uuworld.org: liberal religion and life

Journeys and the spirit

The Spring issue explores more profound dimensions of leaving home.
By Christopher L. Walton
Spring 2014

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Siddartha Gautama left his splendid home and discovered fundamental truths that liberated him and gave the world Buddhism. Jesus of Nazareth spent forty days in the wilderness before launching his ministry proclaiming good news to the poor. Charles Darwin’s five years on the Beagle supplied the clues that gave us the theory of evolution. The word “travel” often evokes thoughts of vacation, but there have always been more profound dimensions to leaving the familiar.

With this special issue, we look at some of the journeys Unitarian Universalists take. From gathering with other UUs in community (on Star Island, or at SUUSI) to bearing witness at sites of traumatic world events (in Ghana, or Chernobyl) to choosing less environmentally damaging ways to travel, we sometimes go away in order to deepen our commitments and our understanding. Where is your journey leading you?

Eleven years ago, we welcomed two extraordinary freelancers to the magazine, and now with grateful hearts we must bid them farewell. In 2003, we turned to Robert Delboy to provide art direction and help us editors learn how to do most of the magazine’s layout work ourselves. He has commissioned art from some of the finest contemporary illustrators and helped them convert UU ideas into arresting images. With his guidance, we have adjusted and refined the organization and appearance of the magazine. As he retires to focus on painting, we are thrilled to share one of his works for its own sake.

In 2003 we also began assigning an ever-growing number of articles to Michelle Bates Deakin, who quickly became a contributing editor and then, in 2011, a full-time member of our staff. A dogged reporter and graceful writer, she covered some of the most significant moments in Unitarian Universalism’s recent history—from the response to Hurricane Katrina to the General Assembly vigil outside the Maricopa County Jail in Arizona in 2012. She has taken a new job in the Public Information Office at Harvard Law School, and we will keenly miss her—but you don’t have to just yet. This issue is full of her work, including her account of a week at the UU College of Social Justice’s service learning site in Haiti.

We are glad to welcome three more columnists as regular contributors to our website, uuworld.org. Joining Meg Barnhouse, James Ishmael Ford, and Doug Muder are contributing editor Kimberly French, acclaimed science writer Jeffrey Lockwood, and beloved minister Jane Rzepka. We publish news and original content each week; sign up for our email newsletter to get the latest.

Finally, you may notice the new red logo in the lower corner of this page. The UUA is beginning a new outreach effort, starting with new branding materials. Read more about it in “Inside the UUA.”

This article appeared in the Spring 2014 issue of UU World (page 3). See sidebar for links to related resources.

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