GA 2001 REPORT
Yes, the Women and Religion, W&R presence was very effective and satisfying with our inspiring booth display (which served as a W&R meeting spot, too), our workshop on the book about how to gain freedom from gender restrictions, "Unraveling the Gender Knot", led by the author, Allan Johnson, and our workshop on the budding curriculum that's growing out of learnings from "Gender Knot". We attracted a great deal of keen interest in our cause and, especially, our new curriculum.
Yes, the new Statement of Conscience, "Responsible Consumption As a Moral Imperative" was voted into the UUA official record. Now, we have a strong foundation from which to act, personally and politically.
Alongside the joys I just described, I ended up with a concern that weighs heavily on my heart. As you may know, the W&R was very active in the rewriting of the Principles and Purposes, helping to add the 7th. Principle and the 6th. Source, as examples. They were meant as areas of concern to use as talking points. My viewpoint that the Principles are becoming a UUA creed was supported by speakers in a Meadville/Lombard workshop (Drs. Bumbaugh, Thandeka and Harlow) and by Rev. Gilbert in the Service of the Living Tradition and by Rev. James Forbes in his Ware Lecture.
We're not spending enough energy in the deeper communication of being seekers of truth, but spouting off the Seven Principles as if they were a list of beliefs that were decided upon by consensus or some sort of fair voting by all UU's. Now, there's too much "symbolic action" as Bumbaugh stated, a tone that's superficial. Gilbert asked us if our Unitarian Universalism were just a "hobby, a feel-good effort" when he was charging us to "have conviction beyond self".
Thandeka worried that our dominating use of reason is causing a loss of physical connection to the natural world, the interconnected web and the means for our inclusiveness of diversity. The person-to-person process of covenanting that "engages our natural, embodied selves", as Thandeka puts it, relating on a whole-self level of honesty, can give the internal and external ways of knowing (capacity to reason and body-knowing).
This deeper level of truth-seeking can happen if we have genuine mutuality and trust. Forbes said we can open for one another the goodness of our souls if we can have trust. He said, "all hearts are the same".
Well, we have W&R's promotion of earth-centered worship to help bring the deeper level of understanding reality while in UU community. As long as we have a time for connecting during those Wheel of the Year services, the deeper communication can happen then if not at Sunday services.
NOVEMBER GATHERING ITEM TO BE IN SEPT. JPD PACKET -
An invitation to attend the annual meeting for continental Women and Religion, W&R, has gone out to all interested in shaping the future of our movement. It's to be held on the East Coast, this year. I'll be there and hope you will, too. Email me if you miss it in the packet, email@example.com
WATER COMMUNION HISTORY WE HOPE YOU KNOW -
The traditional first Sunday service water communion many congregations celebrate originated from the W&R movement.
RESOURCES YOU MAY BORROW:
Contact Sandy Eckert Marrone at 717/533-5331 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to borrow curricula.
WOMUUNCIRCLE'S ANNUAL FALL EQUINOX SERVICE is to be on Sept. 16 at River Road Unitarian Church at 5 PM, downstairs in the sanctuary. Theme - "Balance in The Whole". The main components will be whole body movement, meditation (partially guided with a good length of time in silent meditation) and heart sharings. Sue Hubbell said, "As a human being, I am a great meddler; I fiddle, alter, modify. This is neither good nor bad, merely human, in the same way that the snake who eats mice and phoebes is merely serpentish. But, being human, I have the kind of mind which can recognize that when I fiddle and twitch any part of the circle, there are reverberations throughout the whole". Please, bring nibbles &/or drink, a symbol, story or metaphor of balance and your own cup. All over age 10 are welcome. Helen Popenoe email@example.com
CELEBRATE & BREAK BREAD WITH THE PAINT BRANCH CUUPS COMMUNITY
"Live your questions now, and perhaps even without knowing it, you will live along some distant day into your answers."
-Rainer Maria Rilke
On Saturday, October 6, 2001, at 8:00 p.m., Paint Branch CUUPS will be performing an Esbat (Full Moon ritual), honoring Goddess Demeter, Goddess Kore, God Dionysos, and other Greek Deities of the agricultural cycle. We will be giving thanks for our abundant harvest and will be asking for an abundant harvest where there has been famine. Weather permitting, the ritual will occur in the glen outside the Paint Branch UU Church; otherwise it will occur in the Meeting House of the Church. All are welcome to attend!
Ritual preparations will begin at 7:45 p.m. with drumming to purge away all negativity. The ritual will also include drumming and dancing in honor of the Deities. So, if you can, bring instruments to play (drums, tambourines, cymbals, etc). We will have extras if you don't have one.
During the ritual we will be making the traditional Greek offerings of barley, oil, and water to the Deities. We will also be toasting Demeter, Kore, Dionysos, and the other Greek agricultural Deities.
So, if you can, bring a poem or a short story to tell about these Deities, the agricultural cycle, the harvest, those experiencing abundance, or those experiencing famine.
You are also welcome to make vows or express wishes. And you are welcome to bring an image for the altar.
A pot luck feast will follow the ritual, so if you can, bring something to share for the feast.
In addition, we will be collecting food for the local food bank. So, if you can, bring canned food, dry goods, or other non-perishable food to share with the less fortunate.
If you have any questions, please contact Marija or Tom at 301-982-4340. (It's better to call than e-mail.)
EDUCATION ALERT FROM THE INTERFAITH ALLIANCE
Most recent past UUA moderator Denny Davidoff is on the Board for The Interfaith Alliance and sends word that across the nation, religious political extremists are trying to impose their narrow political agenda on our public schools. In PA, lawmakers "are debating school science standards that would allow teachers in public schools to teach the Genesis account of creation. This debate is just one of a strategic campaign launched by the Religious Right to sacrifice good teaching of authoritative science to push a religious agenda and erode the constitutional separation of church and state". Other attempts to insert creationism into science classrooms and/or remove evolution are occurring in Maryland, also.
CEDAW Update -
Note: Background info. can be found in past WOMUUNWEB issues found at www.gwa.jpd.uua.org
The newly-reconstituted Senate Foreign Relations Committee is now chaired by Joseph Biden of DE, a supporter of CEDAW's elimination of discrimination against women. Jesse Helms, Senator from North Carolina, a main roadblock on that committee, is retiring when his term expires in 2002. Senator Barbara Boxer, longtime CEDAW supporter, chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on International Operations. She will hold SENATE HEARINGS ON CEDAW IN OCTOBER. Our help as voting citizens is needed to stimulate interest in ratification of CEDAW, both federally among Senators and in our home states, between now and October.
In this consciousness raising push, there are dozens of states, counties and cities that have passed CEDAW resolutions, including Philadelphia, PA in Joseph Priestley District, JPD. This fall PA, also, will try for a State Resolution. To help, contact Anne Foreman (717) 787-7529. State Rep. Connie Williams will be re-introducing her Resolution.
In JPD's New Jersey, a State Resolution has reached the level of having had its Second Reading and will be coming up soon. That's senate Joint Resolution 6 (SJR 6) introduced by State Senator Doris Allen (R -7th. Dist.) Be sure your NJ State Senator is supporting it. Contact Bob Hudak (609) 239-2800.
In Southern JPD, there's a City Resolution coming up in Rockville. I, Helen Popenoe, will be active with that effort. The contact is Dylan Presman (301)517-4778. My phone number is 301/229-0549.
After the U.S. Senate reconvenes, Tuesday, Sept. 4th., we as citizens must send personal messages to our Senators. EXAMPLE: "As your constituent (and contributor, if you are one) and "as a homemaker with a family of _registered voters," OR "as a lifelong Republican, Democrat, (whatever your Party affiliation) and a father/mother of 3 daughters (whatever)", I (call/write/fax/Email) to urge your support for prompt consideration of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). A second paragraph can give reasons why you are in favor. Your closing paragraph should conclude with a request for a reply from your Senator advising you of her/his position on CEDAW. Close by expressing hope that he/she will take a leadership role on CEDAW ratification.
Please, help. Finally, our persistence has a chance of being paid off!
KUCINICH SAYS GIVE PEACE A CHANCE
Introduces Legislation To Create Department Of Peace
Washington, DC -- Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH-10) today introduced legislation to create a cabinet level agency dedicated to peacemakinng and the study of conditions that are conducive to peace. (# HR 2459)
"The time for peace is now," Congressman Kucinich said. "At the dawn of a new millennium, there is no better time to review age old challenges with new thinking that peace is not only the absence of violence, but the presence of a higher evolution of human awareness with respect, trust and integrity toward humankind. Our founding fathers recognized that peace was one of the highest duties of the newly organized free and independent states. But too often, we have overlooked the long-term solution of peace for instant gratification of war. This continued downward spiral of violence must stop to ensure that future generations will live in peace and harmony."
Kucinich's legislation to create a Department of Peace focuses on individual, group and national responsibilities of holding peace as an organizing principle. The Department of Peace will focus on nonmilitary peaceful conflict resolutions, prevent violence and promote justice and democratic principles to expand human rights. A Peace Academy, similar to the five military service academies, would be created; its graduates dispatched to troubled areas around the globe to promote nonviolent dispute resolutions.
"The challenges inherent in creating a Department of Peace are massive," said Congressman Kucinich. "But the alternatives are worse. Violence at home, in the schools, in the media, and between nations has dragged down humanity. It's time to recognize that traditional, militant objectives for peace are not working, and the only solution is to make peace the goal of a cabinet level agency."
UU ED KOBEE, CHAIR OF THE INTERFAITH FAIRNESS COALITION OF MD says -
"The good news: Maryland finally has a law forbidding discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, ending 10 years of fighting!"
"The bad news: The new law will be challenged in a state-wide referendum to be held in Nov., 2002."
ERIN LEVETON, CHAIR OF FREE STATE JUSTICE SAYS -
"We are fighting to keep people from being fired, denied services or kicked out of their homes. We must fight to keep the basic legal protections that we won this year, starting right now. Election Day 2002 will be here before we know it."
To donate money, volunteer or for more information, please, call Free State Justice at (301) 891-1111 or Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
WOMEN'S SPIRITUALITY CYBER CIRCLE
Patricia Reilly is a UU with a master's in divinity who chose to write and do workshops on women's spirituality and recovery rather than become a minister. She is the author of several books including:
She is currently conducting a series of cyber-circle discussions. A new series will begin in September. There are three separate cyber-circles each with a separate theme. The themes are: Women's Spirituality, Women's Creativity and Women's Recovery. To learn more about the program, check the following website www.openwindowcreations.com
WOMUUNCIRCLE'S HALLOWMAS TO BE ON NOV. 4 AT RIVER ROAD CHURCH.
WOMUUNWEB DEADLINE for Winter 2001 issue is Nov. 19.
Many thanks to Al Carlson, GWA Webmaster, for publishing this WOMUUNWEB issue #5 on the GWA website www.gwa.jpd.uua.org
Respectfully submitted by Helen Popenoe 8/27/2001