Eleven congregations were recognized at this year's General Assembly in Portland, Oregon, as "Covenanting Communities," a new status offered by the UUA Board to acknowledge a group's relationship with the wider UU movement. Until now the only way for a dedicated group of Unitarian Universalists to become an official part of the UUA was through congregational affiliation. This new designation makes room for a variety of communities to be part of our association.
According to Carey McDonald, UUA Director of Outreach, "A covenanting community is NOT a member congregation of the UUA, nor is it an interest or affinity group of UUs who are already members of congregations. Covenanting communities are the primary ways that their members or participants connect to Unitarian Universalism."
Groups interested in the Covenanting Community status submitted an application that included their community's answers to these questions:
• How do you claim UU identity and principles?
• How do you advance UU values in the world?
• What relationships do you have with other UU congregations, groups, organizations, etc.?
• What are your covenanting practices or documents?
Affiliated Societies and Organizations:
Within the scope of Unitarian Universalist interests and concerns many activities, concerns and interests are gathered. The website at the UUA lists nearly 100 organizations and societies that pursue principles at the heart of UUism. Find a listing and links for these organizations at the UUA
Among the most frequently visited organization websites are:
Continental UU Young Adult Network (C*UUYAN)
Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans
CU2C2 (Council of UU Camps and Conferences)
Economic Justice Action Group
International Convocation of UU Women
Liberal Religious Educators' Association
Starr King School for the Ministry
Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association
Unitarian Universalist Musicians Network (UUMN)
Unitarian Universalist Women & Religion
Unitarian Universalists for a Just Economic Community
UU Global AIDS Coalition
Church of the Larger Fellowship
CLF is a Unitarian Universalist congregation without walls, comprised of thousands of people from all over the world. As a spiritual community rooted in profound love, we cultivate wonder, gratitude, and the courage to act. We strive to carry the flame of liberal religion to all who yearn for its warmth and light.
Quest for Meaning, an online multi-faith community rooted in Unitarian Universalism. It offers both fellowship and resources for people on a variety of spiritual paths who are seeking meaning, wholeness and healing in their lives.
We offer weekly online worship using video and live chat. Broadcasts are on Sundays at 8 pm Eastern, Mondays at 9 am Eastern, and Mondays at 1:30 pm Eastern.
Quest, CLF’s Monthly Magazine
Quest is our highly regarded Unitarian Universalist magazine that goes deep into a particular theme using sermons, poetry, reflections, prayers and meditations.
CLF offers a variety of opportunities for people on spiritual journeys to connect, learn and grow with one another. They include: class (listed on our events page) or be part of an online community through an email distribution list or one of our Facebook groups. Additionally:
The VUU, a weekly talk show; Family Ministry; Online Worship Resources; Church of the Younger Fellowship; Outreach Ministry to Prisoners; Outreach Ministry to Military Personnel and Families
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) is a nonsectarian
organization that advances human rights and social justice in the United States and around the world. It envisions a world free from oppression and injustice, where all can realize their full human rights. Through a combination of advocacy, education, and partnerships with grassroots organizations, UUSC promotes economic rights, advances environmental justice, defends civil liberties, and preserves the rights of people in times of humanitarian crisis.
It also engages local communities through our service-learning program, JustWorks, which introduces participants to the work of our domestic and overseas partners — who are often on the front lines of addressing social-justice issues.This work is built on the conviction that all people are entitled to basic human rights, which transcend divisions of class, race, nationality, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, and gender. It relies on members and supporters — people just like you — to fund its programs. Anyone wishing to support human rights and social justice is welcome to join us.
UUSC is an associate member of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), but receives no general financial support from the UUA. Neither does it receive funding from federal or state governments or institutions, ensuring an independent voice. Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, UUSC is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation.
Unitarian Universalist College of Social Justice
We're Growing Our Programs! Read More!
Experiential Learning Journeys: Our transformative journeys to Haiti, Mexico, India, and several U.S. locations will introduce you and your congregation to the justice work of UUA and UUSC partners, and help you make the connection to struggles in your own community.
Youth Justice Trainings: We’re adding new trainings each year! Our high school youth gain inspiration through a terrific combination of justice theory and hands-on experience with our partners. This summer we’ll be in Boston, New Orleans, and Seattle, with a daylong intro session at UUA General Assembly in Providence.
Global Justice Internships: College-age young adults get powerful, summer-long placements with UUA and UUSC partners around the world and receive lots of support for faith development and vocational discernment. We’ll place 20 young-adult interns this summer! Sign up for our e-mail newsletter! It’s free. It’s easy. Subscribe now!
Unitarian Universalist College of Social Justice, 689 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139-3302, 617-868-6600, www.uucsj.org
UU United Nations Office:
The Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office (UU-UNO) serves UU congregations as the center of information, advocacy and action at the United Nations and its affiliated agencies in NewYork City. The UU UN Office provides UUs a locus to join hands with the international community to build world community with peace and justice. Faith and action intersect forUUs in the global arena of the United Nations and its affiliated non-governmentalorganizations. The UU UN Office joins about 400 other faith-based organizations withconsultative status at the United Nations; each exercising influence to foster the values of their faith.
The UU UN Office has succeeded in helping to set up the International Criminal Court and to ensure that the rights of women and the GLBT community are on the UN agenda. The office has partnered with other NGOs to advocate major reductions in military spending and global reductions in both nuclear and smalls arms production and sales at the UN Disarmament Conference in Mexico City in September 2009. The UU UNO has played a major role to end criminal sanctions based on sexual orientation.
First Unitarian Church has been named a Blue Ribbon Congregation for its support of the UU-UNO.
UU Voices for Justice:
On February 3rd, UUs from congregations all over Oregon met in Salem to lobby our legislators on Climate Justice. (see photos below). The event was preceded by a prayer rally.
The 2016 annual meeting of our statewide political action group will be held: Saturday, October 15th at the UU Congregation of Salem, 5090 Center Street, Salem, OR from 9:30 to 4:30. We will focus on Environmental Justice Deepening Democracy, Human Rights, and Income Inequality.
Networking for Justice
Members and friends of First Unitarian have interests or involvement in a great many of our affiliated societies and justice ministries. Church program and staff have never been broad enough to support all member justice interest, and this will continue to be the case as church focus on priority issues is maintained.
Religion and religious practice can find a home in our lives and spirit. For those who feel a special calling to minister, our faith offers two seminaries whose teaching is within the Unitarian Universalist tradition. We invite you to talk about ministry as a career with any of our ministerial staff, and to further your exploration by contacting these seminaries.
Meadville Lombard Theological School, Chicago, IL, www.meadville.edu has educated people for the liberal religious ministry -- specifically, but not exclusively - for service in the Unitarian Universalist tradition for 165 years. It is academically rigorous, spiritually grounded, and unapologetically progressive. The website provides descriptions of masters and doctoral degrees including coursework as well as information about life as a Meadville Lombard student and information about the admissions process and financial aid. Meadville Lombard’s TouchPoint Theological Education enables students to live, work, and study in their own communities across North America or around the world. Students and faculty build community online, through telephone networking, and in person when intensive classes and convocations meet in Chicago several times annually.
Starr-King School for the Ministry, Berkeley, CA, www.sksm.edu Educates Unitarian Universalist members and progressive religious leaders for society using an educational approach rooted in Unitarian Universalist values. Founded in 1904, we value scholarly study united with practical, experiential learning and offer personalized attention in the learning process. We respect the beauty of cultural diversity, honor interfaith and ecumenical engagement, and seek to counter oppressions. Rooted in Unitarian Universalism's liberal religious heritage, we believe in the importance of congregational life as well as individual spiritual practice and are devoted to creating a more hopeful future that reverences life, embodies justice and sustains peace. Our website provides a virtual visit to the campus, and you are welcome to visit in person.
International Council of Unitarians Universalists
Member Ann Pickar attended the recent conference of the International Council of Unitarian Universalists (ICUU) which was held in New York January 28-31. She presented a workshop on the work of the UU Global AIDS Coalition along with Peter Smith of the Newton, Massachusetts congregation. Peter is the director of that congregation's Communities without Borders program in Zambia
This ICUU conference brought together 120 leaders and ministers from around the world. Attending were sizable delegations from Transylvania, the rest of Europe, Canada, and the U.S., as well as representatives from several African countries, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Bolivia, and Mexico. The Shelter Rock congregation on Long Island hosted the conference, with 50 volunteers supplying generous hospitality and support. Activities included excellent intercultural competency training and a visit to the United Nations coordinated by the Unitarian Universalist Association's UN Office.
The ICUU is not well known in our congregation, despite its remarkable record of inspiring and promoting an international UU presence. Noteworthy is its support of "emerging" congregations as they feel their way to establishing Unitarian Universalism in countries where it is new and often at great odds with cultural norms and established religions. For more information and to learn how to support the work of the ICUU go to their website www.icuu.net, or visit the Outreach Committee table at social hour.
UUA Common Read
A Common Read invites participants to read and discuss the same book in a given period of time. A Common Read can build community in our congregations and our movement by giving diverse people a shared experience, shared language, and a basis for deep, meaningful conversations.
Each year's Common Read is chosen by a committee including both headquarters and field staff of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). Anyone may nominate a book.
The UUA Common Read began as part of long-range preparation for the 2012 “Justice” General Assembly. Margaret Regan’s The Death of Josseline (Beacon Press, 2010) was a perfect book to show UUs the issues facing people affected by immigration along the Arizona-Sonoma border. In 2011, the UUA invited UUs across the country to read and discuss the same book, using a provided discussion guide. That year, we learned that a one-session or three-session discussion fits into most congregational and group calendars. We decided to offer an annual Common Read, each year selecting a readable, relevant book for Unitarian Universalists to consider together. We committed to creating a discussion guide that would make the book a vehicle for adult faith development, inviting people to bring personal stories and UU values and theology into their response and sharing. In subsequent years, we lifted up Eboo Patel’s Acts of Faith (2011-12), Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow (2012-13), Saru Jayaraman’s Behind the Kitchen Door (2013-14) and Paul Rasor's Reclaiming Prophetic Witness (2014-15)
The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement, by The Rev. Dr. William Barber II and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove (Beacon, 2016), has been chosen as the 2016-17 Unitarian Universalist Common Read. Unitarian Universalists were electrified at General Assembly 2016 by Rev. Barber's call for building and sustaining a movement for justice for all people. The Common Read selection committee believes that this is a moment for Unitarian Universalists to answer that call. The Third Reconstruction offers helpful, practical guidance for engaging with justice movements born in response to local experiences of larger injustices. Drawing on the prophetic traditions of the Jewish and Christian scriptures, while making room for other sources of truth, the book challenges us to ground our justice work in moral dissent, even when there is no reasonable expectation of political success, and to do the hard work of coalition building in a society that is fractured and polarized.
Congregations, groups, and individuals are invited to purchase the book or find it in a public library and begin reading. A paperback edition will be available for purchase at inSpirit: UU Book and Gift Shop in late September; bulk discounts for both hard cover and paperback are available. Make plans for an in person discussion group in the fall or winter and/or find a reading buddy and begin informal conversations as you read the book together. A discussion guide for Unitarian Universalist congregations, groups, and individuals is available for download.
Dr. Barber has also spoken at the Democratic National Convention and the Chautauqua Institution this past summer. You’ll want to understand his perspective on conservative political strategies.
Next Steps: Purchase JThe Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement, from the UUA Bookstore (discount available on five books or more).
Schedule and announce your meeting times for Common Read discussions. By October, you’ll find the discussion guide for this year's Common Read on the UUA website, with plans for a single 90-minute session and a series of three 90-minute sessions.
Allow plenty of time during the calendar year for follow-up conversations so you can continue to apply Rasor’s insights to the justice issues that compel your community.
Visit the UUA Common Read web page to learn more about how and why your UUA faith community might organize a Common Read and to view past years’ selections.