UU Women and Religion

... toward a new day ...


CEDAW Ratification Reminder

The following may not be news to you, but I would, now, like to present a bit of education about CEDAW, the U.N. Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. I’m sure you realize that such discrimination is the first step toward violence against women. I’m drawing the following information from the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee’s curriculum, Gender Justice: Women’s Rights are Human Rights. There’re also websites about it: www.womenstreaty.org and www.CEDAW2010.org.

The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee has confronted political, cultural and economic oppression throughout the world for over 66 years. They tell us that as a U.N. convention, CEDAW’s main key to U.S. usefulness is the definition it gives for what discrimination against women is. It is any distinction or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise of human rights. Article 2 mandates governmental condemnation of discrimination against women in all its forms and to ensure that national legal frameworks embody the principles of equality between men and women.

I learned on the womenstreaty website that President Obama's administration strongly supports U.S. ratification and has included CEDAW as one of the five multilateral treaties it has identified as a priority. So, with each Senatorial election, such as the one coming up in November, many of us who are educating the candidates of all parties (for whom we are the constituents) to try to get them to declare their support for ratification.

Before we go to the polls, November 2, let's educate our U.S. Senatorial candidates to endorse ratification of CEDAW!

My 2010 International Association of Liberal Religious Women Defining Experience

International Association of Liberal Religious Women 2010How can I live my life to benefit all? This question is ringing from my heartstrings after returning home from the IALRW conference, the first week of September, in India. Most important for me from that experience were the well thought out, meaningful ideas and memes*. I found I could integrate many of those bright women’s thoughts into my core values. Now, as I savor the brilliance of the full moon, I realize my new insights are like the moon’s light that becomes blocked into darkness intermittently by passing clouds. How the conference was a defining experience will be addressed in future WOMUUNWEB issues as more clarity comes to me.

Here I will share Dolma’s kernels, seeding my inspiration, since her presentation dovetails with the recent UUA General Assembly’s Statement of Conscience on “Creating Peace.” (Please, see that Statement of Conscience story in the WOMUUNWEB Summer, 2010 issue.)

Read more: My 2010 International Association of Liberal Religious Women Defining Experience

Global Sisters webinar on CEDAW

icuuw-logo-smDear Global Sisters--
As we are in the final stretch of this Congressional session, we wanted to update you on the momentum you have helped generate for CEDAW and share some exciting news related to moving forward on CEDAW this year.
Join in on a Global Sisters' Conference Call, Wednesday, October 20th, 7 PM Central Time (8PM Eastern/5PM Pacific).
Our presenter will be June Zeitlin, Director of the National CEDAW Education Task Force, a project of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

Read more: Global Sisters webinar on CEDAW

What Is The Point of Having W&R Retreats?

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.”

Joseph Priestley District UU W&R
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

Central Midwest Summer Retreat Report

Central Midwest District Women and Religion


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.

Read more: Central Midwest Summer Retreat Report