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Unitarian Universalists in the media

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

Media Roundup: Harvard grads start homeless shelter in UU church

Congregation more than willing to provide space for shelter

Recent graduates from Harvard University are working with First Parish UU in Cambridge, Mass., to create an overnight homeless shelter for youth in their area. First Parish in Cambridge sees this work as a natural extension of the congregation’s core values. (The Boston Globe - 4.13.15)

Additional coverage of this story includes:

“Student-Led Shelter for Homeless Young in Works at Harvard” (The Chronicle of Philanthropy - 4.14.15)

New co-ministers are part of a growing trend in ministry

As the Revs. Cathy and Heather Rion Starr prepare to be installed as co-ministers of the Unitarian Society of Hartford, Conn., they become part of a growing trend among religious groups today: that of having married couples leading houses of worship. (The New York Times - 4.17.15)

UU Pagan prayer met with silent protest

Despite the absence of many Iowa state representatives and others who turned their back in silent protest, Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans leader Deborah Maynard was humbled and awestruck at the opportunity to give the morning prayer before the Iowa State Legislature. (KCRG.com - 4.9.15)

Additional coverage of this story includes:

“Wiccan prayer at Iowa Legislature draws silent protest, boycott” (WCF Courier - 4.9.15)

Civil rights hero honored posthumously

Viola Liuzzo, a Unitarian Universalist activist who lost her life in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, received an honorary doctorate from Wayne State University. Her five children and grandchildren received the award on her behalf. (Detroit Free Press - 4.11.15)

UU congregation hopes to deepen interfaith dialogue

The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Owensboro, Ky., was a co-sponsor in the area’s annual Faith Fest, an interfaith event to help their local community become more familiar with the diverse religious groups in their area. In addition to workshops, the co-sponsors have also received a grant to create an interfaith dialogue curriculum. (Messenger-Inquirer - 4.15.15)

UUs support sustainability, and other UUs in the media

Calling for climate justice, protecting and preserving natural resources

The Unitarian Universalist initiative Commit2Respond is in the spotlight for calling for spiritual action to fight climate change. UU leaders hope to inspire people of all religions to honor interconnectedness and work for positive change. (EcoWatch.com - 4.10.15)

The Rev. Kate Lehman is interviewed for her work as president of a West Virginia watershed association committed to protecting and preserving the streams and rivers in the state. Lehman describes the difficulty of supporting the watershed without long-range plans for sustainability. (The Star Democrat - 4.8.15)

Members of Towson Unitarian Universalist Church in Lutherville, Md., received a grant to build a rain garden on their property, which will keep most pollutants from going into the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The congregation’s Green Sanctuary committee applied for the grant, which includes a public workshop. (The Baltimore Sun - 4.9.15)

Other congregational news

Casas de Luz, a nonprofit based out of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Dieguito in Solana Beach, Calif., is celebrating ten years of building homes for those in need in Tijuana, Mexico. Since it began, Casas de Luz has grown from a project of a single member of the fellowship to a sustainable nonprofit. They will build their 40th home this year. (Del Mar Times - 4.7.15)

United First Parish Church in Quincy, Mass., will install the Rev. Rebecca Froom as senior minister. Froom will be the first female minister to lead the congregation in its long history. The church is known as the Church of the Presidents because Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams were members. (The Patriot Ledger - 4.6.15)

Unitarian Universalist connections with Buddhism

The Rev. Doug Traversa of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tullahoma, Tenn., points to the seventh Unitarian Universalist Principle to explain the affinity many UUs have with Buddhist practice. He sees Buddhist awakening to be similar to honoring the interconnected web of existence. (Lion’s Roar - 4.8.15)

Major renovations for Frank Lloyd Wright church, and other UUs in the media

Famous church scheduled for $25 million restoration

Members of Unity Temple Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Oak Park, Ill., will begin meeting at a local Lutheran Church as construction begins on their famous Frank Lloyd Wright-designed building. Earlier this year, the church was nominated for consideration as a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage site. (Chicago Tribune - 3.23.15)

Selma martyr awarded posthumous degree

In the first such act in their 145-year history, Wayne State University will award Viola Liuzzo an honorary doctor of law degree. Liuzzo’s five children have been invited to the awards ceremony. Liuzzo was a nursing student at Wayne State when she joined the civil rights movement. (Christian Science Monitor - 3.21.15)

Construction would make building more accessible

Second Parish in Hingham Unitarian Universalist, in Massachusetts, has been working for more than two years to design an addition to their building that is both historically appropriate and fully accessible for people with mobility issues. (The Patriot Ledger 3.22.15)

More coverage: “Second Parish in Hingham seeking funds for handicap-accessible entrance” (The Hingham Journal 3.22.15)

A new paradigm for interconnectedness

The Rev. Peggy Clarke writes to urge people to acknowledge that the work of seeking environmental justice is indelibly linked to seeking racial and economic justice and opposing discrimination based on individual identity. What we need is a Beloved Community, argues Clarke. (Huffington Post - 3.18.15)

Selma anniversary inspired Wisconsin march

The Rev. Laurie Bushbaum, interim minister at First Universalist Unitarian Church of Wausau, Wisc., has been instrumental in organizing a march in support of  the Black Lives Matter movement. Other faith groups expressed interest in joining the event after observing the 50th anniversary of the Selma, Ala., march. (Wausau Daily Herald - 3.25.15)

UU recognized for volunteer contributions

A member of First Unitarian Universalist Society in Albany, N.Y., Dawn Dana is interviewed about her volunteer work in the annual CROP Walk, her Unitarian Universalist beliefs, and her daughter, who serves in Unitarian Universalist ministry in Dallas, Tex. (Albany Times Union - 3.20.15)

Members of burned church vow to rebuild, and other UUs in the media

Fire destroyed church built in 1860

While heartbroken over the loss of a building that was like a second home to many of its members, the congregation of First Universalist Church of Southold, N.Y., is determined to rebuild. The cause of the fire is still unknown, but is not considered to be suspicious. (cbslocal.com - 3.16.15)

The Unitarian Universalist Association’s Central East Regional Group (CERG) is facilitating donations for recovery assistance for First Universalist Church of Southold. Learn more on the CERG website.

Minister is first installed in church’s 177-year history

After leaving the Catholic Church, the Rev. Helen McFadyen found the support she was seeking in the Unitarian Universalist Church in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It helped her come to terms with her deteriorating eyesight and follow a spiritual journey to atheism and Unitarian Universalist ministry. (CBCNews - 3.14.15)

Congregation supports undocumented children in Long Island

The Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock in Manhasset, N.Y., is tapping into its endowment to give $400,000 this year to four Long Island organizations helping immigrant children in their community. The money will help provide legal services for the children. (Newsday - 3.17.15)

Mich. congregation offers reception for weddings held last year

The Rev. Bill Freeman, of Harbor Unitarian Universalist Church in Muskegon, married nearly 50 couples during the brief period of time when same-sex marriage was legal in Michigan. Now the congregation is planning a wedding reception for the couples, in connection with other marriage-equality events across the state. (mlive.com - 3.18.15)

High school students honored for leading peaceful protest

First Parish Cambridge, Unitarian Universalist in Cambridge, Mass., recently gave Courageous Love Awards to Sydney Fisher and Mary Gashaw. The young women led more than 200 of their fellow students in a “Hands Up Walk Out” protest last December in response to the decision not to indict Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson. (Cambridge Chronicle & Tab - 3.20.15)

Taking Selma home, and other UUs in the media

Anniversary participants link Selma to issues in their communities

Unitarian Universalists and others showed their support for Black Lives Matter protesters during an arraignment hearing in Minnesota. Many had just returned from Selma anniversary events and felt their presence at the court house was a continuation of that racial justice work. (KARE11.com – 3.10.15)

After participating in a Unitarian Universalist conference honoring civil rights activists from 1965 in Selma, Ala., climate justice activist Amelia Shenstone returned to her work at home with a renewed calling to continue working to bring clean energy to the South. (cleanenergy.org – 3.7.15)

The Rev. Phyllis L. Hubbell of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Loudoun in Leesburg, Va., invoked the anniversary of Selma in a town council vote on creating the town’s first-ever Diversity Advisory Commission and urged the town to be a model for inclusion in the region. (Loudoun Times – 3.11.15)

Remembering Selma activists who lost their lives

Amy K. Nelson interviewed the families of Unitarian Universalists Viola Liuzzo and the Rev. James Reeb to get their reflections on the current state of race relations and to consider whether enough progress has been made to make the loss of life worth it. (Medium.com – 3.11.15)

The Rev. Rob Hardies of All Souls Unitarian Church in Washington, D.C., is interviewed describing the civil rights work of the Rev. James Reeb, a former minister of All Souls. Hardies also described the congregation’s commitment to continuing the work of seeking racial justice. (The Washington Post – 3.6.15)

The Rev. Clark Olsen was with the Rev. James Reeb when he was attacked in Selma, Ala., in 1965, and he offered a powerful retelling of that evening and how it shaped his life and ministry since. (New York Daily News – 3.8.15)

Other remembrance stories include:

“Beaten, bloodied and murdered – Selma 50 years later” (CNN – 3.4.15)

“The unsung American heroes of Selma” (Al Jazeera – 3.6.15)

“Ragland: Don’t forget Selma or the hard-earned right to vote” (The Dallas Morning News – 3.6.15)

“Dying for the Right to Vote: Remembering the Selma Martyrs, From Jimmie Lee Jackson to Viola Liuzzo” (DemocracyNOW! – 3.10.15)

“Rev. James Reeb died in Birmingham 50 years ago today after Selma beating” (al.com – 3.11.15)

Unitarian Universalist Association supports environmental sustainability

The U.S. Green Building Council profiles the Unitarian Universalist Association’s new headquarters building in a list of best organizations that have achieved LEED certification. The UUA was awarded LEED platinum certification in December, which is the highest of four possible certifications. (USGBC.org – 3.13.15)

UUA Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer Tim Brennan wrote an op-ed as an organizational shareholder in American Electric Power to urge the company to expand its existing clean-energy offerings and support clean-energy policies in Ohio and throughout the country. (Cleveland Plain Dealer – 3.13.15)

Working toward interfaith understanding

The Rev. Dr. M’ellen Kennedy led an event at Emerson Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Marietta, Ga., intended to help heal the divide between Muslim and non-Muslim communities. Kennedy is founder of Peace and Unity Bridge, an organization dedicated to this work. (The Marietta Daily Journal – 3.6.15)

The Rev. Lynda Smith, co-chairwoman of Unitarian Universalist Justice Ohio, joined an interfaith conference in Hilliard, Ohio, to show support for a local Muslim congregation that has recently been the target of harassment. (The Columbus Dispatch – 3.11.15)

All eyes are on Selma, Ala., in this UUs in the media

Anniversary events over the weekend draw broad coverage and Unitarian Universalists are in the spotlight in different ways

Unitarian Universalists are participating in events across the country and reconnecting with civil rights efforts.

“Knoxville, Oak Ridge groups to march in Selma,” Oak Ridge Today 3.6.15

“Olympian Alison Mathews was moved to march in Selma,” The Olympian 3.4.15

Rubén Rosario: Debbie Montgomery is going back to Selma,” Pioneer Press 3.4.15

“Selma: Commemoration and Commitment,” The Huffington Post 3.2.15

The civil rights of 1965 are linked to justice work of today around LGBTQ equality

Coming Home: Selma, Int’l Women’s Day, LGBT Rights and Unitarian Universalism, The Huffington Post

“Like Selma 1965, Unitarians vow to keep fighting for civil rights – this time on gay marriage,” al.com 3.6.15

MAHONEY: Many footprints show Lyla the way to Selma, Alabama, Hamilton Spectator 3.4.15

Rev. Reeb’s death a common touchstone, with some mention of Viola Liuzzo

“‘A Call From Selma,’” The New York Times 3.6.15

“John Shearer: Selma Participant Viola G. Liuzzo Was A Former Chattanoogan,” TheChattanoogan.com 3.2.15

“The road from Selma was paved with the blood of four unsung martyrs,” Religion News Service 3.5.15

“Remembering the martyrs of Bloody Sunday,” USA Today 3.3.15

Image galleries offer visual narratives

“Gallery – Timeline of 1965′s Voting Rights Movement,” The Commercial Appeal 3.6.15

“Selma: ‘Marching to the Freedom Dream,’” The Wall Street Journal 3.5.15

“Timeline: The Selma-to-Montgomery marches,” USA Today 3.6.15

Honoring memories of Selma, and other UUs in the media

More coverage of UU connections to the historic march in Selma, Ala.

Former executive editor of The New York Times Howell Raines reflects on the powerful experience he had in 1965 when he was given the assignment to cover the prognosis of Unitarian Universalist minister the Rev. James Reeb. (Montgomery Advertiser 2.23.15)

The Rev. Lynn Hopkins of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Montgomery led a vigil to honor the death of a young, unarmed black man at the hands of police in 1965, Jimmie Lee Jackson. (Montgomery Advertiser 2.20.15)

Other Selma related stories include:

“Honoring civil rights activists on Selma’s 50th anniversary,” Albany Times Union 2.21.15

“Oscars 2015: What “Selma” Got Right and Got Wrong,” NBC News 2.22.15

“Practicing compassion, and teaching your kids: #1000speak,” ChicagoNow.com 2.21.15

UU minister seeks justice for prisoners

San Francisco, Calif., public defender and Unitarian Universalist minister, Karen Tse is profiled for her work fighting for the rights of prisoners by providing them with free legal counsel. (The Wall Street Journal 2.20.15)

Congregation celebrates new building

Members of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Central Oregon have spent the past 3 years designing and building their new meeting place in keeping with Unitarian Universalist principles supporting the democratic process and environmental stewardship. (The Bend Bulletin 2.22.15)

Seasonal event supports community members

The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in East Falmouth, Mass., holds a mid-winter event each year to help support their local community, many of whom are senior citizens. The Rev. Bob Murphy says the event raises awareness of the problems brought on by difficult winter weather conditions. (capenews.net 2.20.15)

UUs lobby Texas legislators

Members of the Texas Unitarian Universalist Justice Ministry joined other people of faith at the state Capitol in Austin to lobby legislators to support full equality for LGBT people. Talking about LGBT issues from a faith perspective was both uncommon and appealing to the legislators. (dallasvoice.com 2.20.15)

Oregon church staff unionizes, and other UUs in the media

Staff wants church to walk its talk

Although the Rev. William Sinkford and leadership of First Unitarian Church in Portland, Ore., initially would not recognize the efforts of church staff to unionize, they reversed their position after congregation members made their support for a union known. (nwLaborPress.org - 2.13.15)

Church installs electric-car charger for community

Dale Howey, a member of Unity Church-Unitarian in St. Paul, Minn., was instrumental in having a super-fast electric-car charger installed at the church as an expression of their spiritual commitment to honor the web of existence. The charger is one of several now placed throughout the Twin Cities region. (TwinCities.com - 2.14.15)

Church celebrates female ministers

Peterborough Unitarian Universalist Church in New Hampshire is celebrating the historic decision to call two female interim ministers to serve them while they search for a full time minister. They are proud of the diversity that the backgrounds of both ministers represent. (SentinelSource.com - 2.14.15)

Retired minister earns human rights award

The Bloomington Human Rights Commission in Bloomington, Ind., awarded the Rev. Bill Breeden, retired from serving the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington, their 14th Annual Human Rights Award. Breeden’s commitment to justice and work in the community is legendary in the Bloomington area. (WBIW.com - 2.16.15)

Church is part of growing interfaith movement in California

Members of Tapestry Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Mission Viejo, Calif., joined other faith groups learning about President Obama’s recent immigration plan and how they can help undocumented migrants in their community under the new rules. (Orange County Register - 2.13.15)

Religious embrace of equality, social justice still makes news

The Rev. Virginia Jarocha-Ernst is interviewed about her congregation’s commitment to celebrating the presence and participation of LGBTQ people through the Welcoming Congregation program. The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County in Lincroft, N.J., has partnered with the community for years in support of marriage equality. (Asbury Park Press - 2.15.15)

Unitarian Universalist clergy attended the 16th annual Vigil for Victims of Hate and Violence at the Civil Rights Memorial Center in Montgomery, Ala., and members of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Montgomery choir sang during the event. Participants remembered past civil rights activists and looked to the work still needed to achieve true equality in the state. (Montgomery Advertiser - 2.16.15)

Members of First Unitarian Universalist Church in San Antonio, Tex., and members of the Texas UU Justice Ministry joined other people of faith at the state capitol in Austin to show their support for marriage equality. (mySanAntonio.com - 2.17.15)

More coverage of the marriage equality event:

“Faith Leaders Rally at Texas Capitol for Gay Rights” (The Texas Tribune - 2.17.15)

The Rev. Robin Tanner of Piedmont Unitarian Universalist Church in Charlotte, N.C., joined clergy and other faith leaders for a “moral march” in Raleigh to call for more progressive legislation that supports the poor and minority groups in the state. Tanner hopes to achieve marriage equality in N.C. but knows that this is only one of many important goals for the state. (The Washington Times - 2.14.15)

Supporting marriage equality in contested states, and other UUs in the media

UUs support equality despite opposition by state leaders

The Rev. Lynn Hopkins, minister of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Montgomery, Ala., sees the same-sex marriages happening in her state as acknowledgement that “the country has been waking up” to the reality of marriage equality. (WTVM.com - 2.13.15)

Opposition to same-sex marriage by an Alabama chief justice only solidified Courtney McKenny’s wish to show her support. McKenny is a director of religious education at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Montgomery. (The Montgomery Advertiser - 2.9.15)

Unitarian Universalist ministers performed some of the first legal same-sex marriages in Idaho, where state officials are now ruling that some of the marriage licenses are invalid. (LGBTQNATION.com - 2.12.15)

The Unitarian Universalist Community Church in Portage, Mich., held a panel discussion to allow same-sex couples to share their personal stories while they await a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court striking down their state’s ban on same-sex marriage. (WMUK.org - 2.12.15)

Other marriage equality stories include:

“Gay rights ‘… a really new thing for Alabama’” (Montgomery Advertiser - 2.8.15)

“Unitarian, pagan and other ministers officiate gay weddings; one Methodist pastor dances” (al.com - 2.9.15)

Father is first to receive sanctuary since the 1980s

Amy Goodman interviews Arturo Hernandez Garcia, who has been living at First Unitarian Society in Denver, Colo., as the congregation provides him sanctuary while he fights deportation. (Democracy NOW - 2.13.15)

UUs join protest of racial injustice

Unitarian Universalists stood on the side of love and joined hundreds of Native Americans in a rally in Rapid City to condemn the recent harassment of youths on a class trip from the American Horse School in Allen, S.Dak. during a Rapid City Rush hockey game. (Rapid City Journal - 2.11.15)

Congregation receives international recognition

Unity Temple Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Oak Park, Ill., famous for being designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, has been nominated for consideration as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The congregation is currently undergoing a $24 million building restoration. (Chicago Tribune - 2.9.15)

Congregation embraces a more modern building

Members of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Iowa City, Iowa, recently voted to sell their property and move after more than a century in their current location. They hope to build a new facility and achieve the highest LEED certification they can. (The Gazette - 2.9.15)

Congregation grows by partnering with community, and other UUs in the media

Bigger worship space leads to expanded community programming

As it celebrates its 25th anniversary, the Unitarian Universalist Church in the Pines in Weeki Wachee, Fla., has outgrown two worship spaces and expanded several of its community programs. Members believe their congregation’s success stems from knowing their community and partnering with it as friends and neighbors. (Tampa Bay Times - 1.28.15)

Church pianist battles cancer after years of fighting AIDS

Upon first hearing Scott Whitesell, the pianist at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte, N.C., play, new member David Lauderbaugh knew they would play music together. They produced an album together in 2013 called “Weight of the World” with music that Whitesell hopes will help others who are coping with AIDS, cancer, and other serious illnesses. (Charlotte Observer – 1.31.15)

Florida church commits to respond

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota, Fla., will join the Unitarian Universalist climate justice initiative Commit2Respond. They have committed to organizing a series of workshops and a symposium this year focused on bridging the conversation gap between religion and science about global climate change. (Bradenton Herald – 1.31.15)

Choir celebration blurs demographic lines

To celebrate the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., several Pittsburgh-area Unitarian Universalist church choirs joined their voices with other choirs to ‘let freedom sing’ at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Pittsburgh. In its eighth year, the concert is intended to blur the geographic, demographic, and economic lines separating urban and suburban Pittsburgh. (The Pittsburgh Courier – 1.29.15)

Broad opposition to new rules on abortion clinics

When Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals held a public hearing recently on new rules for state abortion clinics, the response was overwhelmingly negative. Unitarian Universalist minister the Rev. Darcy Roake said the new rules dictate reproductive choices and limit a woman’s right to determine what she does with her body. (wrkf.org – 1.30.15)

Other coverage of the hearing includes:

“Abortion rights advocates concerned about new state regulations” (Shreveport Times- 1.29.15)

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