Media roundup: New Zealand Unitarians continue to fight for deported students

Media roundup: New Zealand Unitarians continue to fight for deported students

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

Rachel Walden

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Indian students forced to leave New Zealand in February are now hoping the ruling Labour Party will allow them to come back. The students were deported after it emerged that their visa documents were forged by agents back in India. The Auckland Unitarian Church tried to protect them from deportation initially, and now they are fighting to help them come back to the country. "We know that they've suffered an injustice," said the congregation's minister, the Rev. Clay Nelson. ( NewsHub.co.nz – 10.29.17)

More coverage:

“Rally challenges govt to act on migrant student issues” ( RadioNZ – 10.29.17)

New Zealand Unitarians took several Indian students into sanctuary earlier this year. We noted it in a media roundup post last May.

Film shown by social action committee sparks dispute

More than 100 residents and area organizations are speaking out in protest of the decision by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Marblehead, Massachusetts, to air a controversial film about Israel. The congregation’s minister, the Rev. Wendy von Courter, acknowledges that the film is controversial and says that her congregation doesn’t claim a position on the conflict between Israel and Palestine. “However, we reject the assertion that any critical inquiry of Israel’s practices and policies must be anti-Semitic,” said von Courter. ( Marblehead Reporter – 10.31.17)

More coverage:

“Marblehead Film Screening Prompts Anger from Local Jewish Community” ( The Daily Item – 10.31.17)

“The Unitarian Universalist Church of Marblehead courts controversy with film viewing” ( Marblehead Reporter – 10.26.17)

Our Whole Lives makes local news

Andrea Loeb, youth and teen programs manager at Arlington Community Education in Massachusetts first heard about the Our Whole Lives sexuality education program from her friend Wendy Conroy, who teaches the program at the nearby Belmont Unitarian church. It’s now being used for a second year at ACE because, as Loeb describes, “It was something I didn’t have and I wish I had.” Melanie Davis, OWL program associate for the Unitarian Universalist Association observed, “There isn’t universal, traditional sex ed anymore. Some states have wonderful comprehensive curricula, and others require abstinence-only programs that promote shame and can lead to uninformed sexual decision making.” ( Arlington Advocate – 10.30.17)

In Reno, Nevada, the community struggled to find a sexuality education curriculum that a majority of parents are comfortable with using in their public schools. Youth at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Northern Nevada in Reno benefit from receiving sex ed through the OWL curriculum, taught by the Rev. Karen Foster, director of religious education. ( newsreview.com – 11.02.17)

More coverage:

“Church Program Offers Frank Lessons on Sexuality” ( Valley News – 10.30.17)

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