uuworld.org: liberal religion and life


Unitarian Universalists in the media

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

UU minister featured in Atlantic gay-marriage story, and other UUs in the media

Minister featured in Atlantic cover story about same-sex marriages

The Rev. Rob Hardies, senior minister of All Souls Unitarian Church in Washington, D.C., is featured with his fiance, Chris Nealon, and their son, Nico, in the cover story of The Atlantic‘s June issue, “The Gay Guide to Wedded Bliss.” The Rev. Lynn Strauss, of the UU Church of Rockville, Md., is also interviewed in the article, where she describes a “marriage boom” in her congregation since same-sex marriage was legalized—and not just among same-sex couples. (The Atlantic – June 2013)

UUs want Boy Scouts to take equality further

On May 23, the Boy Scouts of America voted to officially allow openly gay scouts, but the group will continue to reject gay leaders. The decision caused strong reactions from all sides, with some saying it doesn’t go far enough toward inclusion and others saying the move will alienate conservatives.

UUA President Peter Morales released a statement saying that “this decision falls short of affirming the worth and dignity of all who would like to participate in scouting.” International publication Pink News wrote about Morales’s statement, and the Denver Post quoted him in a story about mixed reactions to the news. (UUA.org 5.24.13, Pink News – 4.22.13, Denver Post – 5.23.13)

In a statement issued by the Human Rights Campaign, Zach Wahls, a UU, Eagle Scout, and executive director of Scouts for Equality, said: “We welcome the news that the ban on gay scouts is history, but our work isn’t over until we honor the Scout Law by making this American institution open and affirming to all.” (Advocate – 5.24.13)

Wahls also appeared on MSNBC’s The Last Word, where he discussed the historic decision and why he thinks the scouting group needs to be welcoming to gay participants of all ages. (MSNBC)

See related: Zach Wahls takes on Boy Scouts (UU World – Winter 2012)

Youth reflects on service trip, congregation honored at Gala, and more

Nicholas Lombardy, a member of the First Church Unitarian of Littleton, Mass., youth group, reflects on a recent service trip he and others from his congregation took to Jamaica. (The Littleton Independent – 5.18.13)

The Rev. Nan L. White emailed to let us know that more than 50 UUs from four congregations were among the crowd of 400 people at the Penn Center’s annual 1862 Circle Gala, during which the UU Fellowship of Beaufort, S.C., was honored for its support of the Center and of Gullah culture. (Beaufort Gazette – 5.18.13)

See related: A quiet revolutionary (UU World – Spring 2013)

Sarah Campbell received the Clara Barton Sisterhood Award at First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh, Pa., for her outstanding contributions to the church and community. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – 5.20.13)

The Rev. Robert West, a former UUA president, was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree at the recent Lynchburg College graduation ceremony. (News & Advance – 5.18.13)

Unity Temple, All Souls (DC) win big grants, and other UUs in the media

Churches win big grants for restoration

The Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Unity Temple UU Congregation in Oak Park, Ill., won a $10 million grant that will pay for major restoration work on the historic building. (Chicago Tribune – 5.15.13)

Ten Washington, D.C., projects were awarded large grants from the Partners in Preservation contest, including All Souls Church Unitarian, which will receive $50,000 to repair its bell tower. (The Washington Post – 5.4.13)

Boston bell-ringers, a call for safer factories, and more

An article in the Boston Globe explores the recent history of the bells at Arlington Street Church in Boston, and the people responsible for ringing them. (The Boston Globe – 5.8.13)

The New York Times reports that a coalition of religious groups and investors, including the Unitarian Universalist Association, is urging large retailers to sign a plan to improve factory safety in Bangladesh. (New York Times – 5.16.13)

Animals—and humans’ interconnection with them—were the focus of a Celebration of Human and Animal Companionship, part of the 100th anniversary celebration of UU Church of Long Beach, Calif. (Long Beach Post – 5.10.13)

Same-sex couples in Minnesota will be eligible to get marriage licenses starting August 1, and First Universalist Church of Minneapolis is preparing for dozens of weddings. (KAALtv.com – 5.14.13)

A slideshow of photos from the same-sex marriage victory at the Minnesota Capitol includes a shot of the Rev. Luke Stevens-Royer, of the White Bear UU Church in Mahtomedi, and another with a woman in a Standing on the Side of Love shirt. (Twin Cities Daily Planet – 5.13.13)

Two years after after their church was destroyed in a fire, the congregation of the UU Church of Brunswick, Maine, has broken ground on a new home. (uuworld.org – 6.10.11, WCSH-TV – 5.12.13)

Cary Neeper, an author and member of the Unitarian Church of Los Alamos, N. Mex., was named a silver medalist in the 2013 Nautilus Book Awards for her teen novel The Webs of Varok. (Nautilus Books)

Namaqua UU Congregration in Loveland, Colo., held a Mother’s Day Stand for Peace. (Reporter Herald – 5.12.13)

Seth Carrier has been called as the new minister of the UU Church of Muncie, Ind. (Muncie Free Press – 5.9.13)

Minister calls for compassion, and other UUs in the media

Minister urges compassionate treatment of terror suspect’s body

In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, a dilemma emerged about what to do with the body of deceased suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev. His uncle wanted him buried in Cambridge, Mass., where he’d lived for many years, but city officials and a vocal public didn’t want him, and the funeral home director said he couldn’t find a cemetery that would take the body.

The Rev. Fred Small, minister of First Parish UU in Cambridge, wrote a public letter saying, “Whatever Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s crimes may have been, as a human being he deserves a decent and prompt burial.” Small then appeared on Radio Boston to discuss his controversial point of view. Tsarnaev was eventually buried in a Virginia cemetery. (The Cambridge Chronicle & Tab  – 5.6.13, WBUR – 5.7.13, Boston.com – 5.10.13)

Google Doodle nominee, senior citizen honoree, and more

A UU homeschooled 8th-grader (Madeleine R.) is her state’s nominee for a Google Doodle competition; her doodle is here.

Betsy Diachun, a leader at First UU Church of Niagara in Niagara Falls, N.Y., was named Senior Citizen of the Year for Niagara County for her tireless volunteer work. (Niagara Gazette – 5.5.13)

On May 1, Colorado’s new civil unions law went into effect and the Rev. Dr. Nori Rost, of All Souls UU Church in Colorado Springs, co-performed a mass civil union ceremony for 17 same-sex couples. (The Gazette – 5.1.13)

The Rev. Dr. Matt Tittle, the new minister of Auckland Unitarian Church in New Zealand, says he is sad to see other area churches welcoming gay members but refusing to perform same-sex marriages. (stuff.co.nz – 3.5.13)

The Rev. Allison Miller, of the Morristown, N.J., Unitarian Church, talks about the growing support for same-sex marriage. (nj.com – 5.2.13)

The Rev. Mark Worth retired from his longtime position as minister of the UU Congregation of Castine, Maine. (Castine Patriot – 5.2.13)

The Rev. Nancy Palmer Jones, of First Unitarian Church of San Jose, Calif., is quoted in an article about a group of 20,000 people marching for immigration reform. (People’s World – 5.3.13)

The Rev. Mark Belletini, senior minister at First UU Church of Columbus, Ohio, spoke at the annual Nehemiah Action Meeting on the topic of immigrant rights. (The Columbus Dispatch – 5.7.13)

UU ran marathon for Muslim neighbor, and other UUs in the media

UU recounts memorial Boston Marathon run

Listen to Helene Newberg, a Unitarian Universalist from Arlington, Mass., share the moving story of running in the 2013 Boston Marathon in honor of her neighbor, a young Muslim girl who committed suicide one year ago—a memorial run that was sadly interrupted by the bombings at the finish line. (That’s Some American Muslim Life – 4.26.13)

In the congregations

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Caribou, Maine, made the difficult decision to sell its building. (Bangor Daily News – 4.25.13)

The UU Fellowship of Winston-Salem, N.C., unveiled the permanent home of its Community Clothes Closet, which provides free used clothing to low-income area residents. (Winston-Salem Chronicle – 4.29.13)

The UU Fellowship of San Dieguito in Solana Beach, Calif., submitted a petition to the city council requesting action on several items to potentially reduce the likelihood of gun violence. Discussion at the city council meeting revealed strong feelings on both sides of the argument. (Coast News – 5.1.13, Del Mar Times – 4.26.13)

First Parish UU Church in Canton, Mass., held a candlelight vigil for those affected by the Boston Marathon bombing. Photos from the event appear in gallery of “Recent Happenings” in Canton. (The Canton Citizen – 4.26.13)

The Rev. David S. Blanchard resigned from the UU Church of Canton, N.Y. (Watertown Daily Times – 4.30.13)

The congregation of First Parish in Concord, Mass., prepared to meet the Ministerial Search Committee’s candidate for senior minister: the Rev. Howard Dana. (The Concord Journal – 4.25.13)

UUA president responds to Boy Scouts, and other UUs in the media

UUA president responds to proposed Boy Scouts change

On April 19, the Boy Scouts of America released a draft proposal—to be voted on in May—that would accept gay scouts but still bar gay leaders, a move that failed to please religious leaders on both sides of the issue. (Scouting.org – 4.19.13, Religion News – 4.22.13)

UUA President Peter Morales issued a statement in response to the proposal, saying in part: “The proposed resolution from the BSA is a step in the right direction, but it falls short of ensuring equality for gay scout leaders. Unitarian Universalists remain hopeful that there is still time to persuade the BSA to move from discrimination and prejudice to inclusion and respect for all Americans who wish to participate in scouting.” Pink News and GLAAD’s blog both point to Morales’s statement. (UUA.org – 4.19.13, Pink News – 4.22.13, GLAAD – 4.20.13)

Climate activist Tim DeChristopher released from prison

Yes! magazine profiles environmental activist and UU Tim DeChristopher, who was released this month after spending 21 months in federal custody for disrupting a 2008 oil and gas auction. (Yes! – 4.22.13)

See also:
Tim DeChristopher Speaks Out After 21 Months in Prison for Disrupting Oil Bid (DemocracyNow – 4.22.13)
Activist Tim DeChristopher Released From Prison (KUTV – 4.21.13)
Tim DeChristopher’s path (UU World – Winter 2012)
Activism is an act of faith
(UU World – Winter 2012)

UU leaders discuss religion and spirituality for CBS

A CBS segment that examines religion and spirituality in a changing society features UUA President Peter Morales; First Parish of Cambridge, Mass., minister the Rev. Fred Small; and other UUs.

Bostonians seek solace, British Unitarians get a new leader, and more

The choir at Arlington Street Church, UU, in Boston, appears in an NPR story about Bostonians finding comfort in religious and memorial services as they await further developments in the marathon bombing case. (NPR – 4.21.13)

The Rev. Bill Darlison is the new president of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches in Britain. (Pontefract and Castleford Express – 4.21.13)

Members of the UU Congregation of Northern Chautauqua in Fredonia, N.Y., celebrated its 30th anniversary. (The Observer – 4.21.13)

Boston Marathon vigil draws hundreds, and other UUs in the media

Boston UUs remember bombing victims

Several hundred people gathered Tuesday night for a candlelight vigil at Boston’s Arlington Street Church, UU, to seek comfort and to remember those who were killed or injured in Monday’s terrorist attack on the Boston Marathon. (Charlestown Patch – 4.17.13)

The New Yorker has a beautiful and detailed account of the vigil at Arlington Street Church, which is located only a few blocks from where the explosions occurred. (4.17.13)

The Rev. Kim K. Crawford Harvie, senior minister of Arlington Street Church, said she realized almost immediately that a citywide service was necessary and urged people to “not give in to the root of terrorism.” (Boston Herald – 4.16.13)

The Rev. Peter Morales, president of the UUA, which is headquartered in Boston, wrote in a pastoral letter the day after the bombings: “At this time we do not know who did this or what twisted thinking produced this horrific act. We do know this: everything we do to spread compassion, understanding, acceptance, and peace matters.” (UUA.org – 4.16.13)

Life goes on

As a reminder that not all news was centered on Boston this week—even if it sometimes felt like it—the UU Parish of Monson, Mass., is holding a dedication ceremony after finally replacing a steeple that was destroyed during a 2011 tornado. (The Republican – 4.18.13)


Couple’s WWII heroism subject of film, and other UUs in the media

Unitarian couple’s WWII heroism subject of film

Artemis Joukowsky III has directed and co-produced a documentary film, Two Who Dared: The Sharps’ War, about the work his grandparents—Unitarians Martha and the Rev. Waitstill Sharp—did to aid refugees and dissidents in Europe during World War II. The film has been screening at film festivals, museums, libraries, and churches, and has won several awards. (The Recorder – 4.3.13)

See also:
‘Two Who Dared’ puts UUSC founders’ heroism on film (uuworld.org – 4.1.13)
Church reflects on message of ‘Two Who Dared’ (Quad-City Times – 4.2.13)
Story of Courage and Rescue during World War II to be Shown at Venues Around the Country (San Francisco Chronicle – 4.8.13)
USC Upstate sponsors movie screening of “The Two Who Dared – The Sharps’ War,” April 7 (USC Upstate – 4.4.13)
FPUU to show premiere of ‘Two Who Dared’ (Canton Citizen – 4.4.13)

UUA, UUSC show support for marriage equality

UUA President Peter Morales and United Church of Christ President Geoffrey Black spoke about supporting marriage equality at a joint event in Providence, Rhode Island. (The Boston Globe  – 4.6.13)

On the fourth anniversary of Iowa legalizing same-sex marriage, the Rev. Jay Wolin of the UU Congregation of Quad Cities talks about the joy it has brought him to perform same-sex weddings, and how he believes society is shifting toward acceptance of marriage equality. (WQAD – 4.3.13)

UUs seek improved gun regulation

The Rev. Bill Sinkford, senior minister of First Unitarian Church in Portland, Ore., and former UUA president, spoke at a large gun safety rally, saying that, “The tougher the gun safety laws are in any state the fewer gun deaths there are.” (Statesman Journal – 4.4.13)

Members of the UU Fellowship of San Dieguito in Solana Beach, Calif., put together a petition that asks the city council to encourage gun control by limiting the number of stores that sell firearms and opposing gun shows at the county fairgrounds. (U-T San Diego – 4.7.13)

Church’s ad pledges support for LGBT community, and more

Eight Denton, Tex., churches, including the Denton UU Fellowship, ran an ad in the local paper pledging support for and inclusion of the LGBT community. (Dallas Voice – 4.1.13)

The Rev. Michael A. Schuler, minister of First Unitarian Society of Madison, Wisc., is quoted in an article about churches using social media to attract members. (The Capital Times – 4.4.13)

The Rev. Lara Hoke, of the UU Congregation in Andover, Mass., is quoted in a Boston Globe story about hundreds of people gathering for an immigration reform rally in Boston. (4.7.13)

The Social Justice Committee of the UU Congregation in Binghampton, N.Y., hosted a panel discussion on immigration. (WBNG – 4.7.13)

See also: Local Church Discusses Immigration (WICZ – 4.7.13)

With a plan in place to rebuild the UU Church of Brunswick, Maine, which was destroyed in a 2011 fire, the minister and members talk about how the spirit of the old church will live on in the new building. (Bangor Daily News – 4.3.13)

First Parish in Taunton, Mass., has started offering Soulful Sundown services. (Taunton Gazette – 4.7.13)

The Rev. Don Garrett, minister of the UU Church of the Lehigh Valley in Bethlehem, Pa., writes about how UU congregations embrace the American value of e pluribus unum, “out of many, one.” (The Morning Call – 4.5.13)

The Rev. David Green, minister of Amarillo UU Fellowship in Texas, writes about the benefits of being a “giver.” (Amarillo Globe-News – 4.5.13)

The Rev. Tom Goldsmith, of First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake City, lead a “Funeral for the Future” service to protest the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline project. (The Salt Lake Tribune – 4.4.13)

Zach Wahls, author of My Two Moms, talks about growing up as the child of a lesbian couple and about his work to end the Boy Scouts’ ban on gay members. (Globe Gazette – 4.7.13)

See related: Young activist takes on Boys Scouts (UU World – Winter 2012)

Pete Seeger joined composer/guitarist Jim Scott and others in a benefit concert for the UU Service Committee. (Daily Voice – 4.7.13)

The Rev. Sean Parker Dennison is the new settled minister of the UU Congregation in McHenry, Ill. (Northwest Herald – 4.4.13)

UUs speak for equality as Supreme Court meets, and other UUs in the media

As Supreme Court debates, UUs speak out for marriage equality

With the Supreme Court’s marriage equality hearings, it’s no surprise that there were lots of Standing on the Side of Love campaign sightings in the media recently. The distinctive yellow banners appeared in videos on CBC News, The Rachel Maddow Show, Anderson Cooper 360, ABC News, and in a Human Rights Campaign video. They also show up in a slideshow of photos from outside the court. (CBCNews / ABCNews – 3.26.13, NBCNews / CNN / YouTube – 3.27.13, New Civil Rights Movement – 3.26.13)

The Rev. Ed Hardy and First Parish UU Church of Plymouth, Mass., sent a resolution backing same-sex marriage to the Supreme Court. (Wicked Local Plymouth – 3.31.13)

The Rev. Charlie Davis, of the UU Church of West Lafayette, Ind., spoke at a rally for marriage equality. (Journal Courier – 3.28.13)

The Rev. Steven Protzman, of the UU Society of Iowa City, is quoted in an article about Iowa couples watching the Supreme Court arguments over marriage equality. (kcrg.com – 3.26.13)

The Rev. Jim Nelson, of Neighborhood UU Church of Pasadena, Calif., responds to some of the arguments he heard regarding Proposition 8. (LA Progressive – 3.27.13)

Ministers rally for immigrant rights

The Rev. Barbara Fast of the UU Church in Danbury, Conn., spoke at a prayer vigil for immigrant rights. (Danbury News Times – 3.28.13)

The Rev. Joan VanBecelaere, district executive for the Ohio Meadville District was part of a rally for immigration reform and is quoted in an article about the event. (Examiner – 3.27.13)

A ‘contemptuous’ article, a church prepares to rebuild, and more

Last week, I pointed to a questionably researched article about UUs and polyamory in the Washington Post. (Washington Post – 3.22.13)

Angry UU readers responded to the Post, calling the article “contemptuous” and saying they expected better than “unsupported generalizations and jokes about an entire faith.” (Washington Post – 4.2.13)

Meanwhile, Rush Limbaugh jumped all over the article as proof of the slippery moral slope he thinks same-sex marriage presents. (RushLimbaugh.com – 3.26.13)

Nearly two years after its building was destroyed in a fire, the UU Church of Brunswick, Maine, has permission to begin rebuilding. (The Forecaster – 3.27.13)

See related:
Fire devastates Maine church (uuworld.org – 6.10.11)
From salvaged pew, artisan crafts custom guitar (uuworld.org – 2.15.13)

High school freshman Tilcara Webb, a member of the UU Congregation of Santa Fe, N.Mex., writes about ways that youth groups are working to improve their communities and themselves. (Santa Fe New Mexican – 3.29.13)

First Unitarian Church of Rochester, N.Y., donated a rare hand-printed book designed by Frank Lloyd Wright to the University of Rochester. (Rochester.edu – 4.1.13)

An expensive drum set was stolen from the UU Church of Valdosta, Ga. (WCTV – 3.26.13)

The Rev. Leaf Seligman of Fitchburg’s First Parish Church UU in Fitchburg, Mass., and the Rev. Susan Suchocki Brown, of First Church UU in Leominster, Mass., both appear in an article about Easter. (Sentinel and Enterprise – 3.31.13)

The Rev. Jeanne Lloyd is the new settled minister of the Mattatuck UU Society of Woodbury, Conn. (The Waterbury Observer – 3.30.13)

Ashley Horan is the new consulting minister at the UU Church of Joliet, Ill. (The Herald-News – 3.27.13)


Congregation gives $680K for Sandy relief, and other UUs in the media

UU congregation gives $680,000 for Sandy relief

The UU Congregation at Shelter Rock in Manhasset, N.Y., will give $680,000 in grants to five area organizations for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. Read more about Shelter Rock’s history of charitable giving through its Veatch Program. (The Island Now – 3.28.13, UU World – Fall 2005)

Immigration reform, an end-of-life bill, and more

The Boston Globe picked up an AP story about the UUA moving its headquarters from Beacon Hill to South Boston. (Boston Globe – 3.24.13)

See also:
UUA to purchase new Boston headquarters (uuworld.org – 3.15.13)
Farewell, 25 Beacon Street? (UU World – Spring 2013)

An article about faith groups working for immigration reform includes efforts by the Unitarian Universalist Association’s “Standing on the Side of Love” campaign to mobilize nationally during Congress’s upcoming in-state district work period. (American Progress – 3.25.13)

Members of the First Unitarian Church of Rochester, N.Y., were on hand for a rally in support of immigration reform. (Democrat and Herald – 3.22.13)

The Rev. Douglas Peary, president of the UU Society of Meriden, Conn., is interviewed in an article about a proposed end-of-life bill. The Rev. Joshua Pawelek, of the UU Society: East in Manchester, Conn., is quoted in another article about the proposed bill.  (The CT Mirror – 3.20.13, Westport News – 3.21.13)

Tennessee Valley UU Church in Knoxville is donating 100 percent of the money collected during a Sunday service to help fund the University of Tennessee’s Sex Week, a student-organized event focused on topics of sex, sexuality, and gender. (Channel 6 WATE.com – 3.24.13)

The Rev. Jay Leach, of the UU Church of Charlotte, N.C., joined other local religious leaders to commemorate the 48th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery civil rights march. (clclt.com – 3.25.13)

An article about musician Catie Curtis, who has performed at the White House holiday concert for three years running, mentions her “increasing participation with Unitarian Universalism.” (Metro Weekly – 3.21.13)

Members of First UU Church of Stockton, Calif., are celebrating the congregation’s 100th anniversary. (Record.net – 3.23.13)

And finally, a reporter for the Washington Post clearly had to dig pretty deep to find any sources for an article about UUs and polyamory, citing a 2007 sermon and the 2004 writings of a former UUA employee. (Washington Post – 3.22.13)

Congregations embrace jazz in worship, and other UUs in the media

Congregations embrace jazz in worship

The Atlantic looks at the use of jazz music in Christian worship, and talks to the Rev. Galen Guengerich, senior minister of All Souls Unitarian Church in New York, whose congregation has held jazz services since 2000. (The Atlantic – 3.14.13)

Guengerich also appears in a 2003 UU World feature article about jazz and Unitarian Universalist theology.

UUs work to improve their communities

A small group of volunteers, primarily members of the UU Church of Fresno, Calif., has been working to improve conditions in local homeless encampments. (indybay.org – 3.14.13)

First Religious Society (UU) of Newburyport, Mass., has joined with three other area congregations to raise money to restore and maintain a local playground. (Newburyport Daily News – 3.18.13)

The Champlain Valley UU Society in Middlebury, Vt., hosted a forum on “Our Guns, Our Towns, Our Questions,” to help educate the community about current firearms regulations and the ways firearms affect peoples’ lives. (The Addison Independent – 3.14.13)

Mysterious graffiti, immigration reform, and more

A stencil-style graffiti image of 18th-century writer Mary Wollstonecraft has appeared on the side of the Newington Green Unitarian Chapel in London, England, coinciding with a current campaign to create a statue to the feminist icon. (Islington Gazette – 3.15.13)

In an article about clergy seeking immigration reform, the Rev. Susan Karlson, of the Unitarian Church of Staten Island in New Brighton, N.Y., talks about the difficulties immigrants often face trying to access government services, healthcare, and more. (Staten Island Advance – 3.16.13)

UU Treasurer Tim Brennan talks about the Association’s decision to leave its historic home on Beacon Hill and relocate to South Boston. (WBZ-AM Radio – 3.15.13)

The Rev. Jeff Liebmann, of the UU Fellowship of Midland, Mich., is quoted in a story about a stalled state Senate bill that would let health care insurers and providers opt out of offering services based on moral objections. (90.5 WKAR – 3.15.13)

The Rev. Dr. Stanley Sears, of the UU Society of Auburn, N.Y., writes that, rather than giving something up for Lent, he uses it as an opportunity to talk about faith. (The Auburn Citizen – 3.17.13)

Get Unitarian Universalists in the Media by email. Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner