What’s The UU Women and Religion Movement?

It comes from the verve of a group of UU women that was formed after passage of the UUA Women and Religion Resolution in 1977. Our agenda is to promote shared leadership and to nurture the strengths of interdependence. Wheeler and Chinn in their consensus decision making book, Peace and Power, name patriarchal power as a power of force which invests power for or against others and is accomplished by a willingness to impose penalties and negative sanctions. "Do it or else." The Women and Religion movement seeks to employ the power of collectivity which values the personal power of each individual, the value of a group decision where each one has participated in reaching consensus.

Here're our affiliation (with the UUA) Guidelines ("bylaws") which we are following for the first time this passing year:

Article 1: Name
Existing as part of the UUA and also as apart from the UUA)

Article 2: Charter
WOMEN AND RELIGION RESOLUTION passed by the UUA GA, Ithaca, June 23, 1977

Article 3: Purpose
UW&R is dedicated to freeing ourselves, others and Earth from traditional, historical and contemporary oppressive and patriarchal systems. We continue to work together to implement the 1977 UUA Women and Religion Resolution.

Article 4: Membership
Any person is eligible for membership in UUW&R who is in general accord with the above-stated purpose and who supports the work of the group.

Article 5: Guidelines
UUW&R shall be guided by the Core Group ("board of trustees")
The work of UUW&R shall be carried out by a feminist process as we understand it (based on "Peace & Power" by Peggy Chinn and "Shared Leadership" by Elizabeth Fisher)

Article 6: Meetings
The annual meeting of UUW&R shall be held at times and places set by the Core Group. Special meetings, social events, public programs, etc. may be scheduled by the Core Group or a committee it agrees to.

Article 7: Core Group
The Core Group consists of District Officers, Officers of W&R at the continental level, Committee Chairs and participants of the Fall Gathering. Any woman is welcome to join the Core Group and assist in the work of UUW7R at any time by committing to do so.

Article 8: Budget
The budget for the fiscal year from December 1 - November 30 will be established at the Fall Gathering after receiving an up-to-date financial statement. Expenditures must have prior written approval from Co-conveners and Treasurer.

Article 9: Review and Revision
These Guidelines will be reviewed at each Annual Meeting and revised as necessary.

P.S. If you want to see a synopsis of last year's Gathering minutes, they're the lead story for the Winter 2003 WOMUUNWEB on this UU area council's Website www.gwa.jpd.uua.org Love to all, Helen Pop

OCTOBER 24, 25, 26, 2003

Hi All, Please come to our annual gathering in Scottsdale to meet with women who have a mission to free ourselves, others and the Earth from oppressive patriarchal systems in a nurturing consensual manner. We believe in the worth and dignity of all.

I need to make the hotel reservations. Let me know how many roommates you want.

The meeting takes place in Scottsdale at the Holiday Inn and Joan’s home Oct. 24-26. The Hotel provides free transportation to and from the airport and breakfasts. The cost of a room is $110 total for two nights for 1-4 persons. $35 holds your reservation for the gathering and pays for lunches, dinners, and snacks. We will meet and eat at Joan’s home. Therefore, the total cost is $145 for the whole Gathering.

Mail your check made out to UUW&R for $35 for receipt by Oct. 4. Specify the number of roommates you want, your phone number, and e-mail address. Send the check and your details to:

Joan fitz-Randolph
P.O.B. 101
Scottsdale, AZ 85252

P.S. from Helen
Any interested UU woman who would like to take on the Core Group commitment for the year is welcome to attend our Fall Gathering (annual meeting). Come help keep our work fluid and open to healthy change. Let me know at 301/229-0549 or hpop@bellatlantic.net

Helen Pop


During the Final Plenary of this year’s Boston General Assembly, Moderator Diane Olson offered delegates a forty-minute open discussion period on "Creating a Vocabulary of Reverence Within Unitarian Universalism." This discussion time, requested by the Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt, minister of the Fourth Universalist Society in New York, NY, continues a conversation begun in January as UUA President William G. Sinkford raised the question of whether the Association might discuss the use of religious language within our faith tradition. Sinkford has asked, "Can we make Unitarian Universalism even stronger by embracing language that will speak to our individual searches for truth and meaning?"

Following the discussion, Moderator Diane Olson asked that your congregations be reminded that the UUA has a website with resources to consider this issue as well as a bulletin board where people can share their own thoughts and read those of others.

Please visit http://www.uua.org/news/2003/vocabulary/ for further information.

Note from Helen:

I can’t remember if I heard this personally from Bill Sinkford or in something he wrote, but my belief is, that with his public relations background, he’s eager for a common language with other religious organizations in order to clearly speak out publicly about justice issues that concern UU’s. I am proposing this "Vocabulary of Reverence" issue as an agenda item for the Fall Gathering. I’d like us to take a stand as UUW&R.

CEDAW -- STILL TRYING To Gain Ratification

We were so close last year; it’s hard to get ourselves up to continue the struggle. Thanks, again for your communication that brought CEDAW, the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, "out of committee" and to the Senate floor. We came the closest, ever, to gaining Senate ratification that July 30, 2002. We thought the ratification would be completed so the U.S. could, finally, join the 173 countries that have consented to be bound by CEDAW. Not so, yet!

CEDAW is currently stuck in the 108th. Congress Senate Foreign Relations Committee, AGAIN. In January of 2003, a significant nudge for the Senate to ratify CEDAW started to take form. It’s from the House of Representatives in their House Resolution 21. The "Be it resolved" section simply says:

"That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that –

1. The full realization of the rights of women is vital to the development and well-being of people of all nations; and

2. The Senate should, therefore, give its advice and consent to the ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women."

After 150 Representatives have signed on, the author, Rep. Lynn Woolsey of California is recruiting more co-sponsors. For a list of signers, please check the CEDAW website at www.womenstreaty.org

ACTION: If your Representative is on the List, please write and thank her/him. If not, write and inquire why not? Remember, the entire House is up for election next year and members are, or should be, interested in constituent’s views.

The website gives other actions to take. We won’t give up!

Here’re excerpts from another nudge in 2003:

"Dear President Bush,

On May 11th. America will celebrate Mother’s Day, a tribute to the essential role mothers play in building a stable, sage, and productive society. ... We the undersigned organizations are writing you and First Lady Mrs. Laura Bush in honor of Mother’s Day, and to ask for your support in promoting the most basic human rights of women and mothers worldwide by ratifying the United Nations Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

…Without U.S. ratification, other governments feel free to ignore CEDAW’s mandate and their obligations under it. …

As you noted last year, "A thriving nation will respect the rights of women, because no society can prosper while denying opportunity to half its citizens." U.S. commitment to women’s rights must go beyond words. Ratification of CEDAW is a decisive act that will send a strong message to the world that we are indeed a champion of human rights and the rule of law and that women’s rights are critical to the establishment of democracies and civil societies. …

What better way to celebrate Mother’s Day in the United States and throughout the world than by sending a strong message that the United States supports the universally agreed upon rights for women to live free from violence, have the right to a basic education, the right to vote, access to health care, and the right to own and inherit property. …"

Note from Helen:

This came from the Working Group on Ratification of CEDAW. That’s the interfaith group I am a part of as a representative of the UU Service Committee.

JUST IN from the Montgomery County, MD Sheriff’s Office

If you are or have been abused…


You don’t deserve to be abused, but leaving an abuser can be dangerous.

Protect yourself and your children.

The police non-emergency number is 301/279-8000, if you want a copy of this card with its additional, valuable information.

WATER (Women’s Alliance For Theology, Ethics and Ritual)


I attended this discussion of Brock and Parker‘s book in a group of Unitarian Universalist women ministers and Catholic women theologians. The undercurrent of dismay about the common Christian focus on Jesus’ death on the cross representing Jesus as the obedient son accepting violence from God the Father set the discussion’s tone. Obedience and sacrifice maintains inappropriate forms of dependency e.g. the wife who stays in an abusive marriage. Also, it can sanction parental physical abuse of children. To affirm a child’s own developmental agency means non-abusive relating to the child from adults who can be relied upon for nurturing and releasing of the child’s potential. Why not love imperfect beings as themselves? Give the "breathing space of love", the connecting Presence and spirit of the "I – Thou" space. Keep life fluid and open to change. Parents, please, model respect for the other as separate with unique and inherent worth and dignity.

Quotes from Stephen Trimble in The Geography of Childhood: Why Children Need Wild Places:

"I have blithely assumed that for myself and most other men, unlearning and relearning had been successful, that these were no longer big issues for most of us, that men and women had achieved equality in many fundamental ways. Even if such equality did not yet play out in practicalities like salaries and access to power, surely we were close to such a time."

"I am a naïve man."

"I know that my old assumptions are toppling. I have plenty of learning and unlearning left to do."


See the Summer 2003 edition of "Women and Religion News" to get the full scoop on the Murray Grove Retreat, the Facilitators’ Circle meeting, the JPD W&R annual report and more. Your congregation’s Womanlink has it. If you don’t know her name, look it up in your office’s JPD Directory.

Plans Are Being Made for the W&R Retreat 2004

At Precious Blood Spiritual Center in Columbia, PA, April 16-18, it will be an easy trip for us in the southern JPD states, FINALLY. The Fall W&R Newsletter will have the details.

Sandy Eckert’s report on last April’s retreat:

Making our own kind of music, dancing our own special dance. That’s a lot of what this year’s W&R spring retreat was about.

Spirited drummer, Camille Baughman, had us dancing and pounding drums till we literally beat any band that might have been anywhere near Murray Grove the last weekend of April.

On the quieter side, workshops included how to do a ritual, expressing ourselves through art and moving meditation. Our connected threads will fly in a world flag. Free time allowed us to bid on everything from framed artwork to a Navaho rug (a must-have for Randa) in the silent auction or to take a nap or a walk through the forest. One hiker sighted four leaping deer on a foray that she just got in before the rains came.

Saturday night brought the parade of the Goddesses through the celestial birth canal (contraction!) and no one will ever forget Colby as the Goddess of eclectica – or was it Miscellania?

The skits left us in stitches and the altar celebrated every one of us in so many ways.

Quote from Stephen Trimble:

"The number of decisions that go into a week of parenting astonishes me. Women have known for centuries what I have just discovered: going to work every day is far easier than staying home raising children."


From River Road (Helen Popenoe, Womanlink):


Our theme is "Balance." Forge connections with plants, animals and land, find ways to experience some relationship to the Earth. This can be a path to psychological balance. The natural world does not judge. It exists. Join our circle of equals at 5 PM in the River Road Unitarian Church Fireside Room and out on the courtyard, weather permitting. Elements of the service include ritual, simple circle movement, connecting through sharing insights and meditation. Please, bring snacks/drinks and your own cup for refreshments afterward. All over age 10 are welcome. Diane Popper will be with us.

Helen Popenoe, 301/229-0549


From Annapolis (Susan Eckert, Womanlink):

Full Circle’s Earth Centered Celebrations

Full Circle celebrates the new and full moons and the eight solar holidays of each year. The full moon circles focus on feminine energy and are open to all adult women. New moons are limited to women registered for the Weavers Covenant Group. Solar holidays such as solstices and equinoxes include men and youth too. All events are followed by a potluck feast. New participants of all backgrounds and beliefs are always welcome.

Full Moon Women’s Circles meet on each full moon throughout the year and focus on feminine energy. We explore personal issues and our spiritual connection to Goddess and God. We celebrate with song, dance and sharing in a sacred and safe space, opening wide the opportunity to celebrate with other women. Fall circles are scheduled for September 10, October 9, November 7 and December 8, from 7-9 p.m. There is a requested donation of $5 per woman, per gathering, to cover materials.

Sun Circles celebrate the Wheel of the Year, with 8 seasonal celebrations. At Harvest Home, the fall equinox, we enjoy the bounty of the harvest and the joy of community. This event will be held on September 21 and will include an observance of the UN International Day of Peace. Surrounded by dead leaves, we honor our ancestors and others who have passed at Dia de los Muertos on November 2. On December 21, at the winter solstice – the peak of darkness – we celebrate the rebirth of light, seeking hope, joy and peace. All Sun Circle festivities begin at 5:00 PM for men, women and youth. Requested donation for Sun Circles is $5 per person or $10 per family.

Women’s Covenant Groups

The Annapolis church’s covenant group program continues to grow with 5 women’s groups and a total of 10 altogether. Our covenant groups are small relational groups of 6-10 people who meet on a regular basis to share spiritual and personal experiences in an open and honest forum. Membership in a covenant group is envisioned to be a long-term commitment, in order to achieve and sustain relationships of depth. However, opportunities for joining and leaving groups are provided three times a year.

A new women’s group, called "Weavers," is being been formed for the fall. This group is an earth-centered spirituality women’s covenant group. The group will explore personal development and designs the full moon circles for Full Circle.

Our Power of Thinking Positively women’s covenant group is currently collecting donated items for Chrysalis House, a drug and alcohol treatment facility for women and their children.

From Rockville (Bonnie Tabakin, Womanlink):

UUCR Fall Women’s Retreat, 31 October to 2 November, 2003 registration due 5 October. Stephanie Kreps says, "We are having another spiritual retreat weekend at Rising Phoenix in Hancock, MD. The theme will be "Stages of Faith" based on James Fowler’s book of the same title. Come and explore what it can or does mean to you under the guidance of Reb. Margee Iddings, founder of Rising Phoenix. Cost is $185. per person in Meadow Lodge, $150. per person in Green Ridge House. The brand new wheelchair-accessible Meadow Lodge is the location for all meals, and each room has a private bathroom. For registration form, use UUrockville@erols.com

From Arlington (Sharon Sundial, Womanlink):

"EMBODYING THE SACRED: The Spiritual Journey Illuminated"

led by Sandra Kammann, UUCA Dance Director (MA, Cultural Anthropology: Performance of Myth & Ritual)

September 25--The Spiritual Journey Path & Practice, Thursday, 7:30-9:30 PM, Fellowship Hall. $10-$20 Sliding Scale*

November 5--Dances of Universal Peace, Wednesday, 7:30-9:30 PM Fellowship Hall. $10-$20 Sliding Scale*

Led by internationally recognized leaders of sacred ceremony, Anahata Iradah, and Prema Dasara. Their work has been embraced by many great spiritual teachers worldwide, including H.H. The Dalai Lama. See www.taradhatu.org & www.dancesofuniversalpeace.org

December 7--Gnostic Gospels, Sunday, after each service:10:30-11 AM & 12:30-1 PM

Tibetan Buddhist Spiritual Teachings: The Twenty One Praises of Tara

Saturdays: Oct. 18, Nov. 8, Dec. 20 & Jan. 10

9:30 – 11:30 AM, Fellowship Hall $10 - $20 Sliding Scale* (Please Note: The series continues thru May 2004, dates TBA. Regular attendance encouraged, but all are welcome to visit/come as they can.)

This ongoing project of East-West exchange involves sacred ceremony based on the ancient Buddhist prayer "The Twenty One Praises of Ta;ra." Tara is an archetype for our own inner wisdom. The ritual involves a living mandala, which can be danced as a prayer cycle for healing oneself, the earth and human conflict. In 1998, leader Sandra Kammann joined an international delegation on pilgrimage in India and Nepal to engage with the Tibetan Buddhist community-in-exile, dancing this mandala for townspeople, children, nuns and monks, including His Holiness The Dalai Lama. Sandra is a regional coordinator for development of this practice and one of a handful of women, worldwide, authorized to teach the ritual.

Information/Registration: Contact Sandra Kammann at 301/562-7769

*Pay what you can. All are Welcome and No One turned away for lack of funds. Come!

Note from Helen:

I recommend the Tibetan Buddhist series and the November 5th event, having participated in learning "The Twenty One Praises of Tara" mandala dance from Anahata and Prema. Also, Sandra is an excellent teacher and worth your while.

Quote from Stephen Trimble:

"In our willingness to make gender distinctions, Bateson and I both can be accused of less than liberated language, of maintaining old stereotypes, of rationalization, of perpetuating marginalization. These are horrendously difficult issues to articulate, let alone untangle. But all of us need to wrangle with them--mothers and fathers, educators and planners, feminists and innocents. Families change first. Institutional change comes later."


from the latest American Association of University Women magazine

Excerpts from Jackie Zakrewsky’s review of Sisterhood Is Forever, edited by Robin Morgan:

"Except when it’s declared dead, the women’s movement seems to be off the radar screen of the mainstream media. But many of us know that the truth about feminism lies elsewhere. So where do we find it?"

"Everywhere, it seems, women are asserting their rights and demonstrating their knowledge, skills and abilities, although recognition, monetary or otherwise, is not always forthcoming."

"Feminism’s activity on multiple fronts wins praise from Morgan in her introduction as a ‘creative strategy developed by the contemporary movement to deal with disagreement over priorities – and to keep from falling into the single issue trap of the nineteenth-century movement.’ Before suffrage became the cause, Morgan notes, the women’s movement as it initially emerged after the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention was ‘radical and multi-issued’. [This] book offers us so much in the spirit of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony: feminism as ‘radicalism practical, not theoretical.’"

Note from Helen:

The term "radical" means the kind of feminism that seeks to get at the roots of inequality and make healthy social system changes at that basic level of cause and effect.

Teresa Jordan says in The Geography of Childhood, "It is so much easier, culturally, for women to love the land, to simply be in it rather than to control it. When I played with boys as a child, we rode horses, we played cowboys and Indians or rustlers: the land was backdrop. When I played with girls, the land and animals were central; we didn’t just ride horses, we became horses."


SAVE THE DATE for the largest pro-choice march in history: April 25, 2004.

NARAL says, "President Bush and anti-choice leaders in Congress are hard at work restricting a woman’s right to choose. Congress has passed the first ever federal ban on a safe medical procedure* and President Bush’s anti-choice judicial nominees threaten to turn back the clock on reproductive rights for generations. Any day now, a Supreme Court resignation may give them an opportunity to appoint the Justice who would tilt the balance and overturn "Roe v. Wade."

Visit www.marchforchoice.org for more information or to register for the march.

* This is the legislation prohibiting so-called "partial birth" abortion. Now Congress is moving toward passage of the "Unborn Victims of Violence Act," which would create fetal personhood by elevating the status of a fetus to that of an adult human being.

Planned Parenthood says, "We will preserve choice. We will protect "Roe." We will win because we are right. But victory will not just come to us. As will Rogers said, ‘Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.’ A movement has to move. The effort of each and every one of us is vital. We hope to see you at the March for Freedom of Choice in Washington, DC, next April."

WOMUUNWEB DEADLINE for Winter 2003 issue is December 4, please.

Many thanks to Al Carlson, GWA Webmaster, for publishing this WOMUUNWEB issue #13 on the GWA website at www.gwa.jpd.uua.org

Please, send your news to Helen Popenoe at hpop@bellatlantic.net

Respectfully submitted by Helen Popenoe thanks to the editing and formatting skills of Margaret Warker.