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Unitarian Universalists in the media

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

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.

Mourning second Knoxville victim; shooter considers insanity plea

UU World‘s coverage of the July 27 church shootings at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville continues this week with two stories: Knoxville church adapts to aftermath of shooting (Jane Greer, 8.11.08) and Fund raises $41,000 for Knoxville shooting victims (Jane Greer, 8.11.08). The Unitarian Universalist Association also raised funds for a full-page ad in the Sunday, August 10, New York Times.

Here’s a guide to news coverage from other media since our last roundup on August 6:

Local coverage:

Coverage elsewhere:


Knoxville church rededicated; shooter waives hearing

Our coverage of the deadly shooting at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville continues with a roundup of the latest stories and commentary. Former ministers of TVUUC converged in Knoxville on Sunday, August 3, as the congregation rededicated its sanctuary, where two people were killed and six others were injured when a gunman opened fire on July 27. Video of the rededication service is online at the WBIR-TV website. News organizations in Knoxville and throughout the U.S. continue to report on the shooting and its aftermath.

The accused shooter, Jim David Adkisson, is being held on first-degree murder charges. His defense attorney is preparing an insanity defense. Adkisson waived his right to a preliminary hearing on Wednesday.

Church rededication:

Criminal investigation:

Local responses:

Coverage elsewhere:

  • In wake of shooting, is it safe to be a liberal? (Gresham Outlook – Gresham OR, 8.5.08)
  • Houses of worship seek safety, security (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – Pittsburgh PA, 8.5.08)
  • When violence invaded worship spaces (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – Pittsburgh PA, 8.5.08)
  • You are not alone: Local Unitarian Universalist church receives moral support (Daily Times – Maryville TN, 8.4.08)
  • Commentary:

    Second day of Knoxville shooting coverage

    UU World is tracking the ongoing news coverage of the deadly shootings this past Sunday at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville. Yesterday’s post included the first 24 hours of news coverage; the second 24 hours of coverage appears below.

    UU World‘s first news story was published Monday evening: Two Unitarian Universalists killed in church shooting (Donald E. Skinner, 7.28.08). UUA.org coverage continues here. The UUA and the Thomas Jefferson District announced earlier today that they are setting up a Knoxville relief fund. The UUA has also launched a blog to collect condolences and statements of support.

    Community vigil and interfaith responses:

    Explaining Unitarian Universalism:

    The victims:

    Criminal investigation:

    The Knoxville News Sentinel has set up a special section for its Knoxville Church Shooting coverage.

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