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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 communities that hold Women & Religion programs and gatherings for those who identify as women. It exists at the UU General Assembly, where UUW&R brings our Store to the Exhibit Hall and occasionally hosts a gahering. And it lives in the hearts and lives of people 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

UUWF-logo-words-horizIn late summer of 2015, the UU Women's Federation (UUWF) invited UU women at GA and online to respond to nine survey questions. When asked which of the issues affecting women are most important to them, survey participants focused on economic and reproductive justice. Equal pay, abortion, and contraception were ranked the highest, followed closely by gender-based and domestic violence. Other issues that are front-of-mind currently include insurance, environment, and human rights. It is encouraging that the UUWF already has a broad focus on a wide range of issues that impact women and girls, and yet the survey also gives them scope for broadening their work.

Over 225 responses were received. They have summarized the results. The complete tabulation is also available. UUWF wishes to thank all those who participated.

WeMoonCoverThe Association for Study of Women and Mythology Board of Directors has announced the Women of We’Moon as the 2015 recipients of the Brigit Award for the Arts.  In so doing they recognize the artistic accomplishment and leadership of the many women who have contributed to and produced We’Moon and all it stands for through visionary art, poetry, and prose, offered in the form of empowering multicultural, earth spirited publications and projects.

From the 1980s to the present, and with the establishment of Mother Tongue Ink, We’Moon has produced an impressive stream of publications, including day and wall calendars, visually stimulating posters and art cards, and the impressive retrospective volume, In the Spirit of We’Moon: Celebrating Thirty Years (2010). More recently We’Moon has published Starhawk’s inspiring children’s book The Last Wild Witch: An Eco-Fable for Kids and Other Free Spirits! We’Moon has also created the We’Moon Land Communities in Oregon and We’Mooniversity, which trains women and girls to find their earth inspired creativity.

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Margot AdlerAuthor and long-time NPR correspondent Margot Adler passed away July 28 at the age of 68, after a battle with cancer. Pictured at right at General Assembly in 2006, she was well-known as a leader in many circles, including CUUPs, and at UU women's gatherings such as the 2009 International Convocation of UU Women (photo below).

I first met Margot in 1996. CUUPS was having a Summer Solstice ritual as part of General Assembly. As I recall, Margot led the spiral dance outdoors in a park in downtown Indianapolis. It was a joyful and peaceful event, only nudged at the end by local police, informing the group that they couldn't dance on the grass.

May you dance to your heart's content in the Summerland, Margot.

-- Gretchen Ohmann

The news and some responses:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/07/28/336081618/margot-adler-an-npr-journalist-for-three-decades-dies

http://www.npr.org/2014/07/28/336123342/margot-adler-a-venerable-and-beloved-npr-voice-passes-at-68

http://admin.patheos.com/blogs/themediawitches/2014/07/shocking-and-sad-rest-in-peace-margot-adler/

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Lately I've been hearing from women who want to be sure our UU women's stories are not forgotten. So far I know of a few projects that are online:

SW District W&R history page (on the SW UU Women site)
Pacific Central District W&R video stories featuring Rosemary Matson
Women's Spirituality Group of First Unitarian Church South Bend Indiana

I know there are more in the works. What's the herstory of your UU women's group? Maybe we can share these at GA this year.

Email me! -- Gretchen, info@uuwr.org

UU Santa FeSomeone was asking -- what hymns in the UU Singing the Living Tradition (STLT) hymnal speak to women's history and/or are by women composers or lyricists? I did a bit of checking around. Hmm, I see we still have a ways to go. The STLT Index of Composers only lists around 80 women composers, arrangers or lyricists … out of several hundred. Which ones speak to you?

I especially like anything by Carolyn McDade: 121 We’ll Build A Land, 123 Spirit of Life, 346 Come Sing A Song with Me. I think she speaks more to present and universal experience than to history, but that's just me.

Megan Marshall's book on Margaret Fuller is coming out March 4 in paperback. It's also available for tablet readers like Kindle and Nook.

"The award-winning author of The Peabody Sisters takes a fresh look at the trailblazing life of a great American heroine—Thoreau’s first editor, Emerson’s close friend, first female war correspondent, and passionate advocate of personal liberation and political freedom.

"From an early age, Margaret Fuller provoked and dazzled New England’s intellectual elite. Her famous Conversations changed women’s sense of how they could think and live; her editorship of the Transcendentalist literary journal The Dial shaped American Romanticism. Now, Megan Marshall, whose acclaimed The Peabody Sisters “discovered” three fascinating women, has done it again: no biography of Fuller has made her ideas so alive or her life so moving.

"Marshall tells the story of how Fuller, tired of Boston, accepted Horace Greeley’s offer to be the New York Tribune’s front-page columnist. The move unleashed a crusading concern for the urban poor and the plight of prostitutes, and a late-in-life hunger for passionate experience. In Italy as a foreign correspondent, Fuller took a secret lover, a young officer in the Roman Guard; she wrote dispatches on the brutal 1849 Siege of Rome; and she gave birth to a son.

Yet, when all three died in a shipwreck off Fire Island shortly after Fuller’s 40th birthday, the sense and passion of her life’s work were eclipsed by tragedy and scandal. Marshall’s inspired account brings an American heroine back to indelible life."

This Fall 2015 trip continues the tradition of ICUUW's two previous service-learning trips to India and the Philippines, providing educational experiences as well as personal bonds with our liberal religious sisters. Join us to gain a deeper understanding of social, economic, and environmental issues affecting the local community and the indigenous peoples, as well as to visit sacred religious sites in Bolivia (such as Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat) and Peru (Machu Picchu).

Olga Flores, human rights activist and leader of a Unitarian Universalist community in La Paz, will accompany us on our journey of discovery, contributing relevant expertise and insights into our shared religious roots and the local culture.

icuuw-logo-smSeveral days will be dedicated to a small gathering of liberal religious women in La Paz, where we will engage in a community capacity building effort called “Global Sisters Process,” a democratic decision-making process providing women with the necessary tools and skills to establish priorities and address them through consensual decision-making and action-planning.

Please communicate your interest in the tour to International Women's Convocation Executive Director Zsófia Sztranyiczki at sztranyiczkizsofia@gmail.com

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