UUA Publications Update for July 2017
Edited by Mitra Rahnema
In October 2015, a group of distinguished UU religious professionals of color gathered together in Chicago to embark on a radical project. The conference was sponsored by the UUMA’s Committee on Antiracism, Anti-oppression, and Multiculturalism. It started with the premise that discussions of race in Unitarian Universalism have too often presupposed a white audience and prioritized the needs, education, and emotions of the white majority. The goal was to reframe Unitarian Universalist anti-oppression work by putting the voices, experiences and learnings of people of color at the center of the conversation. The resulting book, Centering, captures the papers that were presented and the rich dialogue from the conference to share personal stories and address the challenges that religious leaders of color face in exercising power, agency, and authority in a culturally white denomination. Centering explores how racial identity is made both visible and invisible in Unitarian Universalist ministries.
Rev. Mitra Rahnema is a biracial Iranian American lifelong Unitarian Universalist. She is currently offering her ministry at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Long Beach, California. Prior to Long Beach she served communities in Grosse Point, Michigan; Mission Viejo, California; and Kansas City, Kansas. She is currently a member of the UUMA Committee on Antiracism, Anti-Oppression, and Multiculturalism. She has dedicated her life toward building vibrant and engaged anti-oppression communities.
Edited by William G. Sinkford
The 2017 edition of the UUA inSpirit series is an anthology of 29 poems, prayers, and reflections about resisting oppression and keeping the faith in social action work. Written by a range of contributors, including ministers and lay leaders, these readings are ideal for both private contemplation and use in worship. Collected and introduced by a former president of the UUA—and the first person of color to hold that position—these meditations are both a support for activists and a call to action in a new era of political and social division.
William G. Sinkford is the Senior Minister of First Unitarian Church of Portland, Oregon. He served as President of the UUA from 2001 until 2009, and as Interim Co-President from April until June 2017.
Daniel Chesney Kanter
“With rational analysis and poignant stories, pilgrim and pastor Daniel Kanter looks at faith through four frames: belief and doubt, trust and distrust, loyalty and betrayal, plus our lifelong efforts to form a coherent worldview amidst constant change. Read, discuss, and you will find yourself wiser and more faithful than you were before."
—Rev. John Buehrens, author and past President of the UUA
The senior minister of a large metropolitan church shares his reflections on faith, especially addressing those who are not traditionally religious. With simple poignancy, Kanter says that we can understand faith to be less about what we believe in, and more about how we live and the choices we make. He considers what living faithfully could mean for the unorthodox among us. With lively and engaging stories to illustrate ideas—and reflection questions after each chapter—this small book of wisdom helps to make faith more accessible for the increasing number of the “spiritual but not religious.”
Daniel Chesney Kanter is the Senior Minister of First Unitarian Church of Dallas. Previously, he served at King’s Chapel in Boston and as a chaplain at San Francisco General Hospital. He is an avid long distance cyclist, home brewer, and adventurer.
Edited by Dan McKanan
A panel of top scholars presents the first comprehensive collection of primary sources from Unitarian Universalist history. This two-volume anthology covers the long histories of Unitarianism, Universalism, and Unitarian Universalism in the United States and around the world. Leaders, thinkers, and ordinary participants in the ever-changing tradition of liberal religion are featured. Each volume contains more than a hundred distinct selections, with scholarly introductions by leading experts in Unitarian Universalist history. The selections include sermons, theologies, denominational statements, hymns, autobiographies, and manifestos, with special attention to class, cultural, gender, and sexual diversity. Primary sources are the building blocks of history, and A Documentary History of Unitarian Universalism presents the sources we need for understanding this denomination’s past and for shaping its future.
Dan McKanan is the Emerson Senior Lecturer at Harvard Divinity School. He is the author of five books, most recently Prophetic Encounters: Religion and the American Radical Tradition (Beacon Press, 2011) and Eco-Alchemy: Rudolf Steiner’s Anthroposophy and the Environmental Movement (University of California Press, 2017). A member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Medford, he lives with his spouse and daughter in Somerville, Massachusetts.
Edited by Jerrie Kishpaugh Hildebrand and Shirley Ann Ranck
These 23 essays by some of the most prominent leaders in Unitarian Universalist Paganism bring Pagan and Earth-centered theo/alogy to life for a new generation. Featuring the writings of both clergy and laypeople, this vibrant collection demonstrates the many expressions of nature-based spirituality and the ways they feed the souls of so many. The essayists describe a broad array of practices, including Wiccan traditions, Neo-Pagan rituals and celebrations, worship of the divine feminine, and nature-based beliefs and practices that bring us into harmony and balance with our natural environment. Contributors also describe the development of nature-based theo/alogy within Unitarian Universalism—including the organization of the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans, the addition of the sixth Source to the UUA bylaws recognizing Earth-centered spirituality, and the integration of Pagan practices into congregational life.
Jerrie Kishpaugh Hildebrand serves on the Board of Trustees of the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans. She is an ordained minister with Circle Sanctuary in Wisconsin and attends First Church Unitarian in Salem, Massachusetts.
Shirley Ann Ranck is a retired Unitarian Universalist minister and author of the groundbreaking feminist thealogy curriculum and book Cakes for the Queen of Heaven, among other published works.
Other titles in the Voices Series
The Commission on Appraisal
In a time of vast and growing social and economic inequality, the 2017 Commission on Appraisal examines the impact of class and classism on Unitarian Universalism—its association, congregations, members, and friends. Classism thwarts Unitarian Universalism’s vital work of building community and giving life the shape of justice. With its in-depth analysis of our faith’s history, theologies, and current structures and its final recommendations and resources for future work, Class Action is a must-read for all looking to live more fully into the faith and vision of Unitarian Universalism.
The Commission on Appraisal was inaugurated by the bylaws of the Unitarian Universalist Association in 1961. The Commission is charged to review, study, and report on any function or activity of the Association that would benefit from an independent review, and to report the results at least once every four years to the General Assembly.
The members of this Commission are:
Peter Kandis, Vice Chair, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Rev. Xolani Kacela, Ph.D., Treasurer, Durham, North Carolina
Virginia Abraham, Secretary, Port Charlotte, Florida
Kathleen Henry, Project Manager, Truro, Massachusetts
Katie Romano Griffin, Chaplain, Fort Myers, Florida
Kirsten deFur and Amy Johnson
This ten-workshop curriculum guides children ages nine through twelve to gain the knowledge, life principles, and skills they need to understand and express their sexuality in holistic, life-enhancing ways. Like the other Our Whole Lives programs for different age groups, this comprehensive, developmentally appropriate program introduces key topics with sensitivity and inclusiveness, yet without specifically religious doctrine or reference. The underlying values of the program reflect the justice-oriented traditions of its publishers, the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ, while remaining suitable for use in secular contexts.
Maintaining the OWL values and assumptions established in the first edition, the second edition introduces new content, activities, perspectives, language, and resources for today's children. New topics include body image, social media/Internet, and consent, as well as an updated and deeper exploration of gender identity and roles. Many of the popular activities and discussions from the first edition are preserved here, alongside newer, more interactive activities.
Kirsten deFur, MPH, is a sexuality educator and trainer specializing in sex-positive educational approaches, teaching about healthy and unhealthy relationships, and preventing sexual and intimate partner violence. Since 2001, Kirsten has facilitated workshops in a variety of settings for participants of all ages, especially as an Our Whole Lives facilitator and trainer with the Unitarian Universalist Association.
Amy Johnson, MSW, LICSW, CSE currently serves as the Our Whole Lives Coordinator for the United Church of Christ. She is also a national sexuality educator, author, and consultant, and a trainer for all levels of Our Whole Lives and Sexuality and Our Faith. She recently became the first commissioned minister for sexuality education in the UCC.
Announcements and Resources
Love Beyond God is the July Goodreads Book Club Pick!
July's Goodreads book club read is Love Beyond God: Meditations by Adam Lawrence Dyer, in conversation with Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Love Beyond God is a collection of powerful, poignant, and prophetic poems from one of the rising literary talents in Unitarian Universalism today. This timely collection explores faith, race, love, identity, and more, and invites us to think deeply about our place and role in contemporary society. In Between the World and Me, in a series of essays written as a letter to his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates confronts the notion of race in America and how it has shaped American history, many times at the cost of black lives. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, Between the World and Me clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward. These two titles, particularly in conversation with each other, are powerful, profound, and essential reading.
Pagan and Earth-Centered Voices Blog Post and Podcast
Jerrie Kishpaugh Hildebrand, one of the editors of Pagan and Earth-Centered Voices in Unitarian Universalism, wrote a lovely, personal blog post on Patheos about how Pagan and Earth-Centered Voices came into being. She writes, "During this past week, I received a box of printed and finished books at my home. I stared at it almost in disbelief that the journey I stepped into was now complete. As I held them in my hands, and the emotions came flooding out. All of the work, the editing, compiling, reaching out with invitations to write, searching for the people we wanted to contribute, writing, getting permissions from the articles and so on, was now in a physical form I could hold. The book Pagan and Earth-Centered Voices of Unitarian Universalism had been born." Read the whole post online. The Pagan and Earth-Centered Voices editors and numerous contributors to the book also recently taped a podcast on Blog Talk Radio. Listen to the audio here.