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.
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.
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