In the media: Austin church offers sanctuary

In the media: Austin church offers sanctuary

Highlights from other news organizations’ coverage of Unitarian Universalists and their congregations.


First UU Church of Austin, Tex., is providing sanctuary to immigrant Sulma Franco as she tries to gain U.S. citizenship. Franco identifies as a lesbian and fears for her safety if she is forced to return to Guatemala. (, 6.12.15)

Rachel Gore Freed of the UU Service Committee describes the harmful conditions migrant women are experiencing in Texas family detention centers. (The Miami Herald, 6.3.15)

Minister recounts harrowing train crash. The Rev. Carol Cissel, interim minister at the Unitarian Society of East Brunswick, N.J., describes the experience of being on the Amtrak train that derailed on May 12. (Washington Post, 5.13.15)

UU donates organ to fellow congregant. Chris Spirgel donated one of her kidneys to fellow church member Greg Newcomer, in part because of how warmly Newcomer and his wife welcomed her when she joined the UU Church in Cherry Hill, N.J. (Courier-Post, 6.9.15)

Fires damage UU congregations. The UU Congregation of Queens, N.Y., was struck by lightning during a thunderstorm and caught fire. Around 60 firefighters responded to put out the blaze. No one was injured. (New York Daily News, 6.24.15)

A woman was arrested after she intentionally set fire to the foyer of First Parish Church in Plymouth, Mass., causing damage to the carpet and some furnishings. (South Coast Today, 3.31.15)

Black Lives Matter. Kerridwen Henry, a member of the UU Congregation of Columbia, Md., was arrested while demonstrating in Baltimore. Henry, who is white, noted that she was treated with more care and respect than a black protester who was arrested at the same time. (Baltimore Sun, 5.18.15)

UU ministers the Rev. Jan Carlsson-Bull and the Rev. Josh Pawalek were among 17 protesters who were arrested during a demonstration in Hartford, Conn., while trying to bring attention to institutional racism locally and nationwide. (, 6.8.15)

A Black Lives Matter banner at First Unitarian Church of St. Louis was stolen. (, 5.16.15)

LGBTQ stories. UUs Hillary and Julie Goodridge reflect on their life since they became the first legally married same-sex couple in Massachusetts in 2003. They discuss the difficulty of that role and how it ultimately affected the success of their marriage; they divorced in 2009. (USA Today, 5.17.15)

The Rev. Sean Parker Dennison, minister of Tree of Life UU Congregation in McHenry, Ill., shared his story in the New York Times series “Transgender Today.” (New York Times, 5.4.15)

The UU Church of Arlington, Va., is listed on a new online map of LGBTQ historic sites as the place where the Transgender Education Association was founded. The UUA in Boston is listed as the location of the first legal same-sex marriage. The map was created by the National Park Service LGBTQ Initiative. (The Bay Area Reporter Online, 4.23.15)

Beacon Press flourishing. Historic UUA publisher Beacon Press is increasing its staff size and diversity at a time when the publishing industry at large is stalling. (Boston Globe, 5.5.15)

Churches should lead on environment. UU environmentalist Tim DeChristopher, who served time in a federal prison for interfering with a 2008 government oil and gas lease auction, thinks churches need to take the moral lead on climate change. (Yes! Magazine, 3.27.15)

UU Pagan prayer protested. Iowa state representatives and others turned their backs while Covenant of UU Pagans leader Deborah Maynard gave the morning prayer before the Iowa State Legislature. (, 4.9.15)

Visit for links to news coverage of UUs from other media.