This issue of ‘UU World’ is full of Unitarian Universalist stories with a passage or transition at the center.
Most issues of UU World draw together articles on a wide range of topics united only by their relevance to Unitarian Universalists. Sometimes, though, my team of editors enjoys the challenge of producing a themed issue like this one. We chose the theme “Passages”—rites of passage, turning points, life-changing moments—because they are so central to religion (I think of rituals around marriage, ordination, and burial, for example) and because many Unitarian Universalists affirm some rites of passage that other religious people do not (coming out, choosing to die).
We didn’t aim for comprehensiveness. In an important sense, this is not a magazine about life’s passages. (There’s no article about birth, marriage, or conversion.) Instead, it’s a magazine full of Unitarian Universalist stories with a passage or transition at the center. Kimberly French describes the parenting milestone of the “empty nest”. Mykal Slack finds his singing voice—and his true gender. Savannah Hemmig reflects on the best and worst of sex ed. Teresa Schwartz writes about the spiritual ordeal of recovering from surgery. Elaine McArdle tells the story of UU activists who helped pass Oregon’s groundbreaking Death with Dignity Act, and Doug Muder considers his own end-of-life choices. Kenny Wiley celebrates transformative UU youth camps. Peter Boullata explores the “dark night of the soul” that often accompanies a major change. And, with this issue, we pass a milestone of our own: We mark our thirtieth year as a magazine!
Longtime readers will notice that, starting with this issue, we have shifted the placement of two of the magazine’s departments. We have moved the Ideas section forward, immediately after the features, with UU News following. We have also removed dedicated space for Letters to the Editor: The number of letters responding to our articles has been dropping for years—a trend other publications have seen, too. Our readers seem to prefer sharing our stories and their commentary about them on social media rather than sending us direct feedback. We’ll continue to publish excerpts from blogs and social media in our Blog Roundup, which you’ll now find at the end of Ideas. When we do receive a notable letter, it will appear there, too.
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UU World Vol. 30 No. 1 (Spring 2016): Table of Contents. Illustration © 2016 Daniel Nevins for UU World.
Christopher L. Walton is editor of UU World. He holds degrees from Harvard Divinity School and the University of Utah and is a member of the Church of the Larger Fellowship.
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