Advancing justice for women and girls and promoting their spiritual growth

News – January 2018

As we begin another trip around the sun, your UUWF Board and staff wish you the best of New Year’s resolutions and revolutions! We have news this month on Marjorie Bowens-Wheatley Scholarship awards, deadlines approaching for the 2018 Sermon Contest, UUWF at the October Women’s Convention, and a few other tidbits. We’ve just heard our General Assembly workshop was accepted, so you will be hearing our Sermon Contest winner in a workshop. We’re also planning the annual breakfast event and another large booth in the exhibit hall. Plan to be with us in Kansas City Missouri this June!

Marjorie Bowens-Wheatley Scholarships Awarded

The panel consisted of:

  • Rev. Joyce Palmer, Asst. Minister, Unitarian Universalist Church West, Brookfield, WI
  • Maria O’Connor, Director of Religious Education, Unitarian Universalist Church West, Brookfield, WI
  • Rev. Julie Forest, Interim Minister, Unitarian Universalist Church of the Desert, Rancho Mirage, CA

They selected:

Dianne Daniels of Norwich CT

Dianne Daniels has work and volunteer experience which demonstrate her commitment to racial justice and serving her community. As the president of her local NAACP branch and Registrar of Voters, Dianne has leadership experience in the area of racial justice we find compelling and inspiring. Her background in business administration and management are also important experiences for church leadership and ministry.

Dianne says, “I am so honored to be chosen as a recipient of a Marjorie Bowens-Wheatley Scholarship – in reading about Mrs. Bowens-Wheatley, I found SO much to inspire me and to help drive me forward.”

Sana Saeed from Arlington, MA

We see Sana Saeed’s positive, inclusive, inter-faith perspective as a strength for our movement. We like her work in youth ministry and were impressed by her leadership and influence on the issue of immigration within her UU community. We see the ways her understanding of Marjorie Bowens-Wheatley’s legacy impacts her commitment to restorative justice and dialogue with UU communities.

Justice for Women and Girls Sermon Award

2017 was quite a year. From the Women’s Marches in January to the #MeToo movement, millions of women-identified persons and their allies spoke out and called out gender injustice.

For the past several months, we’ve seen revelations of men in power being known to harass and assault people who were in thrall to that power. So many emotions have arisen in the midst of these allegations, and unfortunately surprise is not one of them.

As Laurie Penny writes in her article, The Unforgiving Minute: “[it never was about individual monsters] This is about structural violence, about a culture that decided long ago that women’s agency and dignity were worth sacrificing to protect the reputation of powerful men and the institutions that enabled their entitlement.”

Now and once again, people have begun to speak out en masse about their abuses and harassment. Now is the time to push our society further and faster toward the end of the imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy. As Unitarian Universalists, we must continue to break the cycles of oppression within and beyond our denomination.

As a full page ad in the New York Times reminds us: The Truth has a Voice. It rings forth from our UU pulpits.

The Unitarian Universalist Women’s Federation annually sponsors a sermon award on “Justice for Women and Girls.” Issues of sexual assault and women’s rights and leadership are in the spotlight, and Unitarian Universalists offer a progressive religious voice as part of this public dialogue.

Eligibility: We invite UU religious professionals and lay people of all genders to share your voice, responding to the world around us by addressing a topic related to the UUWF’s mission — advancing justice for women and girls and promoting their spiritual growth. The sermon must have been written by the entrant and delivered during calendar year 2017 or by the submission deadline in 2018 before a UU congregation. We have assembled a diverse judging panel of UU professionals and lay leaders.

The winner of the sermon award receives a $500 reward and will be invited to share their sermon at General Assembly 2018 in Kansas City, MO. If the winner is unable to attend GA, they will be asked to choose a person to deliver the sermon for them.

How to Enter: Submit your materials by email to (with the subject line “UUWF Sermon Award”). The deadline is February 15, 2018. Due to the need for applicant anonymity, only written sermon text will be accepted. Feel free to share with anyone who might be interested.

We have assembled a diverse judging panel of professional and lay UU leaders. We will notify entrants by the end of February about the judges’ decision.


  1. Cover page with your name, address, phone number, email address, sermon title, and the date and location where you delivered the sermon.
  2. Sermon, with title. Please remove any identifying information ( e.g. name, congregation).

2017 Award Winning Sermon Posted!

Erin Walter, 2017’s Sermon Contest Winner, sent us some links to various versions of the sermon she gave at the 2017 General Assembly.
Here also are some recordings, from First UU San Antonio and Austin. Each is a little different. Enjoy!

UUWF at the Women’s Convention

On January 21, 2017, millions of people across the United States marched in what was considered by The Independent as the largest day of protest in United States history, part of what would eventually become a worldwide movement known as the Women’s March.

In order to continue the momentum of this historic event, the organizers of the Women’s March followed up with the Women’s Convention in Detroit during October 2017, “for a weekend of workshops, strategy sessions, inspiring forums and intersectional movement building to continue the preparation going into the 2018 midterm elections.”

Through the support of the Women’s March and the UUWF, as the Vice President / Recruitment and Outreach, I had the honor of attending the Women’s Convention, a gathering of over 5,000 individuals, where some of the key highlights included:

The fantastic art gallery curated by Amplifier, featuring “over 70 United States-based, femme-identifying artists exploring women’s rights, anti-Muslim bigotry, immigration/migration, American identity, [and] prison reform.”

Keynote speeches were presented by Rep. Maxine Waters and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and several other notable national and local activists and organizers. On the last day of the convention, state caucuses were organized to continue to build “better networks to prepare for the work at home,” long after the gathering in Detroit is over.

Lastly, one major highlight for Unitarian Universalists was the Michigan Unitarian Universalist Social Justice (MUUSJN) led-panel, Interfaith Reproductive Justice Coalition: How Faith Informs Choice, moderated by Jenny Byer, MUUSJN Reproductive and Economic Justice Organizer.

Following the Women’s Convention, on January 21, 2018, the Women’s March will organize in Las Vegas for Power to the Polls, which aspires to launch a “national voter registration tour” on the anniversary of the historic 2017 Women’s March on Washington. The UUWF has signed up as a partner for this event and encourage our supporters to donate directly to the campaign here.

More photos:

Cakes for the Queen of Heaven Facilitator Facebook Group

A group for Cakes curriculum facilitators has been gathered on Facebook: This group is a place for Cakes facilitators – past, present, or potential – to share questions and ideas. You do need to request to join the group!

There are also new sound samples and digital music downloads in the UUWR Store, including She Calls to Us, the CD by Carole Eagleheart that covers most of the music needed for the Cakes curriculum!

From the UUWR events calendar

SouthWest UU Women (merged SW District UUWR and UUWF groups) present their annual conference in Austin Texas, February 23-25. Keynotes are Texas Rep Donna Howard. Luncheon Speaker is  UUSC Board chair Rev. Lyssa Jenkens, Ph.D., and the featured musicians are Kiya Heartwood and Rev. Meg Barnhouse!

Carley Mattimore MS LCPCThe UU Women’s Connection (formerly CMwD UUWF) from MidAmerica Region have announced their Spring keynote and theme. “Finding Your Voice.” Carley Mattimore is a Reiki Master and Shamanic Minister who will teach us about Shamanic Breathwork. June 1-3, 2018 at Pilgrim Park Conference Center near Princeton Illinois.

Next month…

We’ll have updates on our General Assembly plans, an advocacy action roundup, and perhaps a feature on one of our UUWF groups or members!

Leaping From Our Spheres

Rev. Marti KellerDon’t miss the “little gems full of both passion and facts” in the Blog of UUWF’s Affiliated Minister, Rev. Marti Keller.

UUWF’s Affiliated Ministry