Advancing justice for women and girls and promoting their spiritual growth

News – June 2018

Letter Opposing the Domestic Gag Rule

The UUWF and the UUA — among 110 faith and secular organizations — signed a letter on May 16 to Secretary Alex Azar, Secretary of the Health and Human Services Department, expressing grave objections to likely-restrictive new regulations guiding the Title X national family planning program that would institute a new, anti-choice, domestic “gag rule.”

The proposal would make it illegal, in most cases, for health providers in the national family planning program to tell their patients how to safely and legally access abortion. It would require them to supply prenatal and adoption referrals to women regardless of their choices; and it would make it impossible for millions of people to receive birth control from Planned Parenthood clinics.

The proposed regs were issued May 22 and, taken individually or as a whole, would indeed “compromise the program’s continued success and interfere with Title X-supported providers’ commitment to offering high quality care.”

We are part of a Religious Advocates Working Group (RAWG), and are in the process together of coming up with the most impactful ways to weigh in on this development. The next few days and weeks we will be using social media and other means of witness urging DHHS to reject implementing any proposals that would restrict access to high quality affordable family planning services. For more about a national petition campaign opposing these new anti-choice rules, click here.

UUWF Needs You

One position on the UUWF Board remains open, the VP for Funding Programs. The UUWF Board of Trustees is a dynamic, committed group of people. We meet in person twice a year, and attend General Assembly. Think about joining! And share this link with people who might be interested:

Events UUWF, UUW&R and International Women’s Convo are sponsoring at General Assembly:

UUWF Annual breakfast and Ministry to Women Award
Thursday 6/21/2018 – 7:15 – 8:30 AM
Crowne Plaza — Salon B
No charge – RSVP now

The 2018 Ministry to Women Award is being given this year to Rev. Dr. Deborah Pope-Lance and Rev. Gail Seavey in recognition of their prophetic persistence over the years that has kept the issue of clergy sexual misconduct within Unitarian Universalism within our public consciousness. They both have named and educated on the existence of  sexual harassment and abuse in our faith communities, and helped develop safe congregation practices.


UUW&R breakfast
Friday 6/22/2018 – 7:15 – 8:45 AM
Marriott — Truman A
$35 (sliding scale) – RSVP now

UUWF/New Prophetic Sisterhood Sermon Award Winner*
Friday 6/22/2018 – 11:15 AM-12:15 PM
Room 3501 EF
The winner of the annual UU Women’s Federation Sermon Award, Clare Fortune-Lad, Director of Religious Education at the Universalist Unitarian Church of Haverhill, Massachusetts, will deliver her sermon, “#MeToo, Now What?” with the intent of sparking an interactive dialogue between participants to explore the ways that “all are called” to build this movement for gender equity through a spiritually-sustaining lens.
Rev. Marti Keller, UUWF Minister
Marissa Gutierrez-Vicario, UUWF V-P Recruitment
Clare Fortune-Lad

IWC Annual Breakfast
Saturday, June 23, 7 – 8:30 AM
Crowne Plaza Hotel Salon B, Kansas City, Missouri
Keynote speaker: Dr. Rica Lamar, India
$35 – RSVP now

#Me Too: Called to Challenge Systemic Patriarchy*
Saturday 6/23/2018 – 1:30 – 4:00 PM
Room 2503
U*U women worldwide lead their civic and faith communities to confront physical, sexual, economic bullying and abuse in systems of patriarchal authority. With distinguished panelists and small group conversation, we will define the problem and search for answers. As U*Us we will listen, engage and act.
Rev. Marti Keller, UUWF Minister
Rev. Addae Kraba, Past UUW&R Convener, IWC board president-elect
Dr. Rica Lamar
Melissa Stiehler

UUWF Report to the General Assembly*
Friday 6/22 in General Session 3 at 10:20 AM

Exhibit Hall Booth 322-326: Information, UU womxns bookstore, and The Red Tent!* (open to the public on Sunday)
Red Tent Mini-Workshops and Appearances
Author/Musician Nancy Vedder-Shults will be at the booth with her latest book, The World Is Your Oracle. She’ll present some mini-workshops in The Red Tent.

UU Women and Religion Bookstore
The Store will feature a new anthology of womyn’s wisdom by Matrika Press, Chalices by KimberleeClay, a new book by Rev. Dorothy Emerson, an updated version of the Peacemaker study series by Melinda Morris Perrin, fresh reprints from the archives, and lots more!

* indicates that you must be registered for GA to attend.

New VP for Communications

We’re excited to welcome Jess Bors to the UUWF Board as the next Vice President of Communications! Jess is Acting DRE of the Buxmont UU Fellowship in Warrington, PA. We’ll tell you more about her in our next newsletter.

Recent Grants

The Margaret Fuller Grants program supports Unitarian Universalist women in scholarly, prophetic, and innovative exploration of religious feminisms. Our Margaret Fuller Projects this year include funding an ongoing project to document UU women’s herstory in a special collection at Meadville-Lombard. Before her health turned, Denny Davidoff asked UUWF to contribute to the preparation of the HEResies Special Collection archives to be converted to searchable online documents. In addition to contributing many boxes of rough-scanned herstorical documents and several artifacts such as quilts, the UUWF Board has committed to funding the bulk of this project. Once the physical and digital collections are complete, it should make researching our herstory and the women who made it a far easier task.

The UUWF is also helping to fund an upcoming Skinner House book project “Speaking Our Stories and Telling Our Truths: Black Women Clergy in Unitarian Universalism.” The anthology will provide the first published scholarly treatment of Black women clergy in the Unitarian Universalist tradition.

Equity & Justice grants are made to Unitarian Universalist organizations & groups, or to groups / organizations with a significant number of UUs involved in the hands-on work of the project. The program welcomes inquiries addressing a wide range of issues consistent with UU principles and which emphasize the achievement of social justice for women.

An Equity & Justice grant this year provided funds for a congregation in Harrisburg, PA to offer childcare during the 40-day season of civil actions by the Poor People’s Campaign, Pennsylvania at the state capital as part of the larger Campaign, A National Call for Moral Revival.

An upcoming project is to expand a congregational project of providing menstrual products to food pantries, women’s shelters, and other organizations serving low-income women and families. The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Susquehanna Valley supplies 10 organizations in six counties, and is ready to expand beyond the capabilities of the congregation. UUWF funding will allow the project to be made into an independent nonprofit (called “Shape of Justice”) and expand to five new locations, as a test for possible further expansion around the US.

UUWF is also giving a major gift in support of the UUA’s Promise and the Practice of our Faith commitment to Black Lives of UU.

The Marjorie Bowens-Wheatley scholarship provides direct financial support to aspirants or candidates to the Unitarian Universalist ministry, or candidates in the UUA’s religious education or music leadership programs, who identify as women of color, Latina, or Hispanic.

This past year’s recipients are Dianne Daniels of Norwich CT and Sana Saeed of Arlington, MA. We are proud to support Dianne and Sana on their paths to ministry.

The panel was convened by scholarship committee chair Rev. Joyce Palmer and included Maria O’Connor, Director of Religious Education, Unitarian Universalist Church West, Brookfield, WI; and Rev. Julie Forest, Interim Minister, Unitarian Universalist Church of the Desert, Rancho Mirage, CA

Collaborative Work

UUWF is working with UUW&R and International Women’s Convo to convene a facilitated meeting in September 2018 entitled Many Voices/ United Vision: A Collaboration of U*U Women. The meeting is an opportunity to share experience, expertise, and insights as we unite our voices to strengthen collaboration among U*U women and lay out strategies for a joint vision and collective action. To gain the widest perspective possible, UU organizations with goals of human rights and social justice are invited to send representatives, whether or not women’s rights are an official part of their portfolio, as so many issues affect women disproportionately.

Aims of the meeting are to: bring the leadership of U.S. UU women’s organizations and other UU women’s voices together to engage in a planning process; develop an understanding of how each organization functions and what it is doing to advance women’s human rights; explore how our organizations can work together to strengthen women’s voices and women’s leadership in our movement; build positive and productive working relationships; build a joint vision; lay out possible paths of collaboration; and hopefully establish a common course of action.

Annual Report

UUWF Board President Claire Sexton will deliver the short version of our Annual Report at General Assembly on Friday June 22, around 10:20 am during General Session 3. You can watch the live stream at,  or read the expanded version here: UUWF GA Annual Report June 2018

New Clara Barton Sisters

Madison County, KY — Joan Boewe and Ann Stebbins, (pictured) honored by the UU Fellowship.

Franklin, NC — Joan Hawthorne, honored by the UU Fellowship.

You can see current and past honorees on our website:

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