A weekly guide to stories about Unitarian Universalists from other media sources.
A far-right religious group recently targeted Louise Deser Siskel, who is both the first Jewish and the first LGBTQ Rose Queen. The group planned a demonstration at Siskel’s high school, which shares a campus in Pasadena, California, with Neighborhood UU Church. Neighborhood’s minister, the Rev. Lissa Anne Gundlach, urged members to deflect attention from the group’s hatred: “We do not want to feed this group’s hunger for publicity or provide a megaphone for their words of hate. . . . We want to support and surround the Sequoyah students and parents with messages of love.” (Pasadena Star News, 2.22.19)
Another media source quoted the Rev. Gundlach as she shared her UU theology: “God is a God of love. Even in this moment when they are sending us messages of hate, we will continue to love them and pray for them, and have compassion for them because hate is a corrosive element for our hearts.” (San Gabriel Valley Tribune, 2.25.19)
Yet another source provided details about the congregation’s response, led by Luis Sierra Campos, Neighborhood UU Church’s social justice and inclusion coordinator. The congregation hosted workshops the day before the demonstration, and said it would work to ensure student safety during the protest. Campos explained, “The workshops are going to provide people with the ability to understand what nonviolent protesting is, . . . to get a sense of how they can participate in an action without engaging or being provoked by an outside party.” (Pasadena News Now, 2.22.19)
Last week vandals cracked the Black Lives Matter sign outside the UU Congregation of the South Jersey Shore in Galloway Township, New Jersey. A similar sign there was defaced in 2015—the words “All Lives Matter” spray painted onto it, covering its message. Police are investigating, and the congregation has new signage and security cameras ready to be installed. The congregation’s minister, the Rev. Dawn Fortune, said the act was meant to intimidate and silence them, but “Neither of those things will happen to a people devoted to justice and equality.” (Press of Atlantic City, 2.25.19)
Donna-Marie Burns, assistant director of Barnstable Senior Center, recently received the Skip Warren Community Service award from the LGBTQ Welcoming Congregation Committee of First Parish Brewster Unitarian Universalist Church in Brewster, Massachusetts. Burns has worked diligently to make sure that the senior center where she works is welcoming to LGBTQ elders. Burns’ commitment stems from her love for her brother, she said. “He was a beautiful person who was just starting out his life when it was cut far too short by AIDS. I strive to honor my brother Stephen—to remember who he was, and his brief-yet-impactful life.” (Barnstable Patriot, 2.22.19)
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The Rev. Heather Christensen writes “The Interdependent Web,” UU World’s weekly guide to Unitarian Universalist blogs. She lives with her partner Liesl and their two young children in Bellingham, Washington.
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