UU Women and Religion

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UU Women's Heritage Society and UU Historical Society Consolidate

Gordon-Dorothy-Kate-2011-06-24In 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

The Unitarian Universalist Women’s Heritage Society was organized in 1988 when study of the role of women in history was a neglected field in need of special emphasis. The UUWHS was a vigorous organization with a broad, grassroots membership base. They produced monographs on Unitarian and Universalist women, calendars featuring women from our heritage, and a number of excellent scripts for dramatic presentations in worship.

The Unitarian Universalist Historical Society brought together Universalist (founded 1834) and Unitarian (founded in 1901) Historical Societies in 1978. It has a long history of publishing annual journals of scholarly work. In recent years the UUHS has also branched out into on-line publication and other endeavors. There is an on-line history chat (UUHS-Chat), and the on-line Dictionary of Unitarian Universalist Biography (http://www.uuhs.org/DUUB.htm), which makes accessible to the public carefully researched and edited biographical information on women and men of our heritage. The UUHS has also sponsored re-publication of new editions of key historical works such as Charles Lyttle’s Freedom Moves West, Roland Bainton’s Hunted Heretic, and George Huntston Williams’ American Universalism. Through the Unitarian Universalist Funding Program, UUHS has developed a program to assist with congregational archiving and histories. It has also sponsored history and heritage competitions for seminarians, youth, and religious educators.

The new UUHHS aspires to build on the work of its predecessor organizations and bring new energy to the exploration of our history and heritage. The consolidation of the two groups grew out of several years collaboration in Partners in Unitarian Universalist History and Heritage (PUUHH), an umbrella organization which began with four groups. Active conversation about consolidating the work of these two groups began in the course of the first-ever Unitarian Universalist History Convocation, which was organized by PUUHH and held in Waltham, Massachusetts, in October 2010.

UUHHS can be contacted by mail at 27 Grove Street, Scituate, MA 02066 or via e-mail at membership@uuhs.org. The new organization is in process of establishing a new web address, but for the time being is found at www.uuhs.org.

Officers and Trustees of the UUHHS in addition to Walker and Gibson include Mark Harris, Elizabeth Strong, Paul Sprecher, Barbara Coeyman (holding the women’s heritage portfolio), Kathleen Parker, John Marsh, Dan McKanan, Jim Nugent, Peggy Ward Rawheiser, George Whitehouse, and Helen Zidowecki (holding the religious education history portfolio).

CONTACT: Gordon Gibson at ggibson@uuma.org or (574) 292-5721