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Unitarian Universalists in the media

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

Retired ministers remember Selma, and other UUs in the media

The Rev. Clark Olsen of Asheville, N.C., recalls in vivid detail the fateful evening when, as he walked with clergy colleagues near Walker’s Café in Selma, Ala., they were attacked and the Rev. James Reeb was mortally wounded. (Asheville Citizen-Times - 1.17.15)

Acknowledging his privileged position, retired minister the Rev. Gordon Gibson says he was glad to be of use to his denomination during the civil rights movement in 1965. He traveled to Selma to support voting rights then and observed that new voting requirements in some Southern states are returning to those old ways. (wate.com - 1.19.15)

UU honored at MLK celebration, clergy witness for racial justice

The Rev. Roger Bertschausen of Fox Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Appleton, Wisc., was given a legacy award at the town’s Martin Luther King Jr. celebration, an event he helped found 25 years ago. (post-crescent.com - 1.18.15)

See also: “MLK celebration’s message resonates” (postcrescent.com - 1.21.15)

Unitarian Universalist ministers joined others in the Washington, D.C., area to stage a “die-in” demonstration during lunchtime in the cafeteria of the U.S. House of Representatives. They hoped to bring legislators’ attention to underlying issues of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. (Huffington Post - 1.21.15)

Other stories about the die-in include:

“‘Black Lives Matter’ protesters stage ‘die-in’ in Capitol Hill cafeteria” (The Washington Post - 1.21.15)

“Clergy Stage a Die-in at Congressional Cafeteria for Black Lives Matter” (ColorLines - 1.21.14)

Congregation protects immigrant seeking stay of deportation

First Unitarian Church of Denver, Colo., is one of six faith communities in that state that have come together to provide sanctuary for undocumented immigrants facing deportation. Arturo Hernandez Garcia has been living in the basement of the congregation since October 2014 as he fights deportation proceedings. (Newsweek - 1.21.15)

Other Denver sanctuary stories include:

“Battle Over Deportation as Republicans Try to Roll Back Obama Immigration Policies” (The New York Times - 1.16.15)

“Immigration vote sends chilling message to those facing deportation” (The Denver Post - 1.15.15)

Unitarian Universalism in Selma film, and other UUs in the media

Unitarian Universalism in the film Selma

The depiction of the death of UU minister the Rev. James Reeb in the newly released film Selma is included among the many inaccuracies a reviewer from Selma, Alabama, notes. Reeb did not die immediately after being attacked outside of a diner, as the film depicts. (Selma Times-Journal - 1.14.15)

Other stories about the film include:

“Selma official: ‘The movie Selma is a combination of historical inaccuracies,’” (al.com - 1.13.15)

“Selma evokes Casper memories” (Casper Journal - 1.12.14)

“50 years later, Selma still strikes a chord” (The Blade - 1.10.15)

Unitarian Universalist Association becomes landlord

The Unitarian Universalist Association officially became owner of its new headquarters building at 24 Farnsworth Street in Boston. The Association paid $25.5 million for the six-story brick building, purchased from the Davis Cos., a real estate investment company. (The Boston Globe - 1.14.15)

More coverage of the sale:

“Unitarians close on $25M purchase of Seaport District headquarters” (Boston Business Journal - 1.12.15)

The faces of Florida marriage equality

Many couples have waited decades to have their relationships recognized in their home state. The Rev. Kathy Schmitz of First Unitarian Church in Orlando, Fla., felt a celebration was necessary for the thirteen couples married at the church last Saturday. (Orlando Sentinel - 1.10.15)

Nearly twenty Unitarian Universalist religious professionals joined clergy and other people of faith in a letter to the Georgia legislature opposing recent so-called religious freedom legislation. They see these bills as overreaching the bounds of religious freedom by using it to harm or exclude some individuals or groups. (GA Voice - 1.13.15)

Finding meaning and community without God

The father of two young children finds a religion worth considering in his local Unitarian Universalist church. While he and his wife aren’t necessarily religious, Calvin Hennick was initially drawn in by the Rev. Hank Pierce’s Twitter feed and assurances that he did not need a belief in God for his family to be welcome at First Parish in Milton, Mass. (Yahoo Parenting - 1.12.15)

Supporting clean water in West Virginia, and other UUs in the media

One year after a chemical spill in the Elk River created a water crisis in West Virginia, members of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Charleston, W. Va., have distributed more than $21,000 to local organizations that work to support clean water. The congregation raised $24,000 from donors nationwide. (The Charleston Gazette 1.3.15)

See also “West Virginia chemical spill reaches one-year anniversary” (The Register-Herald 1.9.15) and “One Year Later: Events Held to Remember Elk River Chemical Spill” (West Virginia Public Broadcasting 1.8.15).

Sexuality, marriage equality, and gender justice

The Rev. Meg Riley, minister of the Church of the Larger Fellowship, talks about her concerns about the safety of her gender-nonconforming child when using public facilities like restrooms and how this spurred her to raise funds to make a restroom at her child’s school welcoming to all genders. (The Seattle Times 1.4.15)

The Rev. Dee Graham, minister of Manatee Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Bradenton, Fla., was on hand at City Hall to offer religious wedding services to any same-sex couple who wished to have one now that marriage equality has come to Florida. (mysuncoast.com 1.4.15)

An article about sexuality among senior citizens quotes Melanie Davis, a UUA program associate for the Our Whole Lives sexuality education curricula, on the difficulties of maintaining sexually healthy relationships in one’s later years. The story notes that a new OWL curriculum for senior citizens is in development. (RHRealityCheck.org 12.17.14)

The Rev. Debra Haffner, a Unitarian Universalist minister, and Marie Alford-Harkey, both of the Religious Institute, are featured in The Advocate’s list of “The Religious People Who Give Us Hope for Religion” for their work on lifting up the role of bisexual people in religious communities. (The Advocate 12.24.14)

Congregation expresses grief over victims of police violence

Members of the Unitarian Universalists of Southern Delaware braved cold weather to hold a public healing circle and peaceful march in solidarity with people in Ferguson, Mo., Staten Island, N.Y., and Cleveland, Ohio, and express their hope for an end to racism. (CapeGazette.com 1.4.15)

UUA headquarters purchase completed; branding was fun

The UUA completed the purchase of its 24 Farnsworth Street headquarters building, where it has been leasing three floors, on January 9. The UUA purchased the six-story building for $25.5 million. (Boston Business Journal 1.12.15)

The head of branding agency Quicksilver Foundry, Will Novy-Hildesley, discusses the pleasure he got from his work with fifty Unitarian Universalists and UUA staff in the early stages of their rebranding efforts and how this led to the memorable slogan: “Wanted: Brave Souls.” (Portland Monthly 1.5.15)

Justice march draws thousands, and other UUs in the media

D.C.-area UUs join giant ‘Justice for All’ march

Washington, D.C.-area Unitarian Universalists joined thousands of people in a ‘Justice for All’ march organized by the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network. The UUs carried a large Standing on the Side of Love banner and told reporters that they were at the rally, in part, to say that killing minority teenagers has to stop. (The Washington Post - 12.13.14)

Another ‘Justice for All’ march story:

“Marc Morial: Michael Brown, Eric Garner protesters want accountability” (Face the Nation - 12.14.14)

UUs demonstrate for racial justice 

In a show a solidarity, local police in Arlington, Mass., brought demonstrators at a Black Lives Matter event outside First Parish Unitarian Universalist in Arlington coffee and muffins as they gathered for their peaceful rally. (The Arlington Advocate - 12.15.14)

The Rev. Kathleen Rolenz, a minister at West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church in Cleveland, Ohio, joined members of her congregation to protest the shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. (Cleveland.com - 12.12.14)

Minister killed in Selma portrayed in upcoming film

A recent screening of the new film Selma triggered memories for one reporter of the first time she wrote about Unitarian Universalist minister the Rev. James Reeb’s tragic death in March 1965, when she was a reporter for her college paper. (Boston Herald - 12.12.14)

An early review of the film Selma takes issue with the way the filmmakers chose to gloss over the negative depictions of whites, including residents of Selma, Ala., who violently attacked the Rev. James Reeb (misidentified in the article as a priest) after he left a local restaurant with fellow clergy. (The Boston Globe - 12.18.14)

Boxing helps minister ‘recalibrate’

The Rev. Ann Schranz, minister of the Monte Vista Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Montclair, Cal., finds spiritual meaning and growth in boxing because it helps her reframe pain and let go of an attachment to outcomes. (LA Times - 12.17.14)

NGO reports on thefts by U.S. border patrol

A recent report released by the humanitarian organization No More Deaths, a ministry of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson, Ariz., highlights the common occurrence of undocumented migrants losing their money or belongings during deportation due to negligence or outright theft by U.S. authorities. (PanAm Post - 12.15.14)

More holidays, UU style

In addition to lighting a menorah to acknowledge Jewish holiday traditions, and setting up a nativity scene for Christian traditions, members of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Farmington in Farmington Hills, Mich., will perform a solstice ritual. (hometownlife.com - 12.12.14)

As a way of reaching out beyond their congregation’s walls, members of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Wellesley Hills, Mass., undecorated a Christmas tree and collected more than 60 gifts for local homeless people. (The Wellesley Townsman - 12.17.14)

We will take the next two weeks off from posting UUs in the Media to take time to enjoy the winter holidays. We will be back in full swing in the new year.

Choosing church on Sunday, and other UUs in the media

Being spiritual and religious means going to church

A Unitarian Universalist parent describes why her family is bucking the broadening trend of religious people spending their Sundays doing other things besides going to church. For this mother, church is necessary to help her children develop a sense of spirituality. (The New York Times - 12.7.14)

Tim DeChristopher connects faith, activism

Environmental activist and Unitarian Universalist seminary student Tim DeChristopher talks about the vital role that spirituality plays in activism, especially in its power to connect people who have been alienated by the institutions they oppose. (truthout.org - 12.8.14)

UUs deeply involved in racial justice protests across country

The Rev. Cindy Pincus, intern minister at First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco, Calif., recounts the violent blow she says she received from a police offer while participating in a protest in Berkeley. (Huffington Post - 12.8.14)

Other stories of racial justice demonstrations:

“Ogden ‘peace march’ marks reaction to police shootings” (Standard Examiner - 12.7.14)

“Local protesters continue police-killings demonstrations” (The Philadelphia Tribune - 12.9.14)

Holidays, UU style

Members of the Common Ground Choir, affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Church of Oak Cliff in Dallas, Tex., sing protest songs at various peaceful demonstrations. They joined others after Thanksgiving outside the local Walmart to support a Black Friday protest for better jobs. (Oak Cliff BubbleLife - 11.28.14)

Members of the lay-led San Juan Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Farmington, N.Mex., caught the attention of their local media when they introduced the Unitarian Universalist holiday tradition of Chalica in their congregation. (Daily Times - 12.7.14)

Minister led congregation through period of impressive growth

Although the members of Fox Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Appleton, Wisc., will be sad to see the Rev. Roger Bertschausen go, they will remember the safe space he created for spiritual growth within the congregation. (Post-Crescent.com - 12.8.14)

Making space for prayer after Ferguson, and other UUs in the media

UUs participate in vigils across the country

Leaders of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis, Md., opened their doors for community members to come together and express their emotions in response to the controversial decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Mo. (Capital Gazette - 11.25.14)

Members of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Mankato, Minn., participated in a peaceful demonstration at a local holiday light display after the grand jury verdict in Ferguson. (keyc.com - 12.1.14)

Attendees at South Valley Unitarian Universalist Society in Cottonwood Heights, Utah, lit candles in remembrance of Michael Brown of Ferguson as well as Darrien Hunt, a man from Saratoga Springs who was shot by police officers in September. (Deseret News - 11.26.14)

Minister sees churches as a place of racial healing

The Rev. Manish Mishra-Marzetti of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Cherry Hill, N.J., acknowledges that he did not initially understand the profound cultural significance of Michael Brown’s death, but now that he does, he hopes churches like his own can help promote cross-racial understanding. (Courier-Post - 11.29.14)

Fighting racism is a spiritual imperative

The Rev. Marisol Caballero feels a spiritual imperative drives her ministry at First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin, Tex. She hopes that in fighting racism through her work in her church, she can achieve her personal goal of helping to create a truly multicultural faith tradition in Unitarian Universalism. (LatinoUSA - 11.28.14)

Grieving the loss of a pet from a generational perspective

The Rev. Eliza Blanchard offers spiritual care for animal caregivers as a part of her Unitarian Universalist ministry. She explains that the increasing candor in mourning animals stems from the tendency of the Baby Boom generation to make their personal needs widely known in public. (The Boston Globe - 12.3.14)

Updates on the demise of two UU church buildings

The final pieces of the historic Murray Universalist Church in Attleboro, Mass., will soon be removed. The church originates from 1885, but the congregation, now called Murray Unitarian Universalist Church, resides in a building at a different location. (The Sun Chronicle - 12.5.14)

Members of Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church in Oak Ridge, Tenn., agreed to sell their church building to make way for a new Kroger shopping center and have since moved to a new building. Their former building is now being demolished as construction begins on the shopping center. (Oak Ridge Today - 11.23.14)

UUs celebrate marriage equality in three more states, and other UUs in the media

UUs celebrate expanded marriage equality

Officiating a same-sex wedding in Shawnee County, Kans., the Rev. Sarah Oglesby-Dunegan of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Topeka, felt it was a moment to celebrate and an opportunity to put pressure on other counties to issues licenses as well. (wibw.com - 11.17.14)

Unitarian Universalists in Spartanburg, S.C., held signs reading “Let us celebrate equal marriage with you!” as same-sex couples applied for marriage licenses outside the Spartanburg County Probate Court. (goupstate.com - 11.20.14)

The Rev. Nina Grey, minister of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Bozeman, Mont., viewed officiating the first same-sex wedding in the state at the Gallatin County Law and Justice Center as am important moment in our nation’s history. (Belgrade News - 11.21.14)

Controversy continues over Starr King investigation

An article in the New York Times examined the ongoing controversy surrounding withheld diplomas and an investigation into leaked documents at Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, Calif. (New York Times – 11.21.14)

The Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt, the new president of the school, responded to that article, and one by UU World, the following day. (sksm.edu – 11.22.14)

Plaintiff in landmark marriage-equality case remembers how it began

Unitarian Universalist Hillary Goodridge reflects on her experience as lead plaintiff in the landmark case legalizing same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, and on changing the nation’s view of marriage as a civil right open to all. (International Business Times - 11.18.14)

Other marriage equality stories:

Topeka same-sex couple married in ceremony (The Topeka Capital-Journal 11.17.14)

First same-sex couple files for marriage license in Beaufort County (Savannah Morning News - 11.20.14)

Unitarian Universalist churches prepping for same-sex weddings (wyff4.com - 11.21.14)

Welcoming religious community helps college student discover himself

College junior Benjamin Spick describes how finding a supportive religious community in the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Ames, Iowa, helped him discover himself and engage in his campus and local community authentically. (Iowa State Daily - 11.17.14)

Chaplain services are part of new health care model in Tennessee

A Nashville-area healthcare company offers the services of a chaplain as part of its new model of accountable healthcare. The Rev. Cathy Chang, a Unitarian Universalist minister, helps patients work through important medical decisions based on individual beliefs. (The Tennessean - 11.18.14)

UU institutional investors seek justice in Bhopal gas tragedy

The Unitarian Universalist Common Endowment Fund is part of a group of institutional investors that are renewing their pressure on Dow Chemical to take responsibility for the tragic gas leak that killed thousands in Bhopal City, India, in 1984. (International Business Times - 11.19.14)

We will take next week off from posting UUs in the Media to take time to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday. We hope you have a safe and restful holiday as well. 

Evolution Camp celebrates science, and other UUs in the media

Evolution Camp offers summer programming unique in area

First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church of Springfield, Mo., sponsored an Evolution Camp organized by religious education director Jennifer Lara, who created the program from others used in UU churches. Parents throughout the area took advantage of the opportunity the camp offered to kids who love science and filled the roster in just a few days. (Springfield News-Leader - 7.11.14)

Other evolution camp stories:

“Vacation Evolution School? This Unitarian Universalist Camp May Shock You” (Charisma News - 7.14.14)

“Ken Ham Criticizes Unitarian Church’s ‘Evolution Camp’ for Children; ‘Shocked’ at Assemblies of God Presence” (The Christian Post - 7.14.14)

Read more about UU summer camps for children: “The only place I can really be” (UU World – Summer 2013) 

UU retreats and conference centers highlighted

The Unitarian Universalist conference center Star Island, located off the New Hampshire coast, is installing enough solar panels to power nearly 30 homes. They hope to be a model for the future of sustainable energy use on the mainland. (New Hampshire Public Radio - 7.14.14)

Members of GAYLA, a program of the Ferry Beach Park Association’s Retreat and Conference Center in Saco, Maine, reflect on how the organization has spent years offering a safe space for gay men to relax and rejuvenate themselves once a year. The Association has a proud historic connection to Unitarian Universalism. (Sun Monthly - 7.13.14)

More news from UU congregations

A group of more than 300 members of All Souls Unitarian Church in Washington, D.C., gathered in front of the Supreme Court steps to call attention to the need to strengthen voter protections nationwide. The flash mob event included a musical medley of justice songs. (HRC Blog - 7.11.14)

Volunteers from the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Silver City, N.Mex., have joined other local churches to support the children involved in the humanitarian crisis at the U.S. border with Mexico. The group is taking donations of a variety of goods, including food and clothes, to help care for the immigrants on a short-term basis. (Silver City Sun-News - 7.15.14)

The Unitarian Universalist Church in Chattanooga, Tenn., was named an early adopter in the community of environmentally sustainable initiatives. The congregation has installed solar panels, which enable them to sell the electricity they do not use to the Tennessee Valley Authority and supplement their income. (timesfreepress.com - 7.13.14)

Work begins this month on renovations at First Parish Unitarian Universalist in Arlington, Mass., to expand its buildings to accommodate the growing number of members and non-members using the space. Congregation members raised $2 million for the upgrades. (The Arlington Advocate - 7.14.14)

 

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

Hobby Lobby opinion is not the opinion of all religious people

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

Other Hobby Lobby protest stories include:

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

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

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

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

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

News from UU congregations

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

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

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

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

UUs vote for divestment, and other UUs in the media

Shareholder activism continues as part of resolution

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

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

Other articles on UUA divestment include:

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

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

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

Hobby Lobby case is politically motivated

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

Even Millennials will eventually need a religious community

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

UUs support their local LGBT communities

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

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

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

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