The Women and Religion Movement is alive and well in the 21st Century. A grassroots project started by lay leaders in the 1970s as an effort to promote examination of religious roots of sexism and patriarchy within the UUA, UU Women and Religion officially began as a task force following the unanimously-passed WOMEN AND RELIGION RESOLUTION at the 1977 UUA General Assembly. Although the Task Force was eventually sunsetted, the movement still exists in UU Districts that hold Women & Religion programs and woman-focused gatherings. It exists at General Assembly, where UUW&R has an annual gathering and a booth in the display area. And it lives in the hearts and lives of women and men who have been touched by the many changes inspired by this movement.
"We do not want a piece of the pie. It is still a patriarchal pie. We want to change the recipe!" -- Rosemary Matson
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Rosemary Matson Awarded Honorary Doctorate
May 18, 2011 - Rosemary Matson received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Starr King School for the Ministry. Pacific Central District UUW&R women gathered to help celebrate the occasion. Visit their Facebook page for more: www.pcduuwr.org.
"In 1977 Rosemary advocated with other lay women for passage of the Women and Religion Resolution at General Assembly. She was soon appointed by UUA President Paul Carnes to co-chair the President's Continental Committee on Women and Religion (1977-1980). During this period the activities to rid the denomination of sexist practices were vibrant, including: revisioning theology (thealogy), correcting sexist language in hymns and readings, and exposing and transforming sexist attitudes regarding leadership capabilities. Rosemary was in the thick of it. ..."
UU Women's Heritage Society and UU Historical Society Consolidate
In simultaneous meetings on June 24, 2011, the Unitarian Universalist Women’s Heritage Society and the Unitarian Universalist Historical Society voted to consolidate. The new organization, which will carry forward the missions of its predecessor bodies, is called the Unitarian Universalist History and Heritage Society.
The Rev. Kate Walker of Alexandria, Virginia, formerly President of the Women’s Heritage Society, was elected President of the UUHHS, and the Rev. Gordon Gibson of Knoxville, Tennessee, formerly President of the Historical Society, will serve as Past President.
Photo L to R: Rev Gordon Gibson, Rev Dorothy Emerson, Rev Kate Walker
Belong to the Evolutionary Flow
Upon rereading our Women and Religion Resolution (within which the International Association of Liberal Religious Women, IALRW, is included), I see our yearning to facilitate peaceful influence. I call the means to that influence, egalitarian complementarity. It is the opposite of controlling, top/down patriarchal ways. It is a way for collaborative partnership when a relationship between two or more persons is based on sharing leadership power. Egalitarian complementarity has flexible “give and take” for idea creation as the situation for action specifically demands.
This decision making exchange naturally determines who assumes leadership through respectful exploration to find who has the best ideas and resources “to do the job.” It’s a liberating process, releasing human potential. Freedom for those involved to act from one’s best self for the good of all is a prerequisite. This attitude comes from each person’s heart and starts with practicing this peaceful process of creative liberation with those closest to us at home. As the ancient Chinese put it, the attitude of peacefulness then can spread to neighbors, cities and nations to finally becoming peace in the world.
Stay Tuned for Brainstorming
The UUWR Annual Gathering breakfast was attended by about 20 women early on Friday morning, June 24. UUW&R co-convener Gretchen Ohmann spoke briefly on what the UUWR has been up to lately.
Alice Carnes and MJ Lieberman of SouthEast District's Womenspirit coordinating council led us in a welcoming ritual, bonding us together in a circle of strong and creative women. We all had a few moments to share our connections to the women's circles in our lives, and inspired each other in a multitude of ways.
Video Coverage of General Assembly