Media roundup: UUs across the country mourn the tragedy in Orlando

Media roundup: UUs across the country mourn the tragedy in Orlando

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

Rachel Walden


This week alone, UUs turned up in more than sixty articles about mourning the shooting in Orlando. No summary can capture that full breadth of coverage, but it remains a moving testament to our commitment to healing in the face of tragedy.

The Sunday after the tragic mass shooting at a gay club in Orlando, Florida, Wendy and Michelle Alfredsen attended worship services at their church, Amarillo Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Texas. Deeply affected and saddened by the events of the day before, despite not knowing any victims personally, the couple still believed that love must prevail. ( Amarillo Globe-News – 6.12.16)

At an interfaith service for victims in Orlando held at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Sterling, Virginia, the Rev. Anya Sammler-Michael sounded a chime fifty times to remember all of the people slain in the tragic shooting. Members of the Muslim community also spoke at the event and urged the community to respond to hate with love. ( Loudoun Now – 6.13.16)

Acknowledging the need for their community to come together and grieve in response to the Orlando shooting, First Church Unitarian Universalist in Leominster, Massachusetts, organized a vigil. Will Darcangelo of First Parish Unitarian in Fitchburg saw the service as an opportunity to empower people and remind them that they are worthy of love and community. ( Sentinel & Enterprise – 6.14.16)

In Davenport, Iowa, the Rev. Jay Wolin of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Quad Cities shared his story of living in Orlando, Florida, for twenty years before moving to Iowa. His congregation held a vigil for the community as a first step in the healing process. ( – 6.14.16)

The Rev. Cathy Rion Starr of the Unitarian Society of Hartford, Connecticut, joined an interfaith community vigil for Orlando. Admitting it was a risk, Starr asked participants who identified as gay or queer to join together in the center of the large gathering. Starr spoke words of healing for the group. ( – 6.15.16)

At a community vigil for Orlando in New York, the Rev. Craig Schwalenberg of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Oneonta tearfully admitted to being raised homophobic. He said that now, so many LGBTQ people are his friends and colleagues and even his mother has come out. He was particularly gratified to stand with his community in solidarity with those who have been terrorized and victimized. ( – 6.16.16)

More coverage:

"In Orlando, Unitarian church quickly reaches out" ( UU World - 6.14.16)

"Interfaith service to mourn slain, hurt in Orlando" ( Monadnock Ledger-Transcript – 6.15.16)

"Vigils planned in Wyoming following Orlando shooting" ( Wyoming Tribune Eagle – 6.14.16)

"We stand on the side of love for Orlando" ( Midland Reporter-Telegram – 6.17.16)

UUA General Assembly will gather nearly 4,000 UUs in Columbus

Unitarian Universalist Association President Peter Morales said that the mass shooting in Orlando will be very much on the minds of participants at this year’s General Assembly in Columbus, Ohio. The event’s focus will be on interfaith connections and racial justice, but it is also important to tend to the pastoral needs of attendees at this time. “I don’t think it's too strong to say that a number of people have been, at some level, traumatized by recent events. I want to make sure we really pay attention, and that I pay attention, to that.” ( Columbus Times Dispatch – 6.17.16)