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Unitarian Universalists in the media

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

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

Looking back on the history of American race relations

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

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

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

Connecting with the community through jazz, and more

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remembering Pete Seeger, and other UUs in the media

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

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

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

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

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

Other stories remembering Pete Seeger include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UU ministers see need to continue King’s equality work

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

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

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

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

Other MLK Day articles include:

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

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

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

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

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

Introducing our new media blogger

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

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

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

UU church part of California’s booming same-sex marriage business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A loud voice for liberal religion

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

UU ministers in the public eye spark controversy, and more

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unitarians spark controversy at BBC

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

Congregations support community, sinkholes close church, and more

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

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

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

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

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

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

Minister, church named ‘Who’s Hot?’

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

More news of politically active UUs:

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

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

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

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

Winter snow shoveling, and UU connections to Christmas

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

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

Thoughts on Hermione Granger, and more

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

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

Holiday break

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

Newtown shooting remembered, and other UUs in the media

Minister speaks about shootings at Sandy Hook

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

Historic quilt discovered, dead honored

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

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

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

Church property destroyed, and more

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

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

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

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

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

Giving to good causes, and more UUs in the media

‘Reverse offering’ empowers congregants to give

The Unitarian Universalist Area Church in Sherborn, Mass., and its minister, the Rev. Nathan Detering, were featured in a piece about the church’s “reverse offering,” in which congregants are given money to go do good in the world, something several UU churches have started doing in recent years. (WBUR – 12.3.13)

A number of stories mentioned Unitarian Universalism in reference to the recent passage of legal same-sex marriage in Hawaii. (Washington Times – 12.2.13, Honolulu Civil Beat 12.2.13, The Review – 12.2.13) Those included stories about the wedding of the Rev. Jonipher Kwong, minister of the First Unitarian Church of Honolulu, and Chris Nelson, which was among the first same-sex weddings in the state. (West Hawaii Today, 12.3.13, Hawaii News Now – 12.2.13)

The First Unitarian Church of Alton, Ill., is one of only a few churches in its area that have publicly welcomed same-sex couples to marry there. (bnd.com – 11.30.13)

Churches honor World Aids Day, and teens’ art featured

Several UU churches were featured for their work honoring World Aids Day. (Herald-Sun – 12.1.13, KREX – 12.1.13, KAAL – 12.1.13, WIBW – 12.1.13)

Art made by teens who are part of U-Night, a youth outreach program of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Door County in Ephraim, Wisc., will be shown in an exhibit at the church. (Green Bay Press Gazette – 11.26.13)

The Woodinville, Wash., Unitarian Universalist Church allows people experiencing homelessness to camp on their property and provides a fire ring during cold weather. (Seattle Times – 12.4.13)

International UUs speak out on social justice, and more

The Rev. Frances Deverell, president of the Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice, spoke in a radio interview about her work. (rabble.ca – 11.27.13)

Methodius Kusumahadi, former chief representative to Indonesia for the Unitarian Service Committee of Canada, spoke out for foreign non-governmental operations doing good work in his country. (Jakarta Post – 12.2.13)

The Rev. Alice Anacheka-Nasemann was installed as minister of the Unitarian Church of Marlborough and Hudson, Mass., where she has previously served as director of religious education and as associate minister. (Community Advocate – 12.2.13)

A piece recounted the Unitarian minister Thomas Starr King’s role in rallying support and money for the United States Sanitary Commission, the forerunner of today’s Red Cross, during the Civil War. (SFGate.com – 11.29.13)

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