"SUNSET IS THE PROMISE OF DAWN" - Havelock Ellis
What a good description of the attitude found among the continental leaders of the Women and Religion (W&R) movement! What is dawning to support our gaining better visibility is stated in a report of the Continental Constellation's annual meeting by Rosemary Matson, one of the founders of our UU W&R movement:
"I was delighted to be able to announce that 2 major W&R program events were already in the works for GA 2001. We will have a lecture, a performance and a workshop credited to W&R. Allan Johnson, author of The Gender Knot, has agreed to give a lecture in appreciation of the work that Alison Campbell and I have done with the ideas in his book. The GA Planning Committee has agreed to sponsor the lecture.
Also, a coup! In great appreciation for the help that Gloria Marvin of Florida has given to Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner over the years, Sally has agreed to present her stunning solo performance which brings to life Matilda Joslyn Gage. Gage, a suffragist, was largely written out of history because of her extreme radicalism. Again, we are indebted to UU in the Pines for the gift of their program slot.
As I write this, more good news from Barbara Schonborn! Rowe Camp and Conference Center has come to our rescue again, graciously giving us one of their GA slots for our W&R workshop. Barbara and Alison will present a workshop (we've asked for the day following Johnson's talk) titled "UU's Unraveling the Gender Knot". Women and Religion will be visible at GA 2001!"
UUA PRESIDENT AND MODERATOR CANDIDATES' LETTER WE'VE SENT
This was written by members of the Continental Constellation of UU Women and Religion:
Dear (candidate's name),(I signed the letter as an individual co-convener with ila's address given alongside mine as co-convener, also.)
We, the current co-conveners of the Continental Constellation of Unitarian Universalist Women and Religion, would like to be in friendly communication with you on behalf of the Women and Religion (W&R) movement. Enclosed is our current brochure, which gives you an overview.
The Continental Constellation of Unitarian Universalist Women and Religion networks with grassroots women's district circles of the Women and Religion movement throughout the denomination. Such networking commenced with annual continent-wide meetings of District Women and Religion Conveners and friends in 1979. Networking existed alongside the UUA-appointed Women and Religion Committee many years before the Committee was sunsetted by the UUA in 1996. Annual meetings of W&R Conveners and friends continue to be held. Addressing root sources of sexism, as stated in the unanimously approved 1977 UUA Women and Religion Resolution and developing partnership ways comprise our main goals. Throughout our history, we have always stayed connected through various means and continue to act with conviction due to the strength of our steadfast collegiality.
Based upon the concern that partnership is, indeed, the most desirable leadership style, please, respond to the following statement: "The UUA Bylaws should be changed to provide for two (2) Unitarian Universalists to serve as Co-Presidents". Do you see value in encouraging shared leadership throughout the UUA?
In what new ways do you think the UUA could support our congregations in learning consensus-style decision-making methods to replace existing hierarchical controls? If you are elected, how will you work to achieve balance and inclusiveness in appointments and other positions within your discretion?
Do you see possible organizational changes to ensure more inclusivity of UU expressions inspired by our Sixth Source, "Spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature"? Are you, personally, open to such seasonal observations as Solstice celebrations and celebrating the rhythms of nature (aside from the Old Calendar)?
If the Responsible Consumption Study Action Issue becomes a Statement of Conscience at the 2001 GA, do you see the health of the biosphere and individual, personal accountability to that end, becoming more important to UU's? What specific steps will your take to influence consumption at the church level and to instill environmental knowledge and education at both the adult and child levels?
We are concerned about the need for better and stronger UU policies regarding sexual harassment, discrimination, violence against women and children and similar issues. Please, share your ideas beyond the RE department's packets on Safety Against Abuse, the monograph on Restorative Justice and the UU's for Right Relations work. What are tangible ways in which churches should be dealing with these difficult issues, both within our congregations and with a public stance?
The UUA has been widely criticized for its lack of cultural and racial diversity. For instance, how do you see the UUA addressing dilemmas of black women as being distinct from those faced by black men? Our "How Open the Door" program fails to adequately cover this matter.
In closing, we believe it is imperative for thoughtful, feminist leadership to be included in any task group convened to study and make suggestions for reorganizing the UUA structure and decision-making modes throughout the Association to reflect and model our Women and Religion Resolution's vision.
We would be interested to know if you think there are other issues that should be added to the list presented in this letter. We are sending this same letter to the other candidates and will make each candidate's responses available to whomever is interested in promoting the values, needs and issues of the Women and Religion movement.
Thank you in advance for your careful consideration of these concerns. If you would like further information, please, do not hesitate to contact either of us as shown below.
With best regards and wishes, whatever the election outcome may be.
W&R AND UUWF (UU WOMEN'S FEDERATION) BRIDGING UPDATE
Yes, we on the joint committee did complete the proposal for reconciliation (20 pages worth) in time for the UUWF Board to consider its implications. Tina Jas, UUWF President, told me by phone, recently, that their Board "had an extensive discussion of it". I feel our Bridging document is creating an environment of hope and trust and will inspire a joint action plan of collaboration. If any of you would like to participate in the Bridging work, let me know (Helen Popenoe email@example.com). I quote from the summary:
UUWF together with W&R might want to:
EQUALITY OF RIGHTS AND RESPECT FOR HUMAN DIGNITY WORLDWIDE
There are still states that have U.S. Senators who won't vote for CEDAW, (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women) so the U.S. can sign on to that U.N. Convention for all women. Now, with the new Congress we will have to redouble our efforts to gain ratification of CEDAW. At least, we'll be helped by the 50/50 split in the Senate. Now Democrats have the number to be able to call for hearings on CEDAW.
PRECIOUS HISTORY AND VISION FROM LUCILE LONGVIEW
In honor of Lucile's upcoming 90th. Birthday, Gloria Marvin sends us her wise and visionary words below:
"...Those of us speaking for women in the UUA in the past - particularly in promoting feminist resolutions including Women and Religion in 1977, Battered Women in 1979, Implementation of Women and Religion in 1980 and the revision of the UUA Principles 1980-1985 - were successful because those in power didn't know how many of us there were out there across the continent.
This approach means we remain marginalized - easily obliterated in the institutional hierarchy as in the June 1997 Commission on Appraisal's [report] "Interdependence - Renewing Congregational Polity."
However one can argue that W&R - the members - took a step in destructing the master's house without using the master's tools (means of organizing).
A broad goal for the 21st Century
Now is the time to name the basic goal of the women's movement which I believe should be "the liberation of humanity from its historical indoctrination in male-privileged consciousness." None of us could hope to see that day but early feminists didn't live to vote.
Barbara Schonborn and Margaret Stewart have already introduced the custom of an annual G.A. workshop on Patriarchy. Each G.A. there should be one or more *actions focussing on how we think."
Lucile was the original author of our 1977 Women and Religion Resolution. The final version was wordsmithed by JPD women led by Jean Zoerheide.
*Note: This is our custom in JPD - to always sponsor a W&R discussion roundtable at the District's annual Spring Conference.
JPD W&R'S BACK TO BACK SPRING WEEKENDS
Our annual Murray Grove RETREAT comes first from March 30 to April 1. (See separate article.)
Second, from April 6 to April 7, comes our JPD Spring Conference offering (called a workshop on the JPD website www.jpd.uua.org) Note: Our tradition in recent years has been to call our "workshop" an annual W&R ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION to let people know we don't organize groups in a hierarchical manner. It's title is "Consensus And Unitarian Universalism". The facilitator is Laura Shemick, a lawyer and past president of UNILEAD (the District leadership training summer program). With Laura, we will consider how to "herd cats" to a consensus and how to change contention into consensus.
See if you can be a delegate for your church and go to the Spring Conference as a voter in the JPD annual meeting. An added Conference attraction will be a chance to see and hear the candidates for UUA President, Moderator and Financial Advisor. As you read above, these candidates are receiving our Continental Constellation letter of query. Here's a chance to ask those questions or your own questions, for public answers. Let's all wear our W&R shoulder bags to gain as much visibility as possible. I'll have extras with me to give out free, in case you don't have one. To place your order, I'm at firstname.lastname@example.org
See www.jpd.uua.org to register for the JPD Spring Conference.
THE ANNUAL MARCH MURRAY GROVE UU WOMEN'S RETREAT
Presenter: Marcia Bowers, Director of The Expressive Arts Center. March 30 - April 1 at Murray Grove Universalist Unitarian Center in Lanoka Harbor, NJ Brochures are available from your congregation's Woman Link or Helen Popenoe or Registrar, Lois Morrigan, 610/872-2884 and email@example.com
This weekend, we celebrate life through the experience of moving on four levels: Moving Alone; Moving With Another; Moving In Small Groups and Moving In Larger Social Groupings. All of life is about movement. Our body/mind is a product of all the movement we have experienced in both our inner and outer world - physically, mentally and spiritually.
Anyone have a van for a group of us to go together from southern JPD? We have to arrive by dinnertime on Friday. It's a 5 hour drive but worth it. On Sunday, we could go enjoy the Atlantic Ocean before we head home, if you want.
NEWS FROM THE MOST RECENT FACILITATORS CIRCLE MEETING
Jane Mahorter of the Cherry Hill, NJ church will contact Allan G. Johnson, the author of The Gender Knot, to invite him to speak there for UU men and women of the northern JPD, next fall. Also, he will be invited to the southern JPD to speak. Is there anyone who would organize (with me) our southern event for Allan, please? Your church could be the hosting site.
Allan's book, which grows out of Marilyn French's thinking in BEYOND POWER is revolutionary!
He says on P. 60:
"When we genderize what are inherently human qualities, we lock ourselves in a web of lies whose main consequence is to keep patriarchy going. For if society is to remain male-dominated, male-identified, and male-centered, women and men must be seen as fundamentally different so that men can control women as 'other'."
He says on P. 72:
"In patriarchal ideology, each gender is assigned and immutable nature fixed in the body and permanently set apart from the other."
He, also, says on P. 72:
"...human variation doesn't take the form of opposites..." Damn dualism! (says I)!
MARSHA WHITE'S NEWS FROM ACCOTINK
The Women's Ceremonial Group of Accotink UU Church will hold a Spring Equinox Service on Friday, March 23 at 7:30 pm at our church. We will celebrate May Day on Sunday, April 29 after the church workday. For details about these service and what to bring, e-mail Marsha White at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This group hosted a very successful Winter Solstice Service as a regular December service. The service involved over 20 in the planning and execution. Children planted crocus, and special foods were served. We hope to make this a tradition for our congregation. Beginning with Candlemas/Imbolc in January, we have moved our ceremonies into the church sanctuary. We are excited about our growing group.
SUSAN ECKERT'S NEWS FROM ANNAPOLIS
Annapolis has discovered a successful way of keeping a group going and keeping attendance high. Their "Jubilee - Women in the Middle Group" has relaxed flexibility of programming. As a group, when a program is completed, they choose what to "take on for the next time". It could be a book for discussion or any other kind of project.
Annapolis' Full Circle have their two groups, Open Circle and Full Moon Women's Circles meeting on March 18 for the Open Circle and March 9, April 8 and June 6 for the Full Moon Circles.
HELEN POP'S NEWS FROM RIVER ROAD
Susan Eckert's Jubilee Group programming is similar to the flexibility of my full moon group that came out of "Cakes for the Queen of Heaven" at River Road Church. We've been alive for ten years and, actually, gave birth to a book, Classical Living - Reconnecting With The Rituals of Ancient Rome by Frances Bernstein. We each read the month's chapter before we meet and carry with us a component for the evening's ceremony inspired by the chapter. The magic of our time together evolves out of what each brings (the same as people do for a trust potluck). The only part we know in advance is the scant ritual structure we always follow and the one component we each decide to bring. When we get together, we tell each other the type of component we each have and let the ceremony develop accordingly.
MARILYN MOORS' NEWS FROM CUMBERLAND
Kim Miner, minister of the Morgantown UU Fellowship is coming to our JPD Cumberland Fellowship to speak on "The Emerging Faith of Our UU Ministry". Women make up more than half of our ministers. What does this change mean for our movement, and what have we to learn from the first women ministers who were ordained over a century ago?
SHARON SUNDIAL'S NEWS FROM ARLINGTON
MoonFire, a pagan and earth-based spirituality group had a Feb. 18th. ritual (1:00 PM, followed by potluck and fellowship). MoonFire follows and explores earth-centered spiritual paths as a UU fellowship. Deborah Farabee says, "Our mission is to explore, learn and teach traditions of earth-based religions in a sacred and safe community and to celebrate holidays marked by the solstices and the four seasons."
Women's History Month Celebration at the Unitarian Universalist Church of
Intergenerational Luncheon - Sunday, March 18th, at 1 PM.
All are invited to join us as we recognize some of our own UUCA women pioneers with this event. We will enjoy a festive luncheon together, followed by our program, which will also commemorate the life of the first woman lawyer in the US, Margaret Brent. Margaret Brent was the first woman landowner in MD, and has also been called "the first suffragette", as she had the courage to ask for the right to vote in the legislative process, as an executor and attorney, but was refused this right because she was a woman. A well-known character actress, Mary Ann Jung, who makes history come alive, will recreate the life of Margaret Brent in the seventeenth century.
Seating is limited at this event, and tickets are $7 (includes lunch), to be sold during Fellowship Hours after services. Contact Sharon Sundial (703/979-8287) or Andrea Conrath (email@example.com) for further information.
WOMUUNCIRCLE'S ANNUAL SPRING EQUINOX CEREMONY
Sunday, March 25, 5 PM, at River Road Church, upstairs in the Fireside Room and outside on the courtyard.
If creativity is the wellspring of our soul-power, the awakening we feel in springtime is a stepping into the stream of life's power. Susan Golden, our "evoker of passionate laughter" at the last Summer Solstice service, will help lead this ceremony. All are welcome (age 10 and older) to come for meditation, circle movement and heart-sharings. Please, bring drinks &/or nibbles and your own cup. As always, sacred objects for the altar are welcome. Kathleen Reedy and Helen Popenoe
WOMUUNCIRCLE'S ANNUAL MAYFEST
Sunday, May 6, 5 PM, at River Road Church, upstairs in the Fireside Room and outside on the courtyard. Growth comes out of a matrix that provides nourishment in a variety of ways. What inspiration do you find in your environment to keep your faith in your future alive? We will dance the maypole dream-weaving dance in gratitude. If you like, wear a crown of flowers &/or green vines. Bring flowers and seedlings, nibbles &/or drinks and your own cup. Open, as usual to both men and women and children over age 10. Helen Popenoe, 301/229-0549 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
GLOBAL WOMEN'S STRIKE - MARCH 8, 2001 - International Women's Day
* A world which values all women's work and all women's lives
* An end to no pay, low pay & too much work.
On International Women's Day 2000, wages and unwages women in 65 countries joined the first-ever Global Strike, called and coordinated by the International Wages for Housework Campaign.
On March 3, 2001, women and girls will strike again to demand that society INVEST IN THE ENRICHMENT OF EVERY LIFE rather than in the enrichment of a few. For more information check the webpage http://womenstrike8m.server101.com
A NEED CONCERNING MARYLAND'S SEXUAL MINORITIES
The Governor's Commission to Study Sexual Orientation Discrimination in Maryland is currently studying possible discrimination against gays, lesbians and bisexuals in housing, public accommodation and employment. They plan to hold public meetings in various parts of the state, make a final report in July of 2001.
The Free State Justice organization seeks to facilitate this study by soliciting anecdotal evidence of such discrimination. If you have experienced discrimination based on sexual orientation, or have first hand information concerning anyone who has, please go to the following Internet address and fill out a Free State Justice questionnaire. Instructions are included at this address http://www.erols.com/uucc/questions.htm
WELL, I DID IT AND HOPE
You did it (or are going to do it), too. If you're pro-child, pro-choice and pro-family, make a donation in President Bush's name to a pro-choice organization. When I sent my check to NARAL, I called the White House Comment Line, 202/456-1414, and asked the woman to tell the President of my gift in his name upon the occasion of Presidents' Day. I understand that if your donation goes to Planned Parenthood, they will send a card to President Bush thanking him for the donation you've made in his honor. To be joining this crusade, gives a body a giggle; doesn't it?
UU WOMEN'S HERITAGE SOCIETY TRAVELING DISPLAY
This exhibit is based on one that was on display at Unitarian Universalist headquarters in Boston last Spring. Portions of that display can be seen on the website www.uuwhs.org The exhibit has been adapted for traveling and is available for display in congregations by contacting the UU Women's Heritage Society at 781/321-3979 or email@example.com
The name is "Standing Before Us: Unitarian Universalist Women and Social Reform.
For the month of April, this exhibit will be in a New York State National Park, "Women's Rights National Historical Park. This is the first (as far as we know) Unitarian Universalist exhibit to be mounted in a national park.
THE WOMEN OF MOSTAR UPDATE
The last report on this project was in the Fall 2000 WOMUUNWEB issue. Alma is still our point person with the eight Women of Mostar artisans (with crocheting and embroidery). The International Association of Liberal Religious Women (IALRW), president Kayoko came to my aid and sold the thirteen items that have been made. I have sent my personal check with their payment (which came to me by money order from Kayoko in Japan). Alma's Bosnia/Herzegovina cannot take in the payments by money order! Anyone here in the U.S. like to be the treasurer for this project, please?
The IALRW is such a wonderful group of women! There's a member who's mother tongue is German. She's developing a pen-pal friendship with one of the Women of Mostar. Alma is searching for others who would like to befriend pen-pals in English. I have four from IALRW and am glad to add your name to the pen-pal waiting list if you let me know.
These are Muslim women who suffered greatly in the Bosnian War. Did you see the front page article (Feb. 23rd. Washington Post), "Watershed Ruling on Rape"? Finally, old patterns by which international courts consider rape during war are being seen in the true light of rape being a war crime. To have three Bosnian Serbs actually convicted of wartime rape must mean a great deal to The Women of Mostar, all of them Bosnian War refugees.
"UUs Learn To Unravel The Gender Knot", one of our W&R events for this June's General Assembly, has a great time slot. It's in the evening after Allan Johnson's talk Saturday afternoon. (See article entitled "News From the Most Recent Facilitators Circle Meeting" to recall who Allan is.)
Many thanks to Al Carlson, GWA Webmaster, for publishing this WOMUUNWEB issue #3 on the GWA website www.gwa.jpd.uua.org
Respectfully submitted by Helen Popenoe, 3/3/2001.