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Dana AshrawiThe bubble is a special form in nature. A living cell can be contemplated as a bubble-like structure, enclosing protectively the important contents of its variously functioning parts. And yet the cell has an external structure through which energy and matter can pass both ways. New life is created inside the cell, which ultimately splits in two not to die but to continue living, and proving that the whole is more than the sum of its parts and that all is connected. And over time, new life evolves and becomes different life. The Global Sisters Groups were like living cells, spiritual bubbles of life creating more spiritual life, allowing ideas and energy to pass back and forth within and beyond each.

The Global Sisters Groups were an indispensable part of the Convocation. To have designed the structure of the Convocation to include time for such interaction is brilliant. I’d like to give kudos to the powerful thinking and understanding of policy making and organizational management that went into this design. The Global Sisters process for the Convocation was based on the Community Capacity-Building process developed by the UU Partner Church Council.

Editor’s Note: “U*U’s and nons in a vast interconnected web of purpose” (quoted from Dana Fisher Ashrawi’s poem about the Convocation in the Fall WOMUUNWEB) is already coming true! I received the first post-Convo.news item (below) just this morning from a non-U*U.

The situation in Washington DC appears more hopeful for ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) with the new Obama/Biden Administration, and the new Congress. Both the new President and Vice President are familiar with the Treaty, both having served on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as Senators, Biden most recently as the its Chair. Senator John Kerry (D-MA), who now chairs the Committee, has always been supportive, as is Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), who chairs the Sub-Committee in which the Treaty rests. The Committee membership now has three women members, Senator Boxer, plus two new women Senators, Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and the Party ratio is now 11 Democrats to 8 Republicans (one still undesignated pending the outcome of the Coleman/Franken Senatorial race in Minnesota.) Ratification passage by the full Senate will require a 2/3rds (67) favorable vote.

Dr Misty SheehanThe UUA has been our stalwart supporter and our challenge as we bring women and religion concerns and goals into the Unitarian Universalist system of religion. With changes in the UUA that have recently occurred, UU Women and Religion (W/R) needs to look at what our role will be under the new affiliates' changes.

UU Women and Religion is not an official organization of the UUA, but falls under the category of being recognized as a part of the UU faith tradition. W/R is a free, associated group. Along with a large number of previously UUA affiliated groups, we are no longer given slots for workshops at General Assembly, and must pay more for booth space, crimping and cramping our previous style (in recent years) of having a strong General Assembly appearance.

Helen PopenoeMy International Convocation of Unitarian*Universalist Women experience was similar to my participation in fifteen UUA General Assemblies (GA). I even got my photo in the “UU World”, voting at a Ft. Lauderdale GA plenary session. Gini Courter, as our UUA Moderator, was handling that plenary process. The women’s Convocation had a small group decision making process that Gini, also, handled. Like GA, the Convocation honored the enabling, feminist work of a Right Relations Committee, there to help us all correct insensitive mistakes in our behavior at the podium and, personally, toward one another.

My same GA exhaustion happened because I couldn’t miss the valuable speakers and activities that were so well planned for us. I was in Patricia Montley’s play reading of her “Persephone’s Journey: A Rite of Spring.” The only free time we could rehearse was from 10 PM to midnight! I’m an up-with-dawn early bird! The whole Convocation was well worth my extra effort. How could I help not doing so? The activities and presentations tied together, so well, in supporting the Convocation theme for building a strong network of partnerships around the world. The presenters consciously built on the thinking in presentations that went before. The remarkable clarity and intelligence (including the emotional and intuitive intelligences) of the speakers, questioners and small group participants continually brought me new insights to which I could connect new ideas.


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