A weekly guide to stories about Unitarian Universalists from other media sources.
As the U.S. Department of Homeland Security begins increased enforcement to deport undocumented migrants, Unitarian Univeralists and other religious groups are responding by providing sanctuary in their congregations. The Rev. Chris Jimmerson of First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin, Texas, says that providing sanctuary gives his church members a real connection to their religious values. (WOAI.com – 1.4.15)
Activists in Reno, Nevada, are urging their local Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials to use their prosecutorial discretion to allow husband and father of two Jose Gastelum to stay in the United States with his family. The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Northern Nevada in Reno is considering providing sanctuary for Jose if activists cannot change the ICE officials’ decision. (Reno Gazette-Journal – 1.6.15)
“Choosing Detention Over Death” (The Austin Chronicle – 12.25.15)
In response to threats and vandalism in Muslim communities across the country, many religious groups have come together to show their support for Muslims in their community. Ben Franklin, member of the Northwoods Unitarian Universalist Church in The Woodlands, Texas, noted that an essential first step in this work is to make connections with your local mosque or Islamic center. (Mint Press News – 12.23.15)
More than 100 people from different religious backgrounds crowded into the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church (TVUUC) before the Christmas holiday. The event, organized by TVUUC minister the Rev. Chris Buice, was held in response to recent backlash against Muslims to help counter fear and anxiety by helping people get to know each other better. (Knoxville News Sentinel – 12.21.15)
“Better Together: Interfaith rally combats bigotry, fear” (WBIR.com – 12.21.15)
After having their Black Lives Matter banner stolen, more than 200 people gathered to put up a new banner at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Annapolis, Maryland. Once that was done, they marched down the street and put up another new banner at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church. St. Philip’s had their banner stolen in October. (Daily Kos – 12.21.15)
“Woman charged in 'Black Lives Matter' vandalism” (Capital Gazette – 12.21.15)
Last month several fires were set in the classrooms, fellowship hall, and sanctuary of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Denton, Texas. The congregation's minister reported that no one was hurt, but many irreplaceable creations by members were sadly lost. Specialists and volunteers worked diligently to repair the sanctuary in time for Christmas Eve service. At the time of the news story, the arson investigation was still open. (NBCDFW.com – 12.21.15)
After months of efforts to ease their community’s concerns about providing temporary overnight housing to homeless families in their church, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Marblehead, Massachusetts, is now welcoming families. The shelter program is run through an interfaith network that provides temporary shelter, meals, and case management to area families in need. (The Salem News – 12.28.15)
The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville, North Carolina, is in the spotlight for its new sign. The project began as an effort to be more welcoming to people with physical disabilities, but became an 18-month-long, $1 million dollar construction effort. Now they not only have a new sign, but walkways that allow people with wheelchairs easier access to the church building and an environmentally sustainable system of rain gardens to capture and use storm water runoff. (Mountain Xpress – 12.24.15)
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Rachel Walden is the communications specialist in the UUA Office of Information and Public Witness.