SouthWest UU Women held their 25th annual Conference, "Generation NEXXT" in Dallas Texas on March 3-5. Despite their keynote speaker having to cancel at the last minute due to family illness, the SWUUW women were up to the challenge. Participants commented:
"Big Bad Gina ROCKED! It was so fun to dance to their music, and just be entertained by them!"
"I thought Intern Rev. Megan [Dalby-Jones] did a very good job of delivering the message that Rev. Tambra Lebak was to have given."
While at the [SWUUW] conference this year, I wrote a tribute poem to the women of SWUUW in particular. From the third of wave of feminists to you all...thanks.
Birthright: The Third Wave
She changes everything she touches
The women in my life have been a sacred circle;
They are weavers of a web of history and love,
Committed to change, committed to justice, committed to the journey.
(We are sisters, on a journey, singing out as one)
Their threads have led me to books and music and protests.
Their threads have held me suspended and safe, saved me from
An abyss of self loathing.
Their threads have mended me when I was frayed and
Pieced together disparate cloths, fabric from the different pieces
Of my soul.
Their voices sing for freedom.
Their bodies and minds have met injustice and suffering.
Their bodies and minds have delivered miracles,
The soft flesh of newborn
They have given me a labyrinth for contemplation
And songs to sing outside the capitol
Or the detention center
Or in my classroom
Or in my daughter’s room, at night as she sleeps.
They have given me the bright colors of patchwork quilts
and hippie skirts
and I wear them in my hair
and on my toes
and emblazoned in tattoos.
They have given me gardening tools and seeds,
And a little plot of ground to green
And I call this place
Although I will gladly share the harvest
After the seeds have become vegetables and fruits and flowers.
There is a basket for each visitor—you can fill one if you like.
Just plant some seeds yourself,
There’s plenty more space
In this community garden.
We can share the compost pile,
it is rich and full and warm.
(Heyanna hoyanna heyanna ho)
We are struggling, each of us in our own place on the path
To the center.
Some of them are waiting for me now,
And I can hear their voices, softly:
(And everything she touches changes.)
UU Women & Religion Breakfast - June 25, 2010
Millennium Hotel, Minneapolis, MN
Attendance: (See sign-in sheet for complete names) Gretchen, Nancy, Shirley, Dorothy, Roberta, Terri, Lynn, Laura, Caroline, Rosemary, Sue, Colleen, Linda, Susan, Martha, Laurie, Claudia(?), Geri, Misty
I. Opening: Gretchen Ohmann led us in the chant, “I give thanks” with drumming.
II. Introductions Around the Circle (sign-in sheet was also passed)
III. What is Women & Religion all about?
Gretchen presented a brief recap of the UUWR annual report. Projects included: the International Convocation of UU Women; a vendor / information booth at General Assembly selling curriculum, CDs, jewelry, etc.; participating in the Margaret Fuller celebrations; promotion of “Cakes for the Queen of Heaven” curriculum.
Gretchen reported that two new women’s regional groups have been initiated this year, in Florida and St Lawrence District. They join active women’s groups in the following districts: Central Midwest, Northern New England, Pacific Central, Thomas Jefferson, Joseph Priestley, and South West. She encouraged all groups represented to send notices of their events to UUWR so that they can be posted on the website and included in the newsletter.
At this time, UUWR is focused on facilitating communication and sharing of resources between the various UU women’s groups.
Always it’s to strengthen my resolve for standing up to patriarchal situations that I encounter and to try and turn those circumstances into teachable moments, somehow. Our Joseph Priestley District Women and Religion retreats never have failed to give me the inspiration for “standing strong.”
When I first recall the very good experience I had at this year’s recent retreat (from enjoying my room, food and beauty of the environment to my breakthrough awareness I found for a very confusing situation I’m presently living through), I feel immense gratitude for what the Facilitators’ Circle created for us participants. The emotional climate, easy schedule and the content were exactly what I needed.
A highpoint was Heather Gehron-Rice’s “just-right” service she gave us Sunday morning (especially the story about the shards of glass.) I’ve heard that story before and never quite got it until Heather put it into words.
I have been at most of the JPD W&R retreats since 1980 and expect the quality to be a spiritually fulfilling experience every time.
This time I decided, beforehand, to not bring up my personal situation in order to emphasize positive energy. My expectation was to find enough healing to be able to face the problem when I returned home. I ended up coming home with much more positive energy and healing than I could’ve dreamed would be possible (because I felt enough trust to share my problem.) The after-glowing I feel is blessing me with new lightheartedness and peace in a continuing undercurrent for my daily life, now. I know I have my JPD sisters’ faith and love and return those same vibes to all of them.
Helen Pop, Germantown, MD Sugarloaf Congregation of Unitarian Universalists
This summer’s WomanSpirit Retreat, was held the first weekend of August at Ronora Lodge in Watervliet, MI. We were a comfortable gathering of nearly 50 women and maidens (young women). The weekend weather was perfectly sunny and warm, but not too hot or too humid. (This was especially welcome after we were drowned with rain last year.)
Our theme, “Sowing Seeds of Gratitude” was incorporated into the rituals, songs, readings, workshops and even décor. Seed packets tucked into spirals of tulle adorned the tall support poles in the main dining hall. As always, the food was fabulous and plentiful. The workshops were wonderful, while the vendors were a treat! We were surrounded by nature, with woodland walks and dips in the lake. Half a dozen young maidens bubbled with excitement and exuberance.
I want to share one incident in particular that seems to embody the mood and spirit of the entire weekend.