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Unitarian Universalists in the media

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

Marriage equality, interest in atheism, and other news

UK Unitarian church bans weddings
To protest the unfair religious marriage rights of same-sex couples in the United Kingdom, the Newington Green Unitarian Church, a 300-year-old church in north London, announced that it will continue to do blessings but will no longer conduct full weddings. The congregation’s unanimous decision, the first of its kind in Great Britain, came after the British Unitarian national conference called for the Civil Partnership Act to be changed to allow religious content in civil partnership registrations. (BBC News – UK 4.8.08)

See also: The Church Where You Can’t Marry (Camden New Journal – London, UK 4.4.08)

A place for the nonbelievers
Despite the results of the recent Pew Forum Religious Landscape Survey, which showed that the vast majority of Americans believe in a god, the number of books and general interest in atheism and secular humanism appears to have grown over the last few years. (Evansville Courier & Press – Evansville, IN 4.5.08)

Dave Dierdorff, board chair of the Juneau, Alaska, UU Fellowship writes about why atheists do belong in church. (Juneau Empire – Juneau, AK 4.9.08)

Also in the media:

The Cape Cod Times takes a look at church signs (also known as wayside pulpits), the idea for which was first brought to North America by the Rev. Henry Hallam Saunderson, a Unitarian minister. (Cape Cod Times – Hyannis, MA 4.7.08)

The Oneonta Community Health Center, a free health-care clinic that started as a social outreach project of the UU Society of Oneonta, N.Y., has found a site and set an opening date. (Oneonta Daily Star – Oneonta, NY 4.7.08)

The Rev. Sylvia Falconer, minister emerita of the Greeley, Colo., UU church writes about the importance of recognizing the meaning and purpose of our religious rituals and symbols. (Greeley Tribune – Greeley, CO 4.5.08)

The UU Church of Tampa, Fla., hosted Gayla 2008, sponsored by the GLBT UU group Interweave in celebration of diversity and equality. (Tampa Tribune – Tampa, FL 4.5.08)

Local potters contributed more than 250 bowls to the First UU Church of Parkersburg, W.Va.’s annual Empty Bowls event, which raises money for programs that help end hunger. (Parkersburg News – Parkersburg, WV 4.7.08)

The Rev. David Blanchard, minister at the UU Church of Utica, N.Y., opines on the topic of “color blindness.” (Utica Observer Dispatch – Utica, NY 4.4.08)

As husband and wife “evolutionary evangelists” the Rev. Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow travel the country speaking, media coverage of their unique message continues. (Gresham Outlook – Gresham, OR 4.4.08)

See also: Welcome to the Ecozoic Era (UU World – Spring 2006)

Literary UUs, a Gulf Coast reminder, and more

UUs on the bookshelf
The Christian Century gave the Rev. Kate Braestrup’s best-selling memoir, Here If You Need Me, a positive review in its March 25 issue, now available online. (The Christian Century – 3.25.08)

Mingling Souls upon Paper: An Eighteenth-Century Love Story, a new book by Bonnie Hurd Smith, explores the romance between feminist and writer Judith Sargent Murray (1751-1820) and her second husband, Universalist preacher John Murray (1741-1815). (Gloucester Daily Times – MA 4.2.08)

FEMA trailer is reminder of work still to do
A FEMA trailer, identical to the ones people displaced by Hurricane Katrina live in, stopped by the Unitarian Church of Westport, Ct., as part of a UUSC campaign to raise awareness about the Gulf Coast Housing Recovery Act. (Wilton Villager – CT 4.4.08)

Also in the media:

The UU Congregation of Danbury, Ct., is preparing to vote on whether it should join the New Sanctuary Movement, meaning it would provide help and potentially offer sanctuary to illegal immigrants. (Danbury News Times – Danbury, CT 3.30.08)

See also:
County Fair: Universal Love (fairfieldweekly.com – Norwalk, CT 4.3.08)

New immigrant sanctuary movement calls for ‘prophetic hospitality’ (uuworld.org – 5.25.07)

A small group of community members in Winters, Calif., marked the fifth anniversary of the Iraq invasion with a protest as well as a vigil at the nearby Sacramento UU Society. (Sacramento Bee – CA 3.30.08)

The Witness the Cost of War memorial at the UU Church in Rutland, Vt., remembers U.S. troops killed in Iraq with a small gold star; the number of stars recently hit 4,000. (Rutland Herald – Rutland, VT 3.28.08)

Lynne Readett joined the fewer than 60 active Unitarian ministers in the UK after her ordination at the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches. (Wigan Today – Wigan, England, UK 4.1.08)

Several clergy members in Maryland, including some UU ministers, say they won’t sign marriage licenses until same-sex marriage is made legal in their state. (Baltimore Sun – 3.31.08)

A four-person panel of religious leaders at a “Homosexuality and Religion” discussion, including UU minister Carolyn Brown, said that God doesn’t condemn homosexuality or other alternative lifestyles. (University of Evansville Crescent online – Indiana 3.28.08)

The UU Fellowship of Fayetteville, Ark., a Welcoming Congregation, gets a brief mention in this article about a city’s quarterly Diversity Weekend. (Arkansas Democrat Gazette – AR 3.30.08)

“Evolutionary evangelist” husband and wife team the Rev. Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow continues to get press. (Inside Bay Area – Oakland, CA 3.29.08)

See also: Welcome to the Ecozoic Era (UU World – Spring 2006)

Radio program explores new humanism, and more

Exploring humanism
This week’s episode of “Speaking of Faith,” a religion program broadcast by American Public Media, looks at the tradition of humanism in the segment “Exploring a New Humanism.” Listen to the program, watch video, and read related material at the show’s website, speakingoffaith.publicradio.org. (Speaking of Faith – 3.27.08)

Read more about “new humanism”: Does humanism need to be new? (uuworld.org – 6.4.07)

Also in the media:

A Canadian family that has traveled approximately 10,000 miles without using fossil fuels stopped in at the UU Fellowship of Gainesville, Fla. (High Springs Heralds – High Springs, FL 3.27.08)

In honor of Women’s History Month, New West pays tribute to suffragette the Rev. Olympia Brown, a Universalist and America’s first ordained female minister. (New West – Missoula, MT 3.26.08)

UUA President William G. Sinkford shares some insights on being the first African American head of a predominantly white denomination. (The Daily Voice – New York, NY 3.21.08)

The Wednesday Journal writes about one of the most famous Unitarians, Ralph Waldo Emerson.(Wednesday Journal – Oak Park, IL 3.25.07)

A crowd gathered at the Dublin Unitarian Church for an annual service remembering those who died as a result of conflict in Northern Ireland. (RTE.ie – Ireland 3.21.08)

Members of the UU Church of Marblehead, Mass., mark the fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq with a demonstration calling for an end to the violence. (Marblehead Reporter – Marblehead, MA 3.24.08)

The UU Church of Glens Falls, N.Y., celebrated Palm Sunday by focusing on our connection to the environment. (Glens Falls Post-Star – Glens Falls, NY 3.23.08)

Husband and wife team the Rev. Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow travel across America to preach the gospel of evolution. (Contra Costa Times – Walnut Creek, CA 3.24.08)

See also: Welcome to the Ecozoic Era (UU World – Spring 2006)

The Missourian profiles John Clark, an activist and member of the UU Church of the Larger Fellowship. (Columbia Missourian – Columbia, MO 3.23.08)

UUs mark Iraq War anniversary, and more

UUs mark anniversary of war in Iraq
Unitarian Universalists marked the fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq with protests, vigils, singing, and more.

More than 500 people gathered at the First UU Society of San Francisco for a peace vigil and march. (San Francisco Chronicle – CA 3.17.08)

A war protest in Hartford, Ct., ended with the arrest of five people, including the Rev. Kathleen McTigue, minister of the Unitarian Society of New Haven, Ct. (Hartford Courant – CT 3.19.08)

About 200 people gathered at the UU Society of Sacramento, Calif., for a candlelight vigil protesting the Iraq War. (News10.net – Sacramento, CA 3.19.08)

See also: Sacramento anti-war protesters hold candlelight vigil (Sacramento Bee – CA 3.20.08)

The First UU Church of Niagara in Niagara Falls, N.Y., protested the war with a silent vigil. (Buffalo News – NY 3.20.08)

Members of the Champlain Valley UU Society in Middlebury, Vt., sing for peace. (Middlebury Campus – Middlebury, VT 3.20.08)

A new peace pole at the Prescott UU Fellowship in Prescott, Az., installed around the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War, is a reminder of the congregation’s commitment to peace. (Prescott Daily Courier – Prescott, AZ 3.16.08)

Fidelity urged to divest genocide-linked investments
The Boston Globe reported on the shareholder vote on Fidelity mutual funds led by Investors Against Genocide, and notes that the UUA is one of the organizations supporting these efforts. (Boston Globe – 3.20.08)

See also: UUA pressures Fidelity over Sudanese investments (uuworld.org – 5.18.07)

Also in the media:

Camp Quixote, a tent camp for the homeless, prepares to return to the Olympia, Wash., UU Congregation. (The Olympian – Olympia, WA 3.14.08)

See also: Washington church hosts tent city (uuworld.org – 2.23.07)

The New Republic reviews a new biography of Margaret Fuller, the early
19th-century feminist and Transcendentalist, in the March 26 issue,
available online to subscribers only. (“A Noble Career,” Christine Stansell, The New Republic 3.26.08)

The book is Margaret Fuller: An American Romantic Life Volume II: The Public Years by Charles Capper (Oxford Univ Press).

The Christian Century gives the Rev. Kate Braestrup’s memoir, Here If You Need Me, a positive review in its March 25 issue (not yet available online). (The Christian Century – 3.25.08)

The Rev. Mary Wellemeyer, minister of the UU Church of Manchester, N.H., reflects on the various ways we experience Easter. (NewHampshire.com – Manchester, NH 3.19.08)

The Santa Barbara Independent gives a basic overview of the UU faith. (The Santa Barbara Independent – Santa Barbara, CA 3.16.08)

The Wenatchee World offers a list of five things you should know about Unitarian Universalism. (The Wenatchee World Online – Wenatchee, WA 3.14.08)

More churches are embracing eco-friendly practices and technology. (Greater Milwaukee Today – WI 3.13.08)

Chris Walton contributed to this week’s blog.

‘Militant Unitarians,’ Tampa Bay advertising, and more

Beliefnet editor on America’s founders
Beliefnet editor-in-chief Steven Waldman talks about his new book Founding Faith over the course of several posts, including one in which he characterizes America’s founders as “militant Unitarians.” (TPM Cafe – 3.12.08)

Tampa Bay ad campaign reports success
An advertising campaign by the UUs of the Tampa Bay Area in Florida has caught the media’s eye. The campaign, which began in February and ends in April, has included billboards, postcards, radio and TV spots, and ads in various publications, and according to Tampa Bay-area ministers, the effort to get the word out has been successful. (St. Petersburg Times – St. Petersburg, FL 3.8.08)

See also:
UU ads to appear in bowl game programs (uuworld.org – 12.21.07)

UUA launches national ad campaign in ‘Time’ (uuworld.org – 9.28.07)

Reports on UUA Marketing Outreach Campaigns (UUA.org – 9.25.07)

Also in the media:

A crowd filled the First Unitarian Society in Newton, Mass., for the annual coffee house, hosted by youth and benefiting the Chawama Family Home for AIDS in Lusaka, Zambia. (Newton TAB – Needham, MA 3.11.08)

The Sun Journal profiles Phil House, a former organist for the First Universalist Church of Auburn, Maine and a talented piano player who works with developmentally challenged people. (SunJournal.com – Lewiston, ME 3.11.08)

UUs joined in the fourth annual five-mile WinterWalk from Sherborn to Holliston, Mass., to help the homeless. (Wicked Local Sherborn – Needham, MA 3.11.08)

After two years of planning, campaigning, and construction, the new eco-friendly building of the First UU Church in Wichita, Kans., is finally complete. (Kansas.com – KS 3.10.08)

After ten years of meeting in other people’s buildings, the UU Fellowship of Rocky Mount, N.C., finally gets a home of its own. (Rocky Mount Telegram – Rocky Mount, NC 3.8.08)

The UU Congregation of the Lowcountry in Bluffton, S.C., hosted a kirtan—a traditional participatory music exercise— as a way to bring the community together. (Hilton Head Island Packet – Hilton Head Island, SC 3.8.08)

Faith Club, an interfaith group in San Pedro, Calif., meets to break down stereotypes and better understand other religions. (Daily Breeze – Torrance, CA 3.9.08)

Dealing with slavery, dissolutionment, and more

Minister reflects on the real story of America
The Rev. David Pettee, director of ministerial credentialing at the UUA, talks about discovering that his ancestors were involved in the slave trade, and what he has done to come to terms with that knowledge. (Newton TAB – Needham, MA 3.4.08)

Finding the faith, leaving the faith
Unitarian Universalism gets some positive attention in this article about a new survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, which found that nearly half of American adults have left the faith tradition of their upbringing. (MetroWest Daily News – Framingham, MA 3.1.08)

Unitarian Universalism gets somewhat less favorable attention in this student’s personal reflection on her spiritual journey away from the UU faith and toward Judaism. (North by Northwestern – Evanston, IL 3.4.08)

Book examines faith of Founding Fathers
The Rev. Gary Kowalski, senior minister of the First UU Society of Burlington, Vt., talks about his new book, Revolutionary Spirits: The Enlightened Faith of America’s Founding Fathers. (BurlingtonFreePress.com – Burlington, VT 3.3.08)

See also: Religious liberalism of America’s ‘founding fathers’ (UU World – Spring 2008)

Also in the media:

The Rev. Suzanne Paul, minister of New Hope UU Congregation in Lyon Township, Mich., reflects on the positive messages in Sesame Street and the Muppets. (South Lyon Herald – MI 2.28.08)

The Rev. Wade T. Wheelock, co-pastor of the Canton, N.Y., UU Church speaks out in defense of a GLBT film festival poster that was removed from the public bulletin board in the local Department of Social Services building. (Watertown Daily Times – Watertown, NY 3.4.08)

The Dignity Players, part of the “Arts in the Woods” program at the UU Church of Annapolis, Md., presents an adaptation of Jean Anouilh’s 1943 update of Antigone, written during the Nazi occupation of France. (Baltimore Sun – 3.5.08)

Read more about the Dignity Players: Racism subject of church group’s play (uuworld.org – 8.3.07)

The First UU Society of Albany, N.Y., held a public forum on immigration issues. (Albany Times Union – Albany, NY 3.3.08)

More than 100 people gathered at the UU Church of Chattanooga, Tenn., to hear music and stories of a drum’s seven-year tour. (Chattanooga Times Free Press – Chattanooga, TN 3.2.08)

The Third Unitarian Church of Chicago, Ill., hosted a winter farmer’s market and brunch. (Austin Weekly News – Oak Park, IL 3.5.08)

The Olympia Brown UU Church in Racine, Wisc., is sponsoring a series of panel discussions to promote “agreeable disagreement and honorable argument” in the community. (Journal Times – Racine, WI 2.29.08)

Blue Hills UU Fellowship in Rice Lake, Wisc., is helping the community transition from using disposable shopping bags to reusable Ecosilk Bags. (Rice Lake Chronotype – Rice Lake, WI)

First Church Unitarian in Littleton, Mass., held a musical soiree to celebrate its new Steinway Model O grand piano. (Littleton Independent – Littleton, MA 3.5.08)

A Unitarian leader’s passing, and more

Death of a Unitarian leader
The UUA International Office reports on the death of the General Secretary of the Unitarian Union of Northeast India, Bah Brington Mylliemngap, who passed away on February 26 at age 72. Among the letters read at the church service was one from UUA President William G. Sinkford, which is included in the notice. (UUA – 2.29.08)

Also in the media:

To help cut down on waste from plastic shopping bags, the Underwood Unitarian Women’s Alliance held a sew-in to make cloth bags. (Fergus Falls Daily Journal – Fergus Falls, MN 2.23.08)

The youth group of the First Church Unitarian in Littleton, Mass., plans a second work trip to help rebuilding efforts in the post-Katrina Gulf Coast area. (Littleton Independent – Concord, MA 2.21.08)

The Owen Sound Sun Times takes a look back at Unitarian Sarah Fuller Flower Adams, who is best remembered for writing the famous hymn, “Nearer My God to Thee.” (Owen Sound Sun Times – Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada 2.23.08)

The Rev. Leaf Seligman, minister of the First Parish in Fitchburg, N.J., writes about theology and politics. (Fitchburg pride – NJ 2.22.08)

UUs such as the Rev. Lindi Ramsden are quoted in this article, which is part of a series on amicus briefs filed by hundreds of religious organizations, professional associations, and others in support of same-sex marriage. (Bay Area Reporter – San Francisco, CA 2.21.08)

The First UU Church in Marietta, W.V., hosted its 14th annual Paper Airplane Contest. (Parkersburg News – Parkersburg, WV 2.25.08)

Husband and wife team the Rev. Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow preach the gospel of evolution. (San Diego Union Tribune – 2.23.08)

See also:
Welcome to the Ecozoic Era (UU World – Spring 2006)

Author explores Founding Fathers’ faith, and more

Minister’s new book explores Founding Fathers’ spirituality
The Rev. Gary Kowalski, senior minister of the First UU Society in Burlington, Vt., has written a new book, Revolutionary Spirits: The Enlightened Faith of America’s Founding Fathers, which looks at the spirituality of America’s early politicians and argues that they were neither evangelicals nor secularists. (USA Today – 2.12.08)

Kowalski spoke about the spiritual lives of the Founding Fathers in a President’s Day interview with Steve Zind on Vermont Public Radio. (VPR – 2.18.08)

The book was reviewed at Blog Critics magazine on January 24. (Blog Critics – 1.24.08)

Also in the media:

Newly ordained minister and fifth-generation African American UU the Rev. Lauren Smith talks briefly about her religious heritage. (The Boston – Bay State Banner – Boston, MA 2.14.08)

Philip F. Gura, author of the new book American Transcendentalism, talks about the history of Transcendentalism and its Unitarian roots. (News & Observer – Raleigh, NC 2.15.08)

The co-ministers of the First Unitarian Church of Rochester, NY., show their support for marriage equality by refusing to sign marriage licenses until same-sex couples can wed. (13WHAM-TV – Rochester, NY 2.14.08)

A growing number of liberal churches are teaching sex ed classes to their youth, including the popular Our Whole Lives (OWL) sexuality education curriculum developed by the UUA and the United Church of Christ. (AZ Central.com – AZ 2.20.08)

A father and son prepare to make their second trip to Louisiana with a group from the First Unitarian Church in Worcester, Mass., to help with post-Katrina rebuilding efforts. (Wicked Local Lancaster – Clinton, MA 2.13.08)

Unitarian Universalism and the First UU Congregation of Terre Haute, Ind., get a brief mention at the end of this article on students exploring Buddhism. (Indiana Statesman – IN 2.18.08)

Pete Seeger’s group sings, Mary Oliver’s record-breaking show, and more

Group sings help people connect
The New York Times looks at the phenomenon of group sings, in which people gather together to sing familiar songs, Beacon Press author and poet Mary Oliver became the fastest ticket sellout in the 20-year history of Seattle Arts & Lectures and prompted a ticket frenzy on Craigslist.org. (Seattle PI – WA 2.4.08)

Also in the media:
The First Church in Jamaica Plain, Unitarian Universalist, celebrates 25 years of service by their minister the Rev. Terry Burke. (Jamaica Plain Gazette – Jamaica Plain, MA 2.7.08)

Representatives from the Independent Christian Church, Universalist in Gloucester, Mass., and the First Parish Church Congregational in Manchester, N.H., are quoted in a story about a Gloucester synagogue that was destroyed in a fire. (Boston Globe – 2.10.08)

An article in the Daily Northwestern focuses on the inclusivity and political activism of the Unitarian Church of Evanston, Ill. (Daily Northwestern – Evanston, IL 2.12.08)

Patti Anne Logan, a board member at the All Souls UU Community in Lacey, Wash., writes about the universal desire for freedom. (The Olympian – Olympia, WA 2.9.08)

The Rev. Johanna Nichols, minister of the Champlain Valley UU Society in Middlebury, Vt., gave testimony in support of same-sex marriage to the Vermont Commission on Family Recognition and Protection. (Rutland Herald – Rutland, VT 2.13.08)

First Unitarian Church in Hobart, Ind., joins groups around the world in celebrating Darwin Day. (Munster Times – Munster, IN 2.8.08)

The Independent profiles Jaki Jackson, a member of the UU Congregation of the South Fork who just wrote and illustrated a children’s book, Groundhog Day: A Mid-Winter Tale. (Hamptons Independent – East Hampton, NY 2.13.08)

The Olympia UU Congregation in Washington is collecting used movies and other donations for a sale to support Out of the Woods, an emergency shelter for homeless families. (The Olympian – Olympia, WA 2.12.08)

The First Parish Congregational Church in Yarmouth, Maine, is working to raise $1.6 million to renovate and expand its historic 1860s church. (MaineToday.com – Portland, ME 2.8.08)

Groundhog Day, the Founding Fathers, Stephen Colbert, and more

Roots and inspiration on Groundhog Day
Holly Ulbrich, author of The Fellowship Movement, writes about the origin of Groundhog Day and about the lesson of transformation that can be found in the 1993 Bill Murray film Groundhog Day. (Anderson Independent Mail – Anderson, SC 2.1.08)

The Covenant of UU Pagans in Frederick, Md., celebrated the earth-centered roots of Groundhog Day. (Frederick News Post – Frederick, MD 2.3.08)

Forrest Church discusses new book
The Rev. Forrest Church, minister of public theology at Manhattan’s All Souls Unitarian Church, discusses his new book, So Help Me God: The Founding Fathers and the First Great Battle Over Church and State. (The Santa Barbara Independent – Santa Barbara, CA 2.5.08)

See also: America’s founding faiths (UU World – Winter 2007)

Defining ‘Unitarian’
Wikiality.com, a Wikipedia spoof written and moderated by fans of the popular Comedy Central show The Colbert Report hosted by Stephen Colbert, presents a tongue-in-cheek definition of Unitarianism from the “ultra conservative” point of view.

Also in the media:

Holston Valley UU Church in Gray, Tenn., prepares to celebrate Evolution Day. (Johnson City Press – TN 2.2.08)

The UU Congregation of Montclair, N.J., celebrated Evolution Weekend early. (Montclair Times – Montclair, NJ 2.6.07)

A high school publication profiles the UU Church of Palo Alto, Calif. (Paly Voice – Palo Alto, CA 12.19.07)

The Rev. Charles J. Stephens, minister of the UU Church at Washington Crossing in Titusville, N.J., explores the idea that what touches one affects us all. (phillyBurbs.com – Philadelphia, PA 2.1.08)

Lisa Fritsche, director of religious education at the UU Church of Columbia, Mo., qualified to appear on the TV quiz show Jeopardy! (Columbia Daily Tribune – Columbia, MO 1.31.08)

See also: Final Jeopardy! signals end for local contestant (Columbia Daily Tribune – Columbia, MO 2.4.08)

A UU minister, an Islamic scholar, and a Baptist professor of the New Testament debate the essence of Jesus. (Columbia Daily Tribune – Columbia, MO 2.3.08)

The UU Church of Annapolis, Md., will host its seventh annual Wintertime Red Cross Blood Drive. (WBAL – Baltimore, MD 2.5.08)

Religious communities focus on environmental issues. (The Southern – Carbondale, IL 2.1.08)

A stone commemorating the burning of two English heretics has been returned to the Unitarian church where it was created. (Halifax Evening Courier – UK 2.7.08)

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