Survey looks at needs of marginalized people

In an effort to learn more about the needs of people who are marginalized around issues that include ability, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and/or gender identity, the UUA’s Multicultural Ministries Sharing Project has launched a survey intended for individuals in those groups.

The survey, which is online and may be taken until October 31, is open to anyone in the above groups who is at least 13 years old and has a UU affiliation. It is being conducted through the Multicultural Growth and Witness staff group in the Office for Congregational Advocacy and Witness. The survey will be followed by focus groups, to be held October through December to help UU leaders and UUA staff “understand where we are now and what we need to be well-equipped to meet the ministry needs of UUs in the 21st century,” according to the news release announcing the sharing project.

Those who do not fit the target categories are invited to share information about the survey with those for whom it is intended. If you have questions, contact Alex Kapitan, LGBTQ and Multicultural Programs administrator in the Multicultural Growth and Witness staff group.

Interweave fights to end oppression

One way for congregations to support LGBT friends and members is by joining, or encouraging individuals to join, Interweave Continental, the national Unitarian Universalist organization that works to end oppression based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.

Interweave publishes a monthly newsletter, Interweave Connect; presents workshops at General Assembly, district events, and at its own annual gathering, Convo; and develops LGBT religious education curricula. The March issue of Interweave Connect focused on preventing bullying. The April edition is on transgender issues. The full newsletter is available only to members.

There is information on the Interweave website about how to join, how to start a local chapter, and how to participate in the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Welcoming Congregation program. Individual memberships are $20 to $50. A chapter membership is $100.

Top-selling books at General Assembly 2011

Top-selling books at General Assembly 2011, by the UUA Bookstore. Many of these are being promoted by Skinner House as a useful part of congregational programming:

Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life, by Karen Armstrong (Ware lecturer at GA 2011)

Universalists and Unitarians in America: A People’s History, by the Rev. John Buehrens. This book, in honor of the 50th anniversary of consolidation of the Unitarians and Universalists, will be useful to book groups, in lifespan education classes, and as a historical reference.

The Death of Josseline: Immigration Stories from the Arizona Borderlands, by Margaret Regan. As we look toward General Assembly 2012 in Phoenix, this is one of the books that helps explain immigration issues. In 2011 it was recommended to congregations as a “common read.”

Darkening the Doorways: Black Trailblazers and Missed Opportunities in Unitarian Universalism, by the Rev. Mark Morrison-Reed. The story of black UUs in a predominately white faith. Useful for book groups and lifespan classes and in sermon preparation.

What’s Right with Islam: A New Vision for Muslims and the West, by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf

Broken Buddha, book of essays by the Rev. Meg Barnhouse.

Elite: Uncovering Classism in Unitarian Universalist History, the Rev. Mark Harris. Tells the story of the privileged founders of Unitarianism and Universalism and describes how we can grow into a more inclusive faith. Discussion guide available online.

Coming Out in Faith: LGBTQ Voices in Unitarian Universalism, by the Rev. Keith Kron and Susan Gore. Testimonials about the lived experience of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer UUs. Useful for Welcoming Congregation sessions and raising awareness of LGBTQ issues.

From Zip Lines to Hosaphones, Dispatches from the Search for Truth and Meaning, essays by the Rev. Jane Rzepka. Includes introductory material on Unitarian Universalism in an entertaining manner. Ideal for new member classes, gifts for Coming of Age youth or bridging young adults, and small group ministry gatherings.

House for Hope: The Promise of Progressive Religion for the Twenty-First Century, by the Rev. John Buehrens and the Rev. Rebecca Ann Parker.

Skinner House resource, including discussion guides, for some of these books can be found at www.uua.org/companionresources.

UUA offers new video, discussion guide on LGBTQ issues

The Unitarian Universalist Association is offering two new resources related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer rights:

• A video supporting marriage equality, featuring images of UUs gathered from across North America and celebrating the role of UU clergy in this effort. Watch the video on YouTube.

• A discussion guide for Milk, the video biography of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay politician in the United States. The guide includes a list of resources and steps for congregational conversations and for taking action on issues of equality. It was prepared by the Rev. Mark Belletini, senior minister of the First UU Church of Columbus, Ohio. Find out more about the new study guide and access versions in Word and PDF at the UUA’s website.