Media roundup: UUs offer support to Muslims, refugees, victims of terrorism

Media roundup: UUs offer support to Muslims, refugees, victims of terrorism

A weekly guide to stories about Unitarian Universalists from other media sources.

Rachel Walden


The shocking photos of child refugees from Syria that circulated widely in September inspired Ann Steadman and members of the Unitarian Fellowship of Sarnia and Port Huron in Ontario, Canada, to take their partnership with the Sarnia Muslim Association to a new level. The groups are now jointly sponsoring a family of five Syrian refugees and plan to do more as fundraising efforts continue. (– 11.17.15)

Omaha residents gathered at First Unitarian Church of Omaha, Nebraska, to create messages of support for the Islamic Center of Omaha, which was graffitied after the Paris attacks. First Unitarian member Rene Harper said the event grew out of her wish to show the local Muslim community love. ( World-Herald– 11.20.15)

Northeastern University students and area residents packed the campus Sacred Space after the terrorist attacks in Baghdad, Beirut, and Paris, to honor the hundreds of lives lost. The Rev. Mary Helen Gunn, humanist and UU spiritual adviser led the group in a moment of silence and spoke to emphasize the oneness of all humanity. ( Huntington News– 11.19.15)

Historic seminary to downsize and relocate

Andover Newton Theological School—the nation’s first theological seminary and one that trains many Unitarian Universalist ministers—announced that it will scale down its operations and relocate. The school’s administration points to dramatic changes in religion that are affecting theological education as the reason for the decision. ( Boston Globe– 11.12.15)

More coverage:

“It's closing time: Symbolic date invites press analysis of liberal Protestant seminaries” (– 11.17.15)

Religious support for transgender community grows

Judy Woods, a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, urges everyone to use the Transgender Day of Remembrance holiday as an opportunity to learn more about the transgender community and the challenges transgender people face. (Courier-Post – 11.19.15)

In the days leading up to the Transgender Day of Remembrance, the Union of Reform Judaism passed a resolution affirming the movement’s commitment to full inclusion of transgender people. While widely touted as the most far-reaching of such resolutions, Unitarian Universalist Association LGBTQ program director Annette Marquis clarified that it is far reaching partly because Jewish rituals are gender specific. For example, while Jews celebrate life passages for youth through separate bar and bat mitzvah ceremonies, Unitarian Universalists hold a gender-neutral coming of age ceremony. ( The Jewish Week– 11.18.15)

You won't see a media roundup next week, as I'll be with family eating turkey and trying not to argue about politics. I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday!