Welcome! The Women and Religion Movement is alive and well in the 21st Century. A grassroots project started by lay leaders in the 1970s as an effort to promote examination of religious roots of sexism and patriarchy within the UUA and beyond, UU Women and Religion officially began as a task force following the unanimously-passed WOMEN AND RELIGION RESOLUTION at the 1977 UUA General Assembly. Although the Task Force was eventually sunsetted, the movement still exists in UU Districts that hold Women & Religion programs and woman-focused gatherings. It exists at General Assembly, where UUW&R has an annual gathering and a booth in the display area. And it lives in the hearts and lives of women and men who have been touched by the many changes inspired by this movement.
"We do not want a piece of the pie. It is still a patriarchal pie. We want to change the recipe!" -- Rosemary Matson
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Time Travelers ...
Over the past few years, women have been sending us their archive files from District W&Rs and UUWF groups. We're beginning to make progress in getting these bits of our UU women's herstory scanned and eventually uploaded to the web. Here are some of the latest treasures:
Central Midwest UUWF newsletters. These go back to 1965 !!
UUWF and UUWR: The Differences (1989)
Editor's Notes, July 2015: I find it interesting in reading Phyllis Rickter's 1989 letter that the roles are almost reversed in 2015. While UU Women's Federation remains one of only TWO Affiliated Organizations, in 1996 the UUWR Committee was "sunsetted," meaning no longer a UUA staff-supported Committee. UUWR applied for and was granted "UUA Independent Affiliate Organization" status in 2002. UUWR was further removed from UUA organizational structure when all 60 or so of the Independent Affiliates were re-named "Related Organizations" a few years later. These groups no longer received discounts on GA exhibit booths, or a guaranteed program slot for GA, and their status was relegated to a listing on the UUA website.
Continental UUW&R continues to operate independently, within a loose network of District W&R groups and other like-minded UU women's organizations. UUW&R currently focuses on finding and providing feminist thealogy and women's spirituality resources for congregations and women's groups; UUWF continues to follow their mission of "advancing justice for women and girls and supporting their spiritual growth," supported by individual memberships and an endowment that allows them to give grants to projects that align with their mission.
While over the years, communication "has not always been good," to put it mildly, today the UUWF and UUWR are forging new relationships and brainstorming possible collaborations. We worked side-by-side exhibit booths at General Assembly 2015, and have some ideas in the works for 2016. Stay tuned!
UUWF - Unitarian Universalist Women's Federation
Phyllis Rickter, President
ON THE SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES BETWEEN UUWF AND WOMEN/RELIGION COMMITTEE
Betty B Hoskins 1936-2015
We mourn the passing of UU activist Betty B Hoskins on June 20, 2015. A member of First Unitarian Church of Worcester, Massachusetts, Betty was a bioethicist and tireless worker for reproductive justice.
She had been an active layperson in Unitarian Universalist congregations in Maryland, Massachusetts, and Texas, and also held leadership and planning positions in the UU Women’s Federation, Women and Religion, UUs for Right Relations, Second Circle workshops, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, the UUA Pamphlet Commission, the Skinner Sermon Award Committee, and past president of UU Collegium.
Read more: http://www.uuwf.org/who-we-are/foremothers/
Betty with Nancy Rogers at the UUWR booth at General Assembly 2014
General Assembly 2015 recap
General Assembly this year held some high points: the statement of conscience on Reproductive Justice was approved. Read the DRAFT. Ware lecturer Dr. Cornell West railed against not only white supremacy but male supremacy. He challenged us all to Integrity, Honesty, Decency and Virtue. Watch the VIDEO to get a fuller sense of what he means. It was an electrifying speech. Newly fellowshipped ministers included a large contingent of young women. As someone already past middle-age, this gives me a boost of hope for the future, and also a grand curiosity. How will this new wave change our denomination -- and the world -- yet again? What wil be the shape of their ministry?
In closer focus, this year marked evidence of a closer relationship with our sister organization, the UU Women's Federation. They sponsored two excellent workshops at GA and gave an annual report to the UUA. With a herstory going back at least 150 years, UUWF is the oldest women's organization in our denomination. UUWF is conducting a SURVEY to hear what UU women prioritize in social justice work. We had side-by-side booths in the GA Exhibit Hall, and learned a lot about each other, sometimes "working" each others' booths. It was a good opportunity to explain to many people what the differences in emphasis are between our two groups. UUWF board members were very focused and got into a lot of one-on-one conversations with GA-goers.
Helen Hughes passes
As you may know, last week Helen Hughes passed away peacefully in her sleep at her home in Belfast, ME. Many people at the UU Church in Park Forest, Illinois remember her dearly and wish to share memories with one another. There will be a memorial celebration to honor her on Saturday, June 20th at 2pm at UUCC. Our CUUPs chapter will follow the memorial with a Summer Solstice Celebration. You are invited to attend both of these events. We look forward to seeing you. If you cannot attend, please keep her in mind at that time, perhaps by lighting a candle for her.
Helen Elizabeth Hughes, PhD
Helen was born April 23, 1922, in Damariscotta, ME, the last of 10 children, to the Rev. Thomas Bennett Hughes (1865-1957) and the Rev. Sarah Barbara Mayhew Hughes (1876-1972). She died in Belfast, May 26, 2015. She was 93.