Letters, Summer 2011

Letters, Summer 2011

Readers respond to the Spring 2011 issue.


New design

I’m a graphic communications instructor, and at every evolution, design change—and even staff shift—of UU World, I have poured over the pages, noting changes in layout, typography, aesthetic, paper, etc.

UU World has been a top class magazine for a long time, and I regret to say there are probably way too many of us who neglect to give you the “way to go!” feedback you have deserved.

In particular the typography has been so well done. It’s lively and engaging. We see “new look” fonts moving in here and there, bringing the look forward, yet the article text is always classic and readable. Funny how UU World is like a parallel microcosm of the broader denomination as a whole.

Romy Klessen
Instructor, Graphic Communications, Southeast Technical Institute
Sioux Falls, South Dakota

All Souls Church UU

UU World debuted new paper that contains 10 percent post-consumer waste in the Spring 2011 issue. I am glad that the paper is recycled, however, I disagree that glossy paper is an improvement.

Overhead lighting produces a glare off glossy paper that interferes with my ability to read the articles. Up until its Spring 2011 edition, I appreciated UU World as unique for its use of non-glossy paper. I would prefer that UU World retire the glossy paper and instead focus its attention toward boosting the post-consumer recycled content of the paper that the magazine is printed on.

Cynthia Parkhill
Middletown, California
Unitarian Universalist Community of Lake County

Elitism in UUism

I appreciate the direct, down to earth language of “Cultivating an Abandoned Place,” about the Rev. Ron Robinson’s ministry in Turley, Oklahoma (Spring 2011). Thank you, Donald Skinner! It is inspiring to hear of direct service. Part of the reason I have not gotten involved with “social justice” is that many approaches are abstract and detached. Lots of meetings, fervent discussions, but little action.

UU World has had a series of articles examining UU Culture and questioning how we can become more inclusive. Robinson has the best answer I’ve heard!

Rick Kritzer
Columbus, Ohio
First UU Church of Columbus

Mark Harris contrasts the pride we ought to take in our elite Unitarian history with our Universalist past’s broader class appeal (“A Faith for the Few?” Spring 2011). But the untold story is in the advertisement for this year’s General Assembly commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of merger. Although we do a poor job of researching why people drop out of UUism, it appears that most working and middle class Universalists dropped out somewhere along the way post-merger. Merger seems to have homogenized the denomination along “elite” class lines.

The right growth strategy might be appealing to the same “elite” demographic, which worked well before. In the nineteenth century, Unitarianism and Universalism welcomed more conservative and business-oriented members, which today’s liberal UUism does not. If we could adjust our social message or reach out to a broader political spectrum, we might find ourselves gaining many more members.

Dino Drudi
Alexandria, Virginia
Cedar Lane UU Church, Bethesda, Maryland

Abortion hotline

As a psychotherapist and a UU who works with women making pregnancy decisions and supports them after abortion, I very much appreciate the work of “Connect and Breathe” and the First Unitarian Church of Rochester, New York. They are providing a much needed service (“To Listen without Judging” by Kimberly French, Spring 2011).

I also loudly applaud the Rev. Kaaren Anderson for her courage. How very powerful that someone is preaching about abortion. I listened to her October 2, 2010, sermon and I was deeply moved.

Cathy G. Ware, LMHC
West Roxbury, Massachusetts
Theodore Parker UU Church

I was taken aback somewhat when I read Kimberly French’s comment that “abortion causes no more negative emotions that childbirth itself.”

My late wife, a clinical social worker and longtime clinical director at Family Services in Worcester, Massachusetts, counseled any number of women in crisis. Although she firmly believed in a woman’s right to choose, she found that the decision to have an abortion was one of the most profound and painful things that a woman could experience. The idea that an abortion has no more emotional impact than childbirth would have appalled her. She saw women who were still trying to come to terms with their abortions years afterwards.

Albert B. Southwick
Leicester, Massachusetts
First Unitarian Church of Worcester

A major twelve-year study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine in January 2011 showed that having an abortion did not increase a woman’s likelihood to seek psychiatric assistance, although delivering a baby did. —The Editors

Great trees

W. Frederick Wooden’s article “Great Trees of Life” (Spring 2011) resonated with me. I’ve often said to my friends, “I want to be an elder, like a gnarled old tree . . .”

And here you are, W. Frederick Wooden, and you understand. You’ll make a great elder one day.

Dr. Brigitte B. Nahmias, M.D.
Decatur, Georgia
UU Congregation of Atlanta

Transit-friendly HQ

Your news article, “UUA Considers Purchase of New Building,” was unsettling (Spring 2011). Amidst our fast-paced lifestyles, I find comfort in some traditions, like the UUA being on Beacon Hill. But on the more practical side, the statement that the Hebrew College building “has considerably more parking space than the current buildings” really jolted me. Not only does this thinking assume that everyone drives everywhere, it perpetuates such behavior. Driving, especially one person per vehicle, is costly, energy-inefficient, and it degrades our environment. Please consider the transit-friendly, highly visible, and historically significant attributes of 25 Beacon St. before dashing to the suburbs.

Kay Carson
Boston, Massachusetts
Arlington Street Church

Got God?

I really appreciated seeing Myriam Renaud’s article on theology in UU World (“Got God?” Spring 2011). It’s a topic members of my congregation and my colleagues are hungry to discuss, but is rarely addressed in our UU communications.

It would be especially helpful to see articles on theology in its broadest sense, not only regarding a study of “God,” but also looking at what we understand to be sacred/divine/of ultimate worth and how those things are a part of our common UU life. Too often, I have heard theology disregarded in our community because it is assumed to be only a discussion of cosmology and what derives from it—but we can talk about ultimate meaning and worth from the perspective of our covenants as well.

The Rev. Adam Robersmith
Consulting Minister
Second Unitarian Church, Chicago, Illinois

UU World welcomes letters to the editor. Send to “Letters,” UU World, 24 Farnsworth Street, Boston, MA 02210, or world@uua.org, but do not send attachments. Include your name, address, daytime phone number, and congregation on all correspondence. Published letters with author’s name, city, and state will appear on www.uuworld.org. Letters are edited for length and style; a maximum length of 200 words is suggested. We regret we cannot publish or respond to all letters.

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