Rosemary Matson passes
Rosemary Matson — A Woman Without Fear
Rosemary Matson passed away peacefully on September 27, 2014 at her long-time home in Carmel Valley, California. Born on September 20, 1917 as Rosemary Ann Thompson at her family farm in Geneva, Iowa, she was 97 years old. She modeled living by a set of values that included: insisting on equal opportunity and an institutional voice for women; putting a face on the enemy; demonstrating world peace is possible; and standing with workers demanding fair treatment by employers. And, she deeply loved cats, having many close furry friends during her long life.
Rosemary adored grassroots organizing. Over many years she was active in every facet of the Unitarian Universalist denominational Women & Religion activities, from advocating for passage of the 1977 Women and Religion Resolution at General Assembly (she was appointed co-chair of the Continental Committee on Women and Religion) to the 2001 formation of the UUA Women and Religion affiliate. 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.
Margot Adler Passes at 68
Author and long-time NPR correspondent Margot Adler passed away July 28 at the age of 68, after a battle with cancer. Pictured at right at General Assembly in 2006, she was well-known as a leader in many circles, including CUUPs, and at UU women's gatherings such as the 2009 International Convocation of UU Women (photo below).
I first met Margot in 1996. CUUPS was having a Summer Solstice ritual as part of General Assembly. As I recall, Margot led the spiral dance outdoors in a park in downtown Indianapolis. It was a joyful and peaceful event, only nudged at the end by local police, informing the group that they couldn't dance on the grass.
May you dance to your heart's content in the Summerland, Margot.
-- Gretchen Ohmann
The news and some responses:
General Assembly 2014
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?
A To-Do to Gain Control of Violence toward Others
Back on January 23, 2012, I attended a Key West discussion in the UU One Island Family meeting room. The Rev. Randy Becker gave this introduction, acknowledging that it had been 40 days since the Newtown Massacre: One of the time-honored formulas of many religious traditions is the “40 days and 40 nights” one. Time to sit, live, walk, sleep, dream with the emergent realities of any situation for that period of time, allows for a necessary movement from shock through anger and depression to something more creative. That period is happening, more and more -- one was the Pittsburg high school stabbings. Rev. Randy said that such violent acts bring up questions about our culture, system of rights and privileges, our quest for security and our values.
“Songbird Hunter: What We Each Could Notice in Order to Help” - My thoughts in fictional form
UU Women's Herstories
Lately I've been hearing from women who want to be sure our UU women's stories are not forgotten. So far I know of a few projects that are online:
I know there are more in the works. What's the herstory of your UU women's group? Maybe we can share these at GA this year.
Email me! -- Gretchen, firstname.lastname@example.org