UU Women and Religion

... toward a new day ...

WOMUUNWEB 19 Spring 2005

SPRING 2005 WOMUUNWEB

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UU Women & Religion Annual Gathering and Celebration

Our continental organization, UU Women & Religion, UU W&R, an affiliate of the UUA, welcomes all adults and youths to the annual gathering from 9 am to 4 pm on Thursday, June 23 in Fort Worth, Texas, before General Assembly 2005 begins that evening.  It will be in the Metropolitan Room of the Radisson Hotel.

The theme of the gathering is “Toward a New Day”, in celebration of 27 years of change since the UUA’s Women and Religion Resolution called on UU’s to examine and put aside sexist assumptions, attitudes, and language.  What are we doing to secure the future of this commitment?

Time is allotted for everyone to speak his/her mind on where we are and what needs to be done.

UU musician, Carole Eagleheart, will inspire us with new visions of our future and bring profound beauty to this, the first UU W&R pre-GA event!

The $50-$25 sliding-scale registration fee pays for lunch, refreshments, and equipment, materials and professional entertainment. To register, please send an email with your name, address, phone number, and UU congregation and district, if applicable, to bschonborn@aol.com; OR mail a note with the same information to Barbara Schonborn, 1963 Rock Street, Apt. 19, Mountain View, CA 94043. Payment by check in advance will insure your lunch reservation.

UUW&R and Other Feminist Programs at General Assembly

UU Women & Religion will sponsor two events officially at General Assembly 2005, and will conduct a third event with the generous sponsorship of Rowe Camp and Conference Center.  UU W&R, also, supports, Core Group member, Dorothy Emerson’s workshop (sponsored by the UU Women’s Heritage Society).  See below for descriptions.  These events will be repeated.

Our sister and brother UUA affiliates and the UUA associate UU Women's Federation will sponsor numerous inspiring events. The UU Women's Heritage Society will offer Rev. Dorothy Emerson's program, "Arise...Women of this Day! Make Peace!" and Rev. Helen Zidowecki's program, "Activism and Worship Across the Centuries." These will be repeated.

 

The UUWF will sponsor " 'Breakthrough': Approaching Women's Rights Through Popular Culture," "What Exactly Are Liberal Religious Feminisms?" "Young Women of Color Dialogue with Their Parents," and "Remembering May Sarton: Radical Lessons for Life."

The Southwest UU Women will sponsor "Dances of Universal Peace." The UU Men's Network will sponsor "HusbandSpeak: How Men Do Marriage."

 

Check the GA Program book for exact titles; and the dates, times, and places.  After May 1st, the Program book can be found on <www.uua.org/ga/prog.html>

Laurie James’ solo drama:

WINTER WHEAT:  The Betrayal of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Her Woman’s Bible

Betrayal surrounded Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s struggle to publish a bible revealing woman’s patriarchal degradation.  Colleagues, including Susan B. Anthony, objected, isolating her from the woman’s movement at age of eighty, fifty years after innovative, visionary leadership.  A story more timely today than a century ago.  Solo drama, actress/author Laurie James.

Rosemary Matson and Laurie James’ workshop:

Women Open a Window on the Bible

Women over the ages have sought to examine the religious roots of the words of the Bible which seriously impact the lives of all living beings and things; these words are used as a tool by those who would dominate and control others. We will expose and exorcise these words.

Misty Sheehan’s workshop:

Feminist Theology Rising

UU Women and Religion observes that women who attend retreats in their districts walk to a new theology that serves them spiritually.  Feminist theology from the academic sector walks with these women with similar goals. Women cross class, race, and international borders to create a better life.

Dorothy Emerson’s workshop:

"Arise . . . women of this day!"  Make Peace”

Friday, June 24, 6:45 PM-8 PM

Convention Center Room 101

UU Women’s Heritage Society, sponsor

As UUs we have a rich heritage of role models who can inspire and guide us, if we only knew their stories.  Come meet some remarkable women, peacemakers from the past, from whom we can gain wisdom and empowerment for our work for peace today.

UU W&R will have a booth in the General Assembly Display Hall, again.

There will be pre-designated spaces for district materials in the booth, with each District providing $25. for an 81/2” X 11” sized table space with allowance for a stand-up display board behind.  $50. gives double that space.  Any sales by Districts will be their own responsibility.  Each will be given a copy of its District sign-in sheet (from interested passers-by).  Booth space for displaying and selling the “Unraveling the Gender Knot” course will be given first priority.  Contact Helen Popenoe, 301/229-0549, hpop@verizon.net, GA Booth Coordinator.  Note: Helen’s departure for Ft. Worth will be in the morning of June 22nd.  Get your display boards to her by June 8th, please.

MUST-READ IN THE MARCH/APRIL UU WORLD, P. 33

An unfolding world event that’s good news is well described by Dorothy Emerson, UU W&R Core Group member, in “The Microcredit Revolution.”  Empowering women pays off for all concerned.  From the past and, sadly, the present, women face great discrimination in employment and wages.  It is now being recognized that for a society to move forward, the empowerment and education of women must happen in partnership with men, alongside efforts to overhaul unjust systems.

 

“It is as timely trend: The United Nations has proclaimed 2005 the International Year of Micro-credit in an effort to raise awareness of its importance in the eradication of poverty,” says Dorothy.  Women’s work is changing the developing world.

Women’s Rights Worldwide

A Study/Action Issue submitted by Community Unitarian Church at White Plains (NY) and by the UU Church of Annapolis (MD), December, 2004

Issue: What can Unitarian Universalists do to secure fundamental human rights for women, while eradicating discrimination, abuse and torture worldwide? 

Background and reasons for study: In 1995, the Beijing Accords, created at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on the Status of Women, declared that “women’s rights are human rights.”  Ten years later, there is ample evidence that the oppression of women continues around the world.  Women endure subtle discrimination in certain spheres of life and horrific abuse and torture in others.  Statistics regarding women’s inequality in the exercise of their economic, political, civil, and socio-cultural rights indicate that the problems are deep and extend across developed and developing countries.  (to be continued)

UU W&R WISE WOMEN CONTRIBUTIONS

Recommended Reading from Misty Sheehan, UU W&R’s Core Group –

Relating to Misty’s GA ’05 workshop about the cutting edge of today’s feminist theology:

The Cambridge Companion to Feminist Theology by Susan Frank Parsons, Cambridge U. Press, 2002

Important Current Women’s Rights News from Randa Todd, JPD W&R Co-convener:

This is important because it relates to why we need to get the “Women’s Rights Worldwide” Study Action Issue, SAI, accepted by the GA Delegates this June, so we can have the support of the UUA’s Washington Office in our work for ratification of CEDAW.

Note -  To get the text of the SAI, read the excerpts between each segment of this WOMUUNWEB issue.  Also, the source of the following news is OneWorld.net and its title is

“Abortion Stance Isolating U.S. at Global Women’s conference”, March 4, 2005.

The sense of the article I get is that the U.S. had been trying to insert a statement into the U.N.’s Beijing Conference Platform on women’s equality.  (This platform includes CEDAW, the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women.)  That first U.S. statement (for inclusion in the Platform) was dropped due to “intense pressure from other nations and women’s advocates at home.”  However, the U.S. Executive Branch launched a new statement push to establish that “the Beijing platform is not a legally binding document, that issues such as abortion are issues of national consensus, national policy”, according to U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Ellen Saurbrey.  This watered-down admendment has gained no support, so far.

The original U.S. statement that was dropped, demanded that a U.N. declaration on women’s equality state that there is no international right to abortion.  CEDAW, by the way, has nothing in it about a right to abortion.  Still, U.S. politics has been keeping the Senate from ratifying it!  As the U.N.’s Beijing Conference Platform now stands, the text, simply reaffirms the 1995 U.N. blueprint adopted originally in Beijing.  This was reported by OneWorld.net on March 12, 2005 when the Fifth World conference on Women had ended.  “This reaffirmation was not enough for many who attended the two-week U.N.conference of ministers, government delegates, first ladies and non-governmental representatives from around the world.  Women’s rights are human rights,” said OneWorld.net.

“However,” OneWorld.net reports, “Washington stuck to its guns in insisting that the declaration adopted at the end of the U.N. commission on the Status of Women’s Equality, Feb. 28 – Mar. 11, not ‘create any new international human rights’.”

Recommended reading from Helen Popenoe, UU W&R’s Core Group:

The latest “waterwheel”, Volume 17, Number 1, 2004 – 5, has an outstandingly good lead article entitled “Feminist Feminism” by Mary E. Hunt of WATER, Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual.  The byline is “Gender exclusive feminism is and ought to be dead.”  To obtain a complimentary copy, go to water@hers.com.  WATER’s website address is http://www.hers.com/water

Springtime Beauty from Barbara Vaughn, Davies Memorial UU Church

DUSTING THE MORNING DEW

I fingered the hem of day
As dawn arose in her whispering gown,
Dusting the morning dew away,
Tossing green on barren branches.
She split forsythia buds wide with golden bursts,
Scented the blossoming lilies and
Smiled as she skipped along
Beyond the bounds of time or place.

 

LAUGHTER

I am introduced by a friend to laughter.
Shared, it blossoms the brighter.
I love my quiet time, alone in nature
Where remembered laughter radiates.
But laughter needs friends to grow.
A turn of a phrase, a connection,
A juxtaposition of experiences,
Even a funny movie,
One that evokes belly laughs
Needs an audience for its retelling.

 

SPRING

I am dressed in green
Just as the trees have donned
A new green to greet the spring.
My heart is light and soft,
Opening to new opportunities.
Blossoms are already falling
From the cherry trees,
Dancing along sidewalks in the breeze.
What do I need to let go of,
To be ready for what is just
Around the corner?
Smiling, laughing, loving –
This is the path I choose.
Come along.
There is more fun in togetherness.

Women’s Rights Worldwide

A Study/Action Issue submitted by Community Unitarian Church at White Plains (NY) and by the UU Church of Annapolis (MD), December, 2004

Significance to Unitarian Universalism: We respect the dignity of all individuals within the interdependent web.  This has long called us to fight for women’s rights in the United States and helped us develop a tradition of women’s leadership here.  It should compel us also to fight for the rights of women around the world so that women in all cultures can live in conditions of freedom, dignity, and strong personal identity. Women’s rights are intertwined with children’s rights, their families’ health and stability, and society’s security and prosperity. A proactive position by Unitarian Universalists supports the interdependent web of human lives on this planet.

JOSEPH PRIESTLEY DISTRICT, SOUTH, NEWS

From UU Congregation of Fairfax’s Susan Bennett 

Woman’s Spirit Circle Forms at UUCF

A woman’s spirit circle formed last December has been meeting regularly at UUCF.  A small group of lively woman comes together twice a month to share their spiritual journeys and discuss women’s issues.  Our stated goal is to create a sacred space where we can explore our spirituality and where we can organize to take action on women’s issues.  We believe women’s’ spirituality empowers us to take action for ourselves and all women.  Contact person is Susan Bennett 703 716 0150 scbennett@cox.net

From UU Church of AnnapolisSusan Eckert

Full Circle’s Earth Centered Celebrations

Full circle celebrates the new and full moons and the eight solar holidays of each year.  The full moon circles focus on feminine energy and are open to all adult women.  New moons are limited to women registered for the Weavers Covenant Group.  Solar holidays, called Sun Circles, celebrate the Wheel of the Year, with seasonal celebrations such as solstices and equinoxes, include men and youth, too.  All events are followed by a potluck feast.  New participants of all backgrounds and beliefs are always welcome.

Full Moon Women’s Circles meet on each full moon throughout the year.  We explore personal issues and our spiritual connection to Goddess and God.  We celebrate with song, dance and sharing in a sacred and safe space, opening wide the opportunity to celebrate with other women.  Bring an ingredient to add to a potluck green salad.  Spring full moon circles are scheduled for March 25, April 24 and May 23 from 7 -9 p.m.

Sun Circles celebrated the spring equinox on March 20.  As we awaken to our place in the interconnected web of all existence, we seek to restore the wholeness of the web.  Following the Council of All Beings tradition developed by Joanna Macy and John Seed, we created masks and honored plants, animals and other nonhuman beings. We ate seasonal food for our feast and had a drumming circle.  On May 1st, in celebration of May Day, also known as Beltane, we deck ourselves out to match the beauty of the flowers and weave a community of love and playfulness with a maypole dance.  Sun Circle festivities begin at 6:00 pm.

JPD Women and Religion Retreat, April 22 – 24, 2005

Unraveling The Gender Knot – Challenging the System that Binds Us

Precious Blood Spiritual Center in Columbia, Lancaster County, PA

Web site: http://www.pbspiritualcenter.org

Registrar: Lois Morrigan, 610/872-2884 or <LoisMorrigan@aol.com>

Presenter:  Barbara Schonborn, Ph.D, will provide leadership throughout the weekend for all persons who identify as women, including those with xy chromosomes.  The weekend will feature some background of issues, lots of opportunities safely to reflect on your experiences and exploration of a future where all persons fulfill their potential.  If you feel knowledgeable, share your wisdom.  If these issues are new to you, come to discover.  If you’re weary of the struggle, come for renewed strength and courage.

This is an opportunity to connect with other women and enjoy free time.  Also, we’ll have a coffee house where you can share poetry, a short story, skit, songs, musical performance, joke, etc.

HERE IS A FALL RETREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU

Women & Religion on the Paths of the Ancient Mother: Pilgrimage to New Mexico

JPD W&R is proud to partner with Trisha Sinnott, director of Pathway Tours, to offer an 8 – day Women’s Journey, October 15 – 22, 2005.

Fly from your local airport to Albuquerque to visit Old Town with its Gradalupe chapel and Indian Pueblo Culture Center.  A drive to Coronado State Monument will admit us to an underground Indian kiva with colorful paintings and nearby museum.  Our side trip to Santa Fe will include a visit to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and a walk on the Old Santa Fe trail.  The tour features ancient Acoma Pueblo, Sky City and Georgia O’Keeffe country.  We will visit Petroglyph National Monument and the Echo Ampitheater and visit Ghost Ranch at sunset to walk the labyrinth.  We’ll see White Place, featured in O’Keeffe’s paintings and the ancient Anasazi site of Bandalier National Monument with its ancient ruins, cave dwellings and sacred kiva.

Part of most evenings will be spent in group processing and ritual.  We will have a ritual inside Windows in the Earth, an incredible sanctuary carved within a cliff.  Options may include a trip to Chaco Canyon, weather permitting.

The trip costs $1,700, plus airfare. With a $500. deposit due by June 1.  For more information, contact Sandy Eckert at 717/533-5331 or jabuda@verizon.net

Pt. Branch & Rockville Women’s Retreat happens May 13 – 15.

mountains, the Rev. Dr. Margee Iddings will lead a retreat to focus on deepening one’s spiritual life.  To learn about this retreat center go to <http://RisingPhoenixRetreat.com>

Women’s Rights Worldwide

A Study/Action Issue submitted by Community Unitarian Church at White Plains (NY) and by the UU Church of Annapolis (MD), December, 2004

Possible study questions:

What needs to be done to insure implementation of the Beijing Accords, and U.S. ratification of UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), so that the U.S. may resume a leading role in the international community working for human rights? 

Can we build bridges and work constructively across barriers of cultural and religious difference so that we can understand and eliminate structures and practices that are harmful to women and girls?

On what basis can men and women challenge cultural and religious traditions which deny women equal access to education and health care?

What can we do to strengthen women’s economic, political, and civil rights worldwide?

How can we work to improve the record on women’s rights in the U.S., particularly in the areas of violence against women, HIV/AIDS, and economic equality?

Announcements

2005 Montgomery County Women’s Fair, Saturday April 16th.

8:30 AM – 5:00 PM 

North Bethesda Marriott Conference Center

Workshops * Exhibits * Seated Lunch and Keynote Program

Keynote Luncheon Speaker, Dr. Andrea Pennington, President and Founder of the Pennington Institute for Health and Wellness in Silver Spring, MD is a vibrant, charismatic physician, acupuncturist, motivational counselor and author.

http://www.mcwomensfair.org

Dear March for Women’s Lives folks,

I wanted to send this announcement out to you, as I met many of you in my time in this position, and I know that many of you know young women and men who would be amazing assets to the program. Please forward this along to those who you think might be interested! Most of our applicants hear about the program from an adult affiliated with their congregation or campus group.

I can’t believe my time in the office is coming to a close, but I am excited to start the search for a new and exciting person to serve the office as I did. I have had many great experiences in my time here, but the March tops the list. So glad I could share it with all of you!

In faith,

Kierstin

Kierstin Homblette
Current UUWF Clara Barton Intern
Legislative Assistant for Women's Issues
Washington Office for Advocacy
Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations
1320 18th St. NW, Suite 300B
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 296-4672 x13
(202) 296-4673 (fax)
khomblette@uua.org
www.uua.org/uuawo

Applications are due Monday, April 18 for UU Women's Issues Internship

For an application, see http://www.uua.org/uuawo/new/article.php?id=87.

Women’s Rights Worldwide

A Study/Action Issue submitted by Community Unitarian Church at White Plains (NY) and by the UU Church of Annapolis (MD), December, 2004

Possible Actions:

Educate ourselves by reading first-hand accounts written by women from other cultures.

Collaborate with the United Nations Office of the UUA and other organizations that work for women’s rights in developing countries.

Lobby the U.S. government to ratify CEDAW.

Lobby the U.S. government to remove barriers to funding for international family planning.

Work to achieve the level of access to reproductive health services promised by national governments at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Egypt.

Fight against the feminization of poverty by supporting organizations that give micro-loans to businesses created by women in developing nations.

Work on literacy and educational projects which bring opportunity to women around the world.

Educate men, women, and children about the importance of gender equity and shared responsibility.

Enact and enforce strong laws that protect women from violence.

Please, urge your congregations’ GA Delegates to vote for this Study/Action Issue which will be submitted by the Community Unitarian Church at White Plains, NY (co-author, Rev. Carol Huston ) and the UU Church of Annapolis, MD (co-author, Christine Nielson), in Fort Worth, Texas at the UUA GA.  Also, recognition goes to Julie Agarwal of All Souls Unitarian Church for her work on this SAI both for the ’04 GA and the ’05 GA.

An apology from Helen Popenoe:

Salman Rushdie said “Smiles are more dangerous than frowns”.  I hope, in the Winter WOMUUNWEB issue, that I didn’t offend any reader by my humor about President Bush’s radical right stance.  I was very angry at his administration and decided to release it publicly.  If it helped you laugh, I guess I did no harm.  However, I will not be tempted to employ sarcastic humor in WOMUUNWEB again.  I’m sorry.

WOMUUNWEB DEADLINE for Summer, 2005 issue is June 30, please.  Send your news to Helen Popenoe at hpop@verizon.net

GWA Webmaster, for creating a link to this Freewebs site for readers to access the WOMUUNWEB ARCHIVES on <http://www.gwa.jpd.uua.org>.

Respectfully Submitted by Helen Popenoe, March 27, 2005