Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Resistance and Transformation: An Adult Program on Unitarian Universalist Social Justice History


Something changed during that program at the church; we added our music to the women's movement. Singing together as women created something very special. We went into the service thinking of ourselves as a political activist group and came out of it singing! — Audrey Drummond, "Honor Thy Womanself"

Many of us are familiar with the famous women of Unitarian Universalism's history: our foremothers, ordained as early as the 1860s; the women who marched for suffrage, worked tirelessly for social justice, and advocated for an increased role for women in the public sphere. However, it was not until the latter half of the 20th century that the full participation of women and full inclusion of women's perspectives became imperatives embraced by Unitarian Universalism as a whole. The embrace of women in our religion has, in many cases, meant true change—a fundamental reexamination of the construction of tradition, theology, community, and power in our congregations.

The first official call for an Association-wide soul-searching about gender was the Women and Religion Resolution passed in 1977 at General Assembly, examined in this workshop. The resolution's call bubbled up from the work of hundreds of women and men who formed caucuses, consciousness raising groups, and other feminist spaces during the 1960s and '70s.

One striking aspect of this movement was the creative ways it found to express women's voices and experiences, outside traditional, male-dominated spaces like the pulpit and the chairmanship of the Board. This workshop explores art as a method of transforming society, showing how creating music together became an essential piece of the women's liberation movement for one group of Unitarian Universalists from Boston's Arlington Street Church.

To ensure you can help adults of all ages, stages, and learning styles participate fully in this workshop, review these sections of the program Introduction: "Accessibility Guidelines for Workshop Presenters" in the Integrating All Participants section, and "Strategies for Effective Group Facilitation" and "Strategies for Brainstorming" in the Leader Guidelines section.


This workshop will:

  • Demonstrate the influence of the feminist movement of the 1960s and '70s on contemporary Unitarian Universalism
  • Examine the Arlington Street Women's Caucus as one model of how lives were transformed through creating feminist spaces within Unitarian Universalism
  • Explore the role of music in social justice work.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Learn about the 1977 General Assembly Women and Religion Resolution
  • Gain insight into the way music can support and motivate justice work
  • Consider how questions of gender have influenced their own spiritual life and history.