian Universalist Association’s “Our Whole Lives” program, and is meeting with some controversy. (Ahwatukee Foothills News – 1.10.14)

The Rev. Mel Hoover and the Rev. Rose Edington are retiring as co-ministers of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation on Charleston, W.Va., after a decades-long career that has taken them through several denominations and states. (West Virginia Gazette – 1.10.14)

The Cache Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Logan, Utah, is hosting a youth resource center for those struggling with homelessness or suicidal thoughts. (Cache Valley Daily – 1.10.14)

The Rev. Nancy Pelligrini, a former CIA analyst, was featured for her story as she took a new job as chaplain at a hospital in Charleston, S.C. (Post and Courier – 1.11.14)

Categories: UU News

Liberal religious values on the airwaves, and more UUs in the media

Fri, 2014-01-10 17:30
A loud voice for liberal religion

All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, Okla., was featured on the radio show “State of Belief” for its prominence as a progressive religious voice in a generally conservative area. (State of Belief – 1.4.14)

UU ministers in the public eye spark controversy, and more

The Rev. Andy Pakula, minister of New Unity, a Unitarian congregation in London, gave his own thoughts about the recent controversy in which he was barred from giving the “Thought for the Day” on a BBC radio show since that slot is reserved only for those who believe in God. (The Guardian – 1.6.14)

Some readers were upset that a religion column for Christmas in a local paper featured the Rev. Scott Alexander, minister of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Vero Beach, Fla.. (tcpalm.com – 1.4.14)

All Souls Unitarian Church in Washington, D.C., was lifted up as an example of a diverse congregation by a visitor from Wisconsin. (The Cap Times – 1.7.14)

The Rev. Charlie Davis of the Unitarian Universalist Church of West Lafayette, Ind., was one of several religious leaders who contributed to a piece about recommended spiritual reading in the new year. (jconline.com – 1.3.14)

The Unitarian Meeting House in Madison, Wisc., was listed as one of many examples of the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, himself a Unitarian, in that area. (Times Dispatch – 1.5.14)

Unitarian Universalism continues to come up as a comparison point to new atheist churches like the Sunday Assembly and Godless Revival, a split-off group from Sunday Assembly. (CNN.com – 1.4.14)

Categories: UU News

A Unitarian day on British radio, and other UUs in the media

Fri, 2014-01-03 14:34
Unitarians spark controversy at BBC

Unitarian Tim Berners-Lee, known as the inventor of the World Wide Web, was guest host of a popular British radio program, BBC Radio 4’s “Today,” and sparked a mini-controversy when he invited the Rev. Andy Pakula, a Unitarian minister and atheist, to give the show’s daily thought, a short religious segment. Producers stopped that, saying that the slot is reserved for those who believe in God. Pakula instead was given a different segment, and another Unitarian minister, the Rev. Jim Corrigall, gave the official “Thought for the Day.” (Guardian – 12.16.13, Telegraph – 12.27.13)

Congregations support community, sinkholes close church, and more

The Community Harvest Community Garden at Community Unitarian Universalist Church in Plano, Tex., was featured for its work in sustainable, environmentally friendly gardening. Half of the produce grown is given to a local food bank. (Dallas Morning News – 1.2.14)

The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Durango, Colo., and a local Methodist church are working together to host a winter shelter program for homeless families, called Winter Haven. (Durango Herald – 12.31.13)

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Tarpon Springs has been forced to move out of its building after sinkholes were discovered beneath it. (tampabay.com – 12.26.13)

The Rev. Jennifer Kelleher will be installed as minister at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Somerset Hills, N.J., on January 12. (NJ.com – 01.02.14)

The Marietta Times profiled Nahum Ward, who founded what is now the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Marietta, Ohio, in 1855, among many other accomplishments in his life. (Marietta Times – 12.28.13)

Categories: UU News

A ‘hot’ Rhode Island minister and church, and more UUs in the media

Fri, 2013-12-20 14:46
Minister, church named ‘Who’s Hot?’

The Rev. James Ford and First Unitarian Church of Providence, R.I., are hot! A local news source named them to the “Who’s Hot” in Rhode Island politics for their efforts in leading a boycott of a local hotel that they say is not providing its workers an adequate wage or other compensation. (Golocalprov – 12.13.13)

More news of politically active UUs:

Shari Pollesch, a member of Community Unitarian Universalists in Brighton, Michigan, announced she will run as a Democrat for state senate. (Hartland Patch – 12.17.13)

Many UUs were among religious leaders in all 50 U.S. states who published op-eds in recent months calling for a government report on torture to be released. Click here to read the pieces published in Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Missouri, Nevada, North Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin, and a national blog. (Anchorage Daily News – 11.12.13, Daily Camera – 11.4.13, Delaware online – 11.7.13, Honolulu Star Advertiser – 9.25.13, Rockford Register Star – 10.4.13, Kansas City Star – 12.15.13, Nevada Reno Gazette-Journal – 12.4.13, Bismarck Tribune – 11.23.13, Utah Deseret News – 10.16.13, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – 11.10.13, The Hill – 5.23.13)

The Rev. Aaron Payson, minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Worcester, Mass., spoke out to a government committee against the practice of shackling incarcerated women while they are giving birth. (Worcester News Telegram – 12.14.13)

Aetna is being sued over claims that it misled shareholders in an attempt to get resolutions, one of them brought by the Unitarian Universalist Association as part of shareholder advocacy, that it be more transparent about its political contributions. (Courthouse News Service – 12.10.13)

Winter snow shoveling, and UU connections to Christmas

Sam Griffith, a member of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s operations staff, was photographed shoveling snow from in front of the UUA’s Boston headquarters. (Boston Globe – 12.16.13)

A piece highlighted Harvard University’s historical connections to popular Christmas songs, many of them also connections to Unitarianism. Harvard Divinity School was once the primary training ground for Unitarian ministers. The Rev. Andrew Millard of Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Peninsula in Newport News, Virginia, also highlighted Unitarian and Universalist connections to Christmas. (Harvard Gazette – 12.17.13, Daily Press – 12.15.13)

Thoughts on Hermione Granger, and more

UU Chris Crass wrote about the importance of Hermione Granger, a lead character in the Harry Potter movies and books, as an example of feminist leadership. (Rabble.ca – 12.17.13)

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Canton, N.Y., opens its kitchen and social hall to a program called “Campus Kitchens,” in which college students provide a meal for those in need. (North Country Public Radio – 12.16.13)

Holiday break

Season’s greetings from UU World. Our offices will be closed for the holidays December 24 to January 1. UUs in the Media will return on January 3. See you next year!

Categories: UU News

Newtown shooting remembered, and other UUs in the media

Fri, 2013-12-13 15:22
Minister speaks about shootings at Sandy Hook

The Rev. Josh Pawelek, minister of the Unitarian Universalist Society East in Manchester, Conn., appeared on NPR’s “On Point” to talk about the anniversary of the Sandy Hook shootings. (WBUR – 12.12.13)

Historic quilt discovered, dead honored

A 115-year-old quilt was found in the archives of First Unitarian Church of Omaha, Nebr., when members were looking for items to include in a fundraising auction. The quilt will be going to a local museum. (SFGate – 12.7.13, Journal Star – 12.7.13)

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Ventura, Calif., and its Lift Up Your Voice advocacy ministry held a ceremony to honor homeless people who have died. (Ventura Breeze – 12.9.13)

Christine Keith, who had been a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lansing, Mich., was killed along with her son by her husband, whom she had recently filed for divorce from, police said. (Times Herald – 12.6.13)

Church property destroyed, and more

The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Boca Raton, Fla., is looking for a driver who destroyed the church’s sign. A surveillance video shows the driver examining his car for damage and then driving off. (CBS 12 – 12.6.13)

A rainbow flag at the Foxborough, Mass., Universalist Church was vandalized. (Sun Chronicle – 12.11.13)

The Rev. Tim Barger, who works as religion editor of his local newspaper, wrote his weekly column about his ordination to the ministry, which was last weekend. (Toledo Blade – 12.7.13)

The band Mumford used the Unitarian Univeraslist Fellowship of Ames, Iowa, to record its album because “it is acoustically a really beautiful space, and they have a really nice piano in there.” (Iowa State Daily – 12.5.13)

Bennett Rushkoff, a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Rockville, Md., is running for state office. (Gazette – 12.9.13)

Categories: UU News