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Unitarian Universalists in the media

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

UUs fight to keep marriage rights, and more

UUs fight to defeat California’s Proposition 8
UUs have appeared in several articles about California’s Proposition 8, a ballot initiative that would overturn the state Supreme Court’s ruling that legalized same-sex marriage and would change the constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman.

ABC News covers the reaction of religious people on both sides of the argument: those praying to stop same-sex marriage and those desperately trying to keep it legal. (ABC News -10.29.08)

The Modesto Bee looks specifically at those who are against Proposition 8 and why. (Modesto Bee – Modesto, CA 10.25.08)

The Santa Barbara Independent examines the history of similar propositions in California and talks to local clergy about why they are for or against Proposition 8. (Santa Barbara Independent – Santa Barbara, CA 10.26.08)

See also:
Unitarian Universalists work to preserve gay marriage in California (uuworld.org – 10.20.08)
Unitarian Universalists mobilize against state ballot initiatives (uuworld.org – 10.31.08)

Haunted graveyards and Halloween giving
A man in South Carolina writes about his encounter with Mary Bloomfield,
a ghost who walks the Unitarian Churchyard
in Charleston, waiting for her husband to return from his ill-fated trip to Boston. (WCNC – Charlotte, NC 10.29.08)

Kids at the UU Congregation of Erie, Pa., will be doing some reverse trick-or-treating this Halloween, visiting houses to give people a sample and information about Fair Trade chocolate. They’ll also be raising money for UNICEF. (GoErie.com – Erie, PA 10.25.08)

Congregations improving themselves and their communities
Across the religious traditions, houses of worship are becoming increasingly eco-friendly in an effort to save both money and the environment. (Boston Globe – 10.26.08)

Earlier this year the UU Congregation of Rock Valley, Ill., moved into an old school building. Now members are looking for school archives, artifacts, and memorabilia to learn more about their new home. (Rockford Register Star – Rockford, IL 10.29.08)

The Albany Times Union profiles Melissa MacKinnon, RE director at the First Unitarian Society of Schenectady, and learns more about her congregation’s emphasis on community involvement. (Albany Times Union – Albany, NY 10.25.08)

The UU Society of Stamford, Ct., held its first Pro-Am Charity Chili Cook Off, which netted about 512 pounds of nonperishable food for the local food bank. (Stamford Advocate – Stamford, CT 10.26.08)

Words of a Wiccan
Amber K, author of True Magick: A Beginner’s Guide and several other books on Wicca, talks about her Wiccan faith and how she discovered it while working as a Unitarian RE director. (Santa Fe Reporter – Santa Fe, NM 10.29.08)

The power of prudence
The Rev. Dr. Tess Baumberger, minister of the Unity Church of North Easton, Mass., reflects on the value of prudence as a virtue. (Norton Mirror – Raynham, MA 10.23.08)

Gay marriage dominates media, and other matters

Marriage equality

As Californians go to the polls this year, they are presented with Proposition 8, which would amend the state constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry. Amendment 2 in Florida proposes a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Florida. It requires a 60% majority to pass.

USA Today’s coverage of California’s Propostion 8 features UU Jan Garbosky. (USA Today – 10.24.08)

The Rev. Chris Bell and Andrew Hidas, the minister and the president of the board of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Santa Rosa, speak out against Proposition 8 (Press Democrat – Santa Rosa, CA 10.19,08), as does the Rev. Laura Horton-Ludwig, minister of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Stockton (The Record – San Joaquin, CA 10.12.08)

“No on Prop 8″ signs on Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno property vandalized. (KFSN-TV – Fresno, CA 10.16.08)

The Rev. Vail Weller of the Unitarian Universalist Church in San Mateo speaks at rally opposing Proposition 8 (cbs5.com – Redwood City, CA 10.16.08) and the rest of the church is involved as well. (San Mateo County Times – San Mateo, CA 10.16.08)

First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego continues its decades-long support of GLBT issues by opposing Proposition 8. (Gay & Lesbian Times – San Diego, CA 10.23.08)

The Rev. Meredith Garmon, co-minister of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Gainesville opposes Florida’s Amendment 2. (The Gainesville Sun – Gainesville, FL 10.11.08)

The engagement of the Rev. Manish Mishra to Jeff Marzetti is reported in story on Florida’s Amendment 2. (St Petersburg Times – St Petersburg, FL 10.15.08)

The Rev. Sarah Stewart, minister of the Starr King Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, profiled for providing counseling before both marriages and civil unions. (The Citizen of Laconia – Laconia, NH 10.12.08)

UU history

The centennial of one of the first suffragist marches in the United States, which was organized by a Unitarian relief minister, is to be celebrated this Saturday in Boone, Iowa. (Des Moines Register – Des Moines, IA 10.20.08)

Margaret Fuller celebrated during church’s 300th anniversary. (SouthCoastToday.com – New Bedford, MA 10.18.08)

In the congregations

Unitarian Universalist Society of Fairhaven holds six-session “Menu for the Future” course as part of Green Sanctuary process. (SouthCoastToday.com – Fairhaven, MA 10.15.08)

Unitarian Universalists of Southern Delaware profiled for social justice work. (Delmarvanow.com – Lewes, DE 10.15.08)

Our basic message, welcoming new ministers, and more

Promoting our basic message

The Rev. Cynthia Cain, minister of the UU Church of Lexington, Ky., writes about the UU faith and why, right now, what people really need is each other. (Kentucky.com – Lexington, KY 10.4.08)

Progressive radio the goal for local activist …she started fundraising and, before long, raised almost $6000 from a national Unitarian Universalist organization. (Norman Transcript – Norman, OK 10.5.08)

Unitarian Universalists stress acceptance of all. (Rochester Democrat and Chronicle – Rochester, NY 10.6.08)

New ministers

After a two-year search, members of the UU Church of Cheyenne, Wy., welcomed the Rev. Suzanne Meyer as their new minister.(Wyoming Tribune – Cheyenne, WY 10.6.08)

The Rev. Aaron White becomes the new minister of the San Marcos, Tex., UU Fellowship. (San Marcos Daily Record – San Marcos, TX 10.7.08)

The Rev. Emily Gage, the new minister of faith development at Unity Temple, grew up in the Unitarian Universalist tradition in Pittsburgh. (Wednesday Journal – Oak Park, IL 10.7.08)

Building renovations

The Kirkwood Eliot Unitarian Chapel, which was built in 1859, has housed the congregation for nearly 50 years and is getting a much-needed facelift. (Webster Kirkwood Times – St. Louis, MO 10.3.08)

Forrest Church in the New York Times, and more

UU ministers in the headlines
The New York Times joined the crowd at the Unitarian Church of All Souls in New York City as the Rev. Forrest Church, who is dying from cancer, gave a repeat performance of his farewell sermon. (New York Times – 9.29.08)

See also: Love and Death (UU World – Summer 2008)

The Boston Globe looks at the work and spiritual journey of the Rev. Nora Fitzpatrick, the first openly gay minister of the First Parish Church of Berlin, Mass. (Boston Globe – 9.28.08)

The State Journal-Register profiles the intricate faith of the Rev. Ed Hardy, a Buddhist, atheist, and minister of the First Parish UU Church in Bridgewater, Mass. (The State Journal-Register – Springfield, IL 9.28.08)

The Rev. Ann Fox of the Unitarian Memorial Church in Fairhaven, Mass., traveled to New Zealand as a ‘peace pilgrim.‘ (Advocate – New Bedford, MA 10.2.08)

In the congregations
The LiveARTS Sunday Concert Series, a nonprofit, nonsectarian affiliate of the First Universalist Society of Franklin, Mass., started with the congregation’s own Schimmel grand piano. (Milford Daily News – MA 9.26.08)

Churches in Long Beach, Calif., are divided on California’s Proposition 8, a proposed same-sex marriage ban initiative, with area UUs coming to the defense of marriage equality. (Long Beach Press-Telegram – Long Beach, CA 9.28.08)

The UU Church of Elgin, Ill., the picture of a “green sanctuary,” is hosting its annual Prairie Fest to inform and inspire the community about environmental responsibility. (The Courier News – Elgin, IL 9.27.08)

Lay people take the reins of the UU Congregation in Andover, Mass., after their minister, the Rev. Ralph Galen, moves on. (Andover Townsman – Andover, MA 10.2.08)

UUs embrace social justice causes and more

UUs embrace social justice causes
Youth at the UU Congregational Society of Westboro, Mass., join those from several other area churches participating in the Tents of Hope project, which helps raise awareness of refugee conditions in Darfur. (Worcester Telegram – Worcester, MA 9.19.08)

See also: Tents draw attention to Darfurian refugees’ plight (uuworld.org – 9.8.08)

An opinion piece in the Ithaca Journal talks about the work of religious denominations, including UUs, who are participating in the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. (Ithaca Journal – Ithaca, NY 9.25.08)

The UU Congregation of Greater Naples, Fla., joined PFLAG, the ACLU, and others at a rally to urge voters to reject an amendment that would legally define marriage as being between a man and woman. (Naples Daily News – Naples, FL 9.20.08)

The Social Justice Council of the UU Fellowship of Gainesville, Fla., succeeded in its effort to secure after-school bus service for children of a low-income housing project, which will allow the kids to use afterschool programs. (AM850 – FL 9.19.08)

Reflections on the nature of death
The Rev. Virginia Wolf, minister emerita of the UU Congregation of Eau Claire, Wisc., reflects on the idea that death is a natural, essential part of our lives. (Leader-Telegram – Eau Claire, WI 9.19.08)

Atheists becoming more outspoken
A Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life study released earlier this year showed that 16 percent of Americans are religiously unaffiliated and about 2 percent each describe themselves as “atheist” or “agnostic”—and this group is becoming increasingly vocal in response to an increased emphasis on religion in the United States. (Louisville Courier-Journal – Louisville, KY 9.24.08)

Pagan festival raises funds for Knoxville
A Pagan Pride Festival at the Westside UU Church in Farragut, Tenn., raised $750 to benefit the victims of the Tennessee Valley UU shooting and collected a food for a local food bank. (Knoxville News Sentinel – Knoxville, TN)

See also: UUs Respond to Tragedy in Knoxville (UUA.org)

Stories of UU individuals
The Yellow Springs News looks at the long and music-filled life of Mitzi Manny, a member of the UU Musicians Network, who is preparing to celebrate her 90th birthday. (Yellow Springs News – Yellow Springs, OH 9.18.08)

The Rev. Ann Fox of the UU Society of Fairhaven, Mass., spent her sabbatical in New Zealand in search of peace and a transforming experience. (SouthCoastToday.com – New Bedford, MA 9.20.08)

The Rev. Deane Oliva talks about racial equality and avoiding labels during her first sermon as the new minister of the UU Church of Evansville, Ind. (Evansville Courier & Press – Evansville, IN 9.20.08)

The Salem News presents a short profile on the Rev. Frieda Gillespie, the new minister of the Northshore UU Church in Danvers, Mass. (The Salem News – Beverly, MA 9.23.08)

Madison’s UU-Jewish connection
The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle takes a look at the long-standing relationship between the Unitarian and Jewish communities in Madison as a Jewish congregation moves into the First Unitarian Society of Madison. (Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle – Madison, WI)

Ethical Society’s return to roots, reflections on Knoxville, and more

Ethical Society hires UU leader
The Washington Post writes that the humanistic Washington Ethical Society hoped for a return to its roots when it recently hired a UU minister as its new leader. (Washington Post – 9.13.08)

See also: Ethical Culture’s humanist legacy (UU World – Fall 2008)

Reflecting on Knoxville shooting
The Rev. Chris Buice, minister of the Tennessee Valley UU Church in Knoxville, Tenn., appeared on last Friday’s Bill Moyer’s Journal to discuss the Knoxville shootings and the effects of hate speech in right-wing media. Watch a video of the 20-minute segment. (PBS – 9.12.08)

Susan Ford, a former Knoxville UU Church member, will run in an upcoming Ironman Florida competition to raise funds for the UUA’s Knoxville Relief Fund and as a way of dealing with her grief over the recent shootings. (Cookeville Herald Citizen – Cookeville, TN 9.17.08)

See also: UUs Respond to Tragedy in Knoxville (UUA.org)

UUs mark anniversary of 9/11
The UU Society of Martha’s Vineyard in Vineyard Haven, Mass., held a small gathering in remembrance of September 11. (Martha’s Vineyard Gazette – Edgartown, MA 9.12.08)

Celebrating a Unitarian’s ‘most popular’ Christmas song
September marks the 151st anniversary of what is purportedly the most popular Christmas song of all time, “Jingle Bells,” which was written by Unitarian James Pierpont in 1857. (Dublin Courier Herald – Dublin, GA 9.16.08)

Interfaith group calls for increased federal aid to Gulf
The Rev. Bill Schulz, chairman of the UU Service Committee board of directors; Charles Clements, UUSC president and CEO; and Meg Riley, UUA director of Advocacy and Witness, were part of a large interfaith group that signed a statement calling for stepped-up federal efforts to aid in the hurricane-damaged Gulf Coast area. (Dallas Morning News – Dallas, TX 9.15.08)

Personal reflections on liberalism, our faith
The Rev. Paul Britner, minister of the UU Fellowship of Montgomery, Ala., writes about taking pride in being a “liberal.” (Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery, AL 9.12.08)

Jean Hislop, a member of the Social Action Committee of the UU Congregation of Danbury, Ct., writes about what convinced her that Unitarian Universalism was the right faith for her. (Danbury News Times – Danbury, CT 9.13.08)

In the congregations
Hundreds showed up for the annual Empty Bowls event sponsored by the Prescott UU Fellowship and the Granite Peak UU Congregation, which generates about $15,000 for Arizona food banks each year. (Sun Shopper – Prescott, AZ 9.14.08)

The Rev. Tony Lorenzen of Pathways UU Church in Southlake, Tex., will lead a candlelight vigil in support of gay, lesbian, and transgender rights. (Fort Worth Star Telegram – Fort Worth, TX 9.13.08)

The Open Circle UU Fellowship in Fond du Lac, Wisc., celebrates the opening of its new permanent home in a renovated print shop. (The Reporter – Fond du Lac, WI 9.16.08)

The Schenectady Gazette profiles Melissa MacKinnon, who was recently made director of religious education at the First Unitarian Society of Schenectady, N.Y. (Schenectady Gazette – Schenectady, NY 9.13.08)

The Capital Times takes a look at the long-standing relationship between the First Unitarian Society of Madison, Wisc., and a local Jewish congregation. (The Capital Times – Madison, WI 9.17.08)

Gravel on ‘war economy,’ reflections on love and morality, and more

Mike Gravel speaks at UU church
Former Sen. Mike Gravel, a UU, speaks to a UU congregation in Charleston, W.Va., about the U.S. “war economy.” (Charleston Gazette – Charleston, WV 9.8.08)

See also:
Ex-Sen. Mike Gravel visiting Charleston (Charleston Gazette – Charleston, WV 9.7.08)

Mike Gravel’s Unitarian Universalism (uuworld.org – 12.10.07)

Reflections on love and morality in the face of evil
The Rev. Dr. Susan Suchocki Brown, minister of First Church UU in Leominster, Mass., reflects on the events of 9/11 and the importance of loving one another. (Leominster Champion – MA 9.11.08)

Psychologist Dr. Albert Sobol reflects on the topic of morality in the aftermath of the Knoxville UU church shootings. (Asheville Citizen-Times – NC 9.9.08)

Congregations in the news
This article in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette looks at the UU Congregation of Fort Wayne’s policy of welcoming everybody—including atheists—and explores why an atheist would go to church. (Fort Wayne Journal Gazette – Fort Wayne, IN 9.6.08)

The topic of what makes a healthy congregation is discussed in this article about an upcoming workshop at the Unitarian Fellowship of Fredericton, New Brunswick. (Daily Gleaner – Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada 9.6.08)

Each month, the UU Community Church of Park Forest, Ill., holds Dances of Universal Peace, a meditative practice that utilizes the mantras of various world religions. (eNews Park Forest – Park Forest, IL 9.9.08)

The community and local politicians joined the members of the Todmorden Unitarian Church to celebrate the completed £1 million restoration of their building and grounds. (If you read last week’s blog post, this is the church that just got indoor plumbing.) (Todmorden Today – Todmorden, England, UK 9.11.08)

UU named town’s ‘Man of the Year’
Fred Brooks, a 40-year member of the Saugus, Mass., UU church, was named 2008 ‘Man of the Year’ at the city’s annual Founders Day Ceremony. The story, which details his work with the environment, community, and church, includes a video. (Saugus Advertiser – Beverly, MA 9.11.08)

Struggling economy, community involvement, and indoor plumbing

Struggling economy hits congregations
Summit UU Fellowship in Santee, Calif., appears in a story about churches feeling the effects of the poor economy on attendance and giving. (San Diego Union Tribune – 8.31.08)

UUs get involved with their communities
The UU Society of Black Hawk County in Cedar Falls, Iowa, grows and sells fresh produce to help support the Northeast Iowa Food Bank. (Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier – Waterloo, IA 8.30.08)

The UU Congregation of Montclair, N.J., embraces the wisdom and whimsy of Dr. Seuss at its annual Seuss-themed community event, the UUville Community Fair. (Montclair Times – Montclair, NJ 9.4.08)

Celebrating the joy of indoor plumbing
Members of the Todmorden Unitarian Church in England celebrate the reopening of their historic building after completing extensive renovations and refurbishment, including restoration of the stained glass, repair of a World War I memorial, and the installation of toilets for the first time in the building’s history. (Todmorden Today – Todmorden, England, UK 9.4.08)

Political parties
A party at the Bull Run UU Church in Manassas, Va., was one of the more than 1,000 Democratic National Convention-watching parties hosted by Democrats throughout state on the night Sen. Barack Obama gave his nomination acceptance speech. (Inside NoVA – Prince William, VA 8.28.08)

Ministerial changes
The Rev. Fred Small, a former environmental lawyer and folksinger-songwriter and now UU minister, has been called to serve as senior minister of the First Parish in Cambridge, Mass. (Somerville Journal – MA 8.30.08)

The Rev. Neal Anderson, a former teacher, was recently named the new minister of the UU Fellowship of Northern Nevada. (Carson Times – Reno, NV 8.30.08)

Seeing the Dalai Lama, UU in Florida school board race, paper ballots, and more

Minister makes pilgrimage to see the Dalai Lama, in Wisconsin
The Rev. Ed Hardy, a practicing Buddhist and minister of the First Parish UU Church in Bridgewater, Mass., reflects on his own beliefs, and his enlightening visit to Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader. (Norwich Bulletin – Norwich, CT 8.28.08)

Indian River UU still in school board race
Claudia Jimenez, RE director of the UU Fellowship of Vero Beach, Fla., received the most votes in a recent county school board election, enough to stay on the ballot in a run-off contest in the general election. (TCPalm - FL 8.26.08)

UU activists promote paper balloting
As Californians approach casting paper ballots in November election, a small group in Napa Valley discusses problems of electronic voting systems in presidential elections. (Napa Valley Register – CA 8.27.08)

West Coast coverage of last month’s church shooting in Knoxville
A story in the national news department of a publication that serves the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community follows developments in the lethal July 27 shooting at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, up to last week’s indictment of Jim David Adkisson. (Gay and Lesbian Times – San Diego 8.28.08)

Other congregations and ministers in the news
The Rev. Deborah Mero of the Unitarian Fellowship of West Chester, Pa., is one of the women featured in a story about being a female member of the clergy. (Chester DailyLocal.com – PA  8.24.08)

UUs in Rockton, Ill., are planning a fall open house at their new sanctuary, an old schoolhouse. (Rockford Register Star – IL 8.26.08)

A local nursery school, a longtime tenant of the UU Church of Rockville, Md., has been displaced by church growth and faces difficulty in finding a new space. (Business Gazette – Gaithersburg, MD 8.27.08)

A columnist sympathetic to the church writes that the adversarial neighbor of the UU Fellowship of San Luis Obispo County, Calif., apparently moved away last year. (The congregation has plans to build a new church in Edna Valley.) (San Luis Obispo Tribune – CA 8.28.08)

Also in the news
A majority of shareholders at Valero Energy supported a “say on pay” proposal; the resolution was submitted by the UUA. (RiskMetrics – Rockville, MD 8.25.08)

More violence in Knoxville, Mexican mission trip, New Zealand renovation, and more

Adkisson indicted by grand jury in Knoxville church shootings
In Knox County, Tenn., a grand jury has indicted Jim David Adkisson on ten separate counts, including two first-degree murder charges, stemming from the July 27 church shooting at the Tennessee Valley UU Church; the FBI has also opened a civil rights probe. The 58-year old man is being held in jail on a $1 million bond. The Rev. Chris Buice, minister of the church, says indictment moves justice process forward. (Knoxville News Sentinel – Knoxville, TN 8.21.08) A trial has been scheduled to begin March 18, 2009. (Knoxville News Sentinel – Knoxville, TN 8.22.08)

More violence in Knoxville
A high school student shot and killed a classmate in Knoxville’s Central High School on August 21. The Rev. Chris Buice was taking his daughter to the school when the shooting occurred. He offered reflections on responding to trauma in the August 22 Knoxville News Sentinel. (Knoxville News Sentinel – Knoxville, TN 8.21.08, 8.22.08)

Other Knoxville-related news

Commentary on the Knoxville church shooting
Op-eds and commentary pieces continue to reaffirm UU values and express sympathy for the TVUUC victims. Among this week’s crop:

Other congregations in the news
The Rev. Scott Sammler-Michael begins his tenure as the new minister at the Accotink UU Church in Burke, Va. (Burke Connection – McLean VA, 8.13.08)

Teenagers travel to a remote village in Mexico from First Unitarian Church of South Bend, Ind., on a service mission to repair the roof of a clinic there. The trip was organized by Global Citizens Network of St. Paul, Minn. (South Bend Tribune – South Bend IN, 8.20.08)

A member of the UU Church of Fresno, Calif., writes about joining other UUs in the state to collectively lower their carbon dioxide emissions by a million pounds by Earth Day, 2009. (Fresno Bee – Fresno CA, 8.16.08; sub req’d)

Youth at Abraham Lincoln UU congregation, in Springfield, Ill., raise awareness with a tent for Darfur. (The State Journal-Register – Springfield IL, 8.21.08)

The historic Auckland, New Zealand, Unitarian Church celebrates the completion of a $100,000 renovation project. (Auckland City Harbor News – Auckland NZ, 8.22.08)

Chris Walton contributed to this week’s roundup.

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