Media roundup: New York congregation vandalized with hate speech

Media roundup: New York congregation vandalized with hate speech

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

Rachel Walden


When two swastikas were scratched into the wooden doors at the entrance of First Universalist Society in New York City, the congregation’s minister, the Rev. Schuyler Vogel, believed that it was likely a response to their recent decision to become a sanctuary congregation. They have been at their location since 1898 and nothing like this has ever happened before. The words “race office” were included with the Nazi symbols, which Vogel said referenced offices in Nazi Germany that were designed to enforce racial hierarchy. ( CBS New York – 3.1.17)

More coverage:

“Swastikas Carved Into Progressive Upper West Side Church's Doors” ( – 3.1.17)

“Swastikas appear on Manhattan church as NYC-area police investigate plague of anti-Semitic vandalism” ( Daily News – 3.1.17)

Fire destroys community center grounded in UU values

A late-night fire consumed nearly all of a community center in Turley, Oklahoma, last week. The Welcome Table Community center was a project of A Third Place Community Foundation, led by Unitarian Universalist minister the Rev. Ron Robinson. The source of the fire is still under investigation, and Robinson hopes to rehabilitate the buildings that survived the fire. ( Tulsa World – 3.3.17)

See also: "Fire destroys UU community center in destitute part of Tulsa" ( 3.3.17)

UU World reported on the unique ministry of Robinson’s organization in this article from 2011.

Immigration turmoil remains in the spotlight

Clergy and individuals of many faith backgrounds gathered at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) offices in Fairfax, Virginia, to demand more information about a recent ICE arrest of six men seeking aid from a church homeless shelter. The Rev. Rob Hardies of All Souls Unitarian Church in Washington, D.C., said of the arrests: “As a pastor I find it unconscionable that an agent of our government would lie in wait outside of a church homeless shelter to capture and deport a member of our community.” ( – 2.17.17)

An annual event at the Texas/Mexico border brings mayors from two cities straddling the Rio Grande River together to embrace on their shared international bridge. The event, intended to sybolize the unity between the two countries, took on new meaning as a busload of deportees arrived at the American exit during the festivities. Connie Savysky, a member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Hidalgo County in San Juan, Texas, said her congregation is offering educational classes to help immigrants and as a way to resist Trump’s policies. ( The Monitor – 3.2.17)

More coverage:

“Houses of Worship Are Re-Creating a Decades-Old Support System to Protect Immigrants” ( Washington City Paper – 3.2.17)

“Donald Trump's Inaugural Pastor Creates 'Safe Haven' for Immigrants” ( Time – 3.1.17)