Honor Thy Womanself: The Caucus
Meetings of the Caucus are open to all women and their friends. Mothers and daughters come. Women from other UU churches drop in and have come back. Women with no church affiliation have joined the group.
The Caucus usually meets in private homes in a geographical location that is accessible by public transportation. (Rides are provided, too.) The members bring their children, food to share, books and articles, and musical instruments.
Good communication seems to be central to the cohesive nature of the Caucus. The telephone is in constant use. Meetings are well-publicized in the church newsletter, and the elected chairwoman sends the most active members a sisterly reminder each month when they have made a commitment to do something for the group. One active member has taken on the task of putting together an occasional newsletter that is sent to any woman who has attended a meeting or voiced an interest in the activities of the Caucus.
Meetings are held monthly on Saturday afternoons from 1:00pm to 5:00pm. Members feel free to come and go at any time during that period. The children feel free to dash in and out, but for the most part, prefer to have their own caucus.
Discussion at meetings is generally unstructured. What is happening at Arlington Street and where the Caucus can effectively support other groups in the church are topics that usually come up. Plans are made for support activities with individual members volunteering for assigned tasks.
Most of the afternoon is absorbed in discussion about what has been happening to the members and topics generate from immediate concerns. As the Caucus has evolved, members have felt freer to discuss more personal problems and many have returned to the next meeting because of the quality of understanding and support they have felt from their sisters.
Some of the topics that have been discussed include: marriage, separation and divorce, relationships with men, other women, siblings, parents and children, male-female roles, the world of work for women, the education and socialization of women, legal rights, child care, welfare, therapy, women and their gynecologists, the aging process, living alone, self-image, alternative life-styles, and ways of effecting change.
Meetings are often ended with singing. If discussion becomes intense, singing offers a way to release tensions and bring the group together.
(Written by the Arlington Street Church Woman's Caucus and published in the Honor Thy Womanself program by the Unitarian Universalist Woman's Federation, 1973. Used with permission.)
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