Thursday, 26 February 2015 00:00
March 1, From Choice to Justice: Our Spiritual Work 4 Decades After Roe. Passions run high and shame runs deep around issues of reproductive health, rights, and justice. "There is a way forward," says our speaker, the Reverend Kelli Clement, Minister of Social Justice at First Unitarian Church, Minneapolis, MN.
March 8, Resilience of the Heart. Join community minister and Chaplain Rev. Kali Hayslett for a look at this month's soul matters theme of resilience through the lenses of chaplaincy. Kali will share stories of what it means to be with people in those most precious, scary, and life changing moments; stories of the resilience of the human heart.
March 15, Resilience in the Face of Oppression. Rev. Jim shares information from a workshop by the Allies for Racial Equity/Diverse, Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries conference in New Orleans this weekend and his ongoing work with Justice and Beyond.
March 22, And What Do We Do About Our Water? Given that this is Justice Sunday, World Water Day, and the first Sunday in spring your minister's message will look at the difficulties being faced in finding water and the upcoming expansion of these water-deprived areas. Is there anything we can do to help? Are there steps or programs we can support?
March 29, Breathe Softly, Breathe Deeply. On the Sunday just before April 1 the Reverend Doctor E.Z. Wind has been asked to our pulpit to share the results of years of study on breath and breath work. You should learn breathing techniques that provide healing benefits or daily assistance in your times for meditation or reflection.
Wednesday, 06 August 2014 19:46
Rev. VanderWeele attended the First UU service where anti-choice protestors disrupted worship. This letter was written in response. 40 local faith leaders signed on to say that the Space for Worship is Sacred.
Letter: Time, space for worship sacred
On Sunday morning, July 20, the sacred time and space of a historic New Orleans congregation was violated. As congregants of First Unitarian Universalist Church, founded in 1833, held a moment of silent prayer to grieve a young woman of the church who had died the previous week, protestors from Operation Save America began to harangue the minister and spew words of hate to and at the congregation. In shock, but with increasing pain as these diatribes continued, the congregation listened quietly as protestors vilified and insulted them. Soon, though, the protestors were ushered out of the church.
As this was happening in the sanctuary, other protesters, holding grotesque images, massed around the windows of the church nursery, screaming at the babies and toddlers. Youth were told they were “going to hell” and that their family members were suffering from illness due to their sins. The church members responded by singing words of love, justice and freedom to counteract this hateful rhetoric.
For religious communities in the United States, the freedom to worship is a deeply cherished right. Whatever our faith, whenever we worship, the right to worship as we choose was fought for by our ancestors and is vital to all today. Along with this freedom comes the right to disagree, which is one part of the pluralism created by our religious freedom.
But all of us agree that no one has the right to desecrate the sacred worship time and space in order to express their disagreement. The undersigned people of faith do not agree on everything. In fact, some of us only agree that we have the right to disagree. But that is enough. No congregation, whatever their views may be, should have their sacred worship time and space violated. Not ever. Not by anybody.
I and 39 other local religious leaders by this letter call on the larger community to stand with us, with hearts joined on the side of love and in opposition to religious terrorism.
The Rev. Jim VanderWeele, New Orleans
The Rev. William Barnwell
The Rev. Paul Beedle
The Rev. Claire Vonk Brooks
The Rev. Gary Brooks
Pat Bryant, co-moderator, Justice and Beyond
The Rev. Callie Winn Crawford
Rabbi Edward Paul Cohn
The Rev. Jeff Conner
The Rev. Rob Courtney
The Rev. Don Frampton
The Rev. Lauren Frazier-McGuin
The Rev. Joann M. Garma
Vanessa Gueringer, vice president, A Community Voice
Michael G. Hackett, deacon, Diocese of Louisiana
The Very Rev. AJ Heine
The Rev. Henry L. Hudson
The Rev. Eronica C. King
Rabbi Ethan Linden
Rabbi Robert H. Loewy
The Rev. Dr. Jane Mauldin
The Rev. Priscilla Maumus
The Rev. Herbert McGuin, III
Rabbi Barbara Metzger
The Rev. Melanie Morel-Ensminger
Max Niedzwiecki, convener
Tom Paine, pastor
The Rev. Fred Powell, III
The Rev. Tony Rigoli, OMI
The Rev. Darcy Roake
Minister Norbert Rome
The Rev. Mitchell Smith
Dr. William Soileau
The Rev. William H. Terry
The Rev. William Thiele, Ph.D.
The Rev. Jennie Thomas
The Rev. Ron Unger
The Rev. Deanna Vandiver
The Rev. Tom Watson
The Rev. Dwight Webster, Ph. D.
What Is Unitarian Universalism?
Wednesday, 23 April 2008 19:10
Unitarian Universalism began within the Christian Church as two separate heresies: belief in the oneness of God (Unitarianism) and belief in universal salvation (Universalism). These ideas, though preceding it, gained followers after the Protestant Reformation in the 1500's and were widely taught in the United States in the 1700's at Harvard College and within the congregationalism of the Pilgrim church.
In 1785 King's Chapel in Boston was the first American church to declare its Unitarianism. Through the years as they were affected by transcendentalism and the rationalist humanists, Unitarianism and Universalism grew further from traditional Christianity and closer to one another and officially merged in 1961.
From their founding both Unitarianism and Universalism were non-creedal, claiming freedom of belief as a basic value. The authority for our individual beliefs is the evidence of our local experience refined through reason and spirit and tested in community. Although those beliefs may range from liberal Christianity to naturalistic humanism, it is probably true that nearly all of us can agree to these four statements:
Each of us has the right and the responsibility to seek his or her own truth.
Our faith, although it may transcend reason may not be contrary to it.
We respect all people for their individual worth without regard to color, creed, gender, or sexual orientation.
We must focus on the needs and purposes of this life rather than an afterlife in which some of us may believe, but for which we have no evidence.
This only scratches the surface, there is a wealth of information about Unitarian Universalism available on the web site of the Unitarian Universalist Association.