General Assembly this year held some high points: the statement of conscience on Reproductive Justice was approved. Read the DRAFT. Ware lecturer Dr. Cornell West railed against not only white supremacy but male supremacy. He challenged us all to Integrity, Honesty, Decency and Virtue. Watch the VIDEO to get a fuller sense of what he means. It was an electrifying speech. Newly fellowshipped ministers included a large contingent of young women. As someone already past middle-age, this gives me a boost of hope for the future, and also a grand curiosity. How will this new wave change our denomination -- and the world -- yet again? What wil be the shape of their ministry?
In closer focus, this year marked evidence of a closer relationship with our sister organization, the UU Women's Federation. They sponsored two excellent workshops at GA and gave an annual report to the UUA. With a herstory going back at least 150 years, UUWF is the oldest women's organization in our denomination. UUWF is conducting a SURVEY to hear what UU women prioritize in social justice work. We had side-by-side booths in the GA Exhibit Hall, and learned a lot about each other, sometimes "working" each others' booths. It was a good opportunity to explain to many people what the differences in emphasis are between our two groups. UUWF board members were very focused and got into a lot of one-on-one conversations with GA-goers.
UUW&R will be in Portland, OR for the 2015 General Assembly. We'll have an exhibit booth, #218, right next door to the UU Women's Federation! What a great opportunity for some cross-pollination of ideas. Be sure to come and see us, and find out what these national UU women's organizations have to offer.
Unfortunately we won't have room for a Red Tent this year... booth prices went up substantially in 2015 for the larger spaces. We will have new items for sale: hand-knit scarves and shawls created and donated by a long-time W&R supporter. New this year: we won't have much inventory in the booth so we'll offer FREE SHIPPING to anyone ordering curricula, books or CDs at GA.
Both groups are looking for members and friends to help staff the booths during the week of GA, June 24-28. If you are going and are interested in volunteering for UUW&R, please contact Gretchen at 877-342-0850. or email@example.com. For UUWF, contact Kirstie Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UUWF will present two workshops at GA (details will be announced soon). UUW&R is looking for a location to have an off-site gathering. Maybe a Red Tent evening??
At General Assembly 2014 you could find UUW&R in exhibit hall booth 114.
Many many thanks go out to the cadre of women who helped make GA2014 spectacular for UUW&R. I spent most of my time in the Store area talking with dozens of well-informed and committed UUs every day. Nancy Aurora Rogers and Kat Graham who organize a regular Red Tent Women's Gathering at the UU Church of Marlborough and Hudson Massachusetts, lovingly guided the sacred space that was The Red Tent. Hundreds of women spent time in the tent, by themselves or with whoever gathered at that moment. Most said there was a clear shift of energy upon passing its threshold, and one told me she could feel the energy from several yards away.
The Red Tent was not only a sacred space dedicated to women's spirit, it was breathtakingly gorgeous. My photos (more on Facebook) don't do it justice. Nancy's are better (her Facebook album). Dozens of people felt compelled to take their own pictures of it, whether they entered the space or not. It was, if not THE hit of a GA where many spectacular events come together, at least a very memorable visit for a large number of women. I think many got the ideas that we not only need sacred space of our own, we can create it ourselves. I hope many were inspired to create a similar experience in their communities. The Red Tent is only one of the many forms women's sacred space takes. How do you gather with your sisters?