Media Roundup: Providing sanctuary, bearing witness, a fun surprise

Media Roundup: Providing sanctuary, bearing witness, a fun surprise

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

Heather Christensen


Providing sanctuary

Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church in Bethesda, Maryland, extended sanctuary to Gutierrez Lopez, a 40-year-old mother who faced deportation without her three young children. The Rev. Abhi Janamanchi, Cedar Lane’s senior minister, said, “This is the way we live into our values and convictions. . . . We are engaging in faithful resistance to unjust laws and inhumane practices.” (Washington Post, 12.12.18)

Bearing witness

UU Faith Action, a statewide advocacy organization in New Jersey, led a rally prior to the immigration hearing of Jorge Chajon, a Guatemalan detainee who is married to a U.S. citizen and has young children. When the hearing was favorable to Chajon, the Rev. Rob Gregson, executive director of UU Faith Action, said, “People are watching. And we are making a stink so that people cannot turn away from what is happening in our name." (Montclair Local, 12.13.18)

The Rev. Sara LaWall participated in the recent protest at the border between the United States and Mexico and was arrested but not charged. Speaking of her experience, she said: “When change needs to happen, sometimes you have to put your body on the line for other bodies. . . . You don’t have to have a religion to feel like there is a higher moral standard we should hold ourselves to as fellow human beings. . . . We don’t tear gas children, and we don’t let them die in detention.” (Idaho Press, 12.17.18)

See also: Six UUs arrested at interfaith protest by U.S. Border Patrol (, 12.14.18)

The Rev. Leslie Ahuvah Fails was among the UUs who attended a hearing about adding an antidiscrimination ordinance to the City Code in Fairbanks, Alaska. Responding to opponents’ concerns about religious liberty, Fails testified that “Churches and religious institutions are already free to make sacramental decisions on who they marry, and so on, based on their beliefs. . . . This ordinance does not change that. What we are talking about is people having protection to maintain their lives and livelihoods in the city.” (Alaska Public Media, 12.12.18)

A fun surprise

Members of the Fresno, California, Unitarian Universalist Church—and their minister, the Rev. Tim Kutzmark—were surprised and delighted when actor Ryan Reynolds said in a humorous advertisement that every bottle of his Aviator Gin is “ordained by the Unitarian Church of Fresno.” Kutzmark, who learned about the ad after church members saw it on Twitter, said, "I just laughed a lot. . . . It just made me think, Jesus turned water into wine, now the Unitarian Universalists are helping Ryan Reynolds turn water into boutique gin." (ABC7News, 12.14.18)