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Unitarian Universalists in the media

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

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)

Supporting women’s health in New Orleans, and other UUs in the media

New Orleans church supports women’s clinic

Despite harassment from pro-life protesters during a worship service earlier this year, members of First Unitarian Universalist Church of New Orleans, La., are providing religious support for the construction of a much-needed Planned Parenthood clinic in that city. (Cosmopolitan – 1.23.15)

More stories of UUs working for reproductive justice:

“Reverend Nathan Ryan speaks during protests against The Response: Louisiana” (The Daily Reveille – 1.24.15)

Roe v. Wade marked with call to action” (The Courier-Journal – 1.26.15)

UU clergy say religious freedom bills are discriminatory

The Rev. David Messner of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Savannah, Ga., joins other clergy who are voicing opposition to a recent “Religious Freedom Bill” because it would open the door to discrimination against minorities in the workplace or in being refused services. (wsav.com – 1.23.15)

The Rev. Duncan Teague sees recent religious freedom legislation as just an attempt by people who do not like the increasing rights that same-sex couples are achieving nationwide to slow its progress in Georgia. (GA Voice  – 1.22.15)

Sustainable renovations, cranes for Ebola victims, and the morality of drones

Living out the Seventh UU Principle and investing in the future of their congregation, the Unitarian Church of Lincoln, Neb., recently completed a $2.5 million renovation to its building that will help reduce the congregation’s carbon footprint and offer a more comfortable space in which to worship. (Lincoln Journal Star – 1.23.15)

To honor the Sixth UU Principle and share a sense of hope with the recipients, the youth group at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Durango, Colo.. folded 1,000 origami paper cranes and shipped them to Sierra Leone, the African nation that has been hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak. (Durango Herald – 1.23.15)

The Rev. Chris J. Antal of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Rock Tavern, N.Y., participated in the first Interfaith Conference on Drone Warfare, in part because his experience as a military chaplain showed him the moral pain that soldiers experience from harming civilians with drone strikes. (Philadelphia Inquirer – 1.25.15)

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.

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