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Unitarian Universalists in the media

A frequently updated guide to stories about Unitarian Universalists from other sources around the web.

English Unitarians in forefront of civil partnerships, and other UUs in the media

Cross Street Unitarian Chapel leads the way

The Cross Street Unitarian Chapel in Manchester (UK) is the first religious building in England and Wales to be granted a license to perform religious civil partnership ceremonies. (BBC – 3.9.12, Guardian – 3.10.12, Pink News – 3.12.12)

(See also, “Quakers, Liberal Judaism and Unitarians welcome gay marriage consultation,” Pink Paper – 3.15.12, and “Religious groups welcome consultation on allowing gays to marry,” Pink News – 3.15.12)

Civil Rights leadership recalled

The Rev. Gordon Gibson appears in a profile of the Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham, Alabama. (The New York Times – 3.14.12)

The Rev. James Reeb is remembered as part of the history of voting rights in an essay advocating against registrictive voter identification laws. (Huffington Post – 3.9.12)

Interfaith efforts, Human Rights, and other UUs in the media

The Unitarian Universalist Church in Muncie, Indiana, hosted more than 100 people for an interfaith event on March 4. (The Star-Press – 3.15.12)

The Rev. Suzelle Lynch of the Unitarian Universalist Church West in Brookfield, Wisconsin, spoke in support of the construction of a local mosque and community center. (Journal Sentinel – 3.13.12)

Paul Revere was not only a silversmith, he also cast bells, including the one used by the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church in Canton, Massachusetts. (Canton Citizen – 3.15.12)

The 333 Coffeehouse at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis, Maryland, is celebrating its 20th anniversary. (The Capital/Hometown Annapolis – 3.11.12)

The First Unitarian Universalist Society of Marietta, Ohio, hosted winter gardening classes and a seed exchange. (The Marietta Times – 3.16.12)

Members of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Central Michigan in Mount Pleasant are behind an effort to draft and pass a Human Rights ordinance. (The Morning Sun – 3.14.12)

Chimp wedding, elections, and other UUs in the media

Bizarre news of the week

The “Rocky Horror Glee Show” episode of popular television program Glee had a toss-off line in a faux newscast: “Making it the zoo’s first Unitarian chimp wedding in six years.” (Fox.com, at 7:59; also Portland Mercury, 10.27.10)

Election-related news

John Bohstedt, “a celebrated hero who tackled the killer during 2008’s shooting at Knoxville’s Unitarian Universalist Church,” was described as an “anti-war rioter” in a campaign mailer. (Nashville Scene – 10.28.10; see Jane Greer’s interview with John Bohstedt at “‘I’ve never been so proud to be a Knoxvillean’,” uuworld.org – 8.1.08)

The Washington Post profiles candidates, including three with UU connections: Al Carr, J. Ron Fisher, and Richard Madaleno. (Washington Post – 10.28.10)

Also in the news

UU Nan Barber, a breast cancer survivor, is profiled on her 73rd birthday for Breast Cancer Awareness month. (The Star Press – 10.25.10)

The Rev. Aaron Payson, minister of the UU Church of Worcester, Mass., rides with a police patrol as part of the Worcester Clergy/Police Community Partnership. (Worcester Telegram – 10.26.10)

Corvallis, Ore., UU Elsie Ross has her first public art exhibit at 96. (Democrat Herald – 10.28.10)

The Rev. Erik Carlson is profiled as the new minister of the Stockton, Ill., UU Church. (Journal Standard – 10.28.10)

UU Church of Reading, Mass., is partnering with the Whale Center of New England to involve children and teens in social justice work. (Wicked Local Reading – 10.28.10)

First Parish Brewster, Mass., has decided to go ahead with $1.3 million meeting house renovations. (Cape Cod Times – 10.29.10)

Churches dedicated, vandalized, and repaired, and other UUs in the media

Westside UU Congregation in Seattle, Wash., dedicated its new building. UUA President Peter Morales delivered the sermon at the dedication service on October 24. (West Seattle Herald – 10.25.10, also The Seattle Times – 10.24.10)

New Hampshire churches burglarized; suspects apprehended after 4 a.m. alarm at Nashua UU church. (Boston Globe – 10.23.10, also UnionLeader – 10.22.10 and The Telegraph – 10.23.10)

The UU Society of Wellesley Hills, Mass., was the victim of a copper thief. (Wicked Local Wellesley – 10.18.10, also WHDH – 10.18.10)

Monson, Mass., Town Meeting approved spending $115,000 to help repair UU church. (The Republican – 10.20.10)

Stockholder activism is debated on this Reuters blog, with reference to the UUA’s Valero shareholder resolution. (Reuters – 10.22.10)

Responding to youth suicides, and other UUs in the media

Responding to youth suicides

The Rev. Debra W. Haffner, UU minister and executive director of the Religious Institute, is one of the panelists for the Washington Post “On Faith” feature. This week she challenged other faith leaders to offer a message “of love and full inclusion” to LGBT people. (Washington Post – 10.13.10) (Haffner is also mentioned in this New York Times story, 10.8.10.)

See also: Op-ed pieces by the Rev. Julie Stoneberg, minister of the Unitarian Fellowship of Peterborough, N.H. (The Peterborough Examiner – 10.12.10); the Rev. Tess Baumberger, minister of Unity Church of North Easton, Mass.; and the Rev. Victoria Weinstein and Bernie Gardner of First Parish Unitarian Church in Norwell, Mass. (Wiked Local Lancaster and Wicked Local Norwell – 10.15.10).

Reports of UUs involved in public events: The Rev. Amy Morgenstern spoke to a rally outside Mountain View, Calif., city hall (Mountain View Voice – 10.15.10); the Rev. Colin Bossen spoke at a vigil at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio (The Observer – 10.15.10). See also UU World‘s report (uuworld.org – 10.18.10).

Shareholder activism

The UUA’s involvement in shareholder activism is getting a lot of coverage. For an overview, see UU World‘s story, “UUA challenges oil company’s political spending” by Jane Greer (uuworld.org – 10.18.10)

Environmental action

The Green Sanctuary Committee of the UU Congregation of Binghamton, N.Y., sent a solar panel to the White House. (WBNG – 10.10.10, Press Connects – 10.11.10, Channel 34 – 10.12.10)

The Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Sandy Springs, Ga., held an open house to promote their conversion to solar power. (Atlanta Progressive News – 10.14.10)

The tours of the UU Congregation of the South Jersey Shore in Galloway Township, N.J., highlighted a variety of environmentally friendly features. (Shore News Today – 10.13.10)

Ancient Qur’an, No More Deaths, district conference, and more

The Mountain Desert District conference was held in Ogden, Utah, and the local paper took note (Standard-Examiner – 10.15.10), after previously reporting that the Rev. Theresa Novak and the local congregation organized a march “to protest comments made by [Mormon church leader] Boyd K. Packer about homosexuality during last week’s LDS general conference.” (10.9.10)

The Iowa Interfaith Alliance, including the Rev. Tom Capo, held a news conference to claim that out-of-state groups are trying to influence the retention vote on judges who were part of the ruling that struck down the Iowa ban on gay marriages. (Radio Iowa – 10.13.10; The Globe Gazette – 10.13.10; The Iowa Independent – 10.14.10)

Raina Terry spoke to First Parish Church UU in Bridgewater, Mass., about her experiences of racial taunts in Bridgewater public schools. (Wicked Local Raynham – 10.11.10)

The “Unitarian Universalistic [sic] Funding Program” is criticized for supporting the No More Deaths program in Tucson, Ariz., which provides humanitarian assistance to immigrants:

Playing this abuse documentation angle also keeps them very well funded, with large grants from the Unitarian Universalistic Funding Program and tens of thousands of tax free dollars from other churches and non profit activist groups under the disguise of the Social Justice Ministry. The term they like to use for their actions is “Civil Initiative”, nothing more than a gentle for euphemism for revolutionary or anarchist. (Tucson Citizen – 10.15.10)

The Bellingham, Wa., Unitarian Fellowship dedicated its $1.5 million building expansion. (The Bellingham Herald – 10.11.10)

Individuals and businesses have spontaneously reached out to Unity Temple after the theft of bronze letters from the church in Oak Park, Ill. (Trib Local – 10.15.10; see “Unitarian Universalists in the Media,” 10.12.10, for more)

An inventory of the attic at the UU Church of Medford, Mass., found an English translation of the Qur’an published in 1795. (Wicked Local Medford – 10.14.10; WCVB – 10.14.10)

The First Unitarian Church of Orlando, Fla., will install the Rev. Kathy Schmitz (Orlando Sentinel – 10.12.10); Piedmont UU Church in Charlotte, N.C., welcomes the Rev. Robin Noelle Tanner (Q Notes – 10.14.10); and the First Parish in Lexington, Mass., welcomes the Rev. Peter C. Boullata. (Wicked Local Lexington – 10.15.10)

A list of “five great American gays” includes Unitarian Horatio Alger. (Westword – 10.12.10)

Local and national coverage of General Assembly

Salt Lake Tribune

Salt Lake Tribune‘s coverage began before General Assembly and continued throughout GA, with reports not only about the meeting, but about both the UUA and local churches.

“Relationships define outgoing Unitarian Universalist president’s tenure” (6.18.09)

Though he knew the pain felt by many Unitarian Universalists over the LDS Church’s role in persuading California voters to reject gay marriage last fall, Sinkford saw a different way forward:

Through relationship.

“Changing the climate that’s feeding hate crime” (6.19.09)
Laurel Hallman and Peter Morales, the two candidates for UUA president, wrote a joint op/ed essay:

We must learn to air our disagreements with respect, humility and reason. The alternative is more pain and heartbreak, and the sorrowful recognition that we have left our children a world even more intolerant than the one we inherited. We cannot allow that to be our legacy.

“Diversity is an article of faith for Utah gay-friendly church” (6.19.09)
Profile of the Rev. Sean Parker Dennison and the South Valley UU Society:

The Rev. Sean Parker Dennison knows how it feels to struggle to fit, to blend, to belong.

Now, Dennison greets a variety of people — young and old, gay and straight, Anglo and non-Anglo — to Sunday services at the South Valley Unitarian Universalist Society, a religious community that bills itself as “intentionally diverse.”

“Protesters call for investigation of U.S. torture allegations” (6.25.09)
A locally-organized event drew GA attendees: “Human rights groups, attendees of a Unitarian Universalist conference, veterans, and curious citizens stopped by to support the cause.”

“Interfaith rally points to spiritual side of immigration debate” (6.26.09)
The UUA organized a rally on immigration concerns: “‘For us religious people, this is not merely a political or economic question,’ said the Rev. Bill Sinkford, president of the UUA. ‘For us it is profoundly a spiritual question.’”

“UUA elects Colorado pastor as president” (6.27.09)
The presidental election was reported promptly: “Unitarian Universalists from throughout the United States, meeting in Salt Lake City for their annual general assembly, elected a Colorado pastor to be their eighth president.”

USA Today

The Standing on the Side of Love campaign was reported in USA Today “Unitarians say they’re ‘Standing on the Side of Love’” (6.22.09)

“Rather than hunkering down in the face of violence, (the Unitarians) have proclaimed a gospel of love and hope,” said the Rev. William Sinkford, the outgoing UUA president, in an interview.

Standard-Examiner (Ogden, Utah)

“Public invited to Unitarian Universalist Association events / ‘Witness for family values that value all families’” (6.25.09)

The Rev. Theresa Novak, pastor of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ogden, . . . said she’s excited about the event coming to Utah.

“It is a chance to let people who are looking for a liberal faith to know more about us,” she said.

“Unitarian Universalist General Assembly in SLC” (6.27.09)

The public is invited to offer their financial as well as their emotional support to Utah’s bisexual, gay, lesbian and transgender community during worship services Sunday at the Unitarian Universalist Association’s General Assembly, which has been taking place at the Salt Palace this week.

Deseret News (Salt Lake City, Utah)

The Deseret News also reported on the immigrants-rights rally. (6.26.09)

Denver Post

The Denver Post picked up the Salt Lake Tribune‘s coverage of Peter Morales’s election. (6.27.09)

Gay marriage dominates media, and other matters

Marriage equality

As Californians go to the polls this year, they are presented with Proposition 8, which would amend the state constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry. Amendment 2 in Florida proposes a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Florida. It requires a 60% majority to pass.

USA Today’s coverage of California’s Propostion 8 features UU Jan Garbosky. (USA Today – 10.24.08)

The Rev. Chris Bell and Andrew Hidas, the minister and the president of the board of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Santa Rosa, speak out against Proposition 8 (Press Democrat – Santa Rosa, CA 10.19,08), as does the Rev. Laura Horton-Ludwig, minister of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Stockton (The Record – San Joaquin, CA 10.12.08)

“No on Prop 8″ signs on Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno property vandalized. (KFSN-TV – Fresno, CA 10.16.08)

The Rev. Vail Weller of the Unitarian Universalist Church in San Mateo speaks at rally opposing Proposition 8 (cbs5.com – Redwood City, CA 10.16.08) and the rest of the church is involved as well. (San Mateo County Times – San Mateo, CA 10.16.08)

First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego continues its decades-long support of GLBT issues by opposing Proposition 8. (Gay & Lesbian Times – San Diego, CA 10.23.08)

The Rev. Meredith Garmon, co-minister of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Gainesville opposes Florida’s Amendment 2. (The Gainesville Sun – Gainesville, FL 10.11.08)

The engagement of the Rev. Manish Mishra to Jeff Marzetti is reported in story on Florida’s Amendment 2. (St Petersburg Times – St Petersburg, FL 10.15.08)

The Rev. Sarah Stewart, minister of the Starr King Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, profiled for providing counseling before both marriages and civil unions. (The Citizen of Laconia – Laconia, NH 10.12.08)

UU history

The centennial of one of the first suffragist marches in the United States, which was organized by a Unitarian relief minister, is to be celebrated this Saturday in Boone, Iowa. (Des Moines Register – Des Moines, IA 10.20.08)

Margaret Fuller celebrated during church’s 300th anniversary. (SouthCoastToday.com – New Bedford, MA 10.18.08)

In the congregations

Unitarian Universalist Society of Fairhaven holds six-session “Menu for the Future” course as part of Green Sanctuary process. (SouthCoastToday.com – Fairhaven, MA 10.15.08)

Unitarian Universalists of Southern Delaware profiled for social justice work. (Delmarvanow.com – Lewes, DE 10.15.08)

Our basic message, welcoming new ministers, and more

Promoting our basic message

The Rev. Cynthia Cain, minister of the UU Church of Lexington, Ky., writes about the UU faith and why, right now, what people really need is each other. (Kentucky.com – Lexington, KY 10.4.08)

Progressive radio the goal for local activist …she started fundraising and, before long, raised almost $6000 from a national Unitarian Universalist organization. (Norman Transcript – Norman, OK 10.5.08)

Unitarian Universalists stress acceptance of all. (Rochester Democrat and Chronicle – Rochester, NY 10.6.08)

New ministers

After a two-year search, members of the UU Church of Cheyenne, Wy., welcomed the Rev. Suzanne Meyer as their new minister.(Wyoming Tribune – Cheyenne, WY 10.6.08)

The Rev. Aaron White becomes the new minister of the San Marcos, Tex., UU Fellowship. (San Marcos Daily Record – San Marcos, TX 10.7.08)

The Rev. Emily Gage, the new minister of faith development at Unity Temple, grew up in the Unitarian Universalist tradition in Pittsburgh. (Wednesday Journal – Oak Park, IL 10.7.08)

Building renovations

The Kirkwood Eliot Unitarian Chapel, which was built in 1859, has housed the congregation for nearly 50 years and is getting a much-needed facelift. (Webster Kirkwood Times – St. Louis, MO 10.3.08)

Beacon’s blog, UU books in prison, volunteer drivers, and more

A warm welcome
Beacon Press, the trade publishing house of the Unitarian Universalist Association, has launched a blog, the Beacon Broadside. Their inaugural week marks Banned Books Week.

UU books missing from federal prison library list
Unitarian Universalism is notable for its absence from the lists of books approved for chapel libraries in federal prisons. (New York Times – New York, NY 9.21.07) Public outcry has in the meantime resulted in a change of plans. (New York Times – New York, NY 9.27.2007)

Volunteer drivers, dispatchers find rewards in giving
For ten years, members and friends of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Hendersonville, N.C., have been offering rides to clients of the Interfaith Assistance Ministry. (Times-News – Hendersonville, NC 9.21.07)

UUA’s new marketing campaign
The Unitarian Universalist Association is launching a national marketing campaign in October, as San Francisco-area UUs also begin a regional marketing initiative. A 30-second TV ad developed for the San Francisco Bay Area campaign is available on YouTube. (uuworld.org – 9.28.07)

The Georgia Mountains Unitarian Universalist Church in Dahlonega, Ga., is featured in an article about the UUA’s upcoming ad campaign in Time and Time.com. (Gainesville Times – Gainesville, GA 9.22.07)

And elsewhere in the media:

A seven-year-old from First Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo, B.C., demonstrates a meaningful life. (Nanaimo News Bulletin – Nanaimo, BC 9.25.07)

The Rev. Suzanne Paul, minister of the New Hope UU Congregation in Lyon Township, Mich., writes about the afterlife. (South Lyon Herald, MI – 9.20.07)

The Rev. Wayne Robinson of All Faiths Unitarian Congregation in Fort Myers, Fla., is profiled for his leadership of the weekly Wave for Peace demonstration. (Miami Herald – Miami, FL 9.24.07)

New Hampshire Public Radio went looking for Democrats at the First Unitarian Society of Exeter. (New Hampshire Public Radio – Concord, NH 9.21.07)

UUs were mentioned in articles reporting on protests for the Jena 6: the Rev. Lyn Oglesby of All Souls Universalist Church in Shreveport (Shreveport Times – Shreveport, LA 9.21.07) and the Rev. Cynthia Cain of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Lexington, Ky. (The Kentucky Kernel – Lexington, KY 9.21.07)

A Pennsylvania newspaper picked up a story describing the water ceremony at the First Jefferson Unitarian Universalist Church in Fort Worth, Texas. (The Times Leader – Wilkes-Barre, PA 9.22.07)

The Foothills Unitarian Church in Fort Collins, Colo., finishes up their first year of tending an 800-square-foot organic garden. (The Fort Collins Coloradoan – Fort Collins, CO 9.28.07)

Unitarian Universalists continue to support marriage equality, from Denver, Colorado, where a lesbian couple were arrested (The Advocate – 9.26.07), to San Diego (NBC – San Diego, CA 9.26.07), San Bernardino (San Bernardino County Sun – San Bernardino, CA 9.26.07), San Luis Obispo (sanluisobispo.com – San Luis Obispo, CA 9.27.07), and San Franciso (Bar Area Reporter – San Francisco, CA 9.27.07), California, where UUs joined an amicus brief (San Diego Union-Tribune – San Diego, CA 9.26.07), to Baltimore, Md., where UUs reacted in disbelief to recent court rulings. (Washington Blade – Washington, DC 9.28.07)

The Rev. Grace Simons, minister of the UU Fellowship of Stanislaus County is profiled by her hometown newspaper. (Modesto Bee – Modesto, CA 9.22.07)

The Unitarian Universalist Society of Sacramento, Calif., had a water tasting to encourage members to think about where their water comes from. (Sacramento Bee – Sacramento, CA 9.24.07)

Chris Walton contributed to this week’s blog.

Churchless congregation continues to gather, Holocaust museum honors Unitarians, and more

The church is gone but the congregation lives on
For 136 years members of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Rock Tavern, N.Y., (also referred to in the press as the UU Society of Orange County) have gathered every Sunday to worship together. Last Tuesday a fire destroyed their church, but they aren’t going to let that stand in the way of tradition. Proving that the people, not the building, make a church, the congregation will continue to meet, first outdoors and eventually somewhere else. The Rev. James Bridges says they will certainly keep meeting each Sunday: “Where, we haven’t decided yet.” (Times Herald-Record – Middletown, NY 9.15.06)

See also: “New Windsor church regroups after fire” and “No word yet on how New Windsor church fire started” (Times Herald-Record – Middletown, NY)

Previously: “Fire destroys Rock Tavern UU church” (uuworld.org – 9.15.06)

Holocaust museum honors Unitarian couple
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., posthumously honored Martha and the Rev. Waitstill Sharp on September 14 for their work saving refugees from the Nazis in World War II. During the ceremony a plaque in memory of the Sharps was unveiled on the museum’s “Rescuers Wall.” (Washington Post – 9.14.06)

See also: “Honoring a ‘righteous’ pair” (Providence Journal – RI 9.15.06) and “Couple honored for saving Jews” (Monsters and Critics.com – Glasgow, UK)

Previously: “Righteous among the nations” (UU World – Summer 2006)

Church works to save historic chapel
The Northlake Unitarian Universalist Church in Kirkland, Wash., is hoping to save a historic chapel from demolition by moving it to their property. Mounting costs and miscommunication with city representatives threatened to derail the effort to save the 80-year-old building, but Thursday the city agreed to discuss ways to allow the plan to go through. “There’s still a huge uphill battle, but there was absolutely no way yesterday, and today things are looking different,” said church member Sue Werner. (King County Journal – Bellevue, WA 9.17.06)

Starr King ‘worthy of being remembered’
Writing about the recent decision to replace a statue of Thomas Starr King with one of Ronald Reagan in the National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette executive editor David Shribman opines: “It’s not quite fair to accuse the California legislature of tinkering with history, but what the lawmakers did earlier this month came awfully close.” Starr King was a Unitarian and Universalist minister and orator who is often credited with keeping California in the Union during the Civil War. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – 9.16.06)

Empty Bowls feed the hungry
Volunteers at the ninth annual Empty Bowls event, sponsored by the Prescott Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and Granite Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation, served more than 100 galllons of soup on Sunday to benefit local food banks. For $15 people received two servings of soup in a handmade bowl of their choice. The bowls were made by local artists and high school ceramics class students; local chefs prepared and donated the gourmet soups, and local stores donated rolls and bottled water. (Prescott Daily Courier – Prescott, AZ 9.18.06)

Pagan Pride sparks controversy
The First Unitarian Church in Providence is hosting a daylong Rhode Island Pagan Pride Day to educate the public on the realities and misconceptions of Paganism–but at least one church member isn’t happy about it. In a letter, the critic described the day’s scheduled activities as “a potpourri of flaky spiritualities and ancient occult practices resembling a medieval Dungeons and Dragons festival.” (Providence Journal – Providence, RI 9.15.06)

UU pagan blogger Jason Pitzl-Waters is tracking blog reaction–and stories about other UU congregations hosting Pagan Pride Day events. (The Wild Hunt – 9.17.06)

Man could receive 116 years for attack at church
A 47-year-old man, Melvin Kellam, was convicted last week of raping and robbing a woman at the Bradford Community Unitarian Universalist Church in Kenosha, Wisc., in May 2005. He could receive up to 116 years in prison. (Duluth News Tribune – Duluth, MN 9.16.06)

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