uuworld.org: liberal religion and life


Unitarian Universalists in the media

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

Keith Olbermann’s Unitarian roots, the gospel of Springsteen, and more

‘Countdown’ host’s Unitarian roots
Keith Olbermann, the host of MSNBC’s “Countdown,” exposed his Unitarian roots during an interview with actors Jason Bateman and David Cross. At about the 4:19 mark the two actors joked that they were planning to wed at a Unitarian church in California, and Olbermann, long rumored to be a UU, replied: “Oh, good! I was raised in that faith. So there’s just a lot of political talk, there’s no actual religion involved. OK, that’s going to get me in trouble with my ancestors.” (Countdown – 6.24.08)

The gospel of Bruce
The Rev. Jeffrey Symynkywicz, a Bruce Sprinsteen fan and minister of the First Parish Universalist Church in Stoughton, Mass., has written a new book, The Gospel According to Bruce Springsteen. Symynkywicz says of Sprinsteen: “His music helps us to make sense of the sometimes tangled, often disparate threads of our lives.” (LA Times – 7.1.08)

General Assembly in the news
Local news coverage of the UUA General Assembly in Fort Lauderdale included an article about the Rev. William F. Schulz, the former president of the UUA who then served 12 years as executive director of Amnesty International USA. (Sun-Sentinel – FL 6.26.08)

Read a profile of Schulz: “High-profile advocate for human rights” (UU World – Winter 2006)

The Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel focused on youth antiracism workshops at the 2008 General Assembly, but mistakenly described the 3,000 GA-goers as “clergy”—including the teenagers interviewed for the piece. (Sun Sentinel – FL 6.29.08)

The Religion News Service reported on resolutions passed by the General Assembly in support of gay marriage and immigrant rights. (Religion News: The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life – 7.1.08.)

Wayne Dawkins wrote from Fort Lauderdale, where he was a GA delegate, on his reaction to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life’s recent study that found that Americans are more religiously tolerant than some might have us believe. (Politics In Color – Atlanta, GA 6.27.08)

UU conference center receives sizable grant
The Star Island conference center in New Hampshire has received a $100,000 grant from the UU Congregation at Shelter Rock in Manhasset, N.Y., to make necessary safety upgrades to its grounds and buildings that will allow it to stay open. (Boston Globe – 6.30.08)

See also: Long Island congregation donates $100000 to Star Island (Foster’s Daily Democrat – Dover, NH 6.29.08)

Also in the media:

The UU Fellowship of Santa Cruz County in Aptos, Calif., is one of several UU congregations in the state that has started performing free wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples. (Register Pajaronian – Watsonville, CA 7.2.08)

More than 25 members of the Countryside Church UU in Palatine, Ill., marched in the 39th annual Chicago Pride Parade. (Chicago Daily Herald – Chicago, IL 6.30.08)

The UU Church on Nantucket Island, Mass., is hosting a public reading of the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights on the Fourth of July. (Nantucket Independent – MA 7.2.08)

Thousands of people from various Christian denominations, including members of the local Unitarian community, took part in the town of Chorley’s annual walking day parade in Northern England. (Lancashire Telegraph – Blackburn, England, UK 7.1.08)

Chris Walton contributed to this week’s blog.

Obama’s universalism, John Adams’s Zionism, and more

Is Obama a ‘Universalist’ or a ‘Christian’?
Conservative syndicated columnist Cal Thomas thinks evangelicals and most Roman Catholics may question Barack Obama’s avowal of the Christian faith before they vote because Obama’s beliefs seem to include “universalism.” Thomas argues that despite the Democratic candidate’s impressive command of biblical language, he fits the definition of “false prophet” rather than true believer. (Tribune Media Services – Buffalo, NY – 6.16.08)

John Adams’s Unitarian Zionism
In a lengthy Foreign Affairs article that traces the history of American Gentiles’ attitudes toward Israel from the early 19th century to the present, Walter Russell Mead quotes President John Adams, a Unitarian, on the prospect of Jews regaining their own state: “Once restored to an independent government and no longer persecuted,” Adams wrote, Jews “would soon wear away some of the asperities and peculiarities of their character and possibly in time become liberal Unitarian Christians.” (Foreign Affairs – July/August 2008)

Spiritual exploration
Religion reporter Tracy Simmons attempts to understand the non-creedal nature of a “Unitarian Universalist Church,” but says she has yet to visit one. She asks readers to respond to her “Matter of Faith” blog, which includes a link to Connecticut’s UU congregations. (American-Republican – Waterbury, CT – 6.26.08)

Schulz cites progress on human rights
Speaking at the annual UUA General Assembly, the Rev. William F. Schulz, former president of the UUA and former executive director of Amnesty International USA, cites progress on human rights issues in America and abroad. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel – FL – 6.26.08)

Tim Berners-Lee, Internet pioneer
The British Telegraph profiles Internet pioneer and HTML author Sir Tim Berners-Lee, mentioning his Unitarian faith. (Telegraph – UK – 6.27.08)

Clock-tower steward completes Alcatraz triathlon
Jeffrey Ferris—bicycle guru, cancer survivor, community organizer, snow-shoveler, transportation activist, and clock-tower steward of the First Church in Jamaica Plain, Mass.—completed California’s grueling Alcatraz triathlon in enduring, barefoot style. (Jamaica Plain Gazette – Jamaica Plain, MA – 6.27.08)

Cradle UU
UUA General Assembly delegate and journalism professor Wayne Dawkins carries Unitarian Universalism’s non-creedal heritage with pride. Writing about the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life’s U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, Dawkins believes tolerance is alive and well among many of America’s faithful. (PoliticsInColor.com – 6.27.08)

Congregations in the news

Greener, cleaner
Fairfax County, Va., funded a $60,000 stormwater-improvement project at Mt. Vernon Unitarian Church in Alexandria; the congregation is the county’s first “Green Sanctuary” congregation. The work at the hilltop site is expected to have a positive impact on Little Hunting Creek watershed and ultimately contribute to restoring the health of Chesapeake Bay. (Mount Vernon Gazette – McLean, VA – 6.25.08)

Flooding displaces low-income daycare center
Flooding in Rutland, Vt., host the daycare center temporarily. (Rutland Herald – VT – 6.19.08, 6.27.08)

Matching funds for homeless center
The UU Fellowship of Decatur, Ill., pledged half of the proceeds from the congregation’s Earthstock event to help a homeless day center make up a budget shortfall, joining other church and community groups in the effort. (Herald & Review – Decatur, IL – 6.26.08)

Steady now
The Rev. Diane Teichert arrived 10 years ago at the First Parish UU of Canton, Mass., at a difficult time for the congregation; during her tenure she steadied things within and was active in the larger community as well. She leaves to become assistant minister at the First Parish in Bedford, Mass. (Canton Citizen – MA – 6.26.08)

Sharing history
The Unitarian Universalist Meeting House in Provincetown, Mass., has joined with other local organizations to coordinate efforts at sharing the town’s history. (Provincetown Banner – Provincetown, MA – 6.27.08)

The Rev. Dr. Paul Hull of First Church of Christ, Unitarian, in Lancaster, Mass., serves on the town’s “Celebrate Lancaster Committee,” an eight-member board that plans to work with agencies, the town, groups, and sponsors to revitalize the community. (Times & Courier – Lancaster, MA – 6.26.08)

Cultivating the garden
The garden of the UU Church of Buffalo, N.Y., has participated in a popular ornamental Garden Walk event longer than any other garden. (Buffalo News – NY – 6.27.08)

Once and future UK sanctuary
After years of closure and disuse, Todmorden Unitarian Church in Lancashire, England, has been repaired and now hosts bimonthly Unitarian worship services. (Todmorden News – Todmorden, UK – 6.26.08)

Near miss
Lightning missed the steeple but hit a utility pole in front of the Kennebunk, Me., UU church. (Sanford-Springvale Register – Biddeford, ME – 6.27.08)

Chris Walton contributed to this week’s roundup.

California marriages, same-sex parents, Founding Fathers, and more

Marriage in California

Busy time for Kern County UU minister
the Rev. Byrd Tetzlaff of the UU Fellowship of Kern County, (Bakersfield, Calif.) marries many same-sex couples in one of three of the state’s counties that have stopped performing weddings. (abc7news.com – CA 6.16.08) As a show of support, she offers services for free. (San Francisco Chronicle – CA 6.12.08)

Watch the video. (CBS Evening News – 6.17.08)

Many other UU ministers show solidarity and prepare to officiate:

Around the state, celebrating historic day

Advocacy in Humboldt County
Equal marriage activist Jamila Tharp’s renewal of vows ceremony to be the first legal same-sex ceremony in Humboldt County, Calif. (The Eureka Reporter – CA 6.16.08)

See also: Humboldt UU Fellowship, of Bayside, CA, celebrates civil marriage rights for gays. (Times-Standard – CA 6.17.08)

And looking toward November
Amid joyful atmosphere of Sonoma County (Calif.) Pride fair, same-sex marriage, parenting, in California and elsewhere. But locally based Family Policy Council of West Virginia sees the news as negative. (WOWK – Huntington – WV – 6.18.08)

And in other news

General Assembly, incoming
South Florida blog describes UUs as fresh liberal religious voice devoted to social justice and religious pluralism. (MiamiHerald.com – FL – 6.18.08)

Good reception
The Rev. Mark Spivey finds Unitarian audiences exceptionally receptive to his talks to church congregations about homosexuality. (Seminole Chronicle – Oviedo, FL – 6.11.08)

Reaction from Youngstown faithful
First UU Church of Youngstown, Ohio, welcomes gays, but many churches in area see issue differently. (Youngstown Vindicator – Youngstown, OH – 6.16.08)

Ministerial Changes
Nori Rost moves from Pikes Peak Metropolitan Community Church to All Souls UU, also in Colorado Springs, Colo. Social justice, diverse theology attracted her to Unitarian ministry. (Colorado Springs Gazette – CO – 6.14.08)

Minister of Sharon, MA, Unitarian Church Rev. Deborah Cayer is called to an interim post, in Durham, N.C. (Sharon Advocate – Norwood, MA – 6.17.08)

Outspoken Rev. Virginia Wolf retires from her long involvement with UU Congregation of Eau Claire, Wisc. (Leader-Telegram – WI – 6.17.08)

UU church leaves neighborhood a friendlier place
Treasurer of New Islamic center in Duluth, Minn., thanks UUs (whose building they purchased) for creating receptive environment (see bottom of the story). (Budgeteer – Duluth, MN 6.12.08 registration required)

Gospel of Inclusion
All Souls Unitarian Church to host Bishop Carlton Pearson’s small congregation of liberal Pentecostals. (Tulsa World – Tulsa, OK – 6.14.08)

For better working conditions
Social Justice Ministry of First UU Church of Portland, Ore., advocates for better conditions and fairness to immigrants.
(CAUSA, Oregon’s Immigrant Rights Coalition – Salem, OR 6.10.08)

Protestant decline?
Many mainline Protestant New England churches, including First Universalist of Salem, Mass., remain open but dwindling. Low closures among white-steepled churches not necessarily a sign of health. (Boston Globe – 6.15.08)

Electricity from the sun
UU Church West leads southeastern Wisconsin churches in installing solar panels. Rooftop system is expected to generate fifteen percent of church’s electrical needs.
(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – WI 6.14.08)

Plans to rebuild
Growing UU Church in New Windsor, N.Y., Unitarian looks to raise funds for new sanctuary after 2006 fire. (Times Herald-Record – Middletown, NY – 6.11.08)

Spiritual leaders of 1776
Scholar Marcia Beauchamp writes that the faith of the founding fathers (like that of UUs today) was informed by humanist teachings and balanced by belief in freedom of religion and conscience, in lengthy review of UU Minister the Rev. Gary Kowalski’s new title, Revolutionary Spirits (Bluebridge Publishers, 2008). (Tikkun Magazine – Berkeley, CA 2008)

Remembering an inspiring leader
Fellow UU reflects on the life and work of Bay Area (Calif.) activist Hal Carlstad one year after his death. (Berkeley Daily Planet – CA 6.17.08)

UU and unique
The Rev. Mary Wellemeyer of the UU Church of Manchester, N.H., shares the history of Nazi victim Norbert Capek’s “Flower Communion”service. (NewHampshire.com – 6.16.08) 

Wal-Mart ruling, JFK’s UU speechwriter, and more

UUA asks for more from Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart board rejects UUA Rev. Jonalu Johnstone’s proposed amendment to include transgender people in their anti-discrimination policy. (Benton County Daily Record – Bentonville, AR – 6.07.08)

The Interweave Continental director had proposed the broader gender identity at the retailer’s annual meeting in Fayetteville. (Miami Herald.com – Miami, FL – 6.5.08)

UU voice in JFK’s speeches echoes in today’s presidential politics
Opinion piece mentions Ted Sorensen’s new memoir, which describes how the author’s UU principles were reflected in JFK’s speeches and continue to inform dialogues on religion and politics. (Wall Street Journal – 6.10.08)

Thoughtful welcome
After 18 months of study, First UU Church of Youngstown, Ohio, publicly welcomes bisexual, gay, lesbian, and transgender people and their families. (Youngstown Vindicator – Youngstown, OH – 6.11.08)

Equal marriage
President Carol Cole-Lewis announces UU Community of Lake County to offer same-sex marriage ceremonies. (Lake County News – Lakeport, CA 6.07.08)

Interfaith pride service a local first
First Parish UU Church in Billerica Center to host town’s first BGLT Pride Interfaith Service. (Billerica Minuteman – Concord, MA – 6.10.08)

Flags witness to cost of war
Unitarian Church of Marlborough and Hudson displays more than 4,600 American flags, one for each military death in Iraq and Afghanistan. (MetroWest Daily News – Framingham, MA – 6.10.08)

The infant brain
How do infants learn social preferences? UU Rev. Hank Peirce of Medford, MA gains insights from his kids, subjects in Harvard research project. (Daily Telegraph, UK 3.4.08)

Amicable new brotherhood
In an unrelated story, the Rev. Peirce says new brand of freemasonry can provide a sanctuary for men. (Boston Herald, Boston MA – 6.10.08)

Hair share
Members from his Unitarian congregation follow son’s gift to his mother in donations for wigs for those who lose hair due to cancer treatments. (Dallas Morning News – Dallas, TX 6.9.08)

New Springsteen biography by UU author
UU minister writes The Gospel according to Bruce Springsteen. The Rev. Jeffrey B. Symynkywicz’s church, the First Parish Universalist in Stoughton, Mass., will hold a book signing later this month. (Stoughton Journal – Raynham, MA 6.9.08)

Rev. Fred Small’s third career brings him back to Harvard Square
After nearly a decade at First Church UU in Littleton, environmental advocate, folk singer, and Unitarian minister Small begins at First Parish in Cambridge, UU in mid-August as Senior Minister. (Daily News Tribune – Waltham, MA 6.10.08)

Great day for a green wedding
Couple active in UU Ministry for Earth committee celebrates environmentally friendly wedding at Channing Unitarian Universalist Church in Edmond, and shares how-to. (NewsOK.com – Oklahoma City, OK 6.7.08)

Bringing in local harvest
UU Community Church of Park Forest serves as drop-off site for local organic farmers to distribute produce to Community Supported Agriculture program participants. (Southtown Star – Chicago, IL – 6.8.08)

The flood, next time?
Kids at Unitarian Church of Staten Island, N.Y., consider how modern Noah might deal with major flood in Manhattan as a way to explore global climate change. (Staten Island Advance – SILive.com – Staten Island, NY 6.07.08)

Houses for Nicaragua
Multigenerational group from UU Church West travels to Nicaraguan village to build houses with Bridges to Community group. (Wauwatosa Now – Wauwatosa, WI – 6.07.08)

Torture awareness, grants and funding, and more

UU churches raise banners, awareness of torture

The UU Congregation of Atlanta is one of two Georgia churches to be the first in the state to subscribe to a June anti-torture campaign, sponsored by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. (Atlanta Journal Constitution – GA 6.4.08)

The Palo Alto, Calif., UU Church is among seven churches participating in “Banners Across America,” the nationwide torture-awareness initiative. (Palo Alto Online – CA 5.30.08)

The banner of the Congregational Unitarian Church of Woodstock, Ill., will proclaim torture “a moral issue.” (Northwestherald.com – Crystal Lake, IL – 5.30.08)

Awards and funding

Star Island receives grant
The Large Grant Program of the UU Congregation at Shelter Rock in Manhasset, N.Y., has awarded Star Island $100,000 to upgrade critical safety features required by the town and state to keep the conference center open. (Portsmouth Herald News – Portsmouth, NH 6.3.08)

See also: Star Island snares $100,000 grant (Foster’s Daily Democrat – Dover, NH 6.4.08)

Canadian microcredit inventor
Social justice scholar and former banker Grace Flesher creates and facilitates “Dreams and Dollars,” a Canadian UU curriculum about microcredit. (Western News – London, ON, Canada 6.5.08)

UUA awards Mt. Vernon church for social justice work
The UUA has awarded the Mt. Vernon UU Church of Alexandria, Va., the Bennett Award for Congregational Action on Human Justice and Social Action. (Washington Post – Alexandria, VA 6.5.08)

Also in the media:


In “Counting Pages,” Allegra Goodman wonders about Unitarianism while growing up Jewish. (New Yorker – 6.9.08)

St. Petersburg, Fla., UU minister the Rev. Manish Mishra describes how disagreements about sexuality are among the reasons people change church affiliation. (Tampabay.com – St. Petersburg, FL 6.6.08)

The Rev. Mary Wellemeyer, minister of the UU Church of Manchester, N.H., writes about UU memorial service traditions. (NewHampshire.com – Manchester, NH 6.2.08)

Women’s issues

Invoking Unitarian Universalism’s long history of ordaining women, the Rev. Carole Yorke speaks out in a letter against a recent Vatican warning about female priests. (TCPalm – West Palm Beach, FL 6.5.08)

The UU Church of Tampa, Fla., is screening locally filmed movie The Abortion Story. (Tampabay.com – St. Petersburg, FL 6.5.08 )

Diversity of homes

Members of First UU Society of Burlington, Vt., opened diverse homes for a fundraising house tour in May. (BurlingtonFreePress.com – Burlington,VT 5.31.08)

A tent city for Olympia’s homeless moves from the Olympia UU Congregation to another church’s downtown property. (The Olympian – Olympia, WA 6.4.08)

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

This week’s “UUs in the Media” blog was written by UU World intern Rosalie Davis.

UUs comment on marriage equality, and more

UUs and same-sex marriage
The Rev. Chris Schriner, minister of Mission Peak UU Congregation in California, writes about the ongoing fight for marriage equality. (The Argus – Fremont, CA 5.24.08)

The Rev. Colleen McDonald of the UU Church in Rockford, Ill., is quoted in this story about California’s recent decision to allow same-sex marriage—and why Illinois isn’t likely to follow in its footsteps anytime soon. (Rockford Register Star – Rockford, IL 5.16.08)

The UU Church of Reno, Nev., voted unanimously to adopt a resolution supporting marriage equality. (KRNV – Reno, NV 5.23.08)

Also in the media:

As a prisoner received a lethal injection, members of the Harrisonburg, Va., UU Church held a candlelight vigil outside in protest. (Harrisonburg Daily News Record – VA 5.28.08)

The Rev. Laurie Thomas, interim minister at the Unitarian Fellowship Church of London, Ontario, talks about the experience of being a minister as a person with a disability. (Londoner – ON, Canada 5.28.08)

The UU Society of Bangor, Maine, has called the Rev. Mary Rebecca Gunn as its new minister. (Bangor Daily News – Bangor, ME 5.24.08)

The UU Congregation of Rock Valley in Rockton, Ill., is preparing to buy the former school building it has leased for three years. (Rockford Register Star – Rockford, IL 5.28.08)

A UU religious education teacher is interviewed and the UU faith is discussed in this article about a Scouting For All protest at the national Boy Scouts of America conference. (Gay and Lesbian Times – San Diego, CA 5.29.08)

The UU Congregation of Danbury, Ct., continues to catch the media’s attention for its recent decision to join the New Sanctuary Movement. (Lower Hudson Journal news – West Harrison, NY 5.28.08)

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette profiles UU “evolutionary evangelists” the Rev. Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow. (Pittsburgh Post Gazette – Pittsburgh, PA 5.27.08)

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

The Philadelphia Inquirer profiles the UU Church in Cherry Hill, N.J. (Philadelphia Inquirer – Philadelphia, PA 5.25.08)

The UU Fellowship of Marion County, Fla., is holding a dedication service for its new building. (Villages Daily Sun – The Villages, FL 5.24.08)

A town clock, formerly located in the tower of the Unitarian Church on Nantucket Island, Mass., marks its 127th year. (Nantucket Independent – MA 5.28.08)

UUs respond to California same-sex marriage ruling, and more

UUs celebrate California’s marriage equality vote
Following the May 15 decision by California’s Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage, many same-sex couples who want to get married seem to be waiting for the other shoe to drop. Still, the Rev. Arvid Straube, minister of the First UU Church, says he expects to see plenty of requests for same-sex marriages in the next few months. (San Diego Union Tribune – 5.20.08)

The Rev. Debra Haffner, director of the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing and an endorsed community minister with the Unitarian Church in Westport, Ct., writes about her feelings on marriage ceremonies and commitment following the California ruling. (Huffington Post – 5.16.08)

Marla Scharf, a board member at the First Unitarian Church of San Jose and a volunteer with the UU Legislative Ministry Action Network, California, writes about why marriage should be based on love and commitment rather than gender or race. (San Jose Mercury News – CA 5.20.08)

The Rev. Mike Young, minister of First Unitarian Church of Honolulu, writes about the triumph of California’s same-sex marriage decision. (Honolulu Star-Bulletin – Honolulu, HI 5.17.08)

Church’s OWL program profiled
A television station did a segment on the OWL (Our Whole Lives) sexuality education program at the First UU Society of Burlington, Vt. To watch the video, go to the website and click on “Talking STIs can be uncomfortable” in the sidebar.

Also in the media:

Ted Sorenson, an adviser and speechwriter for President John F. Kennedy, mentions his Unitarianism in an interview on The Diane Rehm Show. (WAMU – May 14, 2008)

The Green Valley News profiles Mary Lou Prince, music director at the UU Congregation of Green Valley, Az. (Green Valley News – Green Valley, AZ 5.15.08)

The UU Fellowship in Newark, Del., has opened its own nonprofit daycare center. (Newark Post – Newark, DE 5.22.08)

Congregants at the UU Church in Belfast, Maine, get a weekly lesson on green living. (Maine Coast Now – Bar Harbor, ME 5.15.08)

Members of the Hattiesburg, Miss., UU Fellowship joined 465 other groups across the nation to create a “Mother’s Day action gift” for climate change. (Hattiesburg American – Hattiesburg, MS 5.17.08)

In an article about whether churches should display U.S. flags, Judith Southard, president of First UU of West Volusia, Fla., says UU churches don’t display national or political flags of any kind. (Daytona Beach News-Journal – Daytona Beach, FL 5.17.08)

The UU Congregation of Danbury, Ct., has decided to join the New Sanctuary Movement. (Newsday – Long Island, NY 5.18.08)

This story on the flower communion at the Unitarian Congregation of Rock County, Wisc., gives a brief overview of UU beliefs, practices, and history. (Janesville Gazette – Janesville, WI 5.19.08)

Cedar Lane UU Church in Bethesda, Md., celebrates the 50th anniversary of its church building. (Business Gazette – Gaithersburg, MD 5.21.08)

The UU Fellowship of Midland, Mich., Social Justice Committee and the Michigan UU Environmental Justice Task Force sponsored a forum on coal energy and renewable energy sources. (The Saginaw News – MLive.com – Saginaw, MI 5.22.08)

Slave-owning ancestors, gay rights, and more

Minister explores ancestors’ slave trade involvement
While researching his family’s history, the Rev. David Pettee, director of Ministerial Credentialing at the Unitarian Universalist Association, discovered that his ancestors had been slaveholders and traders. In an effort to come to terms with this information, Pettee has traveled to Africa, spoken to descendants of the slaves his family owned, and done a lot of reflection. Friday, May 16 he was interviewed on WBUR’s On Point Radio. You can listen to the segment online. (WBUR.org – 5.16.08)

Pettee has also written several essays on his experience:

Claiming Our History, Warts and All (UUA.org – 5.10.07)

The Ties that Bind: A Deeper Exploration of My Family’s History with the Slave Trade (UUA.org – 11.20.07)

California rules in favor of marriage equality
A statement from UUA president the Rev. William Sinkford appeared in a compilation of reactions to California’s recent ruling in favor of same-sex marriage. The California Supreme Court ruled on Thursday, May 15 that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. (The Bay Area Reporter – CA 5.15.08)

Read President William G. Sinkford’s statement. (UUA.org – 5.15.08)

UUA pushes Verizon to adopt nondescrimination policy
The UUA, which owns 1,300 shares of Verizon common stock, has been pushing the company to add a gender identity clause to its nondiscrimination policy. (Artvoice – Buffalo, NY)

The proposal to amend Verizon’s equal employment policy to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity was voted down May 1, but backers, including the UUA’s treasurer and vice president of finance Tim Brennan, said they were encouraged by the support they got and plan to continue pushing the matter. (Bay Area Reporter – 5.8.08)

Also in the media:

A statue of the Rev. Thomas Starr King, the Unitarian minister credited with keeping California in the Union during the Civil War, is being replaced in the U.S. Capitol’s National Statuary Hall Collection. (Washington Times – 5.15.08)

UU congregations join other New York churches to raise relief funds for Burma (Myanmar). (Newsday – Long Island, NY 5.10.08)

The UU Congregation of Danbury, Ct., is voting at its annual meeting on whether to join the New Sanctuary Movement. (Danbury News Times – Danbury, CT 5.11.08)

Prairie Circle UU Congregation in Grayslake, Ill., was recognized by the UUA as a member church. (Waukegan News Sun – Waukegan, IL 5.9.08)

In honor of its 300th anniversary, First Unitarian Church in Bedford, Mass., will offer tours of its historic church and grounds. (SouthCoastToday.com – New Bedford, MA 5.10.08)

The UU Church of Hagerstown, Md., opens its labyrinth to the public each month. (WHAG – Hagerstown, MD 5.11.08)

Children at the Cape Area Family Resource Center afterschool program will plant and care for a garden prepared by members of the UU Fellowship of Cape Girardeau and the Southeast Missouri Climate Protection Initiative. (Southeast Missourian – Cape Girardeau, MO 5.12.08)

Florida UUs in the news, Ric Masten dies, and more

Florida UUs in the news
The 2008 UUA General Assembly in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is less than two months away, and stories about UU activities and faith are beginning to pop up in Florida’s media coverage.

The Rev. Susanne Nazian, consulting minister for the UU Congregation of Venice, Fla., answers a Q&A about UU beliefs and work. (Sarasota Herald-Tribune – Sarasota, FL 5.3.08)

An article on Tallahassee.com looks at national and local efforts to get the word out about Unitarian Universalism through advertising campaigns. (Tallahassee.com – Tallahassee, FL 5.2.08)

A group of more than 20 Florida spiritual groups and churches, including Manatee UU Fellowship in Bradenton and Interweave Sarasota, hosted an interfaith worship service as part of Sarasota’s Gay Pride Week. (Sarasota Herald-Tribune – Sarasota, FL 5.3.08)

Ric Masten remembered

The Rev. Ric Masten, a poet, artist, and UU community minister whose song “Let It Be a Dance” is well-known in UU congregations, died of prostate cancer May 9. (The Herald – Monterey County, CA 5.11.08)

UU World profiled Masten a few years ago: See Dancing through Life” (November/December 2004).

Also in the media:

The UUA, which owns 1,300 shares of Verizon common stock, is pushing the company to add a gender identity clause to its nondiscrimination policy. (Artvoice – Buffalo, NY)

Kate Burns (a UU) and Sheila Schroeder were convicted of trespassing for staging a sit-in at the Denver county clerk’s office when they were refused a marriage license. (Rocky Mountain News – Denver, CO 5.7.08)

The UU Congregation of the Lowcountry in Bluffton, S.C., hosted a dinner and fundraiser for Upendo Village, a nonprofit that helps people with HIV/AIDS in Kenya. (Hilton Head Island Packet – Hilton Head Island, SC 5.3.08)

Rethink, a group of middle school students from New Orleans, will speak at an annual UU youth conference in Massachusetts. (Duxbury Reporter – MA 5.8.08)

The Rev. Roy Phillips, who led Unity Church-Unitarian in St. Paul, Minn., for nearly three decades, died April 24 at age 66. (Minneapolis Star Tribune – Minneapolis, MN 5.3.08)

The Rev. Beverly Boke, minister of the UU Church in Newport News, Va., writes about what UUs believe. (Daily Press – Newport News, VA 5.3.08)

The Live Oak UU Congregation in Goleta, Calif., broke ground on a new sanctuary. (The Santa Barbara Independent – Santa Barbara, CA 5.4.08)

Updated 5.12.08. Chris Walton contributed to this week’s blog.

Q&A with a Kennedy speechwriter, and more

Kennedy speechwriter, UU publishes new book
The New York Times interviewed Ted Sorensen, a speechwriter for John F. Kennedy, Unitarian, and author of the forthcoming memoir, Counselor: A Life at the Edge of History. (New York Times – 4.27.08)

Also in the media:

Grist Magazine publishes a speech delivered by UU Ken Ward on Earth Day at the UU First Church in Jamaica Plain, Mass., about the importance of caring for the planet. (Grist Magazine – Seattle, WA 4.29.08)

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia lecturer Dr. Mohamad Tajuddin says mosque designers could learn a lot from the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, such as the Meeting House he created for the First Unitarian Society of Madison, Wisc. (Malaysia Star – Malaysia 4.27.08)

See also: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unitarian Universalist churches (UU World – May/June 2005)

The Rev. Barb Greve, a transgender UU minister, leads the annual service on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people and their experiences at the UU Church of Newburyport, Mass. (The Daily News of Newburyport – Newburyport, MA 4.25.08)

Twelve same-sex couples renewed their vows at the First Unitarian Church of Rochester, N.Y. (Rochester Democrat and Chronicle – Rochester, NY 4.27.08)

The North Shore Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth, which is hosted by the First Universalist Church of Salem, Mass., holds its first fundraising event to help the group offer more comprehensive services to its youth membership. (New England Blade – Boston, MA 4.24.08)

The Rev. Leaf Seligman, minister of the First Parish UU Church of Fitchburg, Mass., writes about how multifaith programs and work can strengthen a congregation. (Fitchburg Pride – MA 4.25.08)

Harvard Law School Professor and famed author, Randall Kennedy, paid tribute to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by reading his “I Have a Dream” speech at the annual Music Sunday of the First Parish UU in Bedford, Mass. (Bedford Minuteman – Concord, MA 4.26.08)

Get Unitarian Universalists in the Media by email. Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner