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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 gathering. 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

Come hear Sally Roesch Wagner, PhD
in St. Pete March 28!
There may also be a radio interview prior to the event - watch this space for further info.


FEBRUARY 28, 2009


“Meet Matilda Joslyn Gage”


Most Americans have at least a passing acquaintance with the names Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. However, most do not know of their far more radical colleague, Matilda Joslyn Gage, who, together with Stanton and Anthony, formed the driving force triumvirate behind the National Woman Suffrage Association more than a century ago. “...(t)he three names, Stanton, Anthony, and Gage...will ever hold a grateful place in the hearts of posterity,” predicted the Woman’s Tribune in 1888. But Gage’s name was all but lost following her death in 1898.  

Nationally recognized historian Dr. Sally Roesch (pronounced ‘rush’) Wagner, literary executor of the Gage papers and Executive Director of the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation (formed in 2000), brings Gage back to life with her expert presentations. “Gage challenged the oppression of women by church, state, family and capitalism at its most fundamental levels,” says Wagner. “Her vision of a world based on true liberty for all people speaks to us with surprising relevance today.”

Wagner’s pioneering credentials support that assertion. One of the first women in this country to earn a doctorate for work in women’s studies, Wagner was a founder of one of the nation’s first women’s studies programs.  She was a “talking head” on Ken Burns’ PBS documentary “Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton,” and wrote its accompanying faculty guide.  She was an historian in the PBS special “One Woman, One Vote” and has been interviewed a number of times on NPR’s “All Things Considered” and “Democracy Now.”

Wagner has authored numerous books, including a reissue for the modern reader of Gage’s 1893 magnum opus, “Woman, Church and State.”  Her monograph of Gage’s life, “Matilda Joslyn Gage: She Who Holds the Sky” tells of a radical suffragist who was also an abolitionist whose stately home served on the Underground Railroad, whose son-in-law was L. Frank Baum and that it was Gage who encouraged him to “write those [Oz] stories down.”  Wagner’s “Sisters in Spirit” illuminates the Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) influence on early American feminists. 

Gage, adopted into the Wolf Clan of the Haudenosaunee nation the same year she was jailed for voting in a school board election, decried sex trafficking of women, exposed the fact that Catholic priests (and Protestant ministers as well) were sexually abusing children, warned of the danger of letting religion seep into government, and envisioned a true religion that would ‘set people free’ – all more than 100 years ago.

Recently, Gloria Steinem wrote that Gage was “...ahead of the women who were ahead of their time” and Ellie Smeal tagged Gage as “...the woman we need to know about today.”

Dr. Wagner’s presentation “Meet Matilda Joslyn Gage” is a Gage Foundation friend-raiser, and will include a brief video. The free event is at 2:00 PM, Saturday, March 28, at the St. Petersburg Unitarian-Universalist Church, 719 Arlington Avenue North at Mirror Lake. Q&A and light refreshments follow. Doors open at 1:30.   Door prizes, 50/50 raffle, bookstore, silent auction. No credit or debit cards. Free parking.  Registration is requested at http://www.matildajoslyngage.org or by phone at 315/637-9511.


W&R foremother/implementer/activist Rosemary Matson turns 91 on September 20, 2008.  Groups she has been active with, many for decades, include the United Nations, Humanists of America, UU Women & Religion, UU Women's Federation, UU Women's Heritage Society, Carmel Valley Women's Network and others. She has received numerous awards and honors throughout her life.  If you are so inclined, cards may be sent to her... [Rosemary passed in 2014]

In Memory: Rev. Laurel Sheridan (1940-2008)

Rev. Sheridan died on May 15, 2008 after hospitalization for numerous ailments. She was ordained in 1982 in Duxbury, MA, and served in Vermont, Maine, and Pennsylvania before returning to Massachusetts.

    WHEREAS, a principle of the Unitarian Universalist Association is to affirm, defend, and promote the supreme worth of every human personality, and the use of the democratic method in human relationships; and
    WHEREAS, great strides have been taken to affirm this principle within our denomination; and
    WHEREAS, some models of human relationships arising from religious myths, historical materials, and other teachings still create and perpetuate attitudes that cause women everywhere to be overlooked and undervalued; and
    WHEREAS, children, youth and adults internalize and act on these cultural models, thereby tending to limit their sense of self-worth and dignity;
    THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: That the 1977 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association calls upon all Unitarian Universalists to examine carefully their own religious beliefs and the extent to which these beliefs influence sex-role stereotypes within their own families; and
    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That the General Assembly urges the Board of Trustees of the Unitarian Universalist Association to encourage the Unitarian Universalist Association administrative officers and staff, the religious leaders within societies, the Unitarian Universalist theological schools, the directors of related organizations, and the planners of seminars and conferences, to make every effort to: (a) put traditional assumptions and language in perspective, and (b) avoid sexist assumptions and language in the future.
    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That the General Assembly urges the President of the Unitarian Universalist Association to send copies of their resolution to other denominations examining sexism inherent in religious literature and institutions and to the International Association of Liberal Women and the IARF (International Association for Religious Freedom) and
    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That the General Assembly requests the Unitarian Universalist Association (a) to join with those who are encouraging others in the society to examine the relationship between religious and cultural attitudes toward women, and (b) to send a representative and resource materials to associations appropriate to furthering the above goals; and
    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That the General Assembly requests the President of UUA to report annually on progress in implementing this resolution.

This Resolution was passed unanimously by the Unitarian Universalist Association at General Assembly 1977, Ithaca, NY




We do not want a piece of the pie; it is still a patriarchal pie.
We want to change the recipe!

--Rosemary Matson,
W&R foremother and Resolution implementer

In 1977 the UUA General Assembly unanimously passed the Women & Religion Resolution, calling all individual UUs and UU organizations to examine and put aside sexist assumptions, attitudes and language, and to explore and eliminate religious roots of sexism in myths, traditions and beliefs. Lucile Schuck Longview, visionary UU laywoman working in tandem with individuals and organizations, initiated the Resolution. And a vital, ongoing movement was born.

For two decades the UUA Board-appointed Women and Religion Committee led in transforming Unitarian Universalism toward greater inclusiveness and gender equality. Significant changes in the denomination were inspired by the Resolution. At the same time Women & Religion groups formed and grew at the District level, where W&R programs and retreats deepened and enriched the lives of countless women, UU or not. These gatherings continue to nurture and support women of all ages, expanding and broadening horizons of possibility. Oftentimes, W&R newcomers subsequently joined UU churches in their District.

In 1996 the UUA Board declared the work of the Resolution complete and "sunsetted" its Women and Religion Committee, ending its UUA funding. District W&R groups, however, continued to meet, and there was much conversation across the continent about what to do next. In 1997 at its 20th anniversary, W&R’s "sunrise" logo was introduced—a broad umbrella under which District activities carried on and flourished. Active District groups called themselves ‘stars in the night’ and the overall movement ‘The Continental Constellation’ of Women & Religion, moving “Onward...to the sunrise.”

In 2002, in honor of the 25th anniversary of the Resolution, UU Women & Religion officially became an independent affiliate organization of the Unitarian Universalist Association in order to continue the work of establishing gender equality in our religious movement and the world. The religious roots of sexism persist in pervading the secular world today, reinforcing sexism and patriarchy throughout civilization. Clearly, we still have work to do!

In 2006, a new motto was coined for the sunrise logo: ‘Toward a new day...’

We're Women & Religion
And we're here to say
We're Women & Religion
And we're here to stay!
We're Women & Religion
And we're here to say
The work to do's not done
So we're here to stay!




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