Unitarian Universalist Association Podcast
Summary: Unitarian Universalism is a caring, open-minded religion. Our faith draws on many religious traditions, welcoming people with different beliefs. We are united by shared values, not by creed or dogma. Our congregations are places where people gather to nurture their spirits and put their faith into action. Learn more at UUA.org
Episode Fifteen in the “A Religion for Our Time” series spotlights the Outreach Auction at Central Unitarian Church (CUC) in Paramus, New Jersey. Inspired by a charity auction at the Unitarian Church of All Souls in New York City, members of CUC are in their tenth year of holding two annual auctions. While the spring auction raises money for the congregation, every dime from the Outreach Auction in the fall goes to local charities. “Don’t listen to any naysayers, just do it,” says Celia Mendelsohn, co-coordinator of the Outreach Auction. “You will raise funds, even if it’s what you feel might be a modest amount, it’s going to grow over the years. You will not lose money to pledging. You might even see your pledges increase, because it’s a wonderful feeling to belong to a church that does this.”
Episode Fourteen in the “A Religion for Our Time” series gives a behind-the-scenes look at the joint Association Sunday service planned by seven Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregations in South Central Pennsylvania. Thanks to more than two hundred volunteers, the November 2010 joint service included an orchestra, an intergenerational dance troupe, a robust choir, and a sermon by Unitarian Universalist Association President Rev. Peter Morales. Worshipping together builds community among the congregations and gives participants a sense of the broader UU movement. “Many of our members have never been UU’s anywhere else,” explains Rev. Judy Welles, co-minister of the UUs of the Cumberland Valley congregation. “So to come into a much larger context…where they see, ‘oh we’re really part of something much bigger,’ is very healthy.”
In Uganda, citizens are living in fear everyday because of a growing culture of prejudice and oppression against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender (LGBT) people. Your support of the UUA / UU-UNO LGBT Uganda Fund will provide shelter and support for LGBT citizens and their allies, and help to educate and advocate on behalf of LGBT people everywhere in Uganda. Please donate now at http://www.uua.org/uganda
Raul Cardenas and his wife Judy are members of the First Universalist Church of Denver. Raul is a devoted father, husband, home owner -- and he is scheduled to be deported in April 2011. The UUA's Standing on the Side of Love campaign explains how you can take action to keep the Cardenas family together. To find out more about Standing on the Side of Love, visit http://www.standingonthesideoflove.org/
Episode Thirteen in the "A Religion for Our Time" series illustrates how First Parish in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has begun the process of transforming into a multiracial and multicultural congregation. For years, the congregation talked about becoming more diverse, especially as their surrounding neighborhood became home to more and more immigrants. After learning about the Diversity of Ministry Team (DOMT) Initiative of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), First Parish turned talk into action, and made a commitment to participating in the DOMT Initiative. With support from the UUA, the congregation has engaged in an intentional process of education and conversation about multiculturalism, established a Transformation Team, and called Rev. Lilia Cuervo as the congregation's first settled Latina minister. "The most difficult part is the preconceptions, the prejudices that people have..." explains Cuervo. "We try to open to other cultures, to appreciate other cultures. Not to 'tolerate,' but to really understand, get to love, and get to embrace other cultures."
Anika Stafford, author of "Aisha's Moonlit Walk: Stories and Celebrations for the Pagan Year," reads her winter solstice story, "The Longest Night." Episode Five of the "Skinner House Sound Bites" series. Learn more at http://tinyurl.com/SHSoundBites
Morales reflects on the ritual of "Las Posadas" and its message of compassion. "In Spanish a 'posada' is a place of lodging, a resting place, a place of shelter on a journey," he explains. "This tradition, based on the biblical account of Mary and Joseph having to stay in a stable because there was no room in the inn, has special resonance for us today."
Gumbs is a contributor to the new Skinner House book, "Encounters: Poems about Race, Ethnicity and Identity," edited Paula Cole-Jones. "Encounters" can be ordered from the UUA Bookstore at http://www.uuabookstore.org/productdetails.cfm?PC=1311
Episode Twelve in the "A Religion for Our Time" series explains how First Unitarian in Albuquerque, New Mexico, attracts a diverse group of worshippers through a contemporary service on Sunday afternoons. As the sanctuary became more and more crowded during the two Sunday services at First Unitarian, members of the congregation had a decision to make. They didn’t need to deliberate over whether to add another service, but about what kind of service to add. A survey pointed them in the direction of contemporary worship, and now the congregation rocks out with the house band each week. “When I put together a service, I look not only for music that will be energetic,” explains Vance Bass, contemporary worship director at First Unitarian. “I also look for music that encourages a sense of community, both in terms of the lyrics, and also in terms of the encouragement to stand up and clap, sing along, dance in the aisles.”
A message from the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries of the Unitarian Universalist Association in support of LGBTQ youth and young adults.
Chris Antal, first lieutenant and chaplain candidate with the Army National Guard, reflects on the experiences of Unitarian Universalists who are military service people, veterans, or family members. Antal also discusses "Bless All Who Serve: Sources of Hope, Courage and Faith for Military Personnel and Their Families," a new book from the Unitarian Universalist Association's Skinner House Books. To learn more, visit http://tinyurl.com/BAWSannouncement
Episode Eleven in the "A Religion for Our Time" series features the outdoor education program for 9-12-year-olds at Jefferson Unitarian Church (JUC) in Golden, Colorado. How do you keep pre-teens interested in going to church? Parents at JUC came up with an idea that puts enthusiastic young people right in the middle of the seventh principle. With the motto of “Connect, Respect, Protect,” the Nature’s Keepers religious education program helps participants engage with and learn about the great outdoors. According to Nature’s Keepers Co-Founder Kristi Reeves, “There’s no curriculum except ‘nature happens.’” She adds, “One of the things we learned was that it was not so much about figuring out a big, fancy activity. It was just getting out in the interconnected web of which we are all a part.”
Interview with Rev. Erika Hewitt, author of "Story, Song and Spirit: Fun and Creative Worship Services for All Ages." Episode Four of the "Skinner House Sound Bites" series. Learn more at http://tinyurl.com/SHSoundBites
Describes the presence of Unitarians, Universalists, and Unitarian Universalists around the world. Learn more by downloading the video supplement (http://tinyurl.com/OGFsupplementPDF) or by reading about the UUA International Resources Office (http://www.tinyurl.com/UUAIRO).