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.
For UU Women and Religion, connection is one of the major reasons why we do an exhibit booth. We always hear lots of stories from women about what's available for them in their congregations, and how they're involved in the movement. Another focus for us is to feature the Cakes and Rise Up curricula alongside our other feminist thealogy and women's spirituality resources. We handed out brochures on this fall's district and regional UU women's conferences such as SWUUWCon in Oklahoma, Womenspirit in North Carolina, and Women's Connection in the midwest.
In the 90-plus-degree heat that week, we didn't see many sales of the lovely knit scarves donated by past W&R committee member Pat Reed. We connected with a local congregation and decided to donate a good number of them to local women's shelters rather than pay to ship them back to the office. Pacific Central W&R gifted us with a nice selection of Meg Bowman's books, a few of which we donated to UU Women's Connection's Lending Library.
Because of distance and cost this year, we opted for a small 10-foot-by-10-foot booth. Maybe next year in Columbus Ohio we'll do it up big again!
Once again, volunteers made a major difference in the staffing of the booth. Particular thanks go out to Twinkle Manning of the fledgling UU Women's Heart, Geri Kennedy of Pacific Central W&R, Janet Fitch, Rev. Dorothy Emerson, Kellie Kelly, Suzanne Zilber, Janet Nortrom, and Karin Janowski who was particularly helpful in packing up the booth afterwards!
In photo: Geri Kennedy and Gretchen Ohmann